11/16/2008 12:00AM

Rain to play major role in Pass the Tab


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Though carded for the turf, Sunday's $65,000 Pass the Tab Stakes has a better chance of being moved to Aqueduct's main track. Wet weather forced the cancellation of turf racing Thursday through Saturday at Aqueduct and more rain was forecast for Saturday.

Scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on turf, the Pass the Tab would become a one-turn mile on dirt. Such conditions would suit National Pride, who is 3 for 4 in one-turn dirt races. He is coming off a well-beaten third-place finish in the Best of Luck Stakes run over a muddy strip going two turns here on Oct. 29. National Pride did not appear comfortable racing over the off going under jockey Eibar Coa.

"Once he got to the outside, Eibar said he was going okay, but he never traveled at all like the way he did at Saratoga or the race at Belmont," said Rick Mettee, who oversees Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum's Godolphin Stable.

While National Pride was entered only for the main track, Preakness third-place finisher Icabad Crane was entered in the body of the field. Trainer Graham Motion said he has always wanted to try Icabad Crane on grass, but with soft turf likely, he would be happy to see the race moved to the main track.

Icabad Crane won his debut over a muddy Aqueduct main track last November. He won two of his next three starts, including the Federico Tesio at Pimlico. After finishing third in the Preakness, Icabad Crane finished eighth in the Belmont Stakes and then sixth in the Albany for New York-breds in August.

Since the Albany, Icabad Crane has been gelded, a bit of an unusual move for a stakes-winning horse that finished third in a classic.

Trainer Frank Alexander plans to run Slambino whether this race is on the turf or the dirt. Slambino, who won a turf race at Saratoga at 88-1, recorded two victories in one-turn races that were moved to the dirt from the turf.