07/10/2007 12:00AM

Retribution aiming to lead all the way

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Retribution will face old friends Golden Commander and Dave on Thursday.

ELMONT, N.Y. - There's a very simple pace scenario in Thursday's 1 1/16-mile Naskra's Breeze.

Assuming the $75,000 overnight stakes for New York-breds remains on the inner turf course, Retribution will break from the outside and clear the field in the matter of a few strides. From there, it's just a question of whether he comes back to the pack, or whether he never comes back - as happened twice last year, including a win against several of Thursday's rivals in the Ashley T. Cole at 25-1.

Retribution's A.T. Cole shocker came at the expense of Foreverness, Dave, and Golden Commander, who again on Thursday will try to catch the confirmed front-runner.

Following a winter freshening, Retribution should be set for a top try in his third start at the meet. But Foreverness, winner of the Grade 3 Fort Marcy last year, and Dave, a multiple New York-bred stakes winner, also make their third starts back, and figure to fire their best shot, too.

Golden Commander has not won since the 2005 Kingston Handicap, but recent runner-up finishes in this year's Kingston and the Fort Marcy indicate the 7-year-old is still capable of competing with this kind.

Classic Pack ran third last out in an open third-level allowance behind Sunriver, who is scheduled to run in Sunday's Grade 2, $150,000 Bowling Green Handicap. That race represented a career-best in terms of Beyer Speed Figures for Classic Pack, a versatile colt who has won New York-bred stakes on turf and dirt.

Also entered for turf are Banrock, who has tried unsuccessfully to get into a second-level allowance recently; Building New Era, who has never run on turf; and Sabellina, a 6-year-old mare in foal to Pulpit.

"Maybe this is a year for the girls," said trainer Joe Aquilino, referring to the filly Rags to Riches winning the Belmont Stakes. "Maybe we can run with the boys, though our ultimate goal is running her back in the Yaddo again at Saratoga."

Building New Era has a late-running style that appears well suited to turf, though his dirt-oriented pedigree suggests otherwise.

"I'm not certain he's a turf horse, but he looks like one," said trainer Gary Contessa, who entered the final two weeks at Belmont tied with Todd Pletcher as top trainer in wins. "He's got a big 'dishy' foot and high knee action, and all his turf works at Aqueduct have been very good. But if it came off, I wouldn't be unhappy - that's for sure."

Entered for dirt only are Who What Win and D Money.