Juddmonte Farms' Etoile Montante, nipped by the narrowest of noses in her last start, could be the slight favorite when nine go to the post in Saturday's $250,000 Just a Game Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares on the Belmont Park turf.
Part of the outstanding Belmont Stakes card, the one-mile Just a Game goes as the eighth race on the program.
Etoile Montante, the 3-5 favorite in the Argent Mortgage Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIIT) on the Churchill Downs sod May 1, appeared to have the race well in hand in deep stretch. But 19-1 Shaconage squeezed through at the hedge and won by the barest margin.
Alex Solis will take over for Jerry Bailey aboard the Kentucky-bred 4-year-old daughter of Miswaki
, who is trained by Bobby Frankel. Etoile Montante, a group I winner against 3-year-old males in France, will carry high weight of 121 pounds.
Bailey is aboard another Frankel trainee, Intercontinental (118 pounds), who won the Jenny Wiley (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland April 18. Intercontinental was third to Etoile Montante in the Prix de la Foret (Fr-I).
Another French import, Dedication, returns to action less than a week after taking second behind Multiple Choice in the May 30 Jaipur Handicap (gr. IIIT) against males at Belmont. The winner of the Beaugay Handicap (gr. IIIT) in her previous start, she shortened up for a tightener in Jaipur and very nearly won while experiencing a rough trip.
Etoile Montante defeated the 5-year-old French-bred mare Dedication by a half-length in the Las Cienegas Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita in April.
Pat Day is aboard the millionaire Riskaverse, who won the Cardinal Handicap (gr. IIIT) in November. $250,000 Just a Game Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) fillies & mares 3 & up, one mile on turf
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Intercontinental (GB), 118, Jerry D. Bailey
2. Coney Kitty (IRE), 114, Jose A. Santos
3. Etoile Montante (KY), 121, Alex O. Solis
4. Dedication (FR), 117, Javier Castellano
5. Caught in the Rain (PA), 112, Jorge F. Chavez
6. Wonder Again (KY), 116, Edgar S. Prado
7. Vanguardia (ARG), 113, John R. Velazquez
8. Riskaverse (KY), 118, Pat Day
9. Fast Cookie (KY), 113, Cornelio H. Velasquez