If Quiet Meadow can pull off a win in the $100,000 Noble Damsel (gr. IIIT) Sept. 19 at Belmont Park, it would do much to ease the sting her connections felt after the mare’s nose defeat to Rutherienne in the one-mile turf race last year.
“That was a tough beat,” recalled Chad Brown, who trains Quiet Meadow for Hidden Brook Farm and Dan Zucker. “I’ve never been in a photo that close in my life where there wasn’t a dead heat.”
Following that near-miss, the daughter of El Prado was sent to the Las Palmas Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita in November, where she finished fourth behind Tuscan Evening.
Freshened over the winter, 5-year-old Quiet Meadow will make her fourth start of the year in the Noble Damsel, following a trio of strong efforts this spring and summer, including a pair of narrow losses in graded stakes company.
“This year I think her races have been pretty good,” Brown said. “She’s run with some pretty nice horses and she seems to show up for us every time. She’s a pleasure to have around.”
In her most recent start, Quiet Meadow finished a half-length behind Unbridled Essence in the Matchmaker (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth Park on Aug. 1. Prior to that she was third in the Dr. James Penny Memorial Handicap at Philadelphia Park July 5, and missed by a half-length in the Gallorette (gr. IIIT) at Pimlico on May 15, her first start of 2010. Brown said he hopes to see her stalk the pace in Sunday’s race, where she will shorten up to a mile for the first time since the Las Palmas.
“Her owners are also breeders, and the difference between a graded stakes placing and a graded win means a lot to this filly residually,” Brown said. “If we could somehow win this race on Sunday, the loss last year wouldn’t be so bad.”
Jose Lezcano has the call aboard the 3-1 morning-line favorite, who will break from post 4. She was bred in Florida by Arthur Appleton.
Seven other fillies and mares were entered, including Strike the Bell, who will attempt to bounce back from a sixth-place finish in the Ballston Spa Handicap (gr. IIT) at Saratoga on Aug. 28. Trainer David Donk believes the filly, who has made her last four starts at 1 1/16 miles, will relish the reduction in distance.
“This is a good spot; it shortens her back up to one turn,” Donk said. “She was a lot farther back off the pace than I thought she’d be in the Ballston Spa. She made up a lot of ground, but it was just too much to do on that course. I think she’s a seven-eighths-to-a-mile specialist anyway.”
Owned by Rising Star Stables, the daughter of Mizzen Mast finished second by a head to Maram in the Miss Liberty Stakes at Monmouth on July 4, and won a 1 1/16-mile turf allowance over the same oval on May 30.
Ramon Dominguez will ride the 4-1 morning-line third choice from the rail.
Also exiting the Ballston Spa is fifth-place finisher Scolara, who earlier in the year finished second to Dynaslew in the Beaugay (gr. IIIT) on May 1 at Belmont. The Ballston Spa was the mare’s first race off a brief layoff following her fourth-place effort in the Dr. James Penny Memorial.
John Velazquez has the call aboard the 7-2 morning-line second choice from post 6.
$100,000 Noble Damsel (gr. IIIT, Race 9, 5:15 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 Mile (Turf) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Strike the Bell (KY), R A Dominguez, 118, D G Donk
2. C. S. Silk (KY), M J Luzzi, 118, D L Romans
3. Chestoria (NY), D Cohen, 118, W Badgett Jr.
4. Quiet Meadow (FL), J Lezcano, 116, C C Brown
5. Kristi With a K (KY), J L Espinoza, 116 B Tagg
6. Scolara (FL), J R Velazquez, 118, W I Mott
7. Sweeter Still (IRE), C H Velasquez, 118, M J Trombetta
8. Meriwether Jessica (NY), A Garcia, 118, R A Violette Jr.