Updated on 09/16/2011 8:28AM

Mot Juste debuts at 4 in Sheepshead Bay


ELMONT, N.Y. - Mot Juste will make her 4-year-old debut in Saturday's $150,000 Sheepshead Bay Handicap at Belmont Park, her first start since finishing last in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf in October.

On Tuesday over Belmont's main track, Mot Juste worked five furlongs in 1:00.84 for the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay, a 1 3/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares.

Mot Juste, who is owned by Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, makes her first start for trainer Saeed bin Suroor in the Sheepshead Bay. Last year the English-bred filly raced in Europe for trainer Edward Dunlop, who saddled Mot Juste to a pair of runner-up finishes in Group 1 races in Ireland and France. In the Breeders' Cup, Mot Juste was a pace factor before tiring and finishing 12th in her American debut. After the race, the filly was sent to Suroor and spent the winter training in Dubai.

Tommy Albertrani, Suroor's assistant, said he likes what he has seen from Mot Juste in training. "She trained well in Dubai and here," Albertrani said. "She ran a couple of nice races last year and we hope she can be a better older filly. This is a good race to see where she fits in. I hope we get some rain; it looks like she's better on soft turf."

Mot Juste was assigned 119 pounds and will be ridden by Javier Castellano in the Sheepshead. Mot Juste and Sweetest Thing, the winner of the Grade 3 Bewitch in her last start, will be the co-starting highweights. The 121-pound top weight, Snow Dance, finished fifth in the Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hollywood Park on Monday.

Clement's plans

Julie Jalouse, who won the Grade 2 Orchid in her last start, would have been a major player in the Sheepshead, but was injured last week and was declared from the race. Julie Jalouse's trainer, Christophe Clement, said the filly got loose during training hours and will miss some training time.

Clement, who has won the Sheepshead Bay twice, also nominated Narcose and Tara Gold, but hasn't decided if either of those fillies will start.

Clement said he may run Voodoo Dancer, third in Monday's Gamely, in the $200,000 Just a Game Breeders' Cup Handicap on Belmont Stakes Day, June 8. Voodoo Dancer was beaten a head and a length by the Gamely winner, Astra.

"She ran a pretty good race; the winner is probably the best filly in the country on the turf," Clement said. "We'll think about the Just a Game and give her more time if she needs it."

Mayakovsky to miss Riva Ridge

Mayakovsky, the Gotham winner, spiked a fever Monday morning, forcing him to miss a scheduled workout and will not run in the $200,000 Riva Ridge Stakes on Belmont Day as planned.

Moreover, his connections think Mayakovsky does not handle Belmont's main track as well as other surfaces, and he will now be pointed to races at the Saratoga meet. Once his fever breaks, Mayakovsky will be shipped to Saratoga to train up there, trainer Patrick Biancone said.

"We're going to give him a bit of time," Biancone said. "Our main target is the King's Bishop," a Grade 1 race at seven furlongs run on Aug. 24. "We'll do everything to make that."

Mayakovsky set a Saratoga main track record for 5 1/2 furlongs last August, winning his maiden in 1:03.54. He also ran a solid second to Came Home in the Grade 1 Hopeful.

Biancone may have unleashed his 2002 Hopeful contender in Zavata on Monday. A son of Phone Trick, Zavata romped to an easy 5 1/2-length victory in a five-furlong maiden race. Despite a slight stumble at the start, Zavata recovered quickly and made all the pace, covering the distance in 57.61 seconds while under wraps from Jerry Bailey. It was the second start for Zavata, who finished a strong second in the Three Chimneys Juvenile Stakes at Churchill Downs on Derby Day.

"Maybe a star was born," said Biancone, who added Zavata would be pointed to the $100,000, Grade 3 Tremont Stakes on June 29.

Left Bank comes out of Met Mile okay

Trainer Todd Pletcher said Left Bank, the beaten favorite in Monday's $750,000 Metropolitan Mile Handicap, came out of the race in good shape.

Left Bank finished fifth, 13 lengths behind Swept Overboard, who charged home an impressive 4 3/4-length winner.

Left Bank was embroiled in an intense scramble for the early lead through testing fractions and didn't have anything left in the stretch.

"He went faster the first part than we preferred," Pletcher said. "When Johnny [Velazquez] tried to get him to relax around the 6 1/2, he took off again with Affirmed Success to his inside. He was legitimately tired and blowing hard after the race. We missed so much training time this winter with him. It would have helped to have had two starts going into this."

Pletcher hasn't picked out a next race for Left Bank, but said he would like to stretch out the colt sometime this year. As a 3-year-old, Left Bank, won the Grade 3 Discovery around two turns at Aqueduct.

As for the winner, Swept Overboard is expected to go next in the Triple Bend at Hollywood July 1.

Shibboleth may go next in Poker

Shibboleth turned in an outstanding performance in the Grade 3 Jaipur, which was run 35 minutes before the Met Mile. Shibboleth stormed to the wire a two-length winner under Jerry Bailey and covered the seven furlongs on the grass in 1.20.08, which equaled the stakes record and was .20 second off the course record.

Trainer Bobby Frankel mentioned the $100,000-added Poker, a mile turf race on July 5, as a possible next start for Shibboleth.

Frankel said Aldebaran, the Met Mile runner-up, also would be a good fit for the Grade 3 Poker. Last fall at Belmont, Aldebaran won the ungraded Nassau Handicap by 3 1/4 lengths on the grass at the Poker distance.

Frankel worked Beat Hollow on Tuesday for the $400,000 Manhattan on June 8. Beat Hollow, who won the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve in his last start, worked five furlongs in 1:00.43.

- additional reporting by David Grening