Defending champ Horologist heads a field of eight fillies and mares that will line up in the $250,000 Beldame Invitational (G2) at Belmont Park on Sunday.
While not an official Breeders’ Cup Challenge race, the Beldame likely will produce a starter or two for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) on Nov. 6 at Del Mar.
The Bill Mott trained Horologist won last years’ Beldame and then was ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. She comes into this year’s edition off an 8 ½ length victory in the Sumer Colony at Saratoga on Aug. 22.
Trainer Todd Pletcher will saddle three of the eight starters. Spice Is Nice (6-1), Zaajel (10-1) and Thankful (20-1) make up the trio.
Spice Is Nice appears to have the best shot. She was fifth in the Fleur de Lis (G2) on June 27 at Churchill Downs. She won the Allaire duPont (G3) two back at Pimlico.
“She’s a filly we’ve always thought a lot of and hopefully she can take a step forward,” Pletcher said.
Chad Brown will send out Royal Flag (5-2), who was a close up third in the Personal Ensign (G1) at Saratoga in her last outing. That race was won by Letruska, the favorite for today’s Spinster (G1) at Keeneland.
Personal Ensign Replay
The co-features on today’s card at Belmont Park are the $150,000 Futurity (G3) a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) and the $150,000 Knickerbocker (G3) for three-year-olds and upward going 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Let’s head out to Belmont Park for Sunday’s featured race of the day:
Belmont Park Race 6 The Beldame Inv. G2 (3:15 ET)
8 Royal Flag 5-2
4 Horologist 2-1
7 Spice Is Nice 6-1
3 Zaajel 10-1
The mare came with a good late rally to finish a close up third last out in the Personal Ensign (G1) at the Spa, beaten a half-length by Letruska and missing the place spot behind Bonnie South by a head. She caught a racing strip that was playing to inside speed that day. Letruska is the leader of the division and goes in today’s Spinster (G2) at Keeneland. The Brown trainee s coming off a career top and won the Shuvee (G3) two back off a three-month break. She is coming in here in the best form of her career and is bred top and bottom to handle a wet track if we get it.
The Mott trainee took the field gate to wire to win the restricted Summer Colony last out at Saratoga over a wet track by 8 1/2 lengths. The racing surface was kind to horse son or near the led that day. She ran second to our top pick two back in the Shuvee, beaten 3/4 of a length. This mare won this race last year beating a solid group. She looks as if she is sitting on a good one here.
Spice Is Nice
This filly returns off a 3 1/2-month break after tossing in a dud last out in a fifth-place finish in the Fleur De Lis (G2) at Churchill Downs behind the winner Letruska. She won the Allaire DuPont (G3) two back at Pimlico at nine furlongs for her first stakes win. She has made just eight starts in her career with four wins and is bred to like an off track. Decent looking works on the morning tab and she should end up a decent price in this spot.