06/16/2010 12:00AM

Tottie, Miss World head graded-quality cast


ELMONT, N.Y. - Optional claiming races don't come up much tougher than Thursday's featured third race, a $57,000 route with third-level allowance conditions scheduled for Belmont Park's inner turf at 1 1/16 miles.

The five fillies and mares entered for turf have all run in graded stakes, including Miss World, winner of the Grade 1 Garden City last fall for trainer Christophe Clement, and Tottie, who won the Grade 3 Suwannee River second out in the United States for Chad Brown.

Tottie was unruly at the gate and/or missed the break on several occasions in her native England. She adapted nicely to win back-to-back races at Gulfstream Park last winter, however, beginning with a last-to-first allowance over Speak Easy Gal, who subsequently reeled off four victories in a row, including the Grade 3 Orchid.

As a slow pace developed in the Suwannee River, Tottie showed improved tactical speed to stalk from second and edged away late.

"She's pretty versatile that way," said Brown, who is inclined to look past Tottie's off-the-board finish at Keeneland last time out.

"She acted up in the paddock, and didn't handle the turf," Brown explained, "so we're just drawing a line through the whole thing. She can be a little temperamental at times, but she's been freshened up a little and has a lot of talent."

Miss World won three in a row on firm, good, and soft turf last year, climaxed by an upset of the Garden City at 13-1. She has had one published workout since prompting a slow pace and fading to fifth in the Beaugay to begin her 4-year-old season on the first Saturday in May.

"She's doing well, and I needed to find a race for her," said Clement.

Solo Piano went wire to wire on this course for the late Bobby Frankel last June. A Juddmonte Farm homebred, she set the pace in the Grade 2 Shuvee in her second start for Bill Mott and could well prove the one to catch in a short field.

Kristi With a K, beaten a head in the Grade 3 Athenia here last fall, makes her second start of the year for Barclay Tagg.

The Mark Hubley-trained Miss Red Delicious makes her first start at Belmont since setting the pace in the Grade 2 Matron as a 2-year-old in 2007.

Amazing is entered for dirt only.