09/08/2005 12:00AM

Give Dreadnaught another chance


NEW YORK - Saratoga was sensational, and Del Mar delightful. But Belmont Park Saturday shows why its fall meeting takes a back seat to no other track when it presents four Grade 1 events, all with the potential of making an impact on the Breeders' Cup picture. And of course, the meet culminates with the Breeders' Cup on Oct. 29.

The four Grade 1's Saturday at Belmont are the $500,000 Woodward, the $500,000 Man o' War, the $300,000 Garden City Breeders' Cup, and the $250,000 Gazelle Handicap. The Man o' War and Garden City will be run on the turf.

Man o' War

From the time he was third under the finish line in the Bowling Green Handicap, Dreadnaught has been on my bet-back list. And even though he disappointed me last time out with a dull sixth in the Sword Dancer, I'm going with him again.

Dreadnaught had a brutal trip in the Bowling Green. As a stretch-runner, he was severely compromised by an incredibly slow early pace. The opening half-mile went in 51.94 seconds, the first six furlongs in 1:17.19, and that on a firm course. He also had traffic trouble around the far turn, yet still finished very well once clear. The pace in the Sword Dancer wasn't much better for him (the first two finishers went around the track one-two), and he was too close to the early lead, anyway. This time, with the rabbit Shake the Bank in the field to improve the chances of Better Talk Now, Dreadnaught will get a solid pace to rally into, and he will also appreciate the return to a larger-configured turf course.

As for Better Talk Now, the upsetter of last year's Breeders' Cup Turf, he seems to be at his best with give in the ground. It hasn't rained in the New York area in weeks, and the going might be too firm for his liking. Relaxed Gesture is the one I fear the most, because he can close. But, he looked like a winner in the stretch in both the Sword Dancer and Bowling Green, only to hang on the money both times.

Garden City Breeders' Cup

Without question, the most productive turf race for 3-year-old fillies in this country this year was the American Oaks. Japan's Cesario was tremendous winning that day. Melhor Ainda, who finished second, came back to lose a neck and a head against older opponents in the Beverly D., and probably would have won with a clean trip. And third-place finisher Singhalese came back to win both of her starts, including the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks.

All of it pertains to this race because Luas Line ran fourth in the American Oaks, and she should boss this short field. Luas Line finished in front of eight opponents in the American Oaks despite moving prematurely, and judging from the Timeform ratings she earned in two subsequent victories in Ireland, she is likely an even better filly now.

Endine Handicap

Sensibly Chic looked bad against Madcap Escapade last time out in the Princess Rooney Handicap. But a lot of horses looked bad against Madcap Escapade when she was around, and the quality of the Princess Rooney was confirmed when the runner-up, Happy Ticket, came back to win the Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga. Sensibly Chic is a good bet in this spot.

First, Sensibly Chic can win this by duplicating either of her two races before the Princess Rooney, both at Belmont. The first was a near-miss in the Genuine Risk, and the other a blowout win in the Vagrancy, in which she earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 109. Another reason to like Sensibly Chic is she is fresh and she runs well fresh. She also has enough positional speed to get first jump on her main challenger and the likely favorite, Ebony Breeze.


Delaware Park: Endine Handicap
Fillies and mares, 3 and up, 6 furlongs

Approximate post: Eastern-4:14 p.m., Central-3:14 p.m., Mountain-2:14 p.m., Pacific-1:14 p.m.; Stanton, De., forecast: Mostly sunny, 76 degrees

1a-Clay's Rocket9292954-1
3Sensibly Chic811091005-2
4Prospective Saint9382908-1
5Storm Minstrel5795948-1
6b-A Vision in Gray85687010-1
8Ebony Breeze10095819-5
9b-That's Our Song88818410-1

Coupled: Clay's Rocket & Umpateedle; A Vision in Gray & That's Our Song; track morning line odds

Belmont Park: Garden City Breeders' Cup
Fillies, 3-years-old, 1 1/8 miles, Inner Turf

Approximate post: E-4:40 p.m., C-3:40 p.m., M-2:40 p.m., P-1:40 p.m.; Elmont, N. Y., forecast: Mostly sunny, 77 degrees

1Asi Siempren/an/an/a5-2
2Insan Mala9584906-1
3Dynamite Lass87748120-1
5Luas Linen/an/a948-5
6My Typhoon10295889-5

Odds by Art Gropper

Belmont Park: Man O'war
3 and up, 1 3/8 miles, Widener Turf

Approximate post: E-5:12 p.m., C-4:12 p.m., M-3:12 p.m., P-2:12 p.m.; Elmont, N. Y., forecast: Mostly sunny, 77 degrees

3Victory Circle86618650-1
4a-Shake the Bank7472663-1
5a-Better Talk Now104103873-1
6Stage Call95998530-1
8Rousing Victory103969420-1
10Relaxed Gesture1081051055-2
11King's Drama1091091002-1

Coupled: Shake the Bank & Better Talk Now; odds by Art Gropper