06/18/2007 11:00PM

Where next, Lady Belsara?


CHICAGO - Lady Belsara, winner of Saturday's Grade 3 Chicago Handicap, is a pure product of the Polytrack era. All seven of her races have come on Polytrack, either at Turfway, Keeneland, or Arlington, and not since her earliest breezes over the main track at Mountaineer Park in 2005 has Lady Belsara done anything on dirt.

Understandably, trainer Matthew Kintz is reluctant to point toward a race on a conventional dirt surface, though he might consider it without a better option.

"Polytrack got us here, and we are a little reluctant to change right now," Kintz said.

Lady Belsara took early betting action Saturday, but wound up winning at odds of 8-1 after setting a fast pace under jockey E.T. Baird, holding clear the Todd Pletcher-trained Trendy Lady in the final furlong. It was the first stakes win for Lady Belsara, who ran third in the Fit for a Queen, the Chicago Handicap prep, but had been pointed to Saturday's race for the better part of two months, Kintz said.

Kintz trains about 25 horses at Mountaineer Park, but after getting the filly up to a half-mile in her breezes, he shipped Lady Belsara to Turfway Park, where she is overseen by Kintz's brother, Craig Huston.

"We had a few minor ankle issues with her, and I wanted to get her on Polytrack," said Kintz, who added that since the surface change, Lady Belsara has been a sounder horse.

There is not really a suitable Arlington spot for Lady Belsara. Woodbine has Polytrack, and Del Mar will utilize the surface for the first time this year, so Kintz will give both of those venues a look. Saratoga, with its conventional dirt surface, also could enter the picture.

"She showed she's graded-stakes caliber," Kintz said.

Bettors overlook Robertson runners

Has anyone around here heard of this guy Robertson? Hugh Robertson?

Of course, Robertson has been a staple on the Chicago circuit for years - but one wouldn't know it from the outlandish prices his horses have been paying when they've won at this meet. And the winning came often last week.

Robertson won one race Friday, then captured consecutive races on both the Saturday and Sunday programs at Arlington. The five wins in three days gave Robertson 10 for the meet, good for fourth in the trainer standings.

Snowblind Friend's victory at odds just short of 44-1 last month remains the highest return on a Robertson winner this meet. (Snowblind Friend came back to finish fourth in the June 9 Prairie Mile in Iowa.) But there were more big prices Saturday: First-time starter Margie Marie paid $25.40 winning race 3, and less than a half-hour later, Celluloid Hero struck at $46.80, scoring a front-running victory in a high-level seven-furlong allowance race in which Grade 3 Hanshin Cup winner Spotsgone was the favorite.

"That horse, he runs really well - when he's in the mood," Robertson said. "I thought we had very little chance in the race. I would've scratched him if I could."

Celluloid Hero, a minor stakes winner, has been not-so-affectionately known around Robertson's barn as the widow-maker; he has a propensity to, well, attack.

"He has a terrible temper," Robertson said.

The horse's angry streak, Robertson speculated, had carried over to the rating tactics employed during a poor string of races this winter at Oaklawn.

"I think he hated that," Robertson said. " I told Jesse [Lantz] to let him go this time, and I think he finally did what he wanted to do."

Robertson sounded just as pleased with Dimple Pinch's third-place finish in the Grade 3 Chicago Handicap on Saturday as with any of his winners. "All in all, it was a pretty good week," he said.

Werner also hot now

A week nearly as good as Robertson's was had by trainer Ronny Werner, who won a race on all four cards last week. Among Werner's winners were two first-time starters, the 3-year-old Shesa Little Flirt on Saturday, and the 2-year-old Starry Pursuit on Friday. Starry Pursuit is from the first crop of the stallion Van Nistelrooy.

And on Sunday, Werner sent out Storm Rolling In to a 10-1 upset in the Your Ladyship, an overnight stakes race for Illinois-breds. Storm Rolling In beat Dyna Slam by a head, with heavy favorite Pretty Jenny a well beaten fourth.

* With higher-profile 3-year-old turf races last weekend at Colonial Downs and Churchill, the Arlington Classic - Saturday's feature - has little chance of drawing a deep, talented cast of runners. As of Sunday only a handful of starters were confirmed, among them Tom Archdeacon, winner of an overnight grass race here last out, and the Todd Pletcher-trained Pleasant Strike, who won an off-the-turf allowance race on Arlington's all-weather surface last month.

* The Pletcher barn has a solid favorite for race 6 on Thursday in Sweet Brush, while Si Si Mon Ami should have a great chance to win race 8 if she and jockey Eddie Razo work out a trip from a wide draw.