Lilac Queen, unbeaten in three starts since joining trainer Bobby Frankel, should be the solid favorite Saturday at Belmont in the grade II Sheepshead Bay. The turf stakes is over 1 3/8 miles.
A 5-year-old mare, Lilac Queen has made only six lifetime starts. She was two for three in Germany before being purchased by Gary Tanaka and sent to Frankel. She was off from June of 2001 to January of this year.
"I've had her for a while, but she wasn't right and I didn't run her for a long time," said Frankel. "She's a high-class filly."
Frankel first sent out the daughter of Law Society at Santa Anita on Jan. 24 and she won an allowance race going a mile and a quarter. She then appeared at Keeneland, winning a 12-furlong allowance as a prep for the Bewitch (gr. IIIT). She won the stakes by an easy four lengths.
Lilac Queen, who will be ridden by Jerry Bailey, will carry co-highweight of 119 pounds, along with Arthur Hancock's Owsley.
Owsley, a multiple graded stakes winner last year for Randy Schulhofer, has made only one start this year, running fourth in the Beaugay (gr. IIIT) at Aqueduct on Kentucky Derby Day (May 3).
"She needed that race," Schulhofer said. "She was kind of flat in the last part, but she's trained real good since then."
The Beaugay was at 1 1/16 miles.
Edgar Prado has the mount on Owsley.
Snow Dance, who ran second to Owsley in last year's WinStar Galaxy (gr. IIT) at Keeneland, has been out twice this year. She ran third in the Bayou Breeders' Cup Handicap at Fair Grounds and third in the Jenny Wiley Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland. Owned by John Oxley and trained by John T. Ward Jr., she will be ridden by Jose Santos.
The field for the Sheepshead Bay:
1. Silent Cyrstal, Luzzi, 112
2. 2. Peanut Gallery, Chavez, 113
3. Mairnsky, Velazquez, 114
4. Sunstone, Castellano, 113
5. Decencia, Samyn, 113
6. Primetimevalentine, Migliore, 113
7. Lilac Queen, Bailey, 119
8. Snow Dance, Santos, 116
9. Owsley, Prado, 119
Call An Audible and Message Red could run if the race is moved from turf to dirt.