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Juveniles star at Belmont Park this weekend

Back on Belmont Park's racing calendar for the first time since 2008, the $100,000 Astoria at 5 ½ furlongs has drawn a field of six promising 2-year-old fillies for its 102nd edition on Saturday afternoon.

On Sunday, Father's Day, juveniles again take center stage with the 118th running of the $100,000 Tremont, also at 5 ½ furlongs.

Headlining the Astoria is the Wesley Ward-trained Lindy, who wired a field of eight on May 13 in her debut at Presque Isle Downs. The War Front filly, a $250,000 purchase at the Keeneland September Sales, completed the five furlongs in :51 3/5, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 70 for her efforts over the artificial surface.

Mario Pino will be aboard Lindy when she leaves from post position 3. The Hat Creek racing color-bearer was tabbed the 9-5 morning line favorite.

Trainer Todd Pletcher earned his first stakes victory in New York when he saddled future multiple Grade 1 winner Jersey Girl to take the 1997 Astoria. Pletcher, who subsequently took the 2005 running with Adieu and the 2007 edition with Glacken's Gal, will be sending out first-time starter Fashion Alert.

Owned by George Bolton, the Old Fashioned filly has been training steadily towards her first start, including a bullet work of 59.64 from the gate on June 1 and a half-mile breeze in 49.44 one week later.

Hall of Famer John Velazquez rides Fashion Alert, 2-1 on the morning line, from post position 6.

Trainer Randi Persaud will be represented by a pair of juveniles - Reyana and Reya Racing's Dads Little Girls and Fifty Five Village Racing's Julie's Indy, who were second and third, respectively, in their first starts on June 1 at Belmont.

With Chris DeCarlo in the irons, Dads Little Girls drew post position 4 and was listed at 20-1 on the morning line, while Julie's Indy, 30-1, drew just outside her under Rajiv Maragh.

Completing the field are out-of-towners Awesomendensome, 5-1, a winner at four furlongs on May 2 at Gulfstream Park, and Liatrus, 3-1, who comes in from the mid-Atlantic following a 3 ¾-length win on May 30 at Pimlico.

 

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