By Najja Thompson —-
ELMONT, NY – A talented field of 10 juvenile fillies will each look to earn their first graded stakes victory and an all-entries-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in the Grade 1, $400,000 Frizette on Sunday at Belmont Park.
Trainer Todd Pletcher, will saddle Critique for owner Paul Pompa, Jr.
Sired by Midnight Lute, Critique made her first two starts in seven furlong races that were taken off the turf this past summer at Saratoga Race Course. In her debut, she finished second from a field of seven racing three-wide most of the way. Making her second start on September 4, she broke her maiden, winning impressively by 16 lengths.
“She’s a filly where we always felt like she’d appreciate more distance so that’s why we entered her in the turf at Saratoga,” said Pletcher a three-time winner of the Frizette, most recently in 2012 with Dreaming of Julia. “Both times the races came off [the turf] and we thought she performed well. We’re looking forward to getting her stretched out a little bit more, so I think the mile distance should be a step in the right direction.”
With Hall of Famer John Velazquez aboard, the pair will leave from post 10.
Looking to rebound off a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Spinaway on September 2 at Saratoga is Klaravich Stable’s Separationofpowers, for trainer Chad Brown. Purchased for $190,000 as a weanling at the Keeneland November mixed sale, the daughter of Candy Ride made an eye-popping debut on July 30 at the Spa, besting a field of eight by 11 ¾ lengths earning a field-high 86 Beyer Speed Figure. Returning in the Grade 1 Spinaway, she broke alertly from the gate, engaging in a speed duel up front before fading to finish third.
“She’s been training particularly well here at Belmont,” said Brown. “She recovered from that grueling effort in the Spinaway. She’s come out of it well and she’s going to appreciate going longer. I never felt that she was a sprinter. She trains very kind in the morning. Ideally, I’m hoping she draws a nice post, maybe on the outside where she can just find her way around at her own pace.”
Drawing post 4, Jose Ortiz will be aboard.
Trainer Rudy Rodriguez will enter a pair of fillies with Wall of Compassion and Strategic Dreams.
Winning her debut by nose on July 7 at Saratoga, Wall of Compassion made her second start in the Grade 2 Adirondack on August 12 where she finished third. Sired by Archarcharch, Pick Six Racing’s Strategic Dreams won her only start by 14 ¼ lengths in a maiden claiming race on August 24 at Saratoga.
Wall of Compasssion owned by Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, The Elkstone group and Bethlehem Stables will depart from post 7 with Joel Rosario aboard. and Strategic Dreams for Pick Six Racing. Drawing post 7, Strategic Dreams will be ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Entering off a second-place finish in the Spinaway for trainer Graham Motion and My Meadowview Farm is Maya Malibu. A home bred by Malibu Moon, she won her debut by six lengths at Delaware Park on August 5 before entering the Spinaway.
Hall of Famer Javier Castellano will be in the irons for Maya Malibu as they leave from the rail.
Rounding out the field is Purrfect Miss for trainer Jeremiah Englehart and owners Orlando DiRienzo and Southfield Farm; Caledonia Road for trainer Ralph Nicks and Zoom and Fish Stable and Charlie Spiring; Drama Run for Loooch Racing Stables and trainer Anthony Quartarolo and Teen Angel for trainer Corby Caizzo.