Waquoit's Love, dismissed at odds 13-1 in Belmont Park's Noble Damsel (gr. IIIT) one month ago only to lose by a head to Criminologist, will get another crack at her nemesis in the $100,000 Athenia Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the turf Oct. 11.
Stuart S. Janney III and Phipps Stable's Criminologist, who easily won last year's Athenia on a yielding course, is the 120-pound high weight in a field of eight fillies and mares entered in the 1 1/16-mile event on the Widener course. The 5-year-old Maria’s Mon mare appears to like softer going and the condition of the turf course, with sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s predicted, could make a difference.
Firm ground would work to the advantage of Waquoit’s Love. She had the lead and appeared to be running comfortably in the stretch during the Sept. 13 Noble Damsel on soft going, but was tagged as she approached the wire.
“It was kind of a heart-breaking loss,” trainer Tim Hills said. “We had missed some time with her this spring because of a bruised hoof. She’s a big mare and it takes her a long time to get over something like that and get fit. The Noble Damsel was by far her best race this year, and I really think that the soft ground didn’t help her at all.”
Owned by Dennis J. Federico, Waquoit’s Love is a 5-year-old daughter of Not for Love who has shown some versatility in her career.
“She has won from off the pace and from far back,” Hill said. “The Noble Damsel was a paceless race, and she wound up on the lead. She was just galloping along there, and she put in a very good race.”
Jockey Cornelio Velasquez will have the mount in the Athenia and they will break from post 4 under 116 pounds. Criminologist, starting directly to her inside, will be piloted by Edgar Prado.
Darley Stable entered Criticism, a 4-year-old Machiavellian filly bred in Great Britain who has been racing in France for trainer Henri-Alex Pantall. She last competed Dec. 12, when she was 10th in the Prix Lyphard on the Polytrack at Deauville.
Jayeff B Stable’s Social Queen turns back in distance after a pair of fifth-place finishes. Trained by Alan Goldberg, the 4-year-old daughter of Dynaformer is undefeated at the Athenia distance.
Oh Deanne O and Marie Rossa, second and fourth, respectively, in Monmouth Park’s Revidere on Sept. 14, return here. Classic Neel, who exits a sixth-place finish in the Noble Damsel, joins them.
Completing the field is Sunshine for Life, a Giant's Causeway filly who has won two of four starts on the Belmont Park turf.
$100,000 Athenia Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 9, 5:15 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Oh Deanne O, 114, Joe Bravo
2. Criticism (GB), 116, Christopher P. DeCarlo
3. Criminologist (KY), 120, Edgar S. Prado
4. Waquoit's Love (MD), 116, Cornelio H. Velasquez
5. Classic Neel (KY), 113, Richard Migliore
6. Sunshine for Life (KY), 113, Channing Hill
7. Marie Rossa (GB), 113, Michael J. Luzzi
8. Social Queen (KY), 116, Rajiv Maragh