05/29/2008 11:00PM

Masseuse seeks winning return


ELMONT, N.Y. - Masseuse appeared on her way to joining the upper echelon of the female turf division last year before a foot injury got in her way. Sunday, Masseuse will attempt to revive her once-promising career when she makes her 6-year-old debut in the $75,000 Beautiful Pleasure Stakes at 1 1/16 miles over Belmont Park's outer turf.

The Beautiful Pleasure, named for the champion older female of 1999 who never raced on turf, is one of three stakes on Sunday's 10-race program. There also are two $75,000 New York Stallion Stakes for 3-year-olds going one mile on the dirt.

Masseuse has had a history of infirmities, which forced trainer Jimmy Toner to stop on her midway through her 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old campaigns. Last year, after victories in the Beaugay and Dance Smartly handicaps, Masseuse developed a foot problem. Toner thought he had it under control and ran her in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl on Sept. 29, where she finished last. This will be her first start since then.

"She had a couple of tough races early in the year and then she had some foot issues," Toner said. "We tried to get one more out of her; she didn't respond, so we gave her the winter off and we're bringing her back now."

Masseuse has proven effective off the layoff before, winning a second-level allowance here last July off a one-year layoff. Masseuse will be ridden by Edgar Prado, who is 5 for 6 on the mare, including both stakes wins last year.

All Is Vanity, who won a Group 2 in France one year ago, makes her third start for trainer Christophe Clement. She captured a classified allowance race at Gulfstream on March 14 before running a game second to Criminologist in the Grade 3 Beaugay on April 26.

Clement said he may not run All Is Vanity if the turf course is soft. There was rain forecast for Saturday.

Chestoria, a New York-bred daughter of Chester House, is 3 for 5 on turf, with one of her losses being a two-length defeat in the Grade 1 Garden City last September. She was moved from trainer Bruce Levine to Bill Badgett and made a smart-looking debut for Badgett with a 1 1/4-length score in a statebred allowance.

"Eibar [Coa] has ridden her every race and he said it seems like she's a lot more relaxed, which should help her," Badgett said. "She did get pinched back a little further than we wanted last time, and we were sweating it out with those soft fractions."