07/06/2008 11:00PM

Scratches likely to alter lineup


ELMONT, N.Y. - Handicappers are advised to wait until scratch time before delving too deeply into Wednesday's $75,000 Inside the Beltway Stakes at Belmont Park.

Though nine were entered for the six-furlong turf stakes, not all are likely to run. The status of True to Tradition could be the key, since he looms the main speed if he goes. Trainer Scott Lake, however, cross-entered True to Tradition in a $25,000 starter handicap Tuesday at Philadelphia Park and said he would run there, provided that five-furlong race remains on the turf.

Steppenwolfer, who is attempting to return from a 13-month layoff, is also likely to scratch. Trainer Danny Peitz knows this race is too short for his horse, which is why he is considering Sunday's one-mile Poker Handicap here as well.

The Inside the Beltway figures to come down to Godolphin Racing's coupled entry of Emirates to Dubai and Rallying Cry against the Richard Dutrow Jr.-trained uncoupled entry of Salute the Count and Dark Cheetah.

Emirates to Dubai has won two of his last three turf sprints, including a half-length victory over Dark Cheetah in the Red Wing Dream Stakes here on May 21. He had to overcome a troubled start in that race to get the job done. Garret Gomez, who is named to ride, is not expected back in New York on Wednesday, so Alan Garcia will pick up the mount, according to assistant trainer Rick Mettee.

Mettee is running Rallying Cry just one week after he finished last as the favorite in a third-level allowance on dirt. Mettee said jockey Kent Desormeaux told him Rallying Cry didn't appear to handle the dirt as well as he did two starts back, so Mettee wants to see if Rallying Cry could be a turf sprinter.

Salute the Count has finished second in his last four races, including the Grade 3 Turf Sprint Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 2. Following that race, he was found to have had an overage of clenbuterol, resulting in a 15-day suspension for Dutrow. Salute the Count fell just a head short to First Defence in the Grade 3 Jaipur here on June 15. He finished second to Emirates to Dubai going five furlongs at Gulfstream in February.

Anthony Dutrow has the undefeated Ferocious Fires entered. He has not been out since last October and has never raced on turf. If True to Tradition scratches, he could be the speed.