by John Mucciolo
A trio of graded stakes races with major Breeders’ Cup implications will take place at Belmont Park on Sunday. All three contests are “Win and You’re In” races in their respective divisions with automatic entries to the World Championships at Santa Anita on the line.
The exquisite Sistercharlie tops a seven-horse contingent in the $500,000 Flower Bowl S. (G1) where the winner will qualify for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) on November 2. Trained by Chad Brown, the sublime five-year-old sports a five-race win streak dating back to 2018, and she looks like a towering presence in the 1 1/4-mile turf affair. Regular pilot John Velazquez will be back aboard the champion who is joined by her Grade-1 placed pacesetter, Thais.
Mrs. Sippy was a smart winner of the Glens Falls S. (G2) in her U.S. debut for conditioner Graham Motion. The four-year-old daughter of Blame is lightly raced and could pose the main danger to the favorite in her second stateside appearance. Joel Rosario retains the mount.
Glens Falls runner-up Empressof the Nile, Barclay Tagg’s recent stakes victress Ferdinanda, Ramsey Farm S. runner-up Lantiz, and Tom Albertrani’s Beau Belle will hope to pull off the major upset.
A berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) is at stake in the $400,000 Frizette S. (G1). Seven two-year-old ladies will contest the one-mile affair, led by the Bill Mott-trained Frank’s Rockette. The Into Mischief filly was a smashing debut winner at Churchill Downs in June, and she has since finished second in both the Spinaway S. (G1) and Adirondack S. (G1) at Saratoga. Velazquez inherits the mount on the May foal who draws outside in the field.
California import Quality Response has yet to be tested from a pair of starts for Bob Baffert. The Quality Road filly won on debut by 7 1/4 lengths at Del Mar and returned with a 5 1/2-length waltz in the Phone Chatter S. at Los Alamitos. The dark bay draws inside and brings jockey Joe Talamo along for the voyage.
Wicked Whisper led at every call in a dominant win at the Spa for Steve Asmussen. The $500,000 daughter of Liam’s Map is a half-sister to Black-Eyed Susan S. (G2) heroine Point of Honor and she could be any kind of prospect going forward. Rosario picks up the live mount.
Daphne Moon impressed in a Saratoga debut going seven-eighths when overcoming a poor break to win going away. The expensive Cairo Prince filly has trained in swift fashion following that performance for Jeremiah Englehart, who makes the move to Irad Ortiz Jr. on Sunday. The $525,000 juvenile purchase can’t be taken lightly stretching out to a mile.
Rodolphe Brisset’s Slam Dunk, runaway debut winner Ice Princess, and recent maiden heroine Miss Marissa, round out the talented group.
A compact field of juveniles will go six panels in the grassy $150,000 Futurity S. (G2), where the winner will receive an entry to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) on November 1.
Two stakes-winning sons of American Pharoah are among the ones to beat in the well-matched field. The Gary Contessa-trained Another Miracle broke his maiden second time out on the dirt at Saratoga and returned to bag the grassy Skidmore S. in his debut on the green. The $210,000 yearling purchase will have regular pilot Manny Franco in the silks once again.
Four Wheel Drive went for $525,000 as a yearling and is paying instant dividends. The Wesley Ward pupil was a debut stakes winner at Colonial Downs, and he was flattered when the horse he finished in front of waltzed home a stakes winner himself on the Laurel Park turf in his return. The Kentucky-bred will have the services of Ortiz Jr. on Sunday.
Sanford S. (G3) runner-up Tomato Bill, Jamestown S. romper Embolden, Belmont debut winner Jack and Noah, as well as Todd Pletcher’s sharp first-out romper Freewheeler, add to the depth of this exciting race.