09/07/2002 12:00AM

A fine pedigree for turf

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ELMONT, N.Y. - On a special Monday card at Belmont Park, a first-level allowance race for turf runners serves as the feature of the nine-race program.

Monday is normally a dark day, but the New York Racing Association opted to close its doors instead on Wednesday in honor of the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Ten 3-year-olds and older males entered the eighth race, which has a $48,000 purse and will be run at 1 3/8 miles on the inner turf. With a forecast for dry and warm weather, the condition of the turf figures to be firm.

Volkonsky, a promising 3-year-old, will be a force to be reckoned with if he reproduces the race he ran in the slop to a win a maiden race at Saratoga on Aug. 24. A Deputy Minister colt out of a Stage Door Johnny mare, Volkonsky won an off-the-turf maiden race by 17 1/2 lengths on Travers Day. Volkonsky, a half-brother to Go for Gin and Pleasant Tap, makes his turf debut here.

Volkonsky, trained by Todd Pletcher, drew the rail and jockey John Velazquez.

L.A. Albert looks like a threat and might hold some value. Trainer Bob Reinacher Jr., who has been doing well with his small stable this year, winning with five of his 24 starters, trains L.A. Albert. The 5-year-old L.A. Albert was closing well at the finish of a 1 3/16-mile turf race at Saratoga and wound up third, beaten less than two lengths for the win. It was the first start after a five-month layoff for L.A. Albert, who won a maiden race here last fall.

Shaun Bridgmohan rides L.A. Albert, who drew the outside post.

Trobien, who has been stuck at this level since October 2001, has made a career out of picking up pieces of the purse. He did, however, win a race at this condition back in June in a 1 1/4-mile grass race here, but was disqualified for lugging in during the stretch run and placed second.

In two subsequent starts at this level, Trobien, who is trained by Jimmy Toner, finished third and fourth.

Jose Santos will ride Trobien from post 6.

Justagallop ran an okay race at a big price at Saratoga on Aug. 18, finishing second in a 1 3/8-mile turf race over a yielding course.

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