Saturday’s Belmont Park card features two New York Stallion Series races at seven furlongs on turf that both drew large and competitive fields.
First up will be the $150,000 New York Stallion Stakes Series Cupecoy’s Joy for eligible New York-sired three-year-old fillies, the sixth race on the 10-race card. A field of 11 will head to the post.
The second is the New York Stallion Stakes Series Spectacular Bid for eligible New York-sired three-year-olds with 13 entered along with a pair of main track only entrants. The race is the ninth on the card.
Ava’s Grace is the 5-2 morning line favorite for the Cupecoy’s Joy despite not having a race on turf under her belt. The filly was the runner up in the Fantasy (G3) at Oaklawn Park in her last start on April 3 for trainer Robertino Diodoro.
“I really think she’s going to be just fine on the grass,” Diodoro said. “We did say way back last summer at Ellis that grass would probably suit her just fine. It took us a while to get her on it, but we’re excited for Saturday.”
Ava’s Grace Runs Second in Fantasy Stakes
The Kent Sweezey trained Funwhileitlasted (12-1) looks like a live longshot after a third at Gulfstream Park in her last outing.
The Barclay Tagg trained Step Dancer is the 3-1 morning line favorite for the Spectacualr Bid. Tagg indicated that he may scratch the filly to wait for the Manila Stakes on July 4. She drew the 13 post.
Dancing Buck (9-2) is coming off a sharp win against state bred first level allowance foes. The Diodoro trained Dreamer’s Disease (6-1) may also take some action as he makes his first start on turf since last September.
The colt broke his maiden on turf at Ellis Park last summer. In his most recent start he set the early fractions and weakened to finish fifth in the Texas Derby in the slop at Lone Star on May 31.
“Between the grass and New York-sired stakes, I think he’ll fit in quite well,” Diodoro said. “He has natural speed and I think the seven-eighths will hit him right on the head. I think the distance will be perfect for him.”
Let’s head out to Belmont Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 6 NY Stallion Series Cupecoy’s Joy 3:34 ET
5 Funwhileitlasted 12-1
10 Ava’s Grace 5-2
6 Big Time Lady 10-1
1 Show Me the Honey 8-1
This filly is cutting back to seven furlongs for her second start off a four-month break. Last out at Gulfstream Park she tracked the early pace and made a mild late bid to finish third, beaten 3 ¾ lengths for the top spot against $35,000 starter optional claimers. The winner Sunshine City came back to run a good second at the same level in her next outing while the sixth-place finisher was a next out winner. The Sweezey trainee broke her maiden against $25,000 maiden claimers at Gulfstream Park West last November and after falling in her first trip against winners she rebounded with a solid second versus Alw-1 optional claimers at Tampa Bay Downs in January. She gets a jock upgrade to Lezcano and looks capable of moving forward second off the bench. She has shown enough tactical speed to handle seven panels and the 12-1 morning line looks more than fair.
The Diodoro trainee returns off a 2 ½ month beak after setting the early fractions and was unable to hold off the winner in a runner up finish in the Fantasy (G3) at Oaklawn Park going two turns on the main track. The connections were pointing her toward the Kentucky Oaks (G1), but she was sidelined with a minor injury and returns here making her turf debut. Not a real exciting turf pedigree, by Laoban out of a Out of Place mare that has dropped five winners but no turf winners. One of her foals did run second on turf and another has a couple of thirds. The Diodoro barn is 26% winners overall in turf sprints. She has worked quickly for her return of the short break and if she takes to the grass, she may trounce this group, but seems likely to be less than her 5-2 morning line.
Big Time Lady
This gal has shown speed and then tired in her two starts since coming back off a five-month layoff. She did break her maiden over the turf here at seven furlongs and then was a decent third in the Tepin over good ground going 1 1/16 miles at Aqueduct. She brings some speed here and the cut back to seven furlongs should suit her. Three of her sibs have also won on turf. Johnny V. picks up the call as she makes her third start off the bench here for the RRod barn. She looks capable of moving forward off her last couple of starts and is going to end up a decent price in this spot.
WIN: Funwhileitlasted to win at 6-1 or better.
EXACTA: 5 / 1,4,6,10 and 5,10 / 5,6,10