On track at Belmont

Edited from track notes

Anstu Stable's Balto Star came out his seventh-place finish in the Shadwell Keeneland Turf Mile in good order, but will not compete in the Breeders' Cup, according to trainer Todd Pletcher.

"It seemed like he went into the first turn okay, but he never really leveled off," said Pletcher. "When he moved onto the backside, he hit a soft spot on the turf and kicked up a big clod. He's not going to the Breeders' Cup Mile off that."

Balto Star will instead return to the dirt and Pletcher listed a number of nine-furlong options, including Keeneland's Grade 3 Fayette October 26th, the $100,000 Black Tie Affair on the Breeders' Cup undercard at Arlington, and the Grade 3, $100,000 Stuyvesant Handicap at Aqueduct on November 5th. -more-

Harlan's Holiday, third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, is scheduled to have a work Sunday morning to prep for the Breeders' Cup Classic, according to Pletcher.

Appleby Gardens, third beaten 13 1/4 lengths in the Frizette, is being considered for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). Pletcher has yet to reach a decision with owner Eugene Melnyk.

Trainer Jimmy Toner is doing a lot of waiting these days. Turf Classic runner-up Blazing Fury is on the fringe of making the Breeders' Cup Turf with only six points and will probably needed to be appointed by the selection committee.

"I want to run," Toner said. "But it's up to the Breeders' Cup." Blazing Fury was fourth in the Turf Classic and Breeders' Cup Turf last year, running well in both those spots.

"He comes around very good this time of year," Toner said. "He likes soft turf, too."
Fan favorite Gritty Sandie ended his 15-race losing streak Saturday by taking a conditioned allowance. His last win was on August 19, 2000.

"Gritty needed that," Toner said of the six-year-old. "He tries hard and gives you everything he's got. He's been a victim of circumstances, but I was very glad to see him win. He's a nice, old horse and he deserves to win one every once in a while."

With his new-found confidence, Gritty Sandie may try the grade 2, $250,000 Sky Classic at 11 furlongs on October 27th at Woodbine and the Grade 2, $150,000 Red Smith at the same distance at Aqueduct November 23rd.

Toner added that Lake Placid and Garden City Breeders' Cup winner Wonder Again handled her ship to Keeneland Tuesday well and is on track for the Grade 1, $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at 1 1/8 miles Saturday.

"We've been pointing her to this race all year," Toner said. "We'll wrap up her year after that."

WinStar Galaxy winner Owsley returned to trainer Randy Schulhofer's New York barn Monday and will now be pointed to the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT).

"She's doing super," Schulhofer said. "She came out of the race well and she's feeling great."

Schulhofer plans to send Owsley to Chicago on October 24th, just two days prior to the big event. "I wouldn't trade my position with anyone else's," Schulhofer said. "She's changed a lot since last year. She's grown up and really settled into things. She knows what her job is now. She runs well over anything, but I think soft turf helps her just as much as it hurts some of the others."

John and Susan Moore's Voodoo, third in the grade 1 Vosburgh last time out, breezed four furlongs over Belmont's training track this morning in :51. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens said he would likely run the four-year-old in Aqueduct's Grade 3, $100,000-added Sport Page Handicap at six furlongs on October 26th. -more- -3- Voodoo was nominated and considered a probable starter for last Sunday's Forest Hills Handicap, but Jerkens opted to skip it.

"He needs more time between starts than most horses do," Jerkens said. "I thought his Vosburgh was good. Bonapaw got away with an easy first quarter and kept going on a good rail."

Jerkens added that Regal Sanction, winner of the Meadowlands' Pegasus (gr. II) in his last start, would be pointed to Aqueduct's $100,00-added Discovery (gr. III) at nine furlongs on October 23rd. The Discovery is the Opening Day feature of the Big A's 2002 Fall Meet.

Berkshire Stud's Snake Mountain, winner of a classified allowance here last Friday, is likely to run next in the $100,000-added Stuyvesant (gr. III) on November 5th.
Since being transferred into Jerkens' barn over the winter, Snake Mountain has won five of eight starts.

"He's got no allowance conditions left and he could be a nice horse to have over the winter," Jerkens said. "I'm not going anywhere.

"He's really improved with experience and as good as he is now, I think he's still got more room to improve."

Belmont Park will be open Monday, Columbus Day, and closed Tuesday and Wednesday October 15th and 16th...Handicappers should start making plans to attend the Big A's Fall Handicapping Challenge at Aqueduct November 16th and 17th. Entry fees are $300 with the contest limited to 200 entrants. All entry fees will be paid back in prize money with $25,000 going to the winner. The top four contest finishers receive an automatic berth in the NTRA National Handicapping Challenge January 17th and 18th in Las Vegas. There is win, place and show wagering only in the contest. Players will make nine $20 bets and one $40 bet each day with at least six bets each day on Aqueduct races. Churchill Downs will be the other track to wager on in the contest. About 90 spots remain open for the contest, which will be held in Equestris. For more information call (718) 641-4700 ext. 734.