Updated on 09/16/2011 7:44AM

Suburban may have pace after all

Christina Allonen/Equiphotos
Macho Uno will be favored in Saturday's $500,000 Suburban Handicap at Belmont.

ELMONT, N.Y. - The headliners remained the same, but the complexion of Saturday's $500,000 Suburban Handicap changed drastically at entry time.

While 119-pound co-highweights and probable favorites Macho Uno and Lido Palace were entered, Brooklyn Handicap winner Seeking Daylight was knocked out of the race with an injury. That prompted the connections of E Dubai and Pleasant Breeze to enter, tentatively providing the pace the race sorely needed.

E Dubai is no certainty to run. Tom Albertrani, the New York-based assistant trainer for Godolphin Racing, has expressed concern about

E Dubai's ability to stay 1 1/4 miles, but is looking to take advantage of a potentially paceless race.

"There's no speed in there and Lido Palace is coming off a long layoff," Albertrani said. "Right now, I can't give you a definitive answer. It's still very possible he will run."

Trainer Bobby Frankel appears so confident in Lido Palace, that the addition of two speed horses hardly moved him. He believes Lido Palace - like Frankel's 3-year-old filly Flute in last year's Alabama - could make all the pace if need be.

"I'd rather have a horse like Pleasant Breeze in there, but it doesn't concern me one way or the other," Frankel said. "I think this horse can do anything."

The Grade 2 Suburban will be Lido Palace's first start in 153 days. After finishing fourth in the Grade 2 San Antonio Handicap at Santa Anita, Frankel said Lido Palace stiffened up. He walked for two months.

Frankel targeted an early summer return for Lido Palace and the horse has been training with a purpose the last six weeks. On June 24, he went seven furlongs in 1:24, in a move his work rider Rudy Rodriguez is still raving about. Before that, he had a trio of bullet six-furlong moves.

"He's fit enough, I'm not worried about that," Frankel said. "He's ready."

Macho Uno, the Eclipse Award winning juvenile of 2000, has flashed his championship form in two stellar efforts this year. He is coming off an eye-catching performance in the Massachusetts Handicap in which he overcame a trouble-filled trip to defeat a field that featured Grade 1 winners Include, Mongoose, and the multiple Grade 3 winner Evening Attire. Macho Uno appeared hopelessly blocked in mid-stretch before jockey Gary Stevens swung him five wide and he finished fast.

"It was really a phenomenal move when you think about it," trainer Joe Orseno said. "To stop a horse's acceleration the way it was stopped . . . Gary told me he's never had a horse stopped that bad and win so easy."

Both Lido Palace and Macho Uno like to stalk and the presence of Pleasant Breeze - and possibly E Dubai - would prove both with targets to run at.

Trainer James Bond will be the first to admit that Pleasant Breeze isn't what he once was, but his speed, a 4-for-4 record at Belmont, and his fondness for 10 furlongs make him a factor.

"Is he in Macho Uno's or Lido Palace's category?" Bond said. "I don't know, but if they make a mistake, he'll be there to beat them."

Evening Attire could be the upsetter in the field. He defeated Street Cry last fall in the Discovery Handicap and kept his roll going through the winter with the exception of the Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap.

He finished second behind Macho Uno in the Mass Cap, but jockey Shaun Bridgmohan did not feel Evening Attire was handling the track particularly well.

"Usually this horse is in the bridle down the backside, but I had to give a shot down the backside to get his act together," Bridgmohan said. "At one point I didn't think he was going to get anything. He showed a lot of heart getting what he got."

Pure Prize and Country Be Gold complete the field.

The Suburban, which goes as race 10, is the last leg of the NTRA Summer Pick 3 which includes the United Nations Handicap from Monmouth Park and the Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Handicap from Arlington Park. All three races will be shown live on CBS from 5-6 p.m. Eastern.

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