09/16/2008 11:00PM

Mott filly lands in good spot


ELMONT, N.Y. - After competing in nothing but stakes for the better part of a year, Namaste's Wish takes a drop in class when she heads a field of seven entered in a second-level optional $50,000 claiming race that serves as Belmont Park's Friday feature.

In addition to dropping in class, Namaste's Wish returns to her preferred track and distance and should get the firm footing she appears to prefer in the 1 1/16-mile race over the inner turf.

The 3-year-old Namaste's Wish, trained by Bill Mott, won the Miss Grillo Stakes at Belmont last September and was sent off the favorite in the Epitome Stakes at Monmouth on Breeders' Cup Day. But that race was run over soft ground, and Namaste's Wish could do no better than fifth.

Namaste's Wish is winless in five stakes tries this year, but her best effort may have been in the Gaviola Stakes, where she was beaten just 1 1/4 lengths by My Princess Jess. That horse used the Gaviola as a springboard to victories in the Boiling Springs and Lake George stakes.

In her most recent start, Namaste's Wish caught yielding turf at Saratoga, where she finished fourth behind Backseat Rhythm, who came back to win the Grade 1 Garden City.

Kapanga has won her last two starts after suffering troubled trips in her first two starts, both at Belmont Park. Trainer Angel Penna Jr.'s primary concern is that the distance may be too short for her.

"More quality [opponents] and less distance is not the best combination,'' Penna said. "If this race would have been a mile and a quarter, I would have been much more comfortable, but she can handle a mile and a sixteenth.''

Survived and Jeux de Danse will run for the $50,000 claiming option. Jeux de Danse won in a similar spot on June 26 and was claimed out of that race by Patrick Reynolds.

Value Stream is 2 for 2 at Belmont, including a gate-to-wire score in a first-level allowance race here in July. She drops out of an overnight stakes run over yielding ground at Saratoga.

Viva La Flag has finished second in three of four starts in this allowance condition.