07/14/2010 6:38PM

Tactical speed huge advantage for Mor Chances in Belmont feature


ELMONT, N.Y. – A field of nine older New York-breds, headed by multiple stakes winner Mor Chances, will clash in Thursday’s featured eighth race at Belmont Park.

Mor Chances, whose six victories since claimed by Rick Dutrow include five stakes, drew the outside post in the second-level optional $50,000 claimer, scheduled for the Widener turf at seven furlongs. The 6-year-old Mor Chances has trained steadily since a last-to-first win under identical conditions here seven weeks ago.

“We blew him out [Tuesday] morning,” said Dutrow. “He’s doing good and he’s supposed to run his race again.”

Although Mor Chances came from far back to win his last start, there is no clear-cut pacesetter in the field, and he is versatile enough to grab the early lead if no one else wants it – as he did in wiring the Hollie Hughes and an overnight stakes last year.

“He’s won coming from behind and he’s won on the lead,” said Dutrow, “but [Jose] Lezcano’s won with him every time so I’m not going to tell him how to ride the horse.”

Lezcano, in a virtual tie with Ramon Dominguez for top win percentage heading into the final week of the meet, is 3 for 3 aboard Mor Chances.

In addition to Mor Chances, Chernobyl’s Hero, Extra Zip, Gold Vendetta, and Love Abroad were entered for the $50,000 tag.

Gold Vendetta has trailed early in three of four starts since claimed by Gary Contessa, but may show more speed on Thursday, judging from a bullet half-mile workout on July 4. He finished strongly when beaten a half-length by Mor Chances two starts back, and was a troubled third last out.

Hot Money’s three turf wins have come on firm, good, and yielding ground for trainer Christophe Clement, who won with five consecutive starters to close out the next-to-last week of the meet, highlighted by Gio Ponti’s second triumph in the Man o’ War.

The field’s only two-time winner at seven furlongs on turf, Hot Money has steadily improved through three starts at the meet, climaxed by a starter allowance win against open company.