05/04/2009 11:00PM

Raw Silk has shown she can handle soft turf


ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Tom Albertrani figures to be well-represented in Wednesday's $65,000 Elizabeth Bay Stakes regardless of the race's surface.

Scheduled for seven furlongs on Belmont Park's outer turf course, the Elizabeth Bay has a good chance to be switched to the dirt if rain continues to fall off and on through Wednesday as forecast.

If, somehow, the race remains on turf, Albertrani would feel very confident in the chances of Raw Silk, who has handled soft turf before and who comes off a 1 3/4-length victory in the South Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park on April 11. Breaking from the rail under Paco Lopez, Raw Silk appears to be the primary speed in the field. She won last year's Grade 2 Sands Point over "good" Belmont turf in gate-to-wire fashion.

"It looks like a mile might be her best distance," Albertrani said. "When she gets an easy lead she was always tough."

Love Tune, a Group 1 winner in Brazil, and Captain's Lover, a Group 1 winner in South Africa, are complete unknowns making their North American and seasonal debuts. Captain's Lover did beat males in France last fall and gets Garrett Gomez.

If the race goes on dirt, Albertrani will send out Precious Kiss, who won 2 of 4 starts for trainer Patrick Mouton this winter at Fair Grounds. She comes off a last-place finish against tougher in the Grade 2 Inside Information at Gulfstream in March.

"She seems like she worked well the other day," Albertrani said. "If it did come off, it looks like we could be in a good spot."

The horse to beat on dirt would probably be By the Light, who has finished first or second in 12 of 14 career starts, including a runner-up finish to champion Indian Blessing in last year's Grade 1 Prioress over a muddy Belmont surface.

Trainer Christophe Clement has horses entered for both surfaces, but was questionable to run on either. He said All Is Vanity doesn't like soft turf and added that Rising Fever, who is entered to run on dirt, may need more time after finishing second in an allowance race at Keeneland on April 15.

Also on Wednesday's card is the $65,000 Professor Stakes for New York-bred 3-year-olds at 6 1/2 furlongs. Montecore, who won an allowance race at Aqueduct the only time he faced statebreds, looks like the one to beat for trainer Steve Klesaris. Uncle T Seven, winner of the Times Square Division of the Stallion Stakes last out in the slop, and Legal Consent are his main challengers.