Sunday’s feature at Belmont Park is the $150,000 Pebbles which drew a deep and competitive field of 13 three-year-olds fillies that will go one mile on turf.
Trainer Chad Brown sends out a pair of contenders as he seeks his fourth consecutive win in the Pebbles.
Minaun (8-1) was fifth in the Lake George (G3) in her last outing at Saratoga on July 23 while her stablemate Nazuna (5-1) was sixth at 30-1 in the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) on July 10.
Of the pair, Minaun looks like the value of the race. She draws better today after breaking from the nine post last out in the Lake George.
“The wide post last time compromised her quite a bit,” Brown assistant Dan Stupp said. “She ran well first time for us in the spring and was unlucky but ran well in her first stakes try for us. She ran fine last time two turns at Saratoga, but she had a wide post and I think getting back here is great. Based on her work here, she’s coming into the race well. Cutting back to one turn should be good for her, especially at Belmont. She should appreciate it.”
Lake George Replay
The Christophe Clement trained Plum Ali drew the rail and was installed as the 7-2 morning line favorite. The filly was fourth in the Saratoga Oaks Invitational (G3) in her last outing on Aug. 8.
“She’s doing very well,” said Clement assistant Christophe Lorieul. “We’re trying to shorten her up a little bit to see if there’s more pace up front and trying to get a little bit closer, because we’ve given her a lot to do when she runs those longer distances. We just want to get something new, but she’s doing very well.”
The race is named after Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum’s champion grass mare Pebbles. This chestnut mare won the 1985 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Aqueduct as a 4-year-old. Also at the age of 4, she was voted the Champion Grass Mare in the United States, and Champion Older Mare and Champion Miler in England.
Let’s head out to Belmont Park for Sunday’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 9 The Pebbles (5:16 ET)
3 Minaun 8-1
1 Plum Ali 7-2
12 Runaway Rumour 6-1
7 Nazuna 5-1
The Brown trainee stalked the early pace and did not show her usual punch late in a fifth-place finish in the Lake George (G3) last out at the Spa, beaten 3 1/2 lengths. The winner technical Analysis came back to win the Lake Placid (G2) and the third-place finisher Toby’s Heart won the Music City at Kentucky Downs in her next outing on Sept. 12. Two back our top pick came with a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot in the Wild Applause behind Runaway Rumour. She won a Group 2 at Cork in Ireland in her second career start before shipping state side and landing with Brown. The trainer has won this race in four of the last five editions. I like the switch to Saez and she should work out a good trip sitting about mid pack. The 8-1 morning line looks more than fair.
This filly stalked the early pace in the Saratoga Oaks Invitational (G3), came with a five wide rally, was carried out father and made up some ground late to finish fourth. She was fifth two back in the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) behind repeat winner Santa Barbara who won the Beverly D. (G1) at Arlington Park in her next start. She was second to Con Lima three back in the Wonder Again (G3) at 1 1/4 miles. The cut back to a mile may suit her as she has run well at the distance and won the Miss Grillo (G2) last year at 1 1/16 miles. She had Ortiz aboard for that win and is reunited with him here with Rosario in Canada.
She is coming off a solid second to Technical Analysis in the Lake Placid (G2) last out on yielding ground at Saratoga. She won her first three starts including the Wild Applause over our top pick. She only missed landing in the exacta was in the Lake George where she was fourth and she ran pretty well against that solid group. She draws a tough post in this big field and likely is going to be farther back than she was last out. If Lezcano can work out a trip for this gal she figures to be in the mix late at a decent enough price.
WIN: Minaun to win at 5-1 or better.
EXACTA: 3 / 1,7,12,13 and 1,3 / 1,3,12