10/09/2006 11:00PM

Violette hopes it stays dry for Raceland


ELMONT, N.Y. - A pair of optional claiming races for New York-breds highlight Thursday's card at Belmont Park, and a forecast that calls for rain could play a role in the make-up of the fields.

Race 6, a $30,000 optional claimer with second-level allowance conditions, drew a field of 10, and the main speed, Raceland, is on the outside. Raceland is trained by Rick Violette Jr., who is in the midst of a banner fall meet with 9 wins from his first 23 starters.

"I need to keep it up, that's the tough part," said Violette.

Violette said he was concerned about the possibility of a muddy, sealed track similar to the one Raceland caught in the Mike Lee, when he stumbled at the start and never reached contention.

"That's the only time he hasn't shown up," said Violette.

Raceland was the second choice in the Mike Lee after winning a first-level allowance at Thursday's mile distance with a Beyer Speed Figure of 98.

"My biggest concern is the weather," said Violette.

Rainy conditions could help Flashy David, Notadroptodrink, The Trip Continues, and Boysik.

Flashy David was a maiden winner in the slop at Belmont last fall. Boysik lost a photo in the slop here at 2-5 a year ago, but has won twice here this season, each time in off-the-turf races. The Trip Continues caught a sloppy track last time out, and ran a lifetime Beyer top chasing Starcastic, a horse with a 3-for-3 career record.

Prince Raffie has run on only fast dirt or turf through his 11-race career, but a wet track might work to his advantage if Raceland should scratch and he is left as the possible lone speed.

Race 8, a $30,000 optional claimer with first-level allowance conditions at six furlongs, drew a field of nine evenly matched fillies and mares. Four of them - Tiffany's Rodeo, Make Up Happy, Vasa, and King's Thrill - were separated by noses and heads when beaten in a similar race last out by prohibitive favorite Summer Palace. Among that foursome, Make Us Happy and Tiffany's Rodeo have won on wet tracks.

Nevaeh and Girl in Uniform are the other wet-track winners in the mix. Neveah drops from a runner-up finish in an open $40,000 claimer. Girl in Uniform, away since July, has won twice at Belmont off workouts, including a career best in the mud first out this year for trainer Linda Rice.