10/14/2009 11:00PM

NYRA postpones Athenia due to rain


ELMONT, N.Y. - With significant rain in the forecast through the weekend, the New York Racing Association decided not to card Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Athenia Stakes and instead will reschedule it for Wednesday. Sunday's Grade 3, $100,000 Knickerbocker Stakes also may be rescheduled for Wednesday, though a final decision on that was not made as of Thursday.

Weather has already forced NYRA this year to move five scheduled graded turf stakes - the New York, Lake George, Kelso, Miss Grillo, and Pilgrim - to the dirt. All five lost their grade for the year and track officials wanted to avoid losing any more if possible. Dry weather is forecast for Monday and Tuesday - both dark days - as well as Wednesday.

"Sometimes your hands are tied and you have no choice and no place to move, but in this case with Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday being dry, why not just move the race and have them on the turf, that's what they're there for," said P.J. Campo, NYRA vice president/director of racing.

Rain began to fall mid-morning on Thursday and by early afternoon two-tenths of an inch of rain had come down, according to Campo. An additional inch of rain was forecast for Thursday night into Friday morning. A second storm was scheduled to arrive sometime Saturday and last into Sunday, which is likely to affect the Knickerbocker.

"If the forecast stays the same, we'll probably move that to Wednesday as well," Campo said. "They're watching that second storm and they don't know if it's going to be a lot of rain or a little rain."

Mother Nature has not been kind to NYRA this year. When Thursday's ninth race came off the grass, it was the 148th race taken off the turf on this circuit this year. In 2008, there were 105 races taken off the turf and in 2007 only 52 came off.

Trainer Christophe Clement, who entered both Bella Allure and Cable in the Athenia, felt NYRA made the appropriate move postponing the race until Wednesday. "I prefer them to have a chance to run it on Wednesday than not to run it," he said.

Flashing works toward Raven Run

Flashing, one of the few Godolphin Stable runners not being aimed at a Breeders' Cup race, worked five furlongs in 59.61 seconds Thursday morning at Belmont. She is being pointed to the Grade 2, $300,000 Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 24. That race, for 3-year-old fillies, is run at seven furlongs over the Polytrack.

"She continues to work good," Godolphin assistant trainer Rick Mettee said. "She worked good last week, came back, and worked again today."

Flashing won the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga on Aug. 8, then finished a creditable third to Informed Decision over the Tapeta surface in the Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes on Sept. 12. Still, with Seventh Street and Sara Louise already targeting the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 6, Flashing's connections opted to look for something else for her.

"We were happy enough with her race at Presque Isle," Mettee said. "To be third in there was pretty good. Now she gets to run against straight 3-year-olds."

Regal Ransom, the Super Derby winner, worked six furlongs in 1:13.24 on Thursday. Regal Ransom will ship to Southern California on Monday to continue preparations for a start in either the Breeders' Cup Classic or Breeders Cup Dirt Mile.

Bubbly Jane targets Long Island

Bubbly Jane, who overcame trouble to win the Possible Mate Stakes here Oct. 9, will be pointed to the Grade 3, $150,000 Long Island Handicap at Aqueduct on Nov. 1, trainer Paulo Lobo said.

"I'm going to look very closely at that," Lobo said.

In the Possible Mate, Bubbly Jane broke slowly and then stumbled badly nearing the eighth pole, but was still able to run down Zaskar to win by a head. It was her second win from three starts in North America and sixth from nine overall. She began her career in Brazil, where she won two Group 1 races.