Call Me Love, a Group 2 winner in Italy last season prior to her importation to America, has displayed Jekyll and Hyde tendencies through four starts in the U.S.
“Her best has been great and her worst has been disappointing,” trainer Christophe Clement admitted.
Following admirable second-place efforts to Rushing Fall in the Beaugay (G3) and to Starship Jubilee in the Ballston Spa (G2), Call Me Love’s best is certainly good enough to take the $100,000 Athenia Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park on Sunday. However, those two runs were both followed by lackluster efforts in the New York (G2) and Diana (G1), respectively, a cause for concern heading into the 1 1/16-mile Athenia.
“I gave her a bit of a break after the race in Saratoga,” Clement said. “Her last two works have been good, so we’re ready to go.”
Clement also saddles multiple stakes winner Feel Glorious, who also exits a sub-par performance when seventh in the Noble Damsel (G3) last month.
“After checking her out, we found out that she was a bit sore in the feet, so we worked on it and she’s been training well. I think we took care of it,” Clement said.
Unsurprisingly, Chad Brown has a dangerous-looking trio in She’s Got You and Altea, who finished one-two in the Violet S. at Monmouth Park last time, and Tapit Today, who’s placed in a pair of Grade 3s this term.
Grade 3 veteran Mitchell Road looks like the mare to catch after narrowly failing to hold in the Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf (G3) last out. Also likely to race prominently is Sweet Bye and Bye, who missed by a length in the Noble Damsel and was runner-up in the 2019 edition of the Athenia.
Another turf feature for fillies and mares, the $200,000 Goldikova Stakes (G2), highlights the Sunday action at Santa Anita. Raymundos Secret appears the filly to catch in the one-mile test following a wire-to-wire score in the John C. Mabee (G2) at Del Mar in her latest outing.
Also lining up are last-out Rodeo Drive (G1) runner-up Maxim Rate and Tonahutu, who lacked a late punch in the Rodeo Drive but missed in a photo to Bodhicitta in the Yellow Ribbon H. (G2) at Del Mar over the summer.