Julie's Love, whose last appearance was in early April at Gulfstream Park, heads a field of nine older fillies and mares in Belmont Park's Noble Damsel Stakes (gr. IIIT) Sept. 13. The $200,000 race at one mile on the Widener Turf Course, shares the bill with the $500,000 Sands Point Stakes (gr. IIT) for 3-year-old fillies.
Recent grade III winner Medea is the 123-pound highweight under the allowance conditions of the Noble Damsel, but it is Julie's Love who has a win over the inner turf course and has a slight class edge having knocked heads against graded foes in three of her past four starts.
Julie's Love, a 6-year-old British-bred mare by Ad Valorem—Skimmia, by Mark of Esteem, is trained by Graham Motion for owners Bobby Flay, Irving Cowan, and Barry Weisbord. The celebrity chef Flay is riding a hot streak with his Thoroughbred holdings of late, selling a pair of yearlings for seven-figures each during Book One of the Keeneland September yearling sale.
Second in Dance Smartly Stakes (Can-IIT) at Woodbine and fourth in the Sheepshead Bay Stakes (gr. IIT) and Matchmaker Stakes (gr. IIIT) last year, Julie's Love has clicked off a steady pattern of works at Fair Hill. Last year she landed the Owsley Stakes at 1 1/4 miles at Belmont under Alan Garcia. Jose Ortiz has the mount for the Noble Damsel.
A pair exiting the De La Rose Stakes at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 2 bear watching here.
Siena Farm's Alaura Michele (by Arch) was on the front end of the one-mile De La Rose before fading at the Spa, but was a solid third behind Assateague prior at Parx Racing in the Dr. James Penny Memorial Stakes (gr. IIIT).
Lee Lewis' Baffle Me (by First Samurai ) came from off the pace in the De La Rose to finish fourth. Trained by Mark Hennig, Baffle Me won a pair of seven-furlong stakes over the course last fall.
Medea won the June 21 Eatontown Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth Park, but was seventh in her follow up July 21 in the Matchmaker on the Jersey Shore. By Danehill Dancer out of Scoop of Gold, by Giant's Causeway , the Cornerstone Thoroughbreds' mare sports a 3-2-3 mark from 10 turf outings.
The 2013 Vanity Handicap (gr. I) winner Byrama, who has not started since early June in the Intercontinental Stakes at Belmont, is one not to be taken lightly. John Velazquez has the mount for trainer Bill Mott. Belmont Park, Saturday, September 13, 2014, Race 7
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1Byrama (GB) John R. Velazquez 116 William I. Mott - 2 2Alaura Michele (KY) Joe Bravo 118 Todd A. Pletcher - 3 3Devilish Love (PA) Angel Castillo 116 Anthony W. Dutrow - 4 4Love Train (KY) Joel Rosario 116 Christophe Clement - 5 5Tokyo Time (KY) Javier Castellano 118 Claude R. McGaughey III - 6 6Annecdote (GB) Irad Ortiz, Jr. 118 Christophe Clement - 7 7Medea (IRE) Jose Lezcano 123 Francis Abbott, III - 8 8Julie's Love (GB) Jose L. Ortiz 118 H. Graham Motion - 9 9Baffle Me (KY) Rajiv Maragh 118 Mark A. Hennig -
Belmont Park, Saturday, September 13, 2014, Race 7