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HRN Original Blog:
From Coast to Coast

Pianist looks to stay perfect at Belmont in Athenia

Pianist wins 2013 Gallorette.
Photo: Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club
 
Trainer Chad Brown will saddle two fillies in Saturday’s G3 Athenia Stakes, and though one of his fillies has been installed as the morning line favorite, it is his second entrant, billed as the morning line second choice, that holds the most appeal. Though Samitar is the Grade 1 winner of the duo, it is Pianist that holds one key advantage in this weekend’s event: pace.
 
 
We all know the old adage “pace makes the race,” and that looks to be true for Saturday’s Athenia. So long as the weather continues to hold and the race doesn’t come off turf, front-running Pianist looks to have things all her way. With little to no other early speed in the race, Pianist should be able to sprint straight to the lead and then relax and set a comfortable pace. With no pressure, she should have plenty left in the tank for the stretch run. Tactical advantage aside, Pianist also has an affinity for Belmont’s turf course. The chestnut filly is perfect in two starts there.
 
 
In her most recent outing, the More Than Ready filly closely tracked undefeated for the season Laughing around the Saratoga course to lose the G2 Ballston Spa by just a neck. Prior to that she finished a respectable 3rd in the G3 Dr. James Penny Memorial over a yielding course and three starts back, recorded a win in the G3 Gallorette Handicap. In both of those races she was part of the pace, weakening in the Dr. James Penny but pulling away in the Gallorette. In neither race did she have intense pressure on the front end and was able to race through comfortable splits; however, the yielding Parx course likely did her no favors in the James Penny Memorial.
 
 
From a pace perspective, Assateague looks to be Pianist’s biggest threat. She recently set the pace in the one mile G3 Noble Damsel but faded to finish fourth, beaten only 1 ½-lengths for it all. She has a couple of wins at the Athenia distance of 1 1/16 mile, but those wins came at a lower level. I do not expect Assateague to win, but if she presses the issue on the front end, she could take Pianist with her.
 
 
Samitar is obviously the class of the race. Despite only having found the winner’s circle in a pair of minor stakes since her G1 Garden City win over a year ago, she has remained competitive at racing’s highest levels. Her typical stalking style will enable her to stay close to Pianist’s pace and will give her a definite tactical advantage over the Ruthenia and Abaco, both sustained run types. Like Pianist, Samitar is a perfect two-for-two over Belmont’s turf course.
 
 
Outsiders Embarr and My Perfect Ten round out the field of seven. 

 

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Older Comments about Pianist looks to stay perfect at Belmont in Athenia...

Thanks :-) And it's okay.
Very square price, nice race visualizing -ps-- sorry about the hot mess.
Pretty good pay out for what I believe would have been a sure bet. $7.90/$4.60/$2.50
overheard in Congress^^
Apparently we're on two different pages.
You're Maude???
Did I ruin it for you, amino?
^^{SPOILER ALERT}^^
Guess the sticky mouse is apropos.
and the hard of hearing genie? 10 inch pianist?
and the hard of hearing genie? 10 inch pianist?
and the hard of hearing genie? 10 inch pianist?
Ever here the one about the really short piano-player?
Pianist and Ruthenia...hope Pianist hovers no lower than 5-2
I am always wary of a speedy Pianist!

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Meet Ashley Tamulonis
  
 

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, and it was her love of reading and horses that led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few short years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and get to personally meet and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

 

Before joining Horse Racing Nation, Ashley created her own blog Wired with Ashley Paige. The idea to venture into the world of blogging came to her when she realized that she had much to say about horse racing and no one to say it to at the time. Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation blogging as The Florida Filly. Using that moniker, she mainly covered racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues, and from time to time offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry as a whole. A move north to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the new From Coast to Coast blog for HRN, which is simply a revamped version of The Florida Filly. Don't let the new look and name change fool you, though. Ashley still brings to the table the same great coverage as From Coast to Coast as she did for The Florida Filly. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

 

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband Chris and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.