05/11/2010 11:00PM

Granted Tiger most consistent on turf


ELMONT, N.Y. - A second-level optional $50,000 claimer scheduled for 1o1/16 miles on the inner turf course highlights Friday's card at Belmont Park.

The race drew a field of nine fillies and mares from varied backgrounds, including the entry of Daveron and Natural Flair, who make their U.S. debuts for Christophe Clement.

The one to beat, however, may be Granted Tiger, a consistent mare who returns to New York after running four bang-up races at Gulfstream Park for Allen Jerkens.

"She's always been honest," said Jerkens, whose first three starters at the meet resulted in two wins and a runner-up finish, "but she's been coming on in the stretch better than she did before."

Cornelio Velasquez, who entered the week tied for the meet lead, will be back aboard Granted Tiger for the first time since a first-level allowance win three starts back. She has been first or second in four of six turf starts at Belmont.

Zaskar, who set the pace in the Possible Mate overnight stakes before dropping a head decision on the inner course last fall and forced the pace in the Grade 3 The Very One Stakes in her only start this year for John Terranova, is in for the $50,000 tag. She appears likely to contest the early fractions with Talike Me, who makes her first start of the season for Alan Goldberg and is also in for $50,000.

Other contenders include Persistently, the 2008 runner-up in the Matron and Frizette who tries turf for the first time; Proud Lisa, a late-running fourth in The Very One two starts back; and Paraiba, who has won four of her last nine starts.

* In race 8, a $53,000 first-level allowance out of the chute, Strasbourg and Obligingly, a pair of 4-year-olds purchased as juveniles for $450,000 and $300,000 respectively, head a field of nine.

Greatsilversaint, Bimini, Parisian Moon, and Pretty Boy Freud are logical threats.

* Five fillies and mares entered Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Shuvee Handicap, headed by last year's winner, Seattle Smooth. She is top weighted at 122 pounds from the rail with Jeremy Rose, and makes her first start in 11 months.

Don't Forget Gil (115, Rajiv Maragh), Milwaukee Appeal (116, Patrick Husbands), Funny Moon (117, Alan Garcia), and Solo Piano (114, Jose Lezcano) complete the field.

The Shuvee will be race 4 on a 10-race card, and positioned out of the pick six and $300,000 guaranteed late pick four.