Stonestreet Stables' homebred Dreaming of Julia romped by an eye-popping 16
1/4 lengths in Sunday's $83,300
Star Stakes at Belmont Park, serving up a ferocious case of
what-might-have-been. Exactly one week ago, the smashing debut winner had been
withdrawn from last Sunday's Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga, where her
entrymate Teen Pauline could do no better than a tiring third. The unambiguous
result of the Meadow Star begs the question of how Dreaming of Julia would have
handled the Spinaway.
Dreaming of Julia was bred to be a star, as a daughter of A.P. Indy and multiple Grade 1 heroine Dream Rush, and the Todd Pletcher juvenile is already promising to live up to her pedigree. A 10 1/2-length debut winner at the Spa on August 6, she has now won her two starts by 26 3/4 lengths combined.
The undefeated filly was bet down to 1-5 favoritism in the Meadow Star, and hardly gave her supporters a moment of concern. After leisurely taking her time to get into stride from the gate, the bay began to get into her inexorable rhythm, and the rest were soon in trouble.
Dreaming of Julia effortlessly drew up along the rail, and was just a head behind the pacesetter Fully Living through an opening quarter in :23. Smoothly taking over by a half-length by the time she reached a half-mile in :46 1/5, Dreaming of Julia was under a snug hold from John Velazquez. Fully Living was already put into a drive on the far turn, and the others were beginning to fall behind.
Velazquez gave Dreaming of Julia the mildest of signals, and his mount immediately took the hint. She opened up by four lengths at the six-furlong mark in 1:11, and still appearing unextended, her piston-like strides carried her ever farther ahead. Dreaming of Julia built up an 8 1/2-length margin in midstretch and nearly doubled it inside the final furlong, ultimately completing the mile on the good track in 1:36 2/5.
"Very nice, very easy," Velazquez summed up. "She's actually a little better than the first time I rode her. She's a little bit more (focused) on what she needs to do. I didn't do very much warm-up, obviously, going a mile. I didn't want to be on her mouth the whole time.
"She broke a little slow, got into the rhythm right away and just kind of held it together. She just goes through the motions like nothing is happening; hopefully she'll continue doing that."
"That was good," assistant trainer Michael McCarthy said in a spirit of understatement. "She obviously ran up to expectations. Todd was very bullish on her coming down here, very confident this morning when I spoke to him on the phone, but I don't think you expect to win by as far as she did. It's nice to see her get this one out of the way and stretch out a little bit to a flat mile. It certainly doesn't look like she'll have any distance limitations."
The remainder of the field was strung out like steeplechasers. Fully Living, the 5-2 second choice, crossed the wire 12 1/4 lengths clear of Over the Counter, who was 12 3/4 lengths up on Amethyst. Colorful Image brought up the rear another 25 lengths back.
Dreaming of Julia, who paid $2.60, $2.10 and $2.10 for her virtual workout, has now bankrolled $99,000. She led every step of the way en route to her debut romp sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs, and the Meadow Star served as a course-and-distance stepping stone to the Grade 1 Frizette on October 6.
"She looks really good," Barbara Banke of Stonestreet Stables said.
"Frizette, we hope," she added of their plans. "Education is good for her. She's a big, classy filly. I think she stretches out nicely. We were hoping she'd win (as easily as the first time) but it's horse racing. They're two-year-olds, and it's only her second start."
The Kentucky-bred is the first foal from Dream Rush, a daughter of Wild Again who scored in the Grade 1 Test, Grade 1 Prioress, Grade 2 Nassau County, Grade 3 Old Hat and the Minaret Stakes. She also placed in a quartet of stakes, highlighted by the Grade 1 Acorn and Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap.
Dreaming of Julia's fifth dam is multiple Group/Grade 2 queen Reine Mathilde.