05/01/2006 11:00PM

Stakes-caliber Not Phone returns in turf sprint


The last time Not Phone set foot on the Belmont turf course, he earned a career-best 107 Beyer Speed Figure by finishing fourth in last October's Grade 2 Kelso Breeders' Cup Handicap. The runner-up in that race, Artie Schiller, came back less than a month later to win the BC Mile.

, who was beaten a length in the Kelso, makes his first start since in Thursday's feature at Belmont Park, a six-furlong optional claimer over the inner turf course. Not Phone, 8, is entered under the allowance conditions of the race, which are for nonwinners on the turf twice in 2006 or fourth-level allowance horses. Two of the 10 entrants in the field are entered for a claiming price of $100,000.

Trained by Rick Dutrow Jr., a master with horses returning from a layoff, Not Phone has used a sharp stretch kick to win four races in the United States at distances ranging from 6 1/2 furlongs to a mile. Not Phone's maiden victory came on the turf in his native Argentina. This will be his first attempt at a distance as short as six furlongs, but there appears to be enough speed in the lineup to set up things for him.

was entered in Wednesday's Grade 3 Westchester Handicap at one mile on the main track but his trainer, Jimmy Toner, said Tuesday he would run in this race instead.

A closing sprinter on dirt, Blazing Purrsuit had a four-race win streak - dating back to February 2005 - broken in his last start, a fourth-place finish in the Artax Handicap at Gulfstream Park. Although Blazing Purrsuit finished fifth in his lone try on turf, he is a half-brother to Blazing Fury, a stakes winner on turf and an earner of more than $500,000.

"I've been wanting to get him on the grass," Toner said of Blazing Purrsuit. "I thought once there was a bump in the road, I'd do that. After that last race, I figured now was the time."

- a half-brother to retired champion Ashado - All Hail Stormy, and a pair of New York-breds, Storm Boot Gold and Top Shoter, figure to contest the early pace. The field also includes Super Fuse, who was stakes placed at this distance last fall, and Summer Service, whose six grass wins have all come sprinting.

How True It Is to Nassau County

The unbeaten How True It Is is expected to make her stakes debut Saturday in the Grade 2 Nassau County Breeders' Cup Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs.

The Nassau County is the third leg of a four-race strategy mapped out by trainer Joe Orseno with the goal of getting How True It Is to Belmont's Grade 1 Acorn on June 10.

The plan, to this point, has unfolded flawlessly.

How True It Is debuted at six furlongs on March 19 at Gulfstream and romped to a seven-length win. She easily handled the step up to first-level allowance company, and a stretch out to one mile, with a 3 1/4-length victory at Gulfstream on April 12.

"She's a big, strong filly that has handled every test we've asked her to do," Orseno said.

Orseno selected How True It Is, a daughter of Yes It's True, at the Fasig Tipton 2-year-old sale in February 2005 at Calder, and convinced the Never Tell Farm and Richard Haisfield to invest $450,000 in her.

Orseno was eager to get her to the racetrack but the owners opted instead to give her a full year to mature. The decision could pay off handsomely.

"At the time, I thought she was pretty precocious and she was ready to go on," Orseno said. "In retrospect, it was the best thing we could have done. She's ready to go on now and have a good 3-year-old campaign."

Other possible Nassau County runners include Crystal Current, Diamond Spirit, Hello Liberty, Swap Fliparoo, and Win McCool.

- additional reporting by Mike Farrell