07/09/2009 11:00PM

Sea Chanter faces softer


ELMONT, N.Y. - After facing some of the East Coast's top older fillies and mares in graded stakes, Sea Chanter will get some welcomed class relief when she heads a field of five entered in Sunday's $65,000 Pearl Necklace, an overnight stakes at 1 1/16 miles over Belmont Park's main track.

The Pearl Necklace, which goes as race 4, is for fillies and mares that have not won a graded stakes since the beginning of 2008. While Sea Chanter fits that bill, it's not for lack of trying.

In her last 10 starts, Sea Chanter has competed in five graded stakes, with a second-place finish to the then-unbeaten One Caroline in the Grade 2 Rampart at Gulfstream her best finish. In her two most recent starts, Sea Chanter finished third to Seattle Smooth in the Grade 2 Shuvee and Grade 1 Ogden Phipps. Those were her only three starts on dirt after racing exclusively on turf for her first 13 races.

"I think she's pretty versatile," said trainer Todd Pletcher. "I think she runs well on both surfaces and will probably handle the Polytrack at some point as well. I think in some ways the dirt suits her style a little better because she's a pretty headstrong filly and it's not as critical to get her turned off on the dirt. She's been a bit rank in a couple of races on the turf.''

Pletcher said he feels that Sea Chanter can be tricky to ride and thought "maybe we waited a little too long to make our move in the Shuvee and maybe we made our move a little too soon in the Ogden Phipps.''

Pletcher is reuniting Sea Chanter with jockey John Velazquez, who is 2 for 7 aboard the filly but has never ridden her on dirt.

Sea Chanter could wind up on the lead from post 3. If she does not make the lead, My Dinah or All Night Labor figure to set the pace.

My Dinah, a New York-bred daughter of Victory Gallop, finished 4 1/4 lengths behind Sea Chanter when fourth in the Phipps, a race in which she set the pace from the rail. She has the rail again Sunday. She did win an open company third-level allowance from just off the pace on May 29.

Are We Dreamin, winless in 10 starts already this year, stretches out to a route distance after sprinting in her last three outs.