Albertrani Goes Bowling With Salic Law

(from Belmont Park report)
Hot trainer Tom Albertrani shoots for another Belmont stakes win Saturday when he sends out the rapidly improving Salic Law in the $150,000 Bowling Green Handicap (gr. IIT).

Run at 1 3/8 miles on the turf, the Bowling Green drew a field of 11 older horses. Relaxed Gesture, a hard-charging second to Good Reward in the Manhattan (gr. IT) on Belmont Stakes day, is the likely favorite for trainer Christophe Clement, who won the 1999 Bowling Green with Honor Glide.

It's been a little more than a year since Salic Law made his career debut at Belmont last July. Last summer, Salic Law was beaten an astounding 61 ½ lengths in his first two starts.

"I couldn't believe what I was seeing," said Albertrani, who has won a pair of grade II stakes and one grade III this season. "He had trained like a really nice horse and had always showed lots of talent. He'd get to the gate and waste all his energy. He was a real problem."

Salic Law spent many mornings schooling with the New York Racing Association gate crew last summer and began to improve little by little.

"He's still not perfect, but he's obviously gotten a lot better," Albertrani said. "Now, he puts most of his energy towards running. He's a lot more focused."

Salic Law has won five of seven starts since breaking his maiden at Aqueuduct in November. The colt is unbeaten in a pair of starts over the Belmont Park turf.

Salic Law enters the Bowling Green off an easy 2 ¼-length score in a $60,000 handicap at 11 furlongs June 25. Prior to that score, all four of Salic Law's victories had come wire to wire.

As for Albertrani, the Brooklyn native has enjoyed one of his better meets ever, compiling a record of 11-1-4 from only 27 starters through Wednesday's finale. Sauvage got the ball rolling with her score in the Sheepshead Bay (gr. IIT) and was followed by Oratory in the Peter Pan (gr. II) and Woodlander in last Sunday's Lexington (gr. IIIT).

"Things are going great," he said. "Hopefully, this will set us up for a big Saratoga. I'm looking forward to running some of our younger horses."

The Irish-bred Relaxed Gesture looks like an up and comer in the American turf division. A 4-year-old, he won a pair of allowance races impressively before splitting Good Reward and Artie Schiller in the Manhattan June 11.

"I think he's a very nice horse," trainer Clement said. "He looks well and he's trained well. This isn't an easy race, but we'll take him over there and do our best."

Relaxed Gesture, a son of Indian Ridge, began his career in Ireland two summers ago. While overseas, the colt ran well on turf courses listed anywhere from yielding to good.

Relaxed Gesture drew post 10 under regular rider Brice Blanc. He may be in the realm of 6-5 odds.

The New York-bred Certifiably Crazy steps into the Bowling Green off a third-level allowance win for trainer Brad Wallace and should be a pace factor. Certifiably Crazy has come close to winning stakes in the past, finishing second in the Ashley T. Cole, Mohawk, and Red Smith handicaps last season.

Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel took the Bowling Green two decades ago in 1985 with Sharannpour. Saturday, he'll send out Exterior who was a close fifth in the United Nations (gr. IT) at Monmouth last time out. A 4-year-old, Exterior began his career in Great Britain and has gone one for four since arriving in the United States.

Navesink River won the 1 1/2-mile Pan American Handicap (gr. IIT) over the winter at Gulfstream Park, but has gone winless in two starts since, finishing ninth in Keeneland's Elkhorn and fourth to Salic Law in an optional claimer at Belmont.

$150,000 Bowling Green Handicap (gr. IIT), 3 & up, 1 3/8 miles (turf)
1. Dreadnaught, Tom Voss, Jean-Luc Samyn, 117
2. Exterior, Bobby Frankel, Jose Santos, 118
3. King's Coronation, John Fisher, Jose Caraballo, 113
4. Certifiably Crazy, Brad Wallace, Norberto Arroyo Jr., 113
5. Navesink River, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez, 116
6. Grumman, D. Wayne Lukas, Pablo Fragoso, 111
7. Salic Law, Tom Albertrani, Richard Migliore, 115
8. Macaw, Angel Penna Jr., Cornelio Velasquez, 114
9. Cacht Wells, Stanley Hough, Eibar Coa, 113
10. Relaxed Gesture, Christophe Clement, Brice Blanc, 117
11. Tynan, Randy Schulhofer, Channing Hill, 110