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Ruthenia and Barocci Ready to Run

Ruthenia and Barocci have the Christophe Clement barn hedged for any possible turf course condition in the Grade 3 Knickerbocker and Grade 3 Athenia next Saturday at Belmont.


Ruthenia, a 4-year-old who won the Grade 3 Violet in May at Monmouth Park, is likely to run in the 1 1/16-mile Athenia for fillies and mares if there isn’t too much give in the turf, according to Christophe Lorieul, assistant to Clement.


“At the moment the week is good in terms of the weather forecast,” said Lorieul. “We just hope it stays that way because she’s a small filly and I don’t think she cares too much for good ground. We have a couple of other options [for the Athenia], a filly like Future Generation. It was off the turf the other day [when she was entered in Wednesday’s Valor Lady overnight stakes], but the one we are at the moment pointing [to the Athenia] is Ruthenia.”


Owned by Virginia Kraft Payson, Ruthenia finished fourth in her two most recent starts, the Grade 3 Eatontown Handicap in June at Monmouth and the Grade 2 Ballston Spa presented by Jose Cuervo on August 25 at Saratoga Race Course.


Wildenstein Stable’s Barocci, a 4-year-old Japanese-bred son of Deep Impact, will make his North American stakes debut in the 1 1/8-mile Knickerbocker. He is 1-2-1 in four starts in the United States and comes into the Knickerbocker off a second, beaten three-quarters of a length, in an optional claimer on August 26 at Saratoga.


Lorieul said Barocci, who won a listed stakes in France over “heavy” ground, can handle any going but could have a distinct advantage over his Knickerbocker opponents if the Belmont turf comes up yielding or soft.


“This one, I don’t think it will matter what kind of ground we have,” said Lorieul. “He’s run on everything, and maybe the cut in the ground would be in his favor. He’s run in Europe, and with the way he moves in the morning you would think he would like a little cut in the ground. [Ruthenia] is more top of the ground; I don’t think she would handle [soft turf] very well. She has a very good turn of foot and you have to place it, and it has to be firm, I think.”




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