A field of nine fillies and mares will line up in the $150,000 Athenia (G3) at Belmont Park on Saturday, led by Violet (G3) winner Ruthenia and Noble Damsel (G3) runner up Dealbata.
The Chad Brown trained Dealbata is the 7-5 morning line favorite, with Ruthenia, trained by Christophe Clement is the 5-2 second choice in the race.
The co-feature on the Saturday afternoon card is the $150,000 Knickerbocker (G3) for three-year-olds and upward who will go 1 1/8 miles on the inner turf course.
The Knickerbocker drew a field of eight, with Boisterous the 2-1 morning line favorite. The Shug McGauhey trainee was a disappointing ninth in the Arlington Million (G1) at 4-1 in his last outing on Aug. 18.
Bernard Baruch third place finisher Sky Blazer (3-1), Bowling Green (G2) runner up Bombaguia (4-1), and PTHA President’s Cup winner Stormy Lord (5-1) figure to be the major threats to the likely favorite.
The feature on Saturday at Keeneland is the $400,000 Queen Elizabeth (G1) for three-year-old fillies going 1 1/8 miles on the turf.
The Wayne Catalano trained Stephanie’s Kitten is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the field of eight. Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G2) winner is coming off a victory in the Lake Placid (G2) in her most recent outing, defeating a trio of runners that she will take on again on Saturday.
Her main rivals figure to be Dayatthespa (3-1), a winner of five of her seven starts and is coming off a win in the Riskaverse, and Samitar, winner of the Garden City (G1) at Belmont Park, a head better than Somali Lemonade (6-1) who she faces again.
I will have selections for all of the stakes action at the two tracks in Saturday’s Best Plays Report.
Let’s head out to Belmont Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 7 The Athenia G3 Post time 4:02 ET
2 Ruthenia 5-2
7 Dealbata 7-5
8 Martita Sangrita 12-1
4 Laughing 4-1
Ruthenia is coming off a fourth place finish against a strong group in the Ballston Spa (G2) at the Spa. The filly saved ground in the early going, angled out five wide for the stretch drive and made a mild late rally, coming up 5 ¾ lengths short. The winner of the race was Zagora, who came back to run second in the Flower Bowl (G1) in her next outing on Sept. 29. A pair of runners did exit the Ballston Spa to win next out including Tapitsfly, who won the First Lady (G1) at Keeneland in her next start on Oct. 6. Our top pick has a couple of wins over the turf here, both coming back in ’10. Her last win came three back when she took the Violet (G3) at Monmouth Park, and it looks as if she should get a good pace set up here as there is plenty of early zip signed up to go here. The filly is a half to Rutherienne ($1.29 million) an eleven time winner on the turf.
Dealbata made a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot last out in the Noble Damsel (G3) here, coming up 1 ½ lengths short to Naples Bay, who w won her first career stakes race at odds of 13-1. The filly won the Mohegan Sky in her U.S. debut three back and ended up the beaten favorite in her last two efforts. She has now landed in the exacta in seven of her eight career starts and she gets an extra half furlong and a strong pace here. She is in good hands with the Chad Brown barn but the price is going to be on the light side here.
Martita Sangrita prompted the early pace, took over the lead heading for home and was out finished late, settling for the runner up spot in the Omnibus at Monmouth Park going 1 3/8 miles on the turf. The mare won the Red Carpet two back at Penn over yielding turf coming from off the pace. The cut back in distance should suit and she should get a good tracking trip sitting mid pack and may inherit the lead turning for home as the speed starts to back up.
WIN: #2 to win at 2-1 or better.
EXACTA: 2,7 / 2,4,7,8 / 1,2,4,7,8
TRIFECTA: 2,7 / 2,4,7,8 / 1,2,4,7,8
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