04/14/2010 12:00AM

Justwhistledixie seeks rebound in Distaff


Justwhistledixie has yet to return to the graded stakes-winning form she displayed as a 3-year-old. She will get another chance when she runs in Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Distaff Handicap here at seven furlongs. Six were entered in the Distaff, though two of those - Hour Glass and Strut the Canary - were cross-entered in Saturday night's $250,000 Sugar Maple Stakes at Charles Town.

From October of her 2-year-old year through March of her 3-year-old campaign, Justwhistledixie reeled off five consecutive victories, including the Grade 2 Davona Dale and Grade 2 Bonnie Miss a Gulfstream. A foot issue the morning of the Kentucky Oaks knocked her out of that race. She finished second as the 4-5 favorite in the Acorn before being sidelined for the summer. Justwhistledixie ended her 3-year-old campaign with a good second to Sara Louise in the Grade 2 Top Flight Handicap.

After a failed experiment on synthetic in the El Encino at Santa Anita, Justwhistledixie finished a non-threatening fourth in the Grade 3 Sabin at Gulfstream in February.

Justwhistledixie will break from post 6 under Jose Lezcano.

The horse to beat is likely Matchless Orinda, who ships up from Florida for trainer Marty Wolfson. Tar Heel Mom and Thunders Dove are also entered.

Stablemate beats odds-on favorite

French Dip, the longer half of the Todd Pletcher-trained uncoupled entry, held off a late surge from stablemate Casanova Move, the 1-4 favorite, to win Wednesday's $57,000 Hilbys Brite Flight Stakes by a head. It was 1 3/4 lengths back to My Dinah, who finished 5 1/2 lengths ahead of Weathered. Quiet Mover scratched.

It was the second straight win for French Dip, a daughter of Speightstown who was trying the one-mile distance for the first time. Under David Cohen, French Dip alternated on the lead with Weathered through a modest half-mile of 48.90 seconds before putting that one away in upper stretch. Casanova Move, boxed inside early under John Velazquez, had room to get out in the stretch, but could not catch the winner while drifting out.

French Dip ($10), owned by Everett Dobson, covered the distance in 1:39.67.

Trains to Belmont eliminated

With the exception of June 4 and June 5 (Belmont Stakes Day), the Penn Station-to-Belmont Park train has been eliminated due to budget cuts by the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The New York Racing Association will offer free shuttle service from the Queens Village station, leaving the corner of Jamaica Ave and Springfield Blvd. at 12:30 p.m. There will be two shuttles from Belmont to Queens Village on weekdays and three shuttles on weekends.

* Joe Wolyniec, the main clocker at Aqueduct since 1994, will retire on April 23. Wolyniec has worked at NYRA for 29 years, starting out as a gap attendance in 1981.