06/26/2007 11:00PM

Giant Basil back on N.Y. turf


ELMONT, N.Y. - Thunderstorms were expected to roll into town Thursday night and help break a mini heat wave that the Metropolitan area was experiencing this week. How much rain falls could impact Friday's twilight card at Belmont Park, which features a quartet of turf allowance races. First post is 3 p.m.

The most intriguing of the day's turf heats is a third-level allowance race carded for one mile. Several high-profile barns are represented, including Bobby Frankel, who sends out Giant Basil, and Godolphin Racing, which sends out the coupled entry of Palace Episode and Mathematician.

When last seen around these parts, Giant Basil finished eighth in the Grade 3 Hill Prince Stakes. In the 55 weeks since then, Giant Basil was moved to trainer Bobby Frankel's barn and won his only start, a second-level allowance race by a nose at Hollywood Park on May 2.

In that race, Giant Basil raced up close early, dropped back to fourth, and then came on again to get the victory. He was shipped to New York shortly thereafter and has torn up the main track in the morning with his workouts.

"We've had him for about a month and a half and he's really been going good," said Scott Hansen, Frankel's assistant. "He's training very well and we're expecting a big performance from him."

Palace Episode was a Group 1 winner in Europe at age 2, but has only raced once since then, that being a last-place finish 13 months ago in the Dante Stakes at York.

"He's trained kind of moderately for us," said Rick Mettee, who oversees Godolphin's New York stable. "His works in company were okay, and his works by himself looked pretty average. We're hoping he reverts back to his form of his 2-year-old year."

Mettee also will saddle Mathematician, who finished a disappointing sixth in the Notoriety Stakes just 12 days ago. He pressed the pace in that seven-furlong race, and was beaten 6 1/4 lengths by Gimme Credit.

There appears to be ample speed in this field, which could set things up for a closer such as Real Quality. After losing a second-level allowance by a neck, Real Quality came back to clear that allowance condition by a head over next-out winner Unigold. In his first try at this allowance level, Real Quality finished fifth, beaten less than two lengths by Sabre Baby.

"He made a nice run at the end, he just got hung wide," trainer Tom Albertrani said. "He'd probably prefer a little further distance, but he's been running some pretty solid races."