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Two Graded Stakes Headline Belmont Card

A pair of Grade 3, $100,000 turf races highlight Saturday’s card at Belmont Park, where six fillies and mares will line up in the Beaugay and the same number of males are expected to square off in the Fort Marcy.

 

The field for the 1 1/16-mile Beaugay, which will be run as race 6 on Belmont’s 10-race card, is headed by Karen Woods and Saud bin Khaled’s Maram, who will make her first start since finishing seventh behind Dynaslew in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa Handicap at Saratoga Race Course on August 28.

 

“We picked this spot out a couple of months ago and worked backwards,” said trainer Chad Brown. “She’s run well at Belmont, she’s training well now, and we think this is a good spot to start her out and see where she is.”

 

Winner of the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, the 5-year-old daughter of Sahm was beaten narrowly in her 2010 season debut before going on to win the Miss Liberty Stakes at Monmouth on July 4. She finished fifth in the Grade 1 Diana at Saratoga later that month. To date, she has five wins, one second and one third from ten career starts and will have the services of regular rider Jose Lezcano in the Beaugay. Tabbed as the 8-5 morning line favorite, she will break from post position 2.

 

Another exiting a layoff is Team Valor International’s Daveron, a German-bred daughter of Black Sam Bellamy who is trained by Graham Motion. Daveron has not raced since a second-place effort behind Mekong Melody in the Grade 3 Long Island Handicap over the Aqueduct turf course in November, but the mare’s connections have high expectations for Saturday’s race.

 

“She’s been a lot more relaxed coming up to this race,” said Adrian Rolls, Motion’s assistant. “She’s really grown up and matured since last year and she’s very fit and working well, so we’re looking for a big effort from her.”

 

The 6-year-old mare has registered one win and two seconds since being transferred to Motion’s barn last summer, with the victory coming over the Belmont turf in the $60,000 Scoot overnight stakes on October 20. Last spring, she captured a turf allowance at Belmont and was fourth in the Grade 2 New York Stakes while in the care of Christophe Clement.

 

The 4-1 morning-line third choice, Daveron will leave from post 6 with Eddie Castro.

 

Patsy Symons’ Gitchee Goomie looks for her second win of the year in Saturday’s race, having taken a Gulfstream Park optional claimer at the Beaugay distance on April 2.

 

“She’s a very, very nice filly, but she has a big temper,” said trainer Rick Violette. “Sometimes she picks a fight with the gate and the gate wins, but when she gets by that she’s very consistent and she’s stepped up the ladder considerably.”

 

Narrowly defeated in three consecutive turf allowances in New York last summer, Gitchee Goomie finished third at 21-1 in Belmont’s Grade 1 Garden City Stakes on September 18, then won the $70,000 Topicount overnight stakes here in October before going to the sidelines for the winter.

 

“Sometimes they don’t make the grade from three to four,” Violette added. “You have to see if the talent shows up again when they get to facing older horses and she passed that test with flying colors.”

 

Alex Solis will ride the 3-1 morning-line second-choice from post 3.

 

Completing the field from the rail out are Comic Marvel, 3-for-4 lifetime and trying turf for the first time; Bet On the Blue, runner up in the South Beach Stakes at Gulfstream on April 16 and Ainamaa, an allowance optional claiming winner at Tampa on April 9. R Betty Graybull, Happy Week and Streaker may run if this race is moved to the main track.

 

In the 1 1/16-mile Fort Marcy, race 9 on Saturday’s card, Roger Weiss’ lightly-raced Hudson Steele is likely to face five others including Beau Choix and Riviera Cocktail.

 

After breaking his maiden going a mile and 70-yards on the main track at Delaware Park in August 2009, Hudson Steele next finished third against older allowance company in an off-the-turf race at the same distance following a nearly nine-month layoff. Winner of his fourth start and first on turf last June, he was placed second in the Oliver Stakes at Indiana Downs later that month before winning Monmouth’s Park Jersey Derby on August 1. The gelded son of Johannesburg won his 2011 debut in an optional claimer at Gulfstream by 1 ¼ lengths.

 

“I know everyone in Florida was excited about him and they sent him up here in great shape,” said Jonathan Thomas, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. “He had a very nice work preparing for the race and we’re all looking forward to it.”

 

Jose Lezcano, who has piloted Hudson Steele to his two most recent victories has the return call aboard the 5-2 morning-line favorite from post 1.

 

Second-choice in the field is Riviera Cocktail, a 5-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway who was beaten just a length by Little Mike in the Grade 3 Appleton Stakes at Gulfstream on April 3.

 

“He ran very well in Florida last time out coming off a layoff and he’s training very well,” said Artie Magnuson, assistant to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “[Little Mike] was a horse for the course down there and we came from well-back that day on a speed-favoring course. We couldn’t be happier with the way he ran.”

 

Although Riviera Cocktail is on the also-eligible list for the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on Saturday, Magnuson said the horse was likely to start in the Fort Marcy, where he will get the services of Eddie Castro from post 3.

 

Exiting a winning 2011 debut is Belle Meadows Farm’s Beau Choix, who captured a Keeneland allowance on April 15. While trainer Barclay Tagg is somewhat hesitant to run the colt back on just three weeks rest, Beau Choix turned in a sharp half-mile breeze (46.47) over the main track at Belmont on Sunday.

 

“It’s a little quick back for him,” said trainer Barclay Tagg. “I don’t like running them back that quick especially after a hard race and a ship, too.”

 

Alex Solis has the call aboard the 4-1 morning-line third choice from post 2.

 

Completing the field are Sal the Barber, most recently seventh in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap on February 5; the consistent Mikoshi, fourth in the Appleton Stakes; and the New York-bred Straight Story, who has been off since a runner-up finish in the Mohawk Stakes on New York Showcase Day in October. Arson Squad and Hymn Book may run if this race is moved to the main track.  

 

The field for the Grade 3, $100,000 Beaugay:

 

PP

Horse

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

Odds

1

Comic Marvel (KY)

C H Velasquez

115

W I Mott

6-1

2

Maram (KY)

J Lezcano

117

C C Brown

8-5

3

Gitchee Goomie (NY)

A O Solis

115

R A Violette, Jr.

3-1

4

Bet On the Blue (KY)

C Hill

115

H A Jerkens

6-1

5

Ainamaa (KY)

D Cohen

115

G A Griffith

12-1

6

Daveron (GER)

E Castro

115

H G Motion

4-1

AE 7

R Betty Graybull (NY) (MTO)

E Castro

122

L A White

2-1

AE 8

Happy Week (KY) (MTO)

 

117

T A Pletcher

3-1

AE 9

Streaker (KY) (MTO)

 

117

C R McGaughey III

7-2

 

The field for the Grade 3, $100,000 Fort Marcy:

 

PP

Horse

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

Odds

1

Hudson Steele (KY)

J Lezcano

118

T A Pletcher

5-2

2

Beau Choix (KY)

A O Solis

116

B Tagg

4-1

3

Riviera Cocktail (KY)

E Castro

116

K P McLaughlin

3-1

4

Sal the Barber (KY)

C H Velasquez

116

C Clement

4-1

5

Mikoshi (KY)

D Cohen

116

M R Matz

8-1

6

Straight Story (NY)

C H Marquez, Jr.

118

A E Goldberg

5-1

AE 7

Arson Squad (PA) (MTO)

 

123

R E Dutrow, Jr.

6-5

AE 8

Hymn Book (KY) (MTO)

 

118

C R McGaughey III

2-1

 

 

 

 

 

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