07/16/2002 12:00AM

Double Cat shoots for fourth win


ELMONT, N.Y. - The royally bred Double Cat returns to the races Thursday in a third-level allowance race at one mile that highlights Belmont Park's nine-race card.

A daughter of Storm Cat out of the champion mare Hollywood Wildcat, Double Cat has won three of four career starts for owners Irv and Marjorie Cowan and trainer Neil Drysdale. All three of her wins have come on turf after she lost her debut on dirt by one length. Nevertheless, Double Cat's best Beyer Speed Figure (95) was earned in that dirt race.

Double Cat has not been out since winning a second-level allowance race on turf on May 27 at Hollywood, but has been training well for Drysdale, who may be trying to determine on which surface to proceed with the filly's career.

Double Cat drew the rail and will be ridden by Jerry Bailey.

Bailey will most likely try to work out a stalking trip behind main speed Bronze Autumn, the only 3-year-old in this five-horse field. A daughter of Mr. Greeley, Bronze Autumn has won three of her last four starts, including a front-running score over the Bobby Frankel-trained Bel Baie in a second-level allowance race here on July Fourth. It was the first time Bronze Autumn raced in blinkers.

Bronze Autumn may have benefited from an extremely fast track that day and is a bounce candidate coming off the best race of her career. Leading jockey John Velazquez rides for leading trainer Todd Pletcher.

Rift Valley returns from a 111-day layoff for trainer Rusty Arnold, who is a 12-percent-winning trainer with such moves. Rift Valley won a pair of allowance races over the inner track from off the pace. She had no chance in the Grade 3 Rare Treat Handicap after being left at the gate. She last raced on March 29 when she chased a loose-on-the-lead Pleasant County around the Aqueduct track before settling for second. She shows a series of slow works for her return and may be in need of this start.

Saskya and Royal Fact come out of a third-level allowance race June 28 when they finished second and third, respectively.

Saskya showed good speed in that race, but was no match for Preferred Option, who outsprinted Saskya to the lead and went on to a gate-to-wire score. Before that, Saskya finished fifth in the spill-marred WNBC Stakes on Belmont Day.

Royal Fact raced third all the way around the track in that June 28 race, and now gets blinkers. Victor Carrero, winning at a 20-percent clip the last three weeks, has the call.

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