Coffee Clique
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Coffee Clique
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Coglianese Photos/Chelsea Durand

Coffee Clique Seeks Just a Game Repeat

Coffee Clique, Ball Dancing head strong field going one mile over Belmont grass.

Ten older fillies and mares will try the Belmont Park turf course going one mile in the $700,000 Longines Just a Game Stakes (gr. I) June 6 on the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) undercard.

Amerman Racing's Coffee Clique will attempt to defend her crown from a year ago, when she won a thrilling edition of the race by a nose. She was in top form then, taking the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Stakes (gr. IIT) just before the Just a Game.

"She won it last year and we're really hoping she can come back and do that again," said trainer Brian Lynch. "It's a big weekend for us and her race is a grade I on a very big day. It's always nice to ring the bell on the big day."

The 5-year-old daughter of Medaglia d'Oro  has placed in two stakes starts this season, finishing second in the Honey Fox Stakes (gr. IIT) at Gulfstream Park in March and second in this year's Churchill Distaff Turf Mile to Tepin, who she faces back in the Just A Game.

John Velazquez rides from post 4 as part of a 123-pound co-highweight impost.

That weight assignment is shared with Ball Dancing, who looms a major threat off a victory in the Jenny Wiley Stakes (gr. IT) at Keeneland this April. The 4-year-old Exchange Rate daughter has strutted her stuff for trainer Chad Brown at Belmont as well, winning last year's Sands Point Stakes (gr. IIT).

NOVAK: Ball Dancing Surges to Jenny Wiley Score

Ball Dancing posted strong seconds in the Hillsborough Stakes (gr. IIIT) behind Stephanie's Kitten, and in last year's Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (gr. IT) at Keeneland. She is also a stakes winner in France. Javier Castellano rides from post 8.

"She hasn't run since the Jenny Wiley, but she's training very well," said Brown. "I don't think the cut back to a mile will bother her, we cut her back successfully to 1 1/16 miles in the Jenny Wiley, and she should be able to cut back a touch further."

Five-year-old Discreet Marq is a seven-time stakes winner and millionaire who is coming off a victory at Belmont in the May 9 Beauguay Stakes (gr. IIIT) for trainer Christophe Clement. She also won the Sands Point in 2013 as well as that year's Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT). Discreet Marq finished fourth in last year's Just a Game and this year departs the 3 hole under Irad Ortiz Jr.

LEWYN: Discreet Marq Runaway Beaugay Winner

Filimbi, a homebred for Juddmonte Farms out of the brilliant race mare Flute, ran second to Ball Dancing in the Jenny Wiley following a fifth in the Hillsborough Stakes. Last year the 5-year-old daughter of Mizzen Mast  took the Goldikova Stakes (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Park for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. She is also a stakes winner in France.

Tepin enters off a pair of victories, having won an allowance/optional claiming heat at Gulfstream Park in March before taking the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile. The 4-year-old Bernstein filly also won the 2013 Delta Downs Princess Stakes (gr. III).

J Wonder has done her best running overseas, winning group III events in both Dubai and England. She ran fourth in the Beauguay and third in a Keeneland allowance contest in April for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey.

Photo Call, a 4-year-old daughter of Galileo who races for Graham Motion, will be tested for class here. She won a one-mile allowance race at Keeneland last October and ran second in the Beauguay and sixth in the March 28 Orchid Stakes (gr. IIIT).

Irish-bred Sandiva won last year's Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes (Eng-III) and won the Feb. 7 Suwannee River Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park. She ran second in the Honey Fox and third in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile, one position in front of Lady Lara.

Lady Lara won the Honey Fox over Sandiva and Coffee Clique and also won last October's Pebbles Stakes at Belmont.

Baffle Me has won several stakes, none of them graded. She does love Belmont, however, winning the 2012 Banner Gala Stakes, and 2013 Jazzy Stakes and Finney Stakes over the layout.

Entries: Longines Just a Game S. (G1T)

Belmont Park, Saturday, June 06, 2015, Race 8

  • Grade IT
  • 1m
  • Turf
  • $700,000
  • 4 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
  • 4:00 PM (local)
11Lady Lara (IRE)Junior Alvarado121William I. Mott-
22Sandiva (IRE)Mike E. Smith115Todd A. Pletcher-
33Discreet Marq (NY)Irad Ortiz, Jr.117Christophe Clement-
44Coffee Clique (KY)John R. Velazquez123Brian A. Lynch-
55Baffle Me (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduatePaco Lopez113Mark A. Hennig-
66Filimbi (KY)Joel Rosario117William I. Mott-
77J Wonder (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJose Lezcano113Claude R. McGaughey III-
88Ball Dancing (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJavier Castellano123Chad C. Brown-
99Tepin (KY)Julien R. Leparoux121Mark E. Casse-
1010Photo Call (IRE)Keeneland Sales GraduateRajiv Maragh113H. Graham Motion-