06/01/2011 4:16PM

Monmouth: Long-absent Naseeb returns in turf sprint feature


OCEANPORT, N.J. – Naseeb will try to pick up where she left off in the $50,000 allowance feature for filly and mare turf sprinters on Friday at Monmouth Park.

With an 11-race card starting at 12:50 p.m. Eastern, Monmouth shifts into its Friday through Sunday schedule until Labor Day.

After starting her career with five undistinguished races on the main track, Naseeb took off last year with a switch to grass. She won her first two turf races, both at Pimlico, for trainer Dale Capuano. She then headed to Monmouth for a first-level sprint, where she finished third against some pretty solid company on June 11.

That was the end of the campaign, just as Naseeb found her niche. Capuano had trouble getting her in another race and then the filly got sick. By time she recovered, the turf season was all but done.

The race on Friday is her comeback at 4 after almost a year to rest and recuperate.

“She’s been working fairly well coming back, so hopefully she’ll improve some from 3 to 4,” Capuano said. “Her last race was a very tough race and she was right there. I’m hopeful that she is going to come back and improve off that race. She’s just an average work horse, so it’s really hard to tell. She runs much better on the grass than she works on the dirt. Obviously, her dirt races weren’t very good. The grass definitely made the difference.”

Naseeb drew post 2 in an eight-horse field going five furlongs that proved very popular with six more runners sitting on the also-eligible list.

Jeremy Rose will be aboard the filly based at Laurel.

“It’s a solid race,” Capuano said. “She ran a 75 Beyer last year. If she improves, I expect her to run about an 80. That would look pretty good there.”

Belarus and Watkins Glen, also look tough in here.

Belarus, a 5-year-old homebred for trainer Alexandra White, makes only her ninth career start. Her last two efforts, a second and a third at Pimlico, rank among her best.

Watkins Glen has been tackling the statebreds in New York for trainer Michael Trombetta. She ran fourth against the boys most recently at Belmont Park in her turf debut.

Wild Rainbow tries grass for the first time after cruising past second-level New Jersey-breds on the opening weekend.