05/25/2007 12:00AM

Weigelia loves Jaipur course, distance

Jim Lisa
Weigelia looks like the speed of Sunday's Jaipur at six furlongs on turf.

ELMONT, N.Y. - There is no denying that Weigelia's favorite surface is Calder's main track, where he has recorded 8 of his 13 career victories. But a case could be made that his second favorite surface is Belmont Park's inner turf course.

In his only start over Belmont's inner turf course last June, Weigelia won a six-furlong optional claiming race, establishing a course record of 1:07.04. On Sunday, Weigelia returns to Belmont for the first time since, meeting 11 rivals in the Grade 3, $100,000 Jaipur Stakes at six furlongs.

The Jaipur will be only Weigelia's second race on the turf at a distance of six furlongs. Prior to his optional claiming win here last summer, his turf races had been at five or 5 1/2 furlongs, distances at which the early pace can be wickedly fast.

"If he's running five-eighths of a mile they get to be a little fast," said Michael Trombetta, who trains Weigelia for Joseph Balsamo. "This horse may want three-quarters."

In his lone start here, Weigelia set rapid fractions, running a half-mile in 43.97 seconds and opening a 3 1/2-length lead after five furlongs in 55.28. He held on to win by three-quarters of a length.

Despite a large field Sunday, Weigelia looks like he could be the main speed, breaking from post 8 under Eddie Castro.

The Jaipur will be Weigelia's 40th career start, but Trombetta said the horse couldn't be in better condition.

"You should wish that you and I feel as good as he does," he said.

Congo King enters the Jaipur with decent efforts in the 5 1/2-furlong Shakertown (second) and five-furlong Aegon Turf Sprint (third) in Kentucky. Trainer Patrick Biancone is hoping the longer distance will benefit his horse.

"He's run very well, come on strong at the end, just a little bit too late," Biancone said. "Six [furlongs] may be his best race. He's a big horse; a big track might suit him better."

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin sends out the uncoupled entry of Museeb and Carnera. Both are coming off races over Keeneland's synthetic surface, and both have run well over Belmont's turf courses.

Trainer Howie Tesher shortens Baron Von Tap in distance and makes a rider switch to Garrett Gomez in hopes of getting an off-the-pace trip. He was on the lead and faltered in the Grade 2 Fort Marcy Handicap.

"I'm trying to get him to rate and relax," Tesher said. "I know he won't be on the lead here."