06/22/2009 11:00PM

Weather to dictate plans for many


ELMONT, N.Y. - These are the times that try the souls of trainers looking to run a grass horse at Belmont Park. The course is so saturated by the never-ending rain that even the Grade 2 New York Stakes last weekend had to be shifted to the main track.

It's hard to plan a schedule when the weather won't cooperate. It's even harder when you're making those plans hundreds of miles away at Woodbine, the situation Malcolm Pierce faces as he debates shipping Remarkable Remy down to Belmont for the $65,000 Sabellina Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares on Thursday.

The race, slated for 1 1/16 miles on the grass, is appealing. A 4-year-old gray filly, Remarkable Remy usually runs well on this course, going 3-0-2 in 6 Belmont turf races.

This race also offers major class relief.

In her first start since January, Remarkable Remy set a pressured pace in the Grade 2 Nassau Stakes at Woodbine on May 30. She finished seventh to Rutherienne, the odds-on favorite and career winner of $1.1 million.

The competition won't be as stiff in this spot. Only the uncertainty surrounding the surface has Pierce hesitating. It could be a long trip for nothing if the race is switched to the main track.

"I'm sitting here with the horse, and she's doing very well," Pierce said. "It's a good 12-hour run for me, each way. I sure don't want to put her up to the ride and then have to scratch because of the weather. I won't take her there to run on the dirt. If I was going to try a different surface, I would run her on the Polytrack up here at Woodbine. I am in a dilemma."

Pierce is not alone.

Colum O'Brien has Follow My Dream, who has made 26 of 30 career starts on grass. She was sixth in Grade 3 races the last two times out: the Beaugay at Aqueduct and the Eatontown at Monmouth Park.

Then there are some trainers well positioned in the event of a surface switch. The race attracted four main-track-only runners: Raffie's Treasure, Sapphire Sky, Olde Glamour, and Dean Henry.

Some horses in the body of the race can go either way. Tulipmania ran well in two off-the-turf situations. She missed her maiden win by a neck in the fall of 2007 at Aqueduct and recorded a first-level statebred allowance victory here last month.