Trainer Todd Pletcher, coming off another training title at the recently concluded Saratoga meeting will send out a pair of runners, Sweet Cat (7-2) and Dear Lavinia (8-1), both of the fillies making their second start off the shelf.
Pletcher won 36 races with his 149 starters at the Spa, and he is showing no signs of slowing down here at Belmont Park, winning with two of his three starters over the weekend.
He is tied atop the trainer’s standings after the first two days of the meeting with Bruce Brown, who has won a couple of races with five starters.
Jockey Jose Lezcano had a good weekend, winning four races from his eight mounts to lead the jockey standings.
Junior Alvarado did not have as good a weekend, fracturing his collarbone in a spill on opening day, and will be sidelined for four or five weeks.
Alvarado was aboard Palace in the seventh race and hit the ground hard when his mount bumped hard with a foe.
He was transported North Shore University Hospital and x-rays revealed his second broken collarbone in just less than two years.
The jockey, who is coming off a strong Saratoga meeting where he tied for sixth in the jockey standings with 23 winners.
Let’s heat out to Belmont Park for Wednesday’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 8 The Smart ‘n Fancy (Post time 4:34 ET)
8 Dear Lavinia 8-1
7 Kiss in the Forest 3-1
6 Sweet Cat 7-2
2 Anna Sophia 5-1
Dear Lavinia is one of two in here sent out by the Todd Pletcher barn. The filly made her second start in the U.S. in the restricted Nani Rose going a mile at the Spa over ground landed as good. She prompted the early pace while eager and under a hold and weakened in the stretch to finish sixth and last. The winner Alaura Michele came back to finish third in the Riskaverse in her next outing at Saratoga on Aug. 31. Our top pick was making her first start off a four month layoff. She made a trip to the U.S. last fall for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G2) where she was off a beat slow and not a threat in a 14th place finish at 14-1. Her first two career wins came sprinting and she cuts back to six furlongs here. While she geos form a restricted race into an open race here, that was a pretty good group she faced last out and she figures to move forward second off the bench.
Kiss in the Forest is one of four in here that exits the Coronation Cup. The filly set the early fractions and could not match strides late with the winner in a runner up finish, beaten 2 ¾ lengths at 9-1. The winner of the race was Sensible Lady, who came back to finish third in the Turf Amazon at Philly on Sept. 3, beaten a length. She owns solid early and mid pace numbers and came back with a bullet drill over grass on Aug. 31. There is plenty of speed signed up here, and both of her wins have come from sitting off the pace.
Sweet Cat also exits the Coronation Cup where she checked in sixth as the beaten favorite. She was making her first start off a 3 ½ month layoff, two back running second in the Thirty Flags going six furlongs over yielding footing. Her last win came three back at Gulfstream Park beating Alw-1 optional claimers at five furlongs. She figures to bounce back with a better effort here as she is going to catch firmer footing. She is a half to stakes winner Loose Leaf ($232K).
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