07/08/2002 12:00AM

If speed is king, who is speed?


ELMONT, N.Y. - Speed has been king lately on Belmont Park's hardened turf courses, but identifying which horse could grab the lead in Wednesday's feature at Belmont Park could be difficult.

A field of seven was entered for the second-level allowance run at 1 1/16 miles, though trainer Bobby Frankel said he is likely to run either Maita or Langoureuse, but probably not both.

Maita would be a logical selection considering she displayed speed racing in France, drops in class after a seventh-place finish in the Grade 3 Sands Point in her North American debut, and gets Lasix for the first time. Jorge Chavez would have the mount from post 2 should she run.

Langoureuse, on the other hand, would be tough to take at a short price. She is 2-8-3 from 19 starts and is only 1 for 11 since coming to Frankel in the fall of 2000. In her most recent start, Langoureuse closed well to be beaten a neck in an off-the-turf race in this condition.

"She got hit with the whip twice the other day but the jock didn't know it and didn't claim foul," said Frankel, who is 9 for 26 at this meet.

While Frankel doesn't expect to see Langoureuse on the lead, he doesn't expect to see her too far back.

"I'm sure she'll be effective laying up close," said Frankel, who has Edgar Prado to ride.

Dulcito raced close to the pace when finishing second in her last start, but that was going 1 1/4 miles, where the pace figures to be slower than at this distance. She has run well over Belmont's turf course (1-2-2 in 7 starts) and has the inside post and apprentice Victor Carrero up.

Ready has finished second in two of her last three tries at this level for trainer Allen Jerkens, and could work out a nice stalking trip under Jose Santos from the outside post.

Sandra's Song is the only member of the field coming off a victory. She took advantage of a fast pace to close from 10 lengths back to win a preliminary allowance race at a mile. She is 2 for 4 at Belmont, but must tote the highweight of 124 pounds, conceding 2 to 8 pounds to the others in the field.

Sky Mist and Piano Chimes complete the lineup.

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