06/30/2004 11:00PM

Peace Rules, Dynever in Suburban showdown


ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainers Christophe Clement and Bobby Frankel spent part of Thursday morning trying to talk the other into shipping his horse to California for next weekend's $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup.

Neither one bought what the other was selling.

Thus, barring a change in a favorable weather forecast, Clement's Dynever will square off against Frankel's Peace Rules in Saturday's Grade 1, $500,000 at Belmont Park.

Apparently hoping that either Peace Rules or Dynever would not run in the Suburban, trainer Barclay Tagg entered 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide in the race. Tagg said that Funny Cide wouldn't run if the other two horses stay in the race.

A field of eight was drawn for the Suburban, including Grade 1 winners Colonial Colony and Sarava as well as graded winners Bowman's Band, Newfoundland, and the multiple restricted stakes winner Devil Time.

The Suburban highlights a nine-race card that also includes the Grade 1 Prioress for 3-year-old fillies. Fans will receive a pair of Belmont pint glasses with paid admission. The Suburban is the first leg of the NTRA National Pick 4, which includes the Firecracker from Churchill, the United Nations Handicap from Monmouth, and the American Oaks from Hollywood Park. All four races will be shown live on ESPN beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern.

Dynever, who finished third in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic, seeks his first Grade 1 victory in the Suburban. He began his 4-year-old season with a sharp victory in the Grade 3 San Bernardino Handicap at Santa Anita. After a dismal showing in the Pimlico Special, Dynever bounced back with a good second behind Seattle Fitz in the Brooklyn.

Dynever, a son of Dynaformer, appears suited to the 1 1/4 miles of the Suburban and could actually benefit from the speedy Peace Rules being in the field.

"I can't say I'm looking forward to Peace Rules running in the race," Clement said. "The only thing is you will have pace. [Newfoundland] will be pace too, but that's why I employ [Corey] Nakatani, to let him worry about those things."

Peace Rules won the Blue Grass and Haskell at 3 and the New Orleans and Oaklawn Park handicaps this year at 4. All four races were at nine furlongs. He is 0 for 2 at 10 furlongs, but Peace Rules ran creditably both times.

"Everybody thinks Peace Rules won't get the mile and a quarter," Frankel said. "But he's only run a mile and a quarter twice and both of them were very big races. He only got beat [1 3/4] lengths in the Derby, and he got beat [4 1/2 lengths] in the Travers - and he went the first three quarters in 1:09. He trains very good over this track."

Peace Rules, who will break from post 3 under Jerry Bailey under topweight of 120 pounds, could be the main speed in the Suburban.

Newfoundland attended a very fast pace in the Brooklyn before fading to third. "I don't think our horse is best in that scenario," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "He likes to be a bit farther back."

The last time Newfoundland raced at 1 1/4 miles, he finished second behind longshot Jackpot in the Gulfstream Park Handicap. Pletcher believes Newfoundland was running back too quickly from his previous race and has high hopes for this colt.

"I think he's on the verge of getting to that higher echelon," Pletcher said. "He established last fall he's capable of running some big races. Now he's got to step up in a race like this and prove he can do it."

Bowman's Band hasn't won since last October's Meadowlands Cup, but comes off a fast-closing second in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap last out. His trainer, Allen Jerkens, has won the Suburban three times, including in 1962 when Beau Purple upset Kelso.

Sarava returns to Belmont for the first time since he won the 2002 Belmont Stakes. He is winless in five starts since, including a 14 1/2-length loss in the Massachusetts Handicap.

The field

Suburban Handicap
Purse: $500,000; 1 1/4 miles; Grade 1

1Funny CideJ. Santos1175-1
2NewfoundlandJ. Velazquez1146-1
3Peace RulesJ. Bailey1202-1
4SaravaJ. Castellano11315-1
5Devil TimeW. Troilo11320-1
6Colonial ColonyR. Bejarano11612-1
7DyneverC. Nakatani1163-1
8Bowman's BandJ. Chavez1159-2

* Odds by Brian Pochman
* Television: Saturday, 4-6 p.m. (Eastern), ESPN