09/30/2007 11:00PM

Hard turf suits Thru n' Thru

EmailELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Bob Baffert is looking for a hard and fast turf course for his 3-year-old filly Thru n' Thru. He has come to the right place at Belmont Park.

With a severe lack of rain virtually since the meet started four weeks ago, Belmont's turf courses have become extremely hard and played very fast. That combination makes Thru n' Thru the one to catch and beat in Wednesday's featured second-level allowance run at six furlongs over Belmont's inner turf course.

As fast as Thru n' Thru trained in the mornings, Baffert knew she would not be successful over Del Mar's Polytrack this summer. On Aug. 18, Thru n' Thru made her turf debut at Del Mar, rolling to a four-length victory while running fractions of 21.49 seconds and 43.59, and covering five furlongs in 55.40. She galloped out well after the race, indicating six furlongs would not be an issue.

"The way the Del Mar Polytrack was playing, speed horses like her had no chance - that's why we put her on the turf,'' Baffert said. "She's extremely fast.''

Garrett Gomez rides Thru n' Thru from post 5.

Honoring Carolyn, trained by Dale Romans, has some speed, but would likely do herself a disservice if she tried to run with Thru n' Thru early.

Willshefire, a 4-year-old daughter of Williamstown, could put herself into a stalking position from the outside post and be able to capitalize if the six furlongs proves too far for Thru n' Thru.

A New York-bred daughter of Williamstown, Willshefire ran into a good one at Saratoga last out when finishing second behind the Godolphin Racing-owned Astronomia in a 5 1/2-furlong, second-level allowance. Willshefire has won her last two starts going six furlongs at Belmont, including a 3 1/2-length score against open company on June 3, her first start for trainer Barclay Tagg.

"She ran a good race last time,'' said Robin Smullen, assistant to Tagg. "It's a shame she got beat by that filly. She's doing well, she likes it here, she likes time between races, so maybe it's a good thing this race didn't go last week. She prefers the outside, so it's okay we drew an outside post.''

Queen Amira is winless in six starts this year, but her best race did come when second in the Caress Stakes going six furlongs here in May. Zaynab has lost her last nine starts, including six as the favorite. Trainer Christophe Clement takes the blinkers off, a move that resulted in an improved effort in June.