07/15/2004 11:00PM

Lexington draws second tier


ELMONT, N.Y. - Sunday's Grade 3 Lexington at Belmont Park for 3-year-old grass horses didn't draw Kitten's Joy, Timo, and Artie Schiller, the leaders of the division on the East Coast, but the field is still strong.

Among the nine horses entered in the 1 1/4-mile Lexington are Icy Atlantic and Commendation, who finished second and third behind Timo in the Grade 3 Kent Breeders' Cup, and Second Performance, who has quickly developed into a promising turf runner.

, fourth in the Belmont Stakes, has been entered for the main track only. Mark Hennig, Eddington's trainer, said he would run the colt in the $100,000-added Lexington if the race is moved to the main track because of rain. Wet weather is in the forecast for late Sunday afternoon. If run on dirt, the distance of the Lexington will be 1 1/8 miles.

was beaten a nose by Timo in the Kent at Delaware Park on June 26. Icy Atlantic, who came from off the pace to win the Grade 3 Jersey Derby over Commendation on May 31 at Monmouth, set the pace through slow fractions over a soft course in the Kent.

"I don't think that is his preferred running style, but he had no choice," said Todd Pletcher, Icy Atlantic's trainer. "He was a little lost up there."

John Velazquez rides Icy Atlantic, who drew post 5.

Pletcher also entered recent statebred maiden winner Tomorrows Champ. The Pletcher horses are not coupled in the wagering.

, a closer, looks like a horse who will improve as the distance of his races increase. In the 1 1/16-mile Jersey Derby and 1 1/8-mile Kent, Commendation was making up ground in the stretch.

Edgar Prado rides Commendation from post 2.

has won his last two starts, both on the turf at Belmont. On June 4, he won a 1 1/4-mile maiden race by two lengths. Twenty-three days later, Second Performance won the 1 1/8-mile Mac Diarmida Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths. In the Mac Diarmida, Second Performance showed more early speed than he had in his previous starts.

"I was surprised he was so close to the pace in his last race," said Dave Donk, Second Performance's trainer. "I think he's making a little progress at the gate and is getting away better. In the race before he broke his maiden, he should have won but got away slow from the gate."

Inducement has a win at Belmont in a 1 1/4-mile allowance race.