07/16/2010 3:35PM

Gitchee Goomie warming up at Belmont


ELMONT, N.Y. − Saratoga, the annual feast and festival for racing fans, gets underway Friday.

Before then, Belmont Park finishes up Sunday with a 10-race card. The main event on the final program of the meet is a $38,000 first-level allowance for New York-bred filly and mare grass sprinters.

The race looks like an ideal getaway spot for Gitchee Goomie, the outside runner in the eight-horse field going six furlongs.

This will be her second start of the year following an illness that shut down her juvenile campaign and her second start for trainer Rick Violette.

A 3-year-old, Gitchee Goomie returned to action June 20 in an identical race. She did everything but win that afternoon, rallying from ninth to get second, losing by three-quarters of a length.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Violette said. “I was just looking to get her career restarted. She had run twice last year and obviously shown she had some talent. Certainly, she had never sprinted. We kind of had our cake and ate it, too.”

In her two starts on grass last season, Gitchee Goomie captured her debut at Saratoga going 1 1/16 miles before running sixth in the one-mile Natalma Stakes at Woodbine.

The turf sprint seemed like a logical comeback spot.

“That’s about what she was fit to do,” Violette said. “I didn’t want to go two turns first time back and have her get real tired on us.”

While he expects Gitchee Goomie to stretch out as the season progresses, Violette couldn’t pass up a chance to knock off this condition.

“Obviously, she’s talented and I think she does want to go a little longer,” Violette said. “At the same time, you don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth. This looks like a spot she’s supposed to be in. If we get the job done, we can move on to bigger and better things.”

Javier Castellano has the return call.

Linda Rice, who had Gitchee Goomie in her barn last season, is represented by Holy Blitzer, a dominant winner for last time for a $16,000 claiming tag.

Hangingonaprayer, fourth in the same race where Gitchee Goomie got second, has a history of running well the grass sprints with a record of 3-1-1 in 10 attempts.

Sky Fever will add blinkers and try turf for the first time.