10/09/2007 12:00AM

Turf race draws unfamiliar cast

EmailELMONT, N.Y. - By this point in the season, New York bettors are accustomed to handicapping the usual cast of characters at any given class level, but that is hardly the case in Thursday's featured eighth race, a $58,000 optional claimer scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the Widener turf course.

Lady Renaissance and Double Dinghy Day look like the most plausible contenders based on their local form, but several of their rivals have shown some ability while racing out of town - or in the case of Truly Enchanting, who was the 7-1 favorite in a 19-horse field at Newmarket in her most recent start, way out of town.

The field also includes Enter Stage Left, a rallying third last out at Laurel Park; Croesus, who last ran at Santa Anita back in January; and Amber Note, who campaigned at Aqueduct earlier this year before running at Philadelphia Park, Monmouth Park, and Suffolk Downs.

Lady Renaissance began her career in France, where she won once from six starts for Nicolas Clement. She won her U.S. debut at Calder last fall for Christophe Clement, Nicolas's brother.

Lady Renaissance has not started since finishing second to front-end winner Miracle Moment exactly three months ago, and may be vulnerable to another slow pace along with several other deep closers, among them Double Dinghy Day.

Back in July, Double Dinghy Day finished a clear second behind recent Flower Bowl winner Lahudood, and unleashed an impressive late run to win her first-level allowance condition at Saratoga. In her first try at this second-level condition, she put in a middle move and finished evenly as the 3-2 favorite.

Archstone is repeating a form pattern that led to a wire-to-wire victory at nearly 20-1 here last fall. She has not started since finishing off the board at Saratoga, but that was also the case in mid-October 2006, when she added blinkers and set easy fractions to win a maiden race on the inner turf course. Trainer Roger Horgan will remove the blinkers from Archstone on Thursday.

Also in the main body of the race are Cindy's Mom, whose two wins both came at Delaware Park, and For Always, who won at Ellis Park and Churchill Downs last year.

On the also-eligible list are Waquoit's Love, who comes off an improved effort to beat softer on this course, and Bridal Path, who was overmatched in an overnight stakes first time off the claim.

Bare Dancer, Lost Etiquette, and Daytime Promise are entered for dirt only.