11/05/2010 2:13PM

Turf or dirt, Dominguez has a contender


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Whether Sunday’s Glowing Honor overnight stakes at Aqueduct is run on turf or dirt, Ramon Dominguez figures to be riding the favorite.

Dominguez, who easily topped the Belmont fall standings for his 10th title from the last 11 New York Racing Association meets, is listed on main track only Qualia, who would be odds-on if the race is switched to the dirt.

If it remains a two-turn mile on turf as scheduled, Dominguez will be reunited with Strike the Bell and will have to call on his considerable positional expertise to work out a trip from post 10.

Rain washed Friday’s opening-day grass races to the main track, but weather.com forecast improved weather through the weekend, with a zero chance of precipitation on Sunday and temperatures into the low 50s.

“In the fall it’s so unpredictable – you spend more time watching the Weather Channel than anything else,” said trainer David Donk, who has saddled the versatile Strike the Bell to four grass wins at distances ranging from 5 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/16 miles.

From three starts with Dominguez, Strike the Bell has won twice, including the Grade 3 Noble Damsel over good turf at Belmont two starts back. The 4-year-old Strike the Bell comes off a wide-trip fourth in the Athenia over soft turf three weeks ago.

“No knock on anyone else, but Ramon has been real successful with her and we’re glad to have him back,” said Donk.

Christophe Clement, who sent out Stormy Publisher off a seven-month layoff to win her United States debut in an overnight stakes also named the Glowing Honor at Belmont last month, takes aim at the latest version with two more fresh fillies in Miss World and Denomination.

Miss World won three in a row last fall, including the Grade 1 Garden City, but has since lost four straight. She has been idle since a runner-up finish in a third-level optional claimer back in mid-June.

Denomination was second by a neck in an overnight stakes here last November in her second U.S. start. She has raced only twice this year, with her last start a fifth-place finish in the Gallorette Handicap on Preakness day.

Other contenders on turf include Scolara, third in the Noble Damsel last out for Bill Mott; and Unbridled Essence, who won the Matchmaker Stakes at Monmouth Park two back for Greg Sacco.