05/02/2006 11:00PM

Sir Greeley caps lightly played Grand Slam


ELMONT, N.Y. - When is a home run not a home run? When it's a Grand Slam.

It's early in the game, but judging from indifferent handle on the inaugural Grand Slam wager on opening day at Belmont Park, few bettors, particularly offtrack, used the New York Racing Association's new wager to meet the monthly minimum of $2,000 needed to qualify for the new reward/rebate program.

The Grand Slam requires bettors to select in-the-money finishers in the first three races before picking the winner of the last leg, and it is apparently intended as a kind and gentle introduction to the pick four. The diluted version generated a minor-league handle of $16,470 on races 5 through 8, and paid a surprisingly large $46.20 (for $2) after favored Sir Greeley won the Westchester Handicap.

While the Grand Slam was available at sites in New York, Kentucky, and Maryland, many tracks across the country are not offering it.

"Ontrack handle compared favorably when compared to the early pick four, especially for the debut of a new wager," said NYRA senior vice president Bill Nader. "But racetracks and simulcast sites across the country need to do a better job in making this wager available to their customers. We hope this is corrected quickly to allow people the opportunity to participate."

The Grand Slam's ontrack handle of $9,282 was slightly less than the ontrack handle for the early pick four of $11,442, but the early pick four's total handle reached $102,864.

Sir Greeley ($5.80) wore down Love of Money in deep stretch to take the 78th running of the Grade 3, $108,800 Westchester by three-quarters of a length under Eibar Coa.

The Richard Dutrow Jr.-trained Love of Money, starting for the first time since setting the pace in the 2005 Met Mile, ran off to a long lead through fast fractions of 22.36 seconds, 44.62, and 1:08.42, and was collared inside the final sixteenth in a game effort.

Through light rain showers before an opening-day crowd of 5,480, Sir Greeley ran the mile in 1:33.69 on a fast-but-moist track to notch his first graded stakes, and earned $65,780.

"I'm glad that Dutrow's horse didn't have another race under his belt," said Sir Greeley's trainer, Jimmy Jerkens. "We'll take a look at the Met Mile, but I don't know if I want to do that to him."

Love of Money was clear of third-place finisher Happy Hunting by 6 3/4 lengths. Gygistar, winner of the Westchester the last two years, was a non-threatening fourth in the field of six.

Smuggler pointing to Shuvee

Smuggler, last year's Eclipse-winning 3-year-old filly who was out of action for nine months after getting sick repeatedly, breezed a half-mile in 49.03 seconds over the main track on Wednesday for Shug McGaughey.

"She looked good this morning and we're pointing her to the Shuvee two weeks from Sunday," said McGaughey, whose four Shuvee wins include one with Inside Information, the dam of Smuggler.

In her first start at 4, Smuggler finished last of five in the Bed o' Roses, which was run over a fast but sealed track under showery conditions at Aqueduct on April 22.

"I'm just going to blame myself and take it from there," said McGaughey. "She got a little more limber-legged than I thought she would, and when they sealed the track while we were in the paddock, that didn't go over too well with me."

Tisket a Tasket rematched with Joyful Chaos

Friday's $65,000 Christiecat, an overnight stakes at 10 furlongs on the inner turf course, drew a field of seven fillies and mares, and goes as race 3.

Tisket a Tasket, whose two starts this year came against Apple Blossom winner Spun Sugar and Breeders' Cup Mile third-place finisher Gorella, gets a rematch with Joyful Chaos, who beat her in a third-level allowance last fall.

"That was a tough spot," said trainer Stanley Hough of Tisket a Tasket's recent third-place finish to Gorella at Keeneland. "I think the distance will suit her, and we're hoping she fits with this kind."

A first for statebreds

Friday's eighth race is believed to mark the first time a third-level allowance condition has been carded on this circuit for New York-breds; none of the 10 older males was entered for the optional $30,000 claiming price.

"I don't remember having seen a three-other-than for New York-breds," said NYRA racing secretary P.J. Campo. "For turf we thought it would be good. During turf season the dirt horses kind of slim out on you, so this gives turf horses another category to run in before running in stakes or an open race."