Closing weekend at Belmont Park is highlighted by a pair of grade III races, with both the $150,000 Bold Ruler Handicap and the $150,000 Turnback the Alarm Handicap for fillies and mares set for Oct. 27, the penultimate day of racing.
The 5-2 morning-line favorite in the seven-furlong Bold Ruler is Mike Repole's popular veteran Caixa Eletronica, who gets some class relief after competing in three straight grade I events.
Most recently second to The Lumber Guy in the Vosburgh Invitational Sept. 29, the 7-year-old son of Arromanches will be seeking his fourth win of 2012 to go along with victories in the True North Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont, the Charles Town Classic (gr. II), and the Rise Jim overnight stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack.
"He ran a very credible race last time out in the Vosburgh," said Whit Beckman, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. "He's one of those horses who is so versatile, no matter what distance, he seems to show up every time."
Javier Castellano will ride Caixa Eletronica from post 8.
Returning as well from the Vosburgh is Howard Queen's Little Drama, who finished fourth, beaten 3 1/2 lengths, after prompting the early pace. The 4-year-old gelding, brother of champion sprinter Big Drama, has one victory in five starts this year, taking an optional claimer at the Bold Ruler distance this past summer at Saratoga.
Rajiv Maragh will ride Little Drama, the second choice at 7-2 on the morning line, from the far outside in the field of 10.
The Turnback the Alarm drew a field of eight fillies and mares, with Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott's Arena Elvira the 5-2 morning-line favorite under high weight of 120 pounds as she seeks to defend her title in the 1 1/16-mile race.
The 5-year-old mare will be making her first start since a third-place finish in the Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III) in April at Hawthorne. Her only other outing of 2012 was a head victory in the Wayward Lass in March at Tampa Bay Downs. Last year, the dark bay daughter of Ghostzapper won six of eight starts, including the Falls City Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs in addition to the Turnback the Alarm, run at 1 1/8 miles at Aqueduct.
Jose Lezcano rides Arena Elvira from post 6.
Afleeting Lady has won half of her eight starts at 1 1/16 miles, most recently taking the Lady's Secret Sept. 3 at Monmouth Park. Trained by Dale Romans for Michael Lauffer and William Cubbedge, the Afleet Alex mare has been competing in the Midwest and will return to Belmont for the first time since a fourth-place finish in a one-mile maiden event in May 2010.
Joel Rosario will ride Afleeting Lady, the 3-1 second choice on the morning line, from post position 8.
Pletcher will have two representatives in the Turnback the Alarm with Maristar and R Gypsy Gold, both coming out of grade I races. In her first start for Pletcher, Maristar was fourth in the Beldame Invitational Sept. 29 at Belmont. R Gypsy Gold was sixth behind winner Love and Pride in the Personal Ensign Handicap Aug. 26 at Saratoga.
"Maristar didn't run a bad race last time out; she was just a little overmatched," said Pletcher's assistant Beckman of the 5-year-old Giant's Causeway mare. "Like Maristar, the (Personal Ensign) was probably just a little bit out of (R Gypsy Gold's) league. She's doing really, really well right now, and 1 1/16 miles should suit her just fine."
Maristar, 10-1 on the morning line, drew post 4 under John Velazquez while R Gypsy Gold is in post 2 at 4-1. Javier Castellano will ride.
Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens skipped a start on New York Showcase Day for Go Unbridled to await the Turnback the Alarm, in which she was third last year. A 6 1/2-length winner of the Saratoga Dew in August, Go Unbridled most recently was third behind Royal Delta and It's Tricky in the Beldame.
"I thought she might have taken third against the boys in the Empire Classic," said Jerkens of Go Unbridled, who carries the colors of Howard T. Whitbred. "She's doing fine heading into this race."
After the final card of the Belmont fall stand Oct. 28, Thoroughbred action moves to Aqueduct Nov. 2, with opening day offering the simulcast of Day 1 of the Breeders' Cup from Santa Anita Park.
$150,000 Turnback the Alarm Handicap (gr. III, Race 8, 4:34 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, ML Odds
1. All Due Respect (FL), R Maragh, 117, R E Dutrow Jr., 4/1
2. R Gypsy Gold (KY), J Castellano, 117, T A Pletcher, 4/1
3. Go Unbridled (NY), J Alvarado, 116, H A Jerkens, 8/1
4. Maristar (KY), J R Velazquez, 115, T A Pletcher, 10/1
5. Nefertini (KY), A Garcia, 115, A E Goldberg, 15/1
6. Arena Elvira (KY), J Lezcano, 120, W I Mott, 5/2
7. Catch a Thief (MD), E Castro, 114, T A Hills, 20/1
8. Afleeting Lady (KY), J Rosario, 117, D L Romans, 3/1
Blinkers On: Maristar
$150,000 Bold Ruler Handicap (gr. III, Race 9, 5:06 p.m.), 3 & Up, 7 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, ML Odds
1. Buffum (PA), E Castro, 115, T Albertrani, 4/1
2. Spring to the Sky (KY), I Ortiz Jr., 113, B R Brown, 30/1
3. Isn't He Perfect (KY), E S Prado, 115, D Shivmangal, 12/1
4. Associate (KY), J R Velazquez, 115, R E Dutrow Jr., 8/1
5. Zero Rate Policy (FL), W A Garcia, 114, T M Pompay, 20/1
6. Private Tale (VA), J Alvarado, 113, M J Trombetta, 15/1
7. Gallant Fields (KY), J Rosario, 115, R E Dutrow Jr., 12/1
8. Caixa Eletronica (KY), J Castellano, 119, T A Pletcher, 5/2
9. Golddigger's Boy (PA), J Lezcano, 117, R Preciado, 6/1
10. Little Drama (FL), R Maragh, 117, M Mareina, 7/2
Blinkers On: Golddigger's Boy