Lonesome Glory S. (G1) — Race 2 (2:38 p.m. ET)
In the long history of steeplechase and hurdle racing in America, only one female — Life’s Illusion in 1975 — has ever captured year-end division honors. The Mean Queen will look to take the next step toward becoming the second when she squares off against six male rivals in the $150,000 Lonesome Glory H. (G1), the feature on opening day of Belmont Park’s fall meet Thursday.
A five-year-old Irish-bred daughter of Doyen, The Mean Queen dominated last month’s Jonathan Sheppard H. (G1) at Saratoga, formerly the New York Turf Writers Cup. Victorious by 4 3/4 lengths, The Mean Queen led a 1-2-3 finish of horses trained by Keri Brion, a former protégé to Hall of Fame trainer Sheppard.
The Mean Queen has won three of her four U.S. appearances, her only loss being a fluky result in the July 28 Jonathan Kiser Novice S. at Saratoga. Holding a commanding lead in the final stages, The Mean Queen ducked in and deposed her jockey when on her way to an apparent victory as an odds-on choice.
“It’s crazy to say, but she actually gets better after every race,” Brion said. “She’s doing the best now since I’ve had her.
“To be honest, I don’t know how good she is. Everyone she works with in the morning, she just toys with. She’s toyed with every field she’s been against so far, but this is how we find out.”
Snap Decision is the horse to beat in the 2 1/2-mile Lonesome Glory. The seven-year-old son of Hard Spun is riding a nine-race win streak, dating back more than two years, and was a blowout winner of both the Temple Gwathmey H. (G1) and Iroquois (G1) during the early part of the season. Trained by Jack Fisher, Snap Decision is the 164-pound highweight in the field. He’ll concede The Mean Queen seven pounds and up to 20 against the rest.
Bodes Well, the beneficiary of The Mean Queen’s antics in the Jonathan Kiser, re-opposes here, while Amschel will look to close the gap against Snap Decision, to whom he placed behind in both the Temple Gwathmey and Iroquois.