Awesome Feather preps for Breeders' Cup in overnight stakes
Last fall, Brown used a similar event -- the seven-furlong Le Slew Stakes -- as a cozy spot for her return from an 11-month layoff due to injury. Awesome Feather scored by an easy two lengths in that belated sophomore debut, which set her up well for a bigger target. In her second start back, she rolled to a 5 1/4-length romp in the Grade 1 Gazelle Stakes. She has raced only once since, taking the January 28 Florida Sunshine Millions Distaff by 5 3/4 lengths.
Named the champion two-year-old filly of 2010, Awesome Feather will be seeking her 10th consecutive victory, and regular rider Jeffrey Sanchez will be up on the Stronach Stables colorbearer. Brown will also send out five-time stakes winner Kid Kate, a rallying second to Mildly Offensive in the Big Bambu at the Spa last out.
Awesome Feather's main rival is Cash for Clunkers, who nearly upset It's Tricky in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps two starts back. The Rick Violette mare had won three in a row by large margins prior to that, including the 1 1/16-mile Heatherten at Belmont. She aims to rebound off her lone clunker, a long-way last in the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap over 1 1/4 miles.
Rick Dutrow Jr. is responsible for nearly half of the nine-horse field, with no fewer than four entrants. All Due Respect enters in the best form, having finished third in the Grade 1 Ballerina in her latest, and gets Ramon Dominguez. The other three are owned by Jay Em Ess Stable and are coupled in the wagering -- Believe In A. P., Tiz the Argument and Acting Happy. Since John Velazquez is named on both of the latter two, one will scratch.
The $85,000 Given Stakes will be offered later on Belmont's Thursday program, and Colonial Flag heads a field of 16 sophomore fillies, including a pair of also-eligibles and two main-track only runners, entered for the one-mile affair on the Widener turf. The Michael Matz-trained filly exits a one-length victory in the Grade 3 Ontario Colleen at Woodbine and finished second in the Grade 3 Regret Stakes at Churchill Downs three back.
Medolina drops in class after finishing fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Grade 2 Lake Placid and Grade 2 Lake George, while multiple stakes victress Alaura Michele was third to the classy Dayatthespa in the Riskaverse at Saratoga.
Italian Group 1 heroine Nayarra, second in a division of the Hatoof Stakes at Arlington most recently, is entered for Graham Motion, and the promising Pianist, a three-length allowance winner at Saratoga last out, is slated to make her stakes debut for Brown.
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