05/21/2002 11:00PM

No singleton in 5-horse race


ELMONT, N.Y. - There are only five horses entered in Friday's $54,000 allowance feature at Belmont Park, but handicappers looking for a "singleton" in multi-race exotics may be forced to look elsewhere.

This competitive six-furlong sprint, which is carded as the eighth race, is for older fillies and mares who are non-winners of $5,805 three times other than maiden, claiming, starter, or restricted since last Sept. 1. From the rail out, a case can reasonably be made for any among them: Belle Artiste, Grandma Lu, Maddie May, Honey Eyed, and Crescent Coast.

The deep closer Belle Artiste concluded her 2001 season with last-to-first victories in maiden and entry-level allowance races at odds of 32-1 and 14-1, and picked up right where she left off at Gulfstream Park with another longshot score at 12-1 against second-level allowance foes on Jan. 30. She then finished second at Aqueduct in March, but was awarded the victory on a disqualification after being bumped and carried out in deep stretch. Her only start since then was a non-threatening fifth-place finish in a sloppy renewal of last month's Bed o' Roses Handicap behind multiple graded stakes winner Raging Fever.

Grandma Lu was cooked in a sloppy-track speed duel with the mudlark Dat You Miz Blue at Aqueduct most recently, and faded to wind up third of four after going head-and-head through a half-mile in 44.91 seconds. She has won twice this year when the beneficiary of clear early leads, albeit against softer opposition, and she could get loose in this short field.

The New York-bred mare Maddie May settled for second as the 9-5 second choice in the Broadway Handicap last time out, after dueling with Dat You Miz Blue and setting the table for 30-1 upsetter We'll Sea Ya. Maddie May tops the field in lifetime wins and earnings, and has won three of her four career starts at Belmont, including the Iroquois Handicap last October.

Honey Eyed came from off the pace to catch Grandma Lu to begin her current form cycle on April 28, and wound up a distant second in the slop. She has raced only once at Belmont, a sixth-place finish in last year's Acorn Stakes.

Crescent Coast has sprinted twice at Belmont in her career. She won a third-level allowance here last June 1, and has been on the sidelines since a runner-up finish last Oct. 12 behind Shiny Band, the upset winner of last Saturday's Shuvee Handicap.

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