05/19/2002 11:00PM

Pure Prize tries to fulfill expectations


ELMONT, N.Y. - To date, Pure Prize has failed to live up to his royal bloodlines and, more often than not, his short odds. He will get another opportunity to do both Wednesday when he tries to clear the second-level allowance condition at Belmont Park.

A 4-year-old son of Storm Cat out of the champion mare Heavenly Prize, Pure Prize is just 2 for 11 in his career. However, both victories came at Belmont Park, including a win at the 1 1/16-mile distance of Wednesday's race.

That victory came Sept. 8 when Pure Prize took advantage of an outside post and a fast pace to win an allowance race by 2 1/4 lengths over next-out winners Equinox and Rock Slide. The 104 Beyer Speed Figure he earned that day remains a career best. In another race at Belmont, Pure Prize finished second to the graded stakes-winning Volponi.

Pure Prize ended last year a nonthreatening fourth in the Discovery Handicap at Aqueduct and began this year finishing fifth in a second-level allowance race there on May 5. His backers will hope Pure Prize just didn't like Aqueduct.

Trainer Shug McGaughey worked Pure Prize three furlongs on the turf last Thursday in hopes of giving his colt a wake-up call.

Pure Prize has the outside post in the six-horse field, and the pace should be solid with the likes of Borntoberegal, Killer Angel, and Personable Pete in the field.

Personable Pete finished six lengths ahead of Pure Prize in that May 5 allowance race and has run two bang-up races since trainer Scott Schwartz took blinkers off him. He breaks from the rail, which may force jockey Mike Luzzi to use him early in the race.

Two horses making starts off layoffs are very interesting. After losing his first 12 starts, Tailfromthecrypt has won two of his last three, with strong off-the-pace moves. An ankle injury has sidelined him since Jan. 6, when he won an entry-level allowance race at Gulfstream Park.

Trainer Randy Schulhofer said Tailfromthecrypt began to blossom last fall when he matured mentally.

"He was a big dummy when he was younger," Schulhofer said. "He grew up and figured it out."

Schulhofer will hope for a hot pace Wednesday as Tailfromtheycrypt figures to be out of it early.

Saturday In May makes his first start since Dec. 3 and first for trainer Jimmy Jerkens after running previously for Michael Stidham.

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