Updated on 09/15/2011 12:37PM

South African import is a player


ELMONT, N.Y. - Babae and Zeiting, less than a length apart when they last met, return as the top choices at Belmont Park in Thursday's $54,000 feature at one mile over the Widener turf.

The money allowance, which also carries a nonwinners-of-four-other-than condition, drew seven fillies and mares, plus three main-track-only entries.

Looking to topple Babae and Zeiting is South African import Kimberley Mine, whose connections would love to see their mare follow in the footsteps of Spook Express, who came here from South Africa and is now a graded stakes winner in this country.

Kimberley Mine begins her American campaign for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Kimberley Mine, now 5, has not raced since January when she finished eighth in a Group 1 against males. Her last win came in October against fillies and mares in a Group 1 at one mile, while packing 127 pounds.

Pletcher's assistant, John Hassett, said Kimberley Mine arrived in Pletcher's barn in March after a draining 60-day stay in quarantine.

"It took a long time to turn her around after quarantine," Hassett said, "but she's turned out to be very professional and took to America like a duck to water. She'll improve with one race, but she might be good enough to get it done the first time."

John Velazquez rides Kimberley Mine, who receives first-time Lasix, from post 6.

In a similar spot on June 27, Babae finished second as the longest price, 16-1, in a seven-horse field. Zeiting, the third choice, finished third. The winner, Verruma, wore down Babae, the pacesetter in the 1 1/8-mile allowance, in the final yards to win by a nose. Zeiting raced at the back at the pack for six furlongs, but was gobbling up ground in the stretch and finished a half-length behind Babae, who raced in close quarters on the rail in the stretch.

Jorge Chavez replaces the injured Mike Luzzi aboard the Frank Alexander-trained Babae, who should be prominent from the start from post 3.

Zeiting, trained by Christophe Clement, gets Jerry Bailey in the saddle and breaks from post 7.

Silent Emotion, away from the races since Oct. 22, figures to provide Babae with company on the front end early. Trained by Chuck Simon, Silent Emotion won three of five starts last year, all from on the pace in grass races.

Completing the main body of the field are Roberta T., who has been away from the races since Dec. 17, 1999, Rosie Dooley, and Pearly White.

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