On turf or dirt, Miller pair set to race

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - News - By Steve An­der­sen

AR­CA­DIA, Calif. – The po­ten­tial for wet weather in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia on Saturday will de­ter­mine the field for the Grade 3 Las Ciene­gas Stakes, sched­uled for about 6 1/2 fur­longs on the hill­side turf course.

If the race stays on turf, Sel­court, the win­ner of three stakes on dirt last year, is likely to be with­drawn, trainer John Sadler said on Thurs­day.

Turf or dirt, trainer Peter Miller plans to run the mul­ti­ple stakes win­ner Belvoir Bay and the stakes-placed Paint­ing Cor­ners. Miller was closely fol­low­ing the weather in the mid­dle of the week.

“I’ve been look­ing at it a cou­ple of times a day,” he said. “I’ll run them both, no mat­ter. It might be bet­ter if it does come off. It could be an eas­ier spot.”

The $100,000 Las Ciene­gas Stakes for fil­lies and mares drew a field of nine, four of whom are stakes win­ners. Com­pelled won the Mardi Gras Stakes on turf at Fair Grounds last Fe­bru­ary and has run only on turf in 13 starts. Te­sora won the Christiecat Stakes on turf at Bel­mont Park in Septem­ber when trained by Jonathan Thomas. Te­sora has since been trans­ferred to trainer Michael Mc­Carthy.

KEY CON­TENDERS

Belvoir Bay, by Equiano Last 3 Bey­ers: 97-94-100

◗ Belvoir Bay won three con­sec­u­tive stakes on the hill­side turf course last spring, in­clud­ing the Grade 3 San Simeon Stakes against males in April. Belvoir Bay was se­cond in the Grade 3 Franklin County Stakes at 5 1/2 fur­longs on turf for fil­lies and mares at Keeneland on Oct. 12 in her only start in the se­cond half of 2018.

◗ A 6-year-old mare, Belvoir Bay was sold for $625,000 at the Fasig-Tip­ton Ken­tucky Fall Sale in Novem­ber, a trans­ac­tion that dis­solved a part­ner­ship, Miller said. Belvoir Bay, who races for Gary Bar­ber, is a closer.

“She was a lit­tle slow to come around after the sale,” Miller said. “The last two or three weeks she’s been like her­self.”

Com­pelled, by War Front Last 3 Bey­ers: 92-90-92

◗ Com­pelled was third to Belvoir Bay in the Grade 2 Mon­rovia Stakes on the hill­side turf course last May in her last start at Santa Anita. Com­pelled was later fourth in the Osuni­tas Stakes at Del Mar in July and an unlucky se­cond, beaten a nose, in the six-fur­long Sen­si­ble Lady Turf Dash Stakes at Lau­rel in Septem­ber. Com­pelled raced in traf­fic early and ral­lied wide to just miss un­der now-re­tired jockey Gary Stevens.

◗ Dray­den Van Dyke has the mount on Saturday. He rode Com­pelled in the Mon­rovia and Osuni­tas for trainer Tom Proc­tor. Thurs­day, Com­pelled worked three fur­longs in 37.60 sec­onds on the in­field train­ing track un­der Van Dyke.

Van Dyke wants the Las Ciene­gas to be run on turf.

“We need the weather to co­op­er­ate,” he said.

Paint­ing Cor­ners, by Pleas­ant Strike Last 3 Bey­ers: 94-95-91

◗ Paint­ing Cor­ners was se­cond in the Grade 3 Sen. Ken Maddy Stakes on the hill­side turf course on Nov. 3 and is likely to set the pace.

“She’s a fast filly,” Miller said. “I wouldn’t dis­count her.”

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