09/16/2009 12:00AM

Improvement seems likely for Jardin


ELMONT, N.Y. - A trio of allowance sprints highlight the first Thursday card of the meet.

Jardin, last year's Schuylerville winner and Spinaway runner-up, makes her second start of the year in race 3, a $47,000 second-level optional claimer at six furlongs on the main track.

Jardin, who faded to fourth in her comeback race at Saratoga after dueling with eventual winner Solo Piano in the mud, drew the rail for a second straight time. She picks up the services of Ramon Dominguez and figures to be tighter.

"I don't know if the inside post will help us or hurt us," said Tom Albertrani, who took over the filly's training earlier this year. "She needed that last race and is doing very well, so we're looking for her to move forward."

Set to oppose Jardin are Aunt Mabel, Shoe Babe, Honest to Betsy, and Thunder Sword.

After winning three races at Penn National and Charles Town earlier this season, Aunt Mabel shipped to Saratoga for a wire-to-wire score in mid-August, earning a new top Beyer Speed Figure of 81, the best figure of anyone in the field this year by several lengths. She was claimed for $20,000 that day by Gary Contessa and could win herself out in one fell swoop.

Honest to Betsy, in for the $50,000 claim price, has won twice from five starts at Belmont, the three losses all coming in overnight stakes.

* In race 7, a $45,000 New York-bred optional claimer scheduled for the inner turf at six furlongs, the hard-knocking turf sprinter Redefined takes on eight rivals and is strictly the one to beat for Tony Dutrow.

Redfined has won 9 of 18 starts on turf at Belmont, including his last three starts in this condition. The 8-year-old Redefined drops in class after running third in the Quick Call overnight stakes at Saratoga and gets a switch to Dominguez.

Other contenders include Five Towns, a fast-closing second in his first start back from a long layoff for Christophe Clement, and Strong Impact, who steps up for Rick Schosberg after winning his first-level condition from off the pace.

* Peace Wine, Fateh Field, Wall Street Wonder, and Close to the Vest ran virtually identical Beyers in their last turf starts and are tough to separate in race 8, a $45,000 first-level allowance scheduled for seven furlongs on the Widener turf.