05/11/2009 11:00PM

Lime Rickey back to turf


ELMONT, N.Y. - In the wake of persistent rain that wiped out grass racing for more than a week, five grass races scheduled for Thursday include an all-turf late pick four.

The meat of the sequence is a pair of allowance races for 3-year-olds and up. Race 7 is a $46,000 first-level allowance scheduled for a mile on the Widener course, and race 8 is a $48,000 second-level allowance/optional claimer set for 1 1/8 miles on the inner course.

Six of 10 turf-meant runners ran at either Gulfstream Park or Tampa Bay Downs earlier this year. Among them, the one to beat is Lime Rickey, who figures to rebound from an off-the-board finish in the Wood Memorial, which was his first, and probably last, start on dirt.

"I don't think he liked the dirt," said trainer Frank Alexander. "But they wanted to try it, and it made sense since we were coming back to New York anyway."

Lime Rickey began his 3-year-old season with three consecutive runner-up finishes in stakes at Gulfstream, with a rising line of Beyer Speed Figures that peaked with a 90 in the Palm Beach. In that race, he edged subsequent Transylvania Stakes winner Stormalory for second money.

"This looks like a nice spot for him," said Alexander. "Those Florida races look as though they may have been stronger than this. Hopefully, we get him a win and he figures out what it's all about."

Big Al, Sydney Road, Star Player, and Sette E Mezzo all come off good races at Gulfstream. Afleet Fable wired maidens at Tampa Bay, and may be the one to catch.

So It Goes, Hammock, Monastic Springs, and Century Gold also have merits in a competitive event.

In race 8, Plenty Coups is up in class, weight, and distance after a front-running win going a mile at Keeneland for Barclay Tagg, but this $500,000 Gone West colt has a tactical edge as the controlling speed and may fall out to an easy lead from post 2.

If the speed comes back, a cavalry charge may develop among a slew of evenly matched contenders headed by Al Basha, Blazing Dynamo, Expansion, Forever My Friend, French Vintage, and Wood Be Willing.

Rendezvous, fourth in the Derby Trial and third in the El Camino Real Derby, drew the rail for his first turf start since a maiden win at Calder last fall.