Trainer John Shirreffs is known to repeat a winning formula.
When he sent out Harmonious to victory in the Grade I American Oaks last year,
the filly had started previously three times and won twice.
When Shirreffs entered Star Billing and Nereid in the
$250,000 stake for 3-year-old fillies at 1 ¼ miles on turf Saturday, both bring
in records of three starts with two wins.
Star Billing is by Dynaformer, the same sire as Harmonious.
The George Krikorian homebred won the Grade III Senorita Stakes and finished
second in the Grade II Honeymoon Handicap.
Nereid, owned by E.N. Kronfeld, has won her last two starts
on the turf here in maiden and allowance company, respectively.
Nereid leaves from post three in a field of six under
regular rider Joe Talamo while Star Billing drew post five with Joel
Rosario--her fourth different jockey in as many starts.
Both fillies have used stalking styles in most of their
starts but in a lineup with no apparent pace-setter, Shirreffs was not sure
what scenario was likely to unfold.
“Wherever they’re comfortable, that’s where they will be,”
Love Theway Youare, who has never raced on turf, worked
three furlongs in 39.80 on grass Thursday for the American Oaks.