10/21/2008 12:00AM

Sailor's Cap back to races


ELMONT, N.Y. - Sailor's Cap, winner of the $600,000 Colonial Turf Cup through a driving rainstorm in June, will make his first start since a third in the Virginia Derby in Thursday's $75,000 John's Gold, an overnight stakes for 3-year-olds scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf at Belmont Park.

Also entered for turf were Luck Money, a restricted stakes winner at Saratoga in his U.S. debut who faded as third choice in the Grade 3 Kent Stakes last out; Wishful Tomcat and Big Truck, who were heads apart in the Floral Park for New York-breds four weeks ago; Atwell, second by a head in the Jersey Derby; and Slambino, who paid $179 for winning his last start on firm turf.

Pluracity and Numaany were entered for dirt only.

Sailor's Cap has not run at Belmont since his debut last October, when he dueled for the lead in a sprint on the inner course and faded to fourth behind Atwell.

An emphatic maiden winner when stretched out at Aqueduct a month later, Sailor's Cap emerged as one of this season's top 3-year-old turf specialists with a sharp placing in the American Turf, followed by his breakthrough performance through a storm of biblical proportions at Colonial Downs.

Sailor's Cap was then favored in the July 19 Virginia Derby, but raced wide trailing a slow early pace and settled for third behind Gio Ponti and Court Vision.

"He ran a good race in the Virginia Derby, but he was behind the two closers, so the way the race shaped up he was just a little out of his element," said trainer Jimmy Toner. "He was going to run in the Jamaica, but he ran into a little bump in the road. The decision had been made to freshen him up, and he came up with some foot issues and he wound up freshening himself up . . . a little more than I wanted him to."

Sailor's Cap, who is using the John's Gold as a bridge to a return to graded stakes company, was also nominated to Saturday's Knickerbocker Handicap as a precautionary measure.

"I was trying to find a spot to run him this week, because he would have to run in this time frame to make the Hollywood Derby" on Nov. 30, Toner explained. "The main thing is to get him back and get a race into him. His last two breezes have been nice and comfortable."

Atwell, whose maiden win came over Sailor's Cap last fall, drew advantageously on the rail.