07/05/2004 11:00PM

Shining Jewel would rather not lead early


ELMONT, N.Y. - The plan wasn't for Shining Jewel to go to the lead in her last start, but the pace scenario dictated those tactics be used.

On Thursday at Belmont Park, Shining Jewel's trainer, Jim Bond, hopes there is some speed in the $50,000 feature so she can do what she does best: stalk.

Shining Jewel is among eight fillies and mares in the optional claimer. The runners eligible to be claimed for $75,000 in the 1 1/8-mile grass race are Russian Sweetiepie, Katzen, and Sicilian Princess. Bounding Charm was entered main-track only.

There isn't a lot of speed in the field outside of Perfect Energy, who failed to get her customary early lead in her last start.

, who showed her affinity for Belmont's turf last fall by winning back-to-back allowance races, finished third in her last start on June 16 at Belmont. Under Mike Luzzi, who has the return call, Shining Jewel set a pedestrian pace and was outfinished by Mrs. M. and Spangled in the optional claimer. Shining Jewel was beaten 1 1/2 lengths.

"The last race didn't set up the best for her because there was no pace," Bond said. "[Luzzi] did what he had to do because she fell out of there on top, but I think she is a better horse stalking."

In the races won by Shining Jewel last year at Belmont, she came from off the pace. Shining Jewel drew post 6.

New York-bred Big Tease would love a yielding course, and stormy weather is in the forecast. is coming off back-to-back wins over a rain-softened turf course at Belmont. In her last start, Big Tease, who is trained by Gary Contessa, won a division of the restricted Mt. Vernon. In her race before the Mt. Vernon, Big Tease won a $35,000 claiming race by 4 3/4 lengths.

Dynamic Lisa and Perfect Energy also exit divisions of the Mt. Vernon. Perfect Energy finished fourth behind Big Tease. Dynamic Lisa closed with a rush to finish fourth in the division won by Brandala.

Dynamic Lisa was in the best form of her career last year at this time. She won a New York-bred allowance race at Belmont in July and followed with a five-length victory in the restricted Yaddo Stakes at Saratoga in August.

, who adds blinkers, and Katzen also were entered in an optional claimer at Monmouth on Wednesday. Katzen is likely to run here because she is an also-eligible at Monmouth.