10/23/2005 11:00PM

Two put in easier spot


ELMONT, N.Y. - Ruler's Court and Smokescreen were both being pointed to stakes races here on Saturday's Breeders' Cup undercard. Instead, the connections of both horses found what they hope is an easier spot in Wednesday's feature race at Belmont Park.

Ruler's Court, who was nominated to the $250,000 Sport Page, and Smokescreen, nominated to the $250,000 Discovery, will meet each other in a $50,000 third-level allowance race at one mile.

For Ruler's Court, the race will serve as a prep for the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on Nov. 26. For Smokescreen, the race will serve as the final race of his 3-year-old season.

, a 4-year-old son of Doneraile Court owned by Godolphin Racing, overcame a stumbling start to win a second-level allowance race here by a neck on Sept. 14. That was his first start since March and his first win since October 2003.

"It was a pretty good race, and he's come forward off the race," said assistant trainer Rick Mettee, who oversees Godolphin's New York string. "I wasn't able to get quite as much work into him because of the mud. As opposed to him having a real hard seven-eighths, this will prepare him better."

Jerry Bailey will ride Ruler's Court from post 4.

Trainer Ben Perkins Jr. said he and owner Ebby Novak will stop on Smokescreen after Friday's race. has run eight times this year, and his connections hope to run him as a 4-year-old. Smokescreen has run in three consecutive graded stakes since winning an allowance at Monmouth Park in June. He finished a solid third behind Breeders' Cup Classic hopeful Sun King in the Pennsylvania Derby before running fifth in the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs last time out.

"In Louisiana, he laid a little close," Perkins said. "The pace was a little slower than what we wanted. He doesn't have the same kick when he lays close. We're hoping in a one-turn race the natural speed gets away from him a little bit."

Ruler's Court and look to be the primary speed horses in the field. Bailero comes off a second-place finish behind Breeders' Cup Sprint contender Gygistar in an optional claiming race here on Sept. 23. In July, Bailero won a race similar to this in gate-to-wire fashion.