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Mary's Follies Returns in Athenia

Mary’s Follies, off for the past 11 months, will return to the races Saturday at Belmont Park in the Grade 3, $100,000 Athenia for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.


Purchased by Paul Pompa, Jr. and transferred to the barn of Rick Dutrow, Jr. off a victory in the 2009 Grade 3 Boiling Springs at Monmouth Park, Mary’s Follies finished second in an off-the-turf running of the Grade 3 Lake George at Saratoga and sixth on the dirt in the Grade 2 Fitz Dixon Cotillion at Philadelphia Park in her first two starts for her new connections. Back on grass for the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere at Churchill Downs in November, the bay daughter of More Than Ready kicked away to a 1 ½-length victory before being sent to the sidelines.


Mary’s Follies has been working steadily since mid-August in preparation for her comeback start. 


“I never was targeting this race,” said Dutrow. “I thought she was ready and I looked in the condition book and saw this race, and it seemed like a good spot. She’s been ready for a while.”


Mary’s Follies, the 9-2 third choice on the morning line, will be ridden by Hall of Famer Kent Desormeaux from post position 2.


Julien H. Richmond-Watson’s Tottie rallied from last of four to take an optional claimer on June 17 in her first and so far only start at Belmont. In the interim the British import was third in the Grade 3 Matchmaker at Monmouth on August 1 before returning to prevail by a neck in the Omnibus at that venue on August 21.


“We’re very happy with her so far,” said trainer Chad Brown. “She’s won four of six starts here and has adjusted well.”


Brown said he was originally considering the Scoot Stakes at Belmont on October 20 for Tottie, but made a late decision to enter her in the Athenia instead.


“At the last second I decided to send her because she was training so well,” said Brown.


In the Athenia, Tottie will be cutting back from 1 3/8 miles, but Brown is confident Tottie is just as formidable at 1 1/16 miles.


“She should be fine,” said Brown. “She’s already won at this distance. With the cut back, she should be a little closer to the pace.”


Tottie, tabbed as the 7-2 second choice on the morning line, will leave from post 5 with Jose Lezcano aboard.

Strike the Bell seeks her second stakes victory of the fall championship meet, having won the Grade 3 Noble Damsel on September 19. Earlier in the year, the 4-year-old was second by a head in the Miss Liberty at Monmouth on July 4 and sixth in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa Handicap at Saratoga on August 28.


“She’s doing well and obviously she runs well here,” said David Donk, who trains Strike the Bell for Rising Star Stables. “The mile and a sixteenth here is still a semi one-turn race and some pace would obviously help. She’ll run on any kind of course and she’s done well out of her last race.”


Alex Solis has the call aboard Strike the Bell, the 3-1 morning-line favorite, from post 11.


Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is hopeful that Harvey A. Clarke’s Eye of Taurus will take to Belmont’s inner turf course as she enters Saturday’s race off four starts at Monmouth, including a victory in the Revidere on September 11 most recently.


“She had some troubled trips before she won the stakes last time,” said McLaughlin. “It should be better here with the wider turns. She’s doing well and she had a good workout [4 furlongs at Monmouth in 48 2/5] yesterday.”


Eddie Castro retains the mount aboard Eye of Taurus, 6-1 on the morning line and leaving from post 7.


Completing the field are Todd Pletcher’s entrants Giant Mover and Miss Catalyst; recent optional claiming winners Darjeeling, Trix in the City, and Missit; Exquisite, who will be making her first start for trainer John Terranova, and Way With Words, winner of a pair of sprint stakes on dirt at Monmouth over the summer. McVictory is entered for the main track only.


The field for the Grade 3 Athenia:








Giant Mover (VA)

D Cohen


T A Pletcher



Mary's Follies (KY)

K J Desormeaux


R E Dutrow, Jr.



Trix in the City (KY)

C Hill


R A Violette, Jr.



Miss Catalyst (KY)

M J Luzzi


T A Pletcher



Tottie (GB)

J Lezcano


C C Brown



Exquisite (NZ)

J L Espinoza


J P Terranova, II



Eye of Taurus (KY)

E Castro


K P McLaughlin



Darjeeling (KY)

C H Velasquez


S M Asmussen



Missit (IRE)

R Maragh


R L Attfield



Way With Words (NJ)

J F Chavez


M E Eppler



Strike the Bell (KY)

A O Solis


D G Donk


Also Eligible:




McVictory (KY) (MTO)

No rider


T A Pletcher




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