by Karen M. Johnson
Trainer Bobby Frankel said Sept. 25 he would likely run Ginger Punch, a back-to-back grade I winner in New York, in the Sept. 30 Beldame (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
After Ginger Punch worked a half-mile in 47.64 seconds on Belmont’s fast main track Sept. 25, Frankel said: “Right now, I think I am going to run. She went very well in the work. The work swayed me a lot (in deciding to run).”
Ginger Punch, arguably the leader of the older filly and mare division, will be the likely favorite in the $600,000 Beldame at 1 1/8 miles on the dirt. Jockey Rafael Bejarano, the 4-year-old’s regular rider in her races, was aboard for the work, the fifth-fastest of 33 works at the distance.
If Frankel skipped the Beldame, he would have trained the filly up to the Oct. 27 Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) at Monmouth Park. Ginger Punch will have to be supplemented for $180,000 to run in the Breeders’ Cup.
In her last three starts, Ginger Punch, owned by her breeder, Stronach Stables, won the Ruffian (gr. I) at Belmont, Go for Wand (gr. I) at Saratoga, and First Flight (gr. II) at Belmont. Earlier this year at Belmont, Ginger Punch was second in the Ogden Phipps (gr. I).
With her victory in the Go for Wand, Ginger Punch earned an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff under the new format, “Win and You’re In.” The Beldame also is a “Win and You’re In”-designated race.
The Frankel-trained Argentina is a definite for $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. I) Sept. 29 at Belmont. On Sept. 23, Argentina worked six furlongs in 1:14.51 on the inner turf at Belmont. In her last start, Argentina was second to My Typhoon in the Diana (gr. I) at Saratoga. It was Argentina’s first race since she finished fifth in last year’s Flower Bowl.
Other Frankel runners scheduled to run in New York this weekend are First Defence in the Sept. 30 Vosburgh (gr. I) and Art Master in the Sept. 29 Kelso (gr. IIT). First Defence worked a half-mile in 48.24, the fourth-fastest of 30 works on Belmont’s main track Sept. 24.