10/13/2008 11:00PM

Well-matched quintet in feature


ELMONT, N.Y. - Thursday's feature at Belmont Park drew just five older sprinters, but good luck separating Starforaday, Try to Fly, Out of Gwedda, and Les Grands Trois in the $59,000 third-level allowance at seven furlongs.

After being acquired by Winning Move Stable, Starforaday began the season with back-to-back wins for trainer Gary Contessa, taking a second-level allowance on the second day of Belmont's spring meet and returning 16 days later for a last-to-first score in the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint Handicap at Pimlico.

Beset by foot problems, Starforaday started only twice during the summer. He finished fourth in the July 4 Tom Fool here over a muddy and speed-favoring track, then was second after overtaking a slow pace set by Out of Gwedda at Saratoga. In between, he got loose during training hours on opening day at the Spa, but managed to find his own way home across Union Avenue.

Starforaday was then absent for seven weeks, returning with a fifth-place finish on yielding turf just 13 days ago.

"I needed to get a race into him, and this is really the right setup," said Contessa, who entered the final nine days of the fall meet with a 12-11 lead in the trainer standings over Rick Dutrow Jr. and Kiaran McLaughlin. "He's a difficult horse, so you've got to run him when he's good. The turf race was kind to his feet, and he got the conditioning he needed."

Try to Fly began his career with two stretch-running wins on Santa Anita's old dirt track last year, including the San Pedro Stakes when he was trained by Doug O'Neill. He resurfaced at Philadelphia Park for Tony Dutrow, and has won once from five starts as a 4-year-old, along with four runner-up finishes when beaten less than a length.

Les Grands Trois underwent throat surgery after running third in last year's Bay Shore at 3-5, and returned to run his fastest race at Belmont's 2007 fall meet, recording a Beyer Speed Figure of 101. Trained by Bobby Frankel, he returned from a six-month absence on opening day of this meet and was edged for second by Try to Fly in a photo.

Out of Gwedda set or forced the pace in stakes the last two times he was in a turf-to-dirt situation - a profitable angle for Bill Badgett-trained runners in 2007-08. He is potentially loose on the lead.

Unbridled Danger gets a switch to seven-pound apprentice Victor Santiago, who has won five races the past six racing days, at an average mutuel of $28.20.