06/21/2005 11:00PM

Laurafina's stock up, price down


ELMONT, N.Y. - Laurafina rewarded her backers with a win price of $29.40 in a maiden race in May. Bettors who used Laurafina on the bottom of their exactas with heavy favorite Melhor Ainda in the Grade 3 Sands Point won $29.60.

On Friday at Belmont Park, Laurafina's price will plummet significantly when she meets six other fillies and mares in the $46,000 feature, a first-level allowance race at one mile on turf.

Post time for the first race on Friday's twilight card is 3 p.m.

, a 3-year-old daughter of grass champion Cozzene, won her maiden with authority over a next-out winner here May 18. Following her 3 1/2-length maiden score, trainer Bobby Barbara took a shot with Laurafina in the Grade 3 Sands Point on June 5. Although she was no match for the undefeated Melhor Ainda, Laurafina ran gamely and was 1 1/2 lengths clear of the third-place finisher, My Typhoon, a stakes winner.

Javier Castellano, aboard Laurafina for the filly's four career starts, has the mount from post 6.

figures to be Laurafina's toughest opponent. A 3-year-old daughter of Thunder Gulch trained by Bill Mott, Regal Approach is coming off an easy win in a $75,000 claimer on May 29. Regal Approach was allowed to set the pace through slow fractions and could do the same here without the presence of a true speed horse.

With Edgar Prado aboard, Regal Approach will break from post 1.

, second by 2 1/4 lengths to Regal Approach on May 29, was claimed out of that race for $75,000 by trainer Pat Reynolds on behalf of owner Paul Pompa. Reynolds usually does well with horses running for the first time off the claim.

ran into traffic trouble in the stretch of her last start at Monmouth Park, but still managed to finish third, beaten a length. Since that race, Contagious has had a solid work over Belmont's main track for trainer Steve Young. She is 1 for 14 in her career.

The field is completed by Freedom Ridge, Just a Little Jet, and Verkhotina.

Just a Little Jet, who looked super when winning a maiden race at Gulfstream Park in March, makes her turf debut. Freedom Ridge is 1 for 15. Verkhotina makes her second start in this country after a sixth-place finish at Monmouth earlier this month.