05/21/2010 12:00AM

Nehantic Kat on rebound in Sheepshead Bay


ELMONT, N.Y. - The New York-bred Nehantic Kat has rarely run a bad race when she has stepped into open company. If her last-place finish in last month's Grade 3 Bewitch is an aberration, Nehantic Kat could make amends in a wide-open renewal of Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Sheepshead Bay Stakes at Belmont Park.

Nehantic Kat takes on seven nondescript fillies and mares in the Sheepshead Bay, scheduled for 1 3/8 miles over Belmont's inner turf. The Sheepshead Bay goes as race 9 on a 10-race card and is the third leg of a pick-four wager with a guaranteed pool of $300,000.

Nehantic Kat was beaten less than one length in The Very One and the Orchid -- both Grade 3, 1 1/2-mile races Gulfstream -- before the Bewitch at Keeneland. Trainer Barclay Tagg said Nehantic Kat raced wide throughout the race, despite breaking from the rail.

"She was beaten 11 lengths, but she easily went a dozen lengths out of her way," said Tagg, who is making a rider switch from Javier Castellano to Ramon Dominguez.

Bubbly Jane is 2 for 2 over Belmont's inner turf, including an overnight stakes victory off a nine-month layoff here last July. She had blinkers off and Rajiv Maragh on that day. Trainer Paulo Lobo removes the blinkers he had on for Bubbly Jane's last two starts and reunites her with Maragh.

Lobo believes Bubbly Jane is fit enough despite not having run since finishing third in the Long Island Handicap last November.

Trainers Christophe Clement (four), Bill Mott (two) and Tom Albertrani (two) have combined to win eight of the last 19 runnings of the Sheepshead Bay. Combined, they run four horses in the race on Saturday.

Clement will be represented by the uncoupled entry of Tarrip and The Gaillimh Girl, both of whom have two wins from three starts and are making their stakes debuts.

Of The Gaillimh Girl, Clement said, "I'm not sure if she'll stay the mile and three-eighths, though she's bred to go that far. The other one will stay, but is still very tender; she's only had three starts."

The Mott-trained Treat Gently was a Group 2 winner in Europe, but has had minimal success in North America. Albertrani believes Liberally will appreciate more ground than she had when finishing sixth in the 1 1/16-mile Beaugay at Aqueduct. Pari and Ballynoe, both trained by Tom Proctor, complete the field.