05/29/2009 11:00PM

Rice sends trio in stallion stakes


ELMONT, N.Y. - Horses with mostly dirt form dominate the two divisions of Sunday's New York Stallion Stakes going seven furlongs on turf at Belmont Park, forcing handicappers to put their faith in horsemen.

And when it comes to turf sprints, who better to trust than Linda Rice, who sends out runners in both the Spectacular Bid and the Cupecoy's Joy, $75,000 stakes restricted to progeny of New York-based stallions? In the Spectacular Bid, for 3-year-old colts and geldings, Rice sends out Seeking Eldorado. In the Cupecoy's Joy, for 3-year-old fillies, Rice has the uncoupled entry of Mother Russia and We're Hooked.

Seeking Eldorado debuted on turf last summer at Saratoga and raced greenly while finishing eighth, beaten 6 1/4 lengths by Scientist, who also is in this field. Seeking Eldorado transferred to the dirt, where he finished third in October before winning a maiden race by 8 3/4 lengths in April. In his most recent start, Seeking Eldorado got used up in a speed duel while finishing seventh. Rice said she planned to open up the colt's blinkers for Sunday's race.

Seeking Eldorado figures to be a longshot in a field where Uncle T Seven, Tall Poppi, and the Carlos Martin-trained entry of Fotografia and The Plot Thickens figure to take money. Tall Poppi, trained by Barclay Tagg, was fourth in his turf debut May 1 and should appreciate the added furlong. Uncle T Seven won a stallion stakes on dirt and ran well in his only turf start, a fourth to Bittel Road in a stakes at Saratoga. The Plot Thickens won a maiden turf race, while Fotografia finished a nose ahead of Tall Poppi in the aforementioned allowance.

In the Cupecoy's Joy, Rice said she is looking forward to trying Mother Russia on the turf for the first time. In five dirt races, Mother Russia has won three times, including two stakes. Rice said dirt opportunities were more plentiful when she got Mother Russia going last year. Mother Russia worked a half-mile on the turf last Sunday, and Rice liked what she saw.

"I see a lot of things in her that make me believe she will probably enjoy the turf," Rice said.

Wild Awake is the only member of this field to have won on turf, that being in a $40,000 claiming race at Gulfstream Park. She finished second with trouble against statebreds here April 30.

Seek On, a debut winner on dirt last May, makes her turf debut and first start for trainer Allen Jerkens.