05/03/2011 11:41AM

Hollywood Park: Belmont Stakes a possibility if Clarke Lane impresses in Alydar


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The Kentucky Derby on Saturday arrived too soon to fit the racing schedule of Clarke Lane.

The Belmont Stakes on June 11, however, could be the right Triple Crown race for the late developing colt, pending a start in Sunday’s $70,000 Alydar Stakes at Hollywood Park.

Clarke Lane was second in his American debut in an allowance race at Santa Anita on April 3, closing from eighth to miss by a neck. Trainer Simon Callaghan considered a start in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 16, but opted to wait for the Alydar, which is run over 1 1/8 miles.

Sunday, Clarke Lane worked five furlongs in 59.20 seconds at Santa Anita, the fastest of 32 recorded works at the distance. After the work, Callaghan emphasized that Clarke Lane must win the Alydar – and do so emphatically – to be sent to the Belmont Stakes.

“We’d have to feel he warranted it,” Callaghan said. “If we were to win on Sunday, we could gradually step him up. It’s something that could pay dividends. There are a lot of races to ship for.”

Clarke Lane, by Giant’s Causeway, has 1 win in 5 starts, a maiden race on turf in England last May. Joel Rosario is booked to ride Clarke Lane in the Alydar, a race that will draw a small field. Other candidates include Burns, Eurasian, Red Sharp Humor, and Uncle Sam.

Callaghan’s voice cracked with emotion last Saturday after Dubawi Heights won her first stakes in the Grade 3 Wilshire Handicap on turf. Callaghan, 27, trained Dubawi Heights in England in 2009 before he moved his stable to California at the end of that year. In England, Dubawi Heights was second in two lucrative sale progeny races as a 2-year-old.

After arriving in the United States, Dubawi Heights battled colic and knee and tibia injuries before starting her American career last September. The Wilshire Handicap was her third consecutive win.

“It’s been a long road with this filly,” Callaghan said. “She’s unbelievably tough. I’m quite fond of her.”

Callaghan said on Sunday that the Grade 1 Gamely Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on turf on May 30 is a possibility for Dubawi Heights, who races for a partnership.