09/15/2008 11:00PM

Rice trio tops lively turf sprint


ELMONT, N.Y. - Thursday marks the one-month anniversary of the Mechanicville overnight stakes, in which Linda Rice saddled all four finishers in a $3,490 superfecta.

Rice won't sweep the top four positions in Thursday's $75,000 Jack Betta Be Rite for 3-year-old New York-bred fillies, if only because she entered just three: Canadian Ballet, who led to the final strides of the Mechanicville; and the entry of Myakka and Meriwhether Jessica.

The Rice-trained trio, all of whom won turf sprints at Belmont's spring meet, are a potent team. Canadian Ballet, who kicked off an all-Rice trifecta winning the Fifth Avenue division of the New York Stallion Stakes last fall, is the main speed. Myakka, who chased entrymate Lady Rizzi's course-record run at Saratoga last out, is a stalker. And Meriwhether Jessica, who turns back after posting a new top Beyer Speed Figure at a mile in open company, will be coming on late.

Rice appears to have them coming and going, but three of the five others entered - Exonerated, Megadeed, and Lost Without You - also won six-furlong turf sprints at Belmont's spring meet.

"We've got to stop this - this is getting out of hand, this Linda Rice," joked Peter Pugh, who sends out Lost Without You.

Lost Without You has 3 wins and 1 second since switching to turf to begin her 2008 campaign, and raised her game several notches to beat Myakka in both allowance victories, each time with stalk-and-pounce tactics.

"The last two starts she really did step up, particularly the last one," said Pugh. "But this will be the toughest race she's been in. Linda's tough to beat in these races, but my filly should run well. If you were to pick a running style to have, she certainly has it. It gives her a little bit of an edge on horses that come from farther behind."

Also entered is Remarkable Remy, who pulled off a 7-1 upset against open overnight stakes fillies, as the fifth of seven straight winners for John Kimmel during the last four days at Saratoga - a parlay, by the way, worth $222,630 for a $2 wager.

Remarkable Remy cuts back from a mile and hasn't sprinted since winning her debut at Saratoga last year. A two-time stakes winner, she carries top weight of 122 pounds.