See graded-stakes winner Stidham has Sunday in N.J.

See graded-stakes winner Stidham has Sunday in N.J.
Photo: Tampa Bay Downs

Now that Micheline has notched her first graded-stakes victory, doing so in her 2021 debut, trainer Michael Stidham is convinced there’s much more to come this year for the 4-year-old daughter of Bernardini.

The next step is Sunday’s Grade 3 Eatontown Stakes at Monmouth Park, with the $150,000 Father’s Day feature race attracting a full field of 12 as well as four alternates. Stidham is hoping the 1 1/16-mile grass race sets up the Godolphin runner for the Beverly D. Stakes (G1) on Aug. 14 at Arlington.

“We had her ready to go at Belmont Park on June 4 (in the G2 New York Stakes) but it absolutely poured rain,” he said. “It had rained there for a couple of days and right before the race they had to postpone the post parade because it was raining so hard. So we scratched her out of that.

“We needed a race for her. We knew this one would come up tough but we’re pointing to the Beverly D. So we needed a race. It’s time to get another race in her.

“Hopefully we’ll get a good firm turf course on Sunday at Monmouth.”

Stidham learned about Micheline’s aversion to a soft or yielding turf the hard way. After a sharp seasonal debut that saw her win the Grade 2 Hillsborough Stakes at Tampa Downs on March 6 off a five-month layoff – “I didn’t feel like I had her cranked up to 100 percent but she won anyway,” Stidham said – Micheline was a tiring sixth in the Jenny Wiley Stakes (G1) at Keeneland on April 10.

That race was run over a yielding turf course.

“The race at Keeneland was a disappointment but the rain came down in buckets all morning and all day and the turf was horribly soft,” said Stidham. “She hated it. She never looked comfortable on it. When it came time for her to make her move she was spinning her wheels.

“To me it’s a throw-out race.”

Micheline has proven to be a consistent turf router during her 14-race career with five wins, two seconds and a third. She has earned $671,978.

“She was always a filly that showed us a lot of ability and talent,” said Stidham. “The proof of that is we shipped her to Saratoga for her first career start (in 2019). That will tell you what we thought of her. We rarely ship to Saratoga unless we really like one.”

Micheline finished third in her racing debut. Stidham then shipped her to Monmouth Park, where she won the Sorority Stakes at a mile on the grass – as a maiden.

If Stidham has any reservations about the Eatontown Stakes -- beyond the full, competitive field -- it’s the distance. Micheline won the Hillsborough at a mile and an eighth and has also won a mile and a half stakes race.

She is 1-for-5 lifetime at the Eatontown distance.

“I would say it’s a little short for her,” Stidham said. “I would say she is better going a mile and an eighth and up. We hope she can overcome the distance Sunday with her class and talent.”

Mychel Sanchez has the mount.

2021 Eatontown (G3)

*Rating is based on HRN fan votes, which rank the Top Active Horses in training.
RankSilksHorse / SireRatingTrainer / JockeyLast StartStatus
 Belle Laura
Mucho Macho Man
J. Avila
H. Berrios
5th, 2021 Powder Break (LS)
Summer Front
C. Clement
H. Diaz
4th, Bel AlwOC (5/23/2021-R8)
 Morning Molly
Morning Line
T. Proctor
K. Coa
2nd, 2021 Powder Break (LS)
 Counterparty Risk
C. Brown
N. Juarez
4th, 2021 Plenty of Grace (LS) 
M. Stidham
M. Sanchez
6th, 2021 Jenny Wiley (G1) 
 Nay Lady Nay
No Nay Never
C. Brown
D. Davis
4th, 2021 Beaugay (G3) 
Into Mischief
D. Gargan
G. Corrales
3rd, Kee Allow (4/22/2021-R6)
Into Mischief
T. Morley
A. Cruz
1st, 2021 Dahlia Stakes (LS)
 Sweet Bye and Bye
Sky Mesa
S. Joseph,
R. Silvera
1st, 2021 Sand Springs (LS) 
 Crystal Cliffs
Canford Cliffs
H. Motion
V. Carrasco
2nd, 2021 Dahlia Stakes (LS)
Scat Daddy
J. Abreu
J. Ferrer
3rd, 2021 Plenty of Grace (LS) 
 Vigilantes Way
Medaglia d'Oro
C. McGaughey III
P. Lopez
2nd, 2021 Gallorette (G3) 
 Tasting The Stars
J. Kimmel
L. Reyes
1st, 2020 Brookmeade (RS)
 Crown And Sugar
Crown of Thorns
D. Rodriguez
A. Jimenez
7th, 2021 Distaff Turf (RS)
 Positive Power
J. McAllen
N. Juarez
2nd, Mth Allow (5/29/2021-R6)
 Inconvenient Facts
More Than Ready
D. Kendall
C. Hernandez
6th, GP MSW (2/14/2018-R6)

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