Beaugay Handicap (gr. IIIT) winner Finery faces an evenly-matched field of eight expected to line up for Sunday's $150,000 Sheepshead Bay Handicap (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares on the Belmont Park grass.
Trainer Billy Turner pointed for the 1 3/8-mile Sheepshead Bay after his 5-year-old mare captured the Beaugay at Aqueduct last month. But in addition to a tougher field and a likely soft course, Althea Richards' Finery has distance concerns.
The daughter of Lear Fan, a winner of five of her 12 career races with four seconds, will be making her second start of the year. She has never run farther than nine furlongs and does not show a win beyond 1 1/16 miles.
"I think her ideal distance might be up to a mile and a quarter," Turner admitted. "I think she'll handle a mile and three-eighths okay, though.
"She's been training very well and looks ready to go. Both times she won at Aqueduct, the course had some give to it. She's run twice over non-firm courses at Belmont and she's won once and finished second once."
Pablo Fragoso, who's been aboard for both of Finery's stakes wins, will pilot the mare once again Sunday.
One of her rivals is Martin Schwartz's Angara, a 4-year-old filly who has won her last two starts for trainer Patrick Biancone, including the Bewitch (gr. IIIT) going 1 1/2 miles at Keeneland.
Angara made four starts in France last year before debuting for Biancone in February at Santa Anita. She lost her first two races in California but seemed to improve with the switch to Keeneland and the addition of Lasix.
Trainers Bobby Frankel and Todd Pletcher will have a solid presence.
Frankel has entered Barancella and Dreams Come True, a pair of fillies coming off allowance wins at Santa Anita.
Barancella will be making her second start at Belmont Park. Last year she finished second to Lucifer's Stone at 25-1 in the Garden City Breeders' Cup (gr. IT). She will be ridden by Edgar Prado, while Jerry Bailey has the mount on Dreams Come True.
Honey Ryder will represent the Pletcher barn with jockey John Velazquez aboard. The 4-year-old filly has won her last two races, the Very One (gr. IIIT) and Orchid (gr. IIT) handicaps at Gulfstream Park. With a win at the distance, top connections and a pair of recent stakes victories, Honey Ryder will probably be the Sheepshead Bay favorite. She is co-highweight with Angara at 118 pounds.$150,000 Sheepshead Bay Handicap (gr. IIT), fillies & mares 3 & up, 1 3/8 miles (turf)
PP. HORSE, TRAINER, JOCKEY, WGT.
1. Sauvage, Tom Albertrani, Javier Castellano, 115
2. Kate Winslet, Richard Violette, Richard Migliore, 113
3. Angara, Patrick Biancone, Gary Stevens, 118
4. Barancella, Bobby Frankel, Edgar Prado, 116
5. Minge Cove, Brad Wallace, Jose Santos, 114
6. Finery, Billy Turner, Pablo Fragoso, 117
7. Dreams Come True, Bobby Frankel, Jerry Bailey, 115
8. Honey Ryder, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez, 118