Game Face and Any Limit have developed a nice little rivalry, and the two foes will meet for the fourth time this year when they do battle in the $150,000 Vagrancy Handicap (gr. II) on May 24 at Belmont Park.
A 6 1/2-furlong sprint on the main track, the Vagrancy drew only five horses. It is carded as race 4 on the 10-race Belmont program. Post time is set for 2:40 p.m. EDT.
Though they have seen quite a bit of each other through the first half of the season, Game Face and Any Limit are quite different, both in age and running style. Game Face, owned by Zabeel Racing International and trained by Todd Pletcher, is a 4-year-old Menifee filly who prefers to sit just off the pace. Joseph Shields Jr.’s homebred Any Limit, a 6-year-old Limit Out mare trained by Allen Jerkens, is a frontrunner whose best races have come when she has taken rivals gate-to-wire.
The rivalry began back in January in the Old Hat (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park when Game Face took over from Any Limit at the top of the stretch and went on to win by 2 3/4 lengths. Any Limit returned the favor a month later over the same strip when going all the way in the Hurricane Bertie (gr. III), besting runner-up Game Face by 1 1/4 lengths. In the rubber match, the March 15 Inside Information (gr. II), Game Face once again pulled away from her rival in upper stretch and won going away. It was the fourth graded stakes score for Game Face, who has produced a solid 6-3-2 mark from 12 starts.
Since the Inside Information, Game Face has raced once, finishing sixth in the Humana Distaff (gr. I) on Kentucky Derby day at Churchill Downs.
Bred in Kentucky by Marilyn Seltzer, Game Face, who is also entered for the My Juliet Stakes at Philadelphia Park on May 23, is out of the Gone West mare Galleon of Gold. Regular rider John Velazquez will be aboard once again.
Any Limit, who has not raced since the Inside Information, turned in a bullet work for Jerkens at Belmont on May 19. Out of the Forty Niner mare Clandestinely, the more experienced Any Limit has produced a 9-3-5 record from 26 starts. She has five graded stakes wins to her credit. Cornelio Velasquez stays in the irons.
Other challengers include Carolyn's Cat and Porte Bonheur, who each have a single graded stakes on their résumés. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Carolyn’s Cat won the Cicada (gr. III) at Aqueduct last year, but is winless in three starts this season. Porte Bonheur scored the Victory Ride (gr. III) at Saratoga in 2008 and closed her campaign with a win in the Ontario Fashion Stakes over the Woodbine Polytrack in November. She has not raced this season.
Rounding out the short field is Are We Dreamin, a 5-year-old mare who finished a distant second to Seattle Smooth in the Bed o’ Roses Handicap (gr. II) two starts back.
$150,000 Vagrancy Handicap (gr. II, Race 4, 2:40 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 6 1/2 Furlongs (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. Are We Dreamin (FL), R Maragh, 112, R Persaud
2. Carolyn's Cat (KY), A Garcia, 115, K P McLaughlin
3. Porte Bonheur (KY), R Dominguez, 116, D P Duggan
4. Game Face (KY,), J R Velazquez, 122, T A Pletcher
5. Any Limit (KY), C Velasquez, 121, H A Jerkens