10/17/2005 11:00PM

Turf racing resumes at last


ELMONT, N.Y. - Don't adjust your binoculars, because that green color under the horses' hooves is supposed to be there.

Yes, for the first time in nearly two weeks, turf racing is back at Belmont Park Thursday - weather permitting, of course.

"It's going to be a little bit off, but I'm very optimistic we'll be able to bang around on it for a while again," said track superintendent John Passero.

As was the case prior to the deluge, the temporary rails will be positioned at their farthest setting from the hedge, 18 feet, and will remain in place until Breeders' Cup Day.

"That will make for a good month that nothing has been down there," Passero said.

Thursday's card features one race on each course.

The sixth race is a six-furlong sprint for 2-year-old maidens scheduled for the inner turf. It drew a field of 10 that includes the Bill Mott-trained entry of first-time starters . Clock, a Claiborne Farm homebred by Danzig, is out of the dam Watch the Time, a prolific producer who has thrown the stakes winners War Thief, Stop Watch, Remind, Watch, and Prime Meridian.

Breaking from the outside is North East Storm, a first-time starter by Fusaichi Pegasus and a half-brother to North East Bound, the runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Mile in 2000.

The eighth race is an optional claimer for 3-year-olds and up, scheduled for the Widener course at one mile. The $50,000 race with third-level conditions and a $75,000 optional claim ing price drew 10 turf-meant runners, and two entered for the main track only.

, a three-time winner in England and runner-up in the 2000 Guineas earlier this season, is the lone 3-year-old in the field. He looms the one to beat based on his U.S. debut, a third-place finish in the Virginia Derby behind English Channel - a leading contender for the Breeders' Cup Turf.

The only other turf entrant with an in-the-money finish last out is Massoud, a 5-year-old gelding in the best form of his career for Graham Motion.

has won or placed in his last four starts, all on firm turf. His only off-the-board finish on turf was on a course labeled good last year.

Trainer pattern players will give a long look to On the Acorn. He has been idle two months for Wally Dollase, but Dollase's other turf winner at the meet, Salcombe ($24.80), scored off a similar layoff.