05/14/2009 11:00PM

Seattle Smooth scary on fast dirt


ELMONT, N.Y. - Seattle Smooth, whose only loss from five starts on dirt was a third-place finish in a muddy running of last year's Black-Eyed Susan, is the deserving highweight in Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Shuvee Handicap at Belmont Park.

Seattle Smooth breaks from the rail in the 34th running of the one-mile Shuvee. A 4-year-old daughter of Quiet American, Seattle Smooth will carry 120 pounds, conceding anywhere from five to eight pounds to Striking Tomisue, Granted Tiger, Color Me Up, Sea Chanter, and Are We Dreamin.

The well-traveled Seattle Smooth has started four times on fast dirt, and has come away with four stakes wins by open lengths: the Bay Meadows Oaks; the Go for Wand at Delaware Park; the Grade 2 Fitz Dixon Cotillion at Philadelphia Park; and the recent Grade 2 Bed o' Roses in her first start of the year at Aqueduct.

In the Bed o' Roses, Seattle Smooth tracked a slow pace and opened up at will through the lane while never asked for her best by Ramon Dominguez.

"At the top of the stretch, I said to myself, 'This is a very good filly,' because I know she was not at her best," said Tony Dutrow, who took over Seattle Smooth's training when she was shipped east from California. "The question is, will she like Belmont Park? If she does, we're in business."

Since 1990, the Beyer Figure par for the Shuvee is 103, and though Seattle Smooth has yet to approach that level, she is the only member of the field to have won a graded stakes on dirt and can probably win with her typical figure in the 90s.

Sea Chanter is the race's other graded stakes winner, having taken the Grade 3 Miesque on turf at Hollywood Park in her final start as a 2-year-old in 2007 for Todd Pletcher. She will be running on dirt for just the second time in her 14-race career, after a runner-up finish in the Grade 2 Rampart behind odds-on One Caroline.

Striking Tomisue was a well-beaten fourth in the Rampart over a good track at Gulfstream Park that she probably disliked. Prior to that, the Nick Zito-trained mare won back-to-back starts on fast tracks. She was fifth, beaten 11 lengths, in last year's Shuvee after pressing the pace.

Granted Tiger is eligible for a first-level allowance race, but her trainer, Allen Jerkens, has won the Shuvee six times, including four of the last seven runnings.