10/23/2008 11:00PM

Shift in venue helps Altesse


ELMONT, N.Y. - Belmont Park's 38-day fall meet comes to a close on Sunday, with a nine-race card that includes three stakes, headed by the 14th running of the $100,000 Turnback the Alarm Handicap at 1o1/8 miles.

The Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm, the next-to-last graded stakes of the year in New York for fillies and mares, drew a field of six, including Altesse, who overcame some minor traffic trouble to win the restricted Quick Mischief overnight stakes in her return from a layoff earlier this month, and the Grade 2 winners Spring Waltz and Rolling Sea.

One would think racetrack karma would be favorable for Altesse in the Turnback the Alarm. After all, the Shug McGaughey-trained homebred is out of Aldiza, whose half-sister Atelier equaled the stakes record of 1:48.80 winning this race in 2000 for the same connections. Yet, when the Turnback the Alarm was run at Aqueduct last fall, Altesse had to be pulled up as the 9-5 favorite due to a broken rein.

Though the 5-year-old Altesse is winless from four other graded stakes attempts, she may benefit from the race being transformed into a one-turn route at Belmont, where she invariably runs well.

Spring Waltz and Rolling Sea are the only graded stakes winners in the field, and the only ones who have been capable of producing triple-digit Beyer Figures.

Spring Waltz beat Altesse by a combined 19 lengths winning back-to-back races at Gulfstream Park last winter, including the Grade 2 Rampart Handicap for her trainer at the time, Brian Lynch. She has raced only twice since then, both times for current trainer Bobby Frankel, and was well-beaten in the Delaware Handicap in mid-July, and again in a sloppy running of the Ruffian Handicap here opening weekend.

Rolling Sea reaffirmed her dislike of Polytrack, finishing last in the Spinster three weeks ago, but the Steve Asmussen-trained mare has compiled a sparkling 10-3-5 record from 22 starts on dirt.

Rolling Sea, who came out of last year's Spinster to win the Grade 2, one-mile Chilukki Stakes at Churchill Downs in her final start of 2007, has not shown her best form at age 5, but could shake out as the lone speed.

The getaway day card also includes the I Take All and the Missymooiloveyou, a pair of 1 1/16-mile $75,000 overnight turf stakes for 2-year-olds.

Zenyatta's sister debuts

Two days after Zenyatta capped off a perfect season with a victory in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic, her 2-year-old younger half-sister, Treasure Trail, is scheduled to debut in race 6 Sunday at Belmont Park.

Treasure Trail, a daughter of Pulpit out of the mare Vertigineux - the same dam as Zenyatta - is trained by Shug McGaughey for owner Ed Cox, who purchased the filly for $550,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sales in 2007. Zenyatta did not debut until two months later.

Cox is a longtime owner and friend of McGaughey's who got out of the business for a while, but who recently returned seeking broodmare/racing prospects.

"He was just trying to find a filly that'll do," McGaughey said. "He got lucky and bought her, and then Zenyatta came around."

Treasure Trail was training regularly in the spring and early summer, but McGaughey backed off her when she appeared to be losing weight. She resumed breezing in late August and shows nine breezes leading up to this.

"She's done everything we've asked of her this summer," McGaughey said Friday at Santa Anita. "We were going along, I thought she lightened up a little bit too much, so I backed off her."

McGaughey said Treasure Trail has "a lot of Pulpit" in her, meaning she has a tendency to be temperamental.

Treasure Trail will break from post 5 in the nine-horse field under John Velazquez. Her competition figures to come from the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained pair of Eye of Taurus and Alnawaibi, as well as Seattle Grey, a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Noble Court, and Cades Bay, a half-sister to Grade 3 winner Voodoo.

- additional reporting

by David Grening