06/15/2009 11:00PM

Rice trio have entry to beat in High Ice Stakes

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ELMONT, N.Y. - Summer will officially arrive this weekend, but it won't feel that way Thursday at Belmont Park, where a forecast for cool and wet weather hangs over the featured $65,000 High Ice Stakes like a dark cloud.

If the six-furlong overnight stakes for New York-breds remains on turf, Karakorum Elektra, Meriwether Jessica, and Mohegan Sky - a trio of fillies and mares who will face males and race as separate betting interests for Linda Rice - will have the entry of Silver Timber and Redefined to beat.

All three of the Rice-trained runners have been effective against the boys: Mohegan Sky won a similar stakes here last spring; Meriwether Jessica was beaten a diminishing neck by Redefined off a six-month layoff last out; and after being extricated from traffic, Karakorum Elektra closed with a rush to win a starter allowance against males first out this year.

At Saratoga last summer, Karakorum Elektra finished fourth in the Mechanicville Stakes at 17-1 behind Ahvee's Destiny, Canadian Ballet, and Silver Timber, all stablemates at the time, which completed a Rice-trained superfecta worth $3,490.

Silver Timber won his 6-year-old debut for Rice at Gulfstream Park on April 4, but was claimed that day for $25,000 by Chad Brown. Six weeks later, the gelding returned to Belmont to win an optional claimer with his best Beyer Figure in nearly two years, and earned $27,000 for Michael Dubb and High Grade Racing Stables.

"I'd rather the course would be firm - we know he likes that," said Brown.

Dubb is also a part-owner of Redefined, who is therefore coupled with Silver Timber and shakes out as the main speed for Tony Dutrow. The horse for course comes off a hard-fought win over Meriwether Jessica that was his ninth in 18 starts on Belmont turf.

"He's 8 years old, and it's asking a lot for an 8-year-old to duplicate races like that back to back," said Dutrow. "But he's telling me he's ready to run another good one."

In the event of a switch to dirt, Mor Chances, third in the Grade 3 Westchester, would be favored over Law Enforcement, Motor Patrol, Mr. Windjammer, and Wolfson.