05/31/2007 12:00AM

Edge to Mott and Sharp Susan


ELMONT, N.Y. - It is rare to find a turf stakes on this circuit that neither Bill Mott nor Christophe Clement hasn't won. The $100,000 Sands Point Handicap, to be run for the 13th time on Saturday, is one of them.

There is a good chance one of those two trainers will be in the winner's circle Saturday afternoon as the Mott-trained Sharp Susan takes on the Clement-conditioned Rutherienne in the Grade 3 Sands Point for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park. Seven were entered provided the race remains at 1 1/8 miles on turf. Three more were entered in the event the race is moved to the main track.

A win over the course as well as one at the distance may give Sharp Susan a slight edge in this competitive race. Sharp Susan won her turf debut last September over this course, and most recently, she won the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride Stakes going 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream on March 25.

Her only loss on turf came in the Miss Grillo, but jockey Mike Smith's rein broke shortly after leaving the gate, making the race essentially a throw out. In her 3-year-old debut at Gulfstream, Sharp Susan was very rank while racing in traffic, yet still managed to win a first-level allowance race at Gulfstream.

"She had to zig-zag through a lot of traffic; fortunately she was full of run and was able to do it," Mott said. "If she wouldn't have had a lot of run in the tank she never would have gotten through a lot of those spots."

In the Herecomesthebride, Sharp Susan got away with soft early fractions and was an easy gate-to-wire winner. Mott had planned to run her in the Edgewood at Churchill on May 4, but the filly caught a fever.

Rutherienne, a daughter of Pulpit, has won 3 of 4 starts - all on turf. Her only loss came in the Appalachian at Keeneland when she got stuck behind a wall of horses and a slow pace. She bounced back with a strong closing kick to win the Sugar Plum Time Stakes here three weeks ago.

"The race was a bit against her; no pace, she was a touch rank and had to be wide," Clement said. "She was the best horse in the race."

Classic Neel was beaten a neck in the Appalachian after stumbling at the break. She had won her previous two starts on the turf at big prices. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said stretching out from a mile to 1 1/8 miles should be "no problem."