A stellar field of nine turf fillies and mares, who among them have won 23 stakes and nearly $ 4.5 million, will gather Friday for the 74th edition of the Grade 2, $ 500,000 New York, one of five stakes on the second day of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival presented by NYRA Bets at Belmont Park.
Trainer Chad Brown will be saddling the imposing duo of Dacita and Sea Calisi, both multiple graded stakes winners. The two have met just once since their separate arrivals from Europe, with Dacita getting the better of her stablemate by three-quarters of a length in last year’s 1 ¼-mile New York.
“They’re both training really well and they’re coming into the race the right way,” said Brown of Sheep Pond Partners’ Dacita and Sea Calisi, who is owned by Martin Schwartz. “They have similar running styles but they complement each other in terms of ground preference. Dacita prefers it firm but can handle soft if she has to; Sea Calisi can run on firm but she prefers some give in the ground.”
The Chilean-bred Dacita, who won her American debut at Saratoga in 2015 when she captured the Grade 2 Ballston Spa, was 2-2-0 from five starts in 2016, including the Grade 1 Diana at the Spa, and opened her 6-year-old campaign by finishing a head behind fellow New York entrant Hawksmoor in the Grade 3 Beaugay on May 13 over a yielding Belmont turf course.
Irad Ortiz, Jr. rides from post position 8.
With the exception of a seventh-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf last fall, in which she was beaten 4 ½ lengths, Sea Calisi has been no worse than third in six American starts, including a victory in the 2016 Grade 1 Beverly D. at Arlington Park and back-to-back wins in the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay in 2015 and 2016.
Sea Calisi will depart from post position 6 with Florent Geroux in the irons.
Also returning from the 1 3/8-mile Sheepshead Bay are runner-up Suffused and third-place finisher Apple Betty, trained by Hall of Famers Bill Mott and Shug McGaughey, respectively.
Juddmonte Farms’ Suffused has been first or second in every start since winning the Belmont Coronation Invitational during last June’s Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, including scores in the Grade 3 La Prevoyante Handicap and the Grade 3 The Very One at Gulfstream Park earlier this year and last summer’s Grade 3 Glens Falls at Saratoga Race Course.
Mott, who won the New York in 2014 with Riposte, in 2013 with Starformer and in 2005 with Wend, will give a leg up to Jose Ortiz, who rides from post position 2.
Apple Betty, a stakes winner in France, made her first American start in last October’s Grade 3 Dowager at Keeneland, where she was caught at the wire by Elektrum, losing by a nose. In the Sheepshead Bay she raced evenly to finish third, 13 ¼ lengths back.
Hall of Famer John Velazquez will ride from post position 3.
The Graham Motion-trained Quidura will get a bit of class relief as she enters off a close-up third-place finish behind Dickinson and Lady Eli in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley on April 15 at Keeneland in her 2017 debut. Bred in Germany, the 4-year-old Dubawi filly has an allowance victory over Belmont’s turf course, and closed out her 3-year-old season with a win in the Grade 3 Valley View at Keeneland.
Javier Castellano gets the mount. The pair leaves from the rail.
Rounding out the field are Kitten’s Roar, a closing fourth in the Jenny Wiley; Sassy Little Lila, 3-2-0 in five starts since breaking her maiden at the Spa last summer, most recently a front-running victory in an allowance on May 20; and Summersault, winner of three straight, including the Grade 3 Orchid on April 1 at Gulfstream.
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