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Friday, October 1
Turf condition won't faze Wonder Again




ELMONT, N.Y. -- If there is moisture in the inner turf course Saturday for the $750,000 Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont Park, Wonder Again will be the primary beneficiary in the nine-horse field.

Heavy rain during the week knocked out turf racing on Wednesday and Thursday, but the course should dry out some before the Flower Bowl, with sunny skies forecast for Friday and Saturday. Even on a firm course, Wonder Again should be tough to handle in the 1 1/4-mile race.

A top-three finish in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl from Wonder Again, the likely favorite, would push her earnings above $1 million.

Trained by Jim Toner, Wonder Again enters the Flower Bowl off back-to-back wins in stakes. She won the Grade 2 New York Handicap here over a soft course July 5 and the Grade 1 Diana at Saratoga over yielding ground July 31. She also won the Grade 1 Garden City Breeders' Cup in 2002 and last year's Noble Damsel on firm ground at Belmont.

Toner won the 1999 Flower Bowl with Soaring Softly, who went on to win the inaugural Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

"Saturday is my focus," said Toner. "She's doing very well, has had a freshening, and her last two works have been very good."

Edgar Prado rides Wonder Again, who carries top weight of 123 pounds, from post 5.

Commercante won a third-level allowance race at Belmont by nearly 12 lengths on May 29 over a yielding course. She missed most of the summer because of an injury and ran a deceptively good race in her return in the Grade 1 Beverly D. at Arlington on Aug. 14. She broke from post 10 in the 11-horse field in the Beverly D. and was very wide coming into the stretch. She was beaten less than five lengths.

"I didn't have her 100 percent," said Bobby Frankel, Commercante's trainer. "After her win here, she had an accident in her stall and walked for 40 days. She's dead fit for this."

John Velazquez rides Commercante from post 6.

Moscow Burning, who is based in California, returns to Belmont, where she won the 1 3/8-mile Sheepshead Bay in May on a yielding course after setting extremely slow fractions.

"Every time she runs, she gives it everything she has got," said Jim Cassidy, Moscow Burning's trainer.

Riskaverse has the most earnings in the field - $1,267,706 - but she is 0 for 7 at the distance.

Film Maker and Humaita run as an uncoupled entry for trainer Graham Motion. Film Maker, a Grade 1 winner, has never run at Belmont. Humaita is a natural at the distance, but gets a class test.

Aubonne is a group winner at the distance against males in France. Super Brand and Indy Five Hundred complete the field.



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