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If the race stays on turf, Selcourt, the winner of three stakes on dirt last year, is likely to be withdrawn, trainer John Sadler said on Thursday.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