07/09/2008 12:00AM

Elusive Fox at home on turf


ELMONT, N.Y. - Grass makes all the difference for Elusive Fox.

"It's the difference between a Volkswagen and a Jaguar," trainer Dennis Manning said.

Elusive Fox, an indifferent dirt runner, makes a third straight turf appearance Friday evening in the $51,000 second-level allowance feature that has a $50,000 claiming option for New York-breds going six furlongs at Belmont Park.

The 4-year-old is 1-0-2 in 4 grass races, including a win last time out in a first-level allowance race at Monmouth Park on June 11.

Elusive Fox did capture his debut on dirt at Saratoga in 2006, his lone victory in eight tries on the main track.

"I got lucky at Saratoga with him on the dirt, for whatever reason," Manning said. "I don't know. He might have liked that surface better. Other than that, he's way better on the grass."

Eibar Coa, Belmont's leading rider, will ride - a vote of confidence in the horse from New Jersey.

The race drew 12 runners, with four more - Good Card, Indian Hawke, Building New Era, and Optimistic Steve - entered for the main track only.

Metro Meteor takes the steepest class drop in the field. The closing sprinter trained by Scott Schwartz rallied to be fifth last time in Belmont's Grade 3 Jaipur Stakes. His two previous races this season were statebred stakes: a seventh in the Music Prince and a third in the Pebo Guy.

Metro Meteor, in for the $50,000 tag, is always tough in these New York-bred second-level optional claiming spots, having won three of them last year.

Defrizz could be more involved in the early pace as trainer Willard Freeman adds blinkers. The gelding was not a major factor in his first two starts this season.

Pat Kelly will have a runner, rain or shine, with a coupled entry of Sigh You and Good Card, one of the main-track-only runners.

Sigh You, Kelly's grass hope, will be looking to build on his last effort. Returning from an almost three-month layoff, Sigh You flattened out to finish eighth. He also is in for a $50,000 claiming price, having already won this condition in January.

Trainer Steve Asmussen, who sends Horse of the Year Curlin on the turf for the first time Saturday in Belmont's Man o' War stakes, saddles a promising 3-year-old in Timberah, who is on a two-race winning streak.