Lady Eli, Divisidero in Grade 1 turf tests

Daily Racing Form Saturday Stakes Preview - - FRONT PAGE -

EL­MONT, N.Y. – The sec­ond an­nual Stars and Stripes card Satur­day at Bel­mont Park def­i­nitely will have an all-amer­i­can feel to it.

Euro­pean par­tic­i­pa­tion for the $1.25 mil­lion Bel­mont Derby In­vi­ta­tional, for 3-year-old males, and the $1 mil­lion Bel­mont Oaks, for 3-year-old fil­lies, was rather light, with only four horses – two males and two fe­males – en­tered in the two Grade 1 turf races. Last year, in the inau­gu­ral run­ning of these two races, there were a com­bined nine Euro­pean-based horses en­tered.

New York Rac­ing As­so­ci­a­tion of­fi­cials had made mul­ti­ple trips to Europe over the first six months of the year in hopes of re­cruit­ing par­tic­i­pants for these races. Sev­eral train­ers told NYRA rep­re­sen­ta­tives that they planned to come but did not. One prob­lem, ac­cord­ing to Adrian Beau­mont of the In­ter­na­tional Rac­ing Bureau, was that Hong Kong in­ter­ests pur­chased sev­eral Euro­pean horses who were be­ing pointed to these races.

De­spite the lack of Euro­peans, the Bel­mont Oaks – a Win and You’re In race for the Breed­ers’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf – drew a full field of 14, led by the un­de­feated Lady Eli, the win­ner of the Breed­ers’ Cup Ju­ve­nile Fil­lies Turf. She drew post 2 and was one of three en­tered by trainer Chad Brown, who also en­tered Strict Com­pli­ance, the win­ner of the Penn Oaks at Penn Na­tional, and Con­sumer Credit, the win­ner of the Mem­o­ries of Sil­ver Stakes here and the third-place fin­isher in the Grade 1 Amer­i­can Oaks at Santa Anita. Con­sumer Credit drew post 7, while Strict Com­pli­ance drew post 14.

Span­ish Queen, the win­ner of the Amer­i­can Oaks as well as the Grade 2 Hon­ey­moon, drew post 6.

The two Euro­pean en­trants are Olorda, a Group 3 win­ner in France, and Out­stand­ing, a full sis­ter to 2013 Breed­ers’ Cup Turf win­ner Ma­gi­cian. Af­ter los­ing her only two starts last year, Out­stand­ing is 2 for 2 this year, in­clud­ing a listed stakes vic­tory at 1 1/4 miles June 24 in Ire­land.

“She won nicely, she beat the fa­vorite, and we had the third-place fin­isher in the same race,” said T.J. Comer­ford, head trav­el­ing lad for trainer Ai­dan O’brien. “She’s a de­cent filly. The trip is ideal for her. She’ll love the ground.”

Colm O’donoghue will ride Out­stand­ing from post 10.

Olorda lost her first two starts at age 2 but has gone 2 for 3 at age 3, all with blink­ers added, ac­cord­ing to Ger­linde Muhlbich­ler, who is over­see­ing the Ger­man-bred filly for trainer Michael Figge.

John Ve­lazquez has been booked to ride Olorda, who breaks from post 8.

Oth­ers en­tered in­clude It­sonly­act­ing­dad, Miss Chate­laine, Pine Nee­dles, Sen­tiero Italia, Sharla Rae, Dar­ing Duchess, and Gypsy Judy.

The Bel­mont Oaks is race 10 on the 11-race card and will be broad­cast on NBC Sports Net­work, along with the Grade 2 Sub­ur­ban, in a one-hour tele­cast.

Divisidero, the win­ner of the Pen­nine Ridge Stakes here May 30, and Bolo, a win­ner of 3 of 4 starts on turf who ran 12th in the Ken­tucky Derby, fig­ure to vie for fa­voritism in the Bel­mont Derby, which is race 8. Divisidero will break from post 2 un­der Rafael Her­nan­dez, and Bolo will leave from post 3 un­der Rafael Be­jarano.

The two Euro­pean-based run­ners in this year’s Derby are Pos­tu­la­tion, trained by Der­mot Weld, and Can­ndal, trained by Mikel Delzan­gles.

Pos­tu­la­tion, a Ken­tucky-bred son of Har­lan’s Hol­i­day, has fin­ished first or sec­ond in six of eight starts but never has run in a group or graded race. He did de­feat the Group 1 win­ner Parish Hall in a listed stakes at The Cur­ragh in Ire­land in June at the Bel­mont Derby dis­tance of 1 1/4 miles.

“The horse he beat the last time was a Group 1 win­ner,” said Jeff Byrne, head trav­el­ing lad for Weld. “He’s a horse that runs his race.”

Pa­trick Smullen will ride Pos­tu­la­tion from post 7.

Can­ndal, a French-bred colt, has one win from five starts, but that win did come at 1 1/4 miles.

Brown has two en­tered in the Bel­mont Derby: Takeover Tar­get and Startup Na­tion, who drew posts 1 and 8. Also en­tered were Force the Pass, Clos­ing Bell, and Granny’s Kit­ten.

ADAM COGLIANESE

Lady Eli wins the Won­der Again Stakes at Bel­mont on May 31.

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