09/25/2008 11:00PM

Pilgrim and Miss Grillo rescheduled


ELMONT, N.Y. - The wet weather that prompted the New York Racing Association to cancel Friday's nine-race card at Belmont Park also led to the postponement of two graded stakes scheduled for Sunday that were stepping-stones to Breeders' Cup races next month at Santa Anita.

The Pilgrim, for juvenile colts, and the Miss Grillo, for juvenile fillies - both Grade 3, $150,000 races carded for 1 1/16 miles on turf - were moved to Wednesday due to the potential of more than four inches of rain in New York over the weekend. Both races are part of the Win and You're In program, with the winner of the Pilgrim earning a spot in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf and the winner of the Miss Grillo getting into the Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Had the races been carded for turf on Sunday and moved to the dirt, they would no longer qualify as Win and You're In races.

According to P.J. Campo, NYRA's director of racing/racing secretary, two inches of rain fell Thursday night and early Friday morning. At least an additional two inches of rain was forecast for Friday and Saturday, though, remarkably, no rain fell during the four-hour span during which Friday's Belmont races would have been run.

Campo said he felt comfortable carding one race each on Belmont's two turf courses Sunday, but was leery of doing more than that. The Grade 2 Kelso will be run on the Widener Turf, and a New York-bred maiden will go on the inner turf as the nightcap.

"We just don't think we can get the Kelso and the two baby races in," Campo said. "It's hard to get at least three in with that much rain.

"A lot of guys are counting on these baby races, especially for the Breeders' Cup, being Win and You're In. . . . We thought moving it to Wednesday would probably be the smart thing to do. Everybody's been notified, everyone's pretty happy with the decision."

Todd Pletcher, trainer of probable Pilgrim favorite Bittel Road, said while he wants to run his horse here, he also is considering other options such as next Saturday's Summer Stakes at Woodbine or next Sunday's Woodford Reserve Bourbon at Keeneland.

"We're not committed to staying on firm ground," Pletcher said. "Obviously, when you know a horse handles something you don't want to change anything, but it just depends on what the conditions are like here. If it's a bog, it might sway us to go elsewhere."

Belmont's main track was sealed after racing Thursday, and training on Friday was limited to the outer part of the main track.

Habaya eyes Juvenile Fillies Turf

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin hopes Habaya's maiden win here on Thursday was good enough to convince the Breeders' Cup selection committee to put her into the Juvenile Fillies Turf. McLaughlin would like to run the daughter of Storm Cat in that race, but does not want to run her before then.

The Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 9 is a Win and You're In race, but McLaughlin said to to run Habaya in that race and the Juvenile Fillies Turf "is asking a bit much for a 2-year-old filly."

Habaya, the first foal out of the multiple Grade 1-winning mare Golden Apples, had to rally six wide around the turn and into the stretch and was able to win by a half-length. She ran seven furlongs in 1:22.51 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 77.

McLaughlin said the unusual thing about Habaya is that she was broken in Dubai by John Hyde. She is owned and bred by Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell Stable.

"We've never done that before," said McLaughlin, adding that usually horses are broken here and then sent to Dubai. "We're happy for the whole team as in Lexington to Dubai and Dubai to New York."

Salute Me Sir back on Sunday

Four of Sunday's 10 races are ones that were canceled Friday when that card was scrapped due to the weather. Among the four is the $75,000 Salute Me Sir Stakes for New York-breds.

Eight of the nine horses entered for Friday were entered back for Sunday, the lone exception being Oedipus O'Neal.

Stud Muffin, Dr. D.F.C., and Stormin Normandy all entered back. Stud Muffin, who won the Noble Nashua Stakes by a half-length over Stormin Normandy here in May, looms the one to beat under John Velazquez. He went from post 1 to post 3 on the redraw.

Meanwhile, Dr. D.F.C., who finished in front of Stud Muffin twice at Saratoga, went from post 2 to post 9. Stormin Normandy will try to take this field gate to wire from post 2. He had been in post 4.