Multiple graded stakes winner Mary's Follies, off for the past 11 months, will make her return in the $100,000 Athenia Stakes (gr. IIIT) Oct. 16 at Belmont Park.
A field of 11 and one main track only entry was drawn for the Athenia, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares. The program feature is scheduled to go to post at 4:43 p.m. EDT.
Purchased by Paul Pompa Jr. and transferred to the barn of Rick Dutrow Jr. off a victory in the 2009 Boiling Springs (gr. III) at Monmouth Park, Mary’s Follies finished second in an off-the-turf running of the grade III Lake George at Saratoga and sixth on the dirt in the Fitz Dixon Cotillion (gr. II) at Philadelphia Park in her first two starts for her new connections. Back on grass for the Mrs. Revere (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs in November, the bay filly kicked away to a 1 1/2-length victory before being sent to the sidelines.
The 4-year-old daughter of More Than Ready—Catch the Queen (by Miswaki) has been working steadily since mid-August in preparation for her comeback start.
“I never was targeting this race,” said Dutrow. “But I thought she was ready and I looked in the condition book and saw this race, and it seemed like a good spot. She’s been ready for a while.”
Mary’s Follies, the 9-2 third choice on the morning line, will be ridden by Kent Desormeaux.
Julien H. Richmond-Watson’s Tottie rallied from last of four to take an optional claimer on June 17 in her only start at Belmont. In the interim, the British import was third in the Matchmaker (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth on Aug. 1 before returning to prevail by a neck in the Omnibus Stakes at that venue on Aug. 21.
Trainer Chad Brown said he was originally considering the Scoot Stakes at Belmont on Oct. 20 for 4-year-old Tottie, but made a late decision to enter her in the Athenia instead.
“At the last second I decided to send her because she was training so well,” said Brown.“We’re very happy with her so far. She’s won four of six starts here and has adjusted well.”
In the Athenia, Tottie will be cutting back from 1 3/8 miles, but Brown is confident Tottie is just as formidable at 1 1/16 miles.
“She should be fine,” said Brown. “She’s already won at this distance. With the cut back, she should be a little closer to the pace.”
Tottie, tabbed as the 7-2 second choice on the morning line, will leave from post 5 with Jose Lezcano aboard.
Strike the Bell seeks her second stakes victory of the meet, having won the Noble Damsel (gr. IIIT) on Sept. 19. Earlier in the year, the 4-year-old was second by a head in the July 4 Miss Liberty at Monmouth and sixth in the Ballston Spa Handicap (gr. IIT) at Saratoga on Aug. 28.
“She’s doing well and obviously she runs well here,” said David Donk, who trains Strike the Bell for Rising Star Stables. “The mile and a sixteenth here is still a semi one-turn race and some pace would obviously help. She’ll run on any kind of course and she’s done well out of her last race.”
Alex Solis has the call aboard Strike the Bell, the 3-1 morning-line favorite.
$100,000 Athenia Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 8, 4:43 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Giant Mover (VA), D Cohen, 120, T A Pletcher
2. Mary's Follies (KY), K J Desormeaux, 120, R E Dutrow Jr.
3. Trix in the City (KY), C Hill, 116, R A Violette Jr.
4. Miss Catalyst (KY), M J Luzzi, 116, T A Pletcher
5. Tottie (GB), J Lezcano, 123, C C Brown
6. Exquisite (NZ), J L Espinoza, 118, J P Terranova II
7. Eye of Taurus (KY), E Castro, 120, K P McLaughlin
8. Darjeeling (KY), C H Velasquez, 116, S M Asmussen
9. Missit (IRE), R Maragh, 116, R L Attfield
10. Way With Words (NJ), J F Chavez, 120, M E Eppler
11. Strike the Bell (KY), A O Solis, 123, D G Donk
12. McVictory (KY) (MTO), 118, T A Pletcher