The grade I $250,000 Gazelle to be contested Saturday at 1 1/8 miles over the main track at Belmont Park marks the return of multiple grade I winner Fleet Renee. The daughter of Seattle Slew has not raced since winning Belmont's grade I Mother Goose on June 30 by 5 1/2 lengths.
Ashland Stakes (gr. I) winner Fleet Renee, who subsequently disappointed as the favorite in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), made amends for her Oaks performance with a 5 1/2-length victory in Saturday's $250,000 Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park.
Despite the defection of Kentucky Oaks winner Flute, Saturday's $250,000 Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park remains strong with 10 fillies vying to capture the middle leg of the "Triple Tiara."
Flute, winner of last month's Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), will not run in Saturday's Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park after popping an abscess in her right front at Hollywood Park and missing an important work.
Belmont Park's Triple Tiara series for 3-year-old fillies begins Friday with the 71st running of the one-mile, $200,000 Acorn Stakes (gr. I), which will likely feature Carl F. Pollard's champion Caressing. Caressing completed her major preparation for the Acorn with a five-furlong work over a fast track at Churchill Downs on Sunday.
Ask Bobby Frankel about Flute, and the 59-year-old trainer starts acting like a teen-ager in love. His eyes grow soft, his mouth stretches into a dopey smile, and his gruff voice turns into a warm purr. "What a sweetheart she is," Frankel said as he patted the friendly bay filly's nose one morning on the Churchill Downs backstretch. "She's a doll; she's my baby. Sometimes, I think she's almost human; she's so nice."
While the focus at Churchill Downs Sunday morning continued to be on the major contenders for the Kentucky Derby, there was more than normal attention devoted to the 3-year-old fillies that will compete in the May 4 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
Serena's Tune was installed as the 9-5 favorite in the $200,000 grade II Fantasy Stakes, to be run Friday, April 13 at Oaklawn Park. Serena's Tune is the daughter of Mr. Prospector and sophomore filly champion Serena's Tune. A field of 10 fillies will contest the Fantasy over 1 1/16 miles.
It took a giant leap of faith to see Fifty Stars as a contender in the $750,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II), much less the $43 winner. Looking down the barrel at Dollar Bill, Millennium Wind, and Hero's Tribute, the late running son of Quiet American was in deep water. Fifty Stars had not made a lasting impression in his two previous races. His late run in the Jan. 27 LeComte was good for fourth place, but three weeks later he took a step backward in the Risen Star with a dull fifth-place finish.
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