Lite Light will not run in the June 8 Belmont Stakes after all.
The filly instead will run against her own kind, including Meadow Star, in the Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park the next day, one of her owners, Louis Burrell Jr., said yesterday from California.
The decision sets up a potentially dramatic match among the nation's top two 3-year-old fillies.
The size of the Belmont field, which should be the biggest in eight years, was a factor in causing Lite Light's owners to skip the Belmont, Burrell said. As many as 13 could start in the final leg of the Triple Crown.
"[Trainer] Jerry [Hollendorfer] has expressed a desire all along to keep Lite Light running in competition against fillies," Burrell said through his Los Angeles publicity agency.
Also, Burrell noted, the 1 1/8 -mile distance of the $200,000-added Mother Goose is less trying than the 1 1/2 -mile Belmont.
Burrell's family, from Oakland, Calif., owns Oaktown Stable, in whose silks Lite Light races. Stanley Burrell, Louis' brother, is better known as rap star M. C. Hammer.
Lite Light, purchased earlier this year by Oaktown, has won four straight stakes. She won the Kentucky Oaks by 10 lengths in her last start, leading many experts to believe she is not only the top 3-year-old filly in the country, but also the best 3-year-old.
After her Oaks romp, Louis "Pops" Burrell Sr. said the filly would be pointed for the Belmont, with the Mother Goose as an alternative.
"If we do decide to face colts later in the year, there are opportunities such as the Travers," said the younger Burrell. "Besides, we're excited about the opportunity to face Meadow Star."
Meadow Star, the 1990 2-year-old filly champion, has lost just once in 11 career starts -- and the loss came against colts in the Wood Memorial.
NOTES: Frederick Weisman, a 78-year-old former car dealer, is the apparent front-runner over a group headed by former Washington Reskins lineman Mark May to become the next owner of Rosecroft Raceway and Delmarva Downs. Chick Lang, former longtime Pimlico general manager, is representing Weisman in negotiations. An announcement by Jim Murphy, who has served as trustee of the tracks after owner Mark Vogel put them under the protection of a federal bankruptcy court in January, is due Monday concerning the winning bidder, if any. . . . Rosecroft driver Mark Beckwith is scheduled to appear before the Maryland Racing Commission June 12 to answer to charges of impropriety. . . . King's Casino and Near the Limit head tomorrow's $50,000 Woodlawn Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. Nine 3-year-olds were entered. . . . Weekend simulcasts to Pimlico/Laurel: The $75,000 Roseben from Belmont Park and the $75,000 Sheridan from Arlington tomorrow; and the $75,000 Red Bank Handicap from Monmouth Park on Sunday. . . . King Leatherbury and Dale Capuano sent out two winners apiece yesterday and remain deadlocked atop the Pimlico trainers' standings. Mike Luzzi and Edgar Prado were shut out; they are still tied for the lead in the jockeys' race. . . . Apprentice Tim Peterson rode three winners at Pimlico. . . . Graceful Lil, ridden by Joe Rocco, captured the $16,500 Pimlico feature as the favorite yesterday.