Spain Expected to Head Six in Molly Pitcher Handicap

A field of six, headed by top weight Spain, is shaping up for Saturday's $300,000 Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at 1 1/8-miles at Monmouth Park. The Molly Pitcher will air live on CBS as part of the "NTRA Summer Racing Tour" beginning at 5 p.m.

The Thoroughbred Corp.'s Spain, a 5-year-old mare who is in foal to Storm Cat, earned her 122 pounds with victories in the Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) and the Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. II) in her last two starts. The last win increased her earnings to $3,507,542, a record for fillies and mares in the U.S.

Expected to give the D. Wayne Lukas-trainee a tough run for the money are Atelier and Summer Colony.

Atelier hasn't raced since finishing fifth, beaten 17 3/4 lengths, in the May 18 Shuvee Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park. Prior to that defeat, she finished three-quarters of a length behind multiple graded-stakes winner Raging Fever in the April 20 Bed O' Roses Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III). Shug McGaughey conditions the daughter of Deputy Minister for Helen Alexander, Helen Groves, and Dorothy Matz.

Summer Colony enters the Molly Pitcher having won seven of her last eight races, and two of three on the year. Her only blemish this year is a second-place finish, three lengths behind graded-stakes winner Forest Secrets in the March 2 Rampart Handicap (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park. Summer Colony, who is conditioned by Mark Henning for Edward P. Evans, began the year with a one-length win over multiple grade I winner Azeri in the Feb. 9 La Canada Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita and most recently won the May 17 Pimlico Breeders; Cup Distaff Handicap (gr. III) by a short nose over multiple graded-stakes winner Dancethruthedawn.

The field for the Molly Pitcher includes: Summer Colony (119); Atelier (115); Extend (112); Southern Fiction (111); and Quick Blue (110). Softly (110) remains a possibility.

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