Athenia: Belle Allure Due for U.S. Stakes Win

Irish-bred filly among seven entered for for Belmont Park make-up race Oct. 21.

(from Belmont Park release)

Ronchalon Stable’s Irish-bred Belle Allure looks for her first U.S. stakes win in the $100,000 Athenia (gr. IIIT) Oct. 21 going 1 1/16 miles over the Belmont Park turf course. Originally carded for Oct. 17, the race was moved when inclement weather forced racing off the grass in New York this weekend.

Belle Allure, a 4-year-old daughter of Numerous, won her first start after being transferred to the barn of trainer Christophe Clement in an allowance race at Belmont on May 21 at the Athenia distance. She made her next start in the 1 1/4-mile Donor Stakes on July 22, finishing third. In her most recent try, the Voodoo Dancer Stakes at Saratoga on Sept. 4, she got up late for second behind Leamington.

“She’s been a touch unlucky through the year,” Clement said.  “She had a very nice win in the allowance, I think the mile and one quarter (in the Donor) was a little bit further than we should have gone, and the race in Saratoga was strange in that there was no pace and the horse on the lead won.”

A group III winner in France at Longchamp, Belle Allure has a 3-1-1 record from 12 lifetime starts, and Clement feels she is ready for a graded win.

“She keeps trying and she’s never run a bad race,” Clement said.  “She deserves to win a graded race.”

Clement also has entered Cable in her first stakes off a short rest following her fourth-place finish in an allowance contest at the Meadowlands on Oct. 5. The 4-year-old Dynaformer filly has made only five career starts – four at 1 1/16 miles – with a record of 2-1-1.

Another looking for her first stakes win in the Athenia is Gerald McManis and Joyce Young’s Kristi With a K. In 13 lifetime starts, the 4-year-old Petitionville filly has never been worse than fourth and comes into the Athenia off an allowance win at Saratoga going a mile on the turf on Sept. 3.

“She was beaten in an overnight stakes by a nose,” said Robin Smullen, assistant to trainer Barclay Tagg. “She tries very, very hard and she’s finally learning to relax. The whole family gets better with age, especially (offspring of sire) Petionville. This is her last start of the year, and if we can get a graded stakes in her it will help her value as a broodmare. We’ll bring her back next year.”

Kristi With a K gets the services of jockey Jose Lezcano for the first time. The pair will break from post position No. 7.

Returning to defend her 2008 Athenia title while looking for her first win this year is Sunshine for Life. After last year’s race, the Richard Schosberg trainee went on to run fourth in the Long Island Handicap (gr. IIIT) on Nov. 1, and did not start again until the Beaugay (gr. IIIT) at Belmont on May 2, when she also ran fourth. The Athenia will be her first start since a pair of sixth-place finishes in July in the Miss Liberty Stakes at Monmouth and the Donor.

Completing the field are Live Oak Plantation’s Namaste's Wish, an allowance winner at the Meadowlands on Oct. 1; Rollicking Affair, making her first start on turf and exiting a win in the H.B.P.A Stakes on the Tapeta surface at Presque Isle Downs for trainer Christopher Progno; and Linda and Robert Newton’s Miss Lombardi, a 7-year-old mare making only her third start of the year following a 2 ½-length allowance score at Penn National.

Tidal Dance and Don't Forget Gil are entered for the main track only. 

$100,000 Athenia Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 8, 4:45 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Miss Lombardi (MD), J Rose, 116, H G Motion
2. Rollicking Affair (VA), D G Whitney, 116, C Progno
3. Sunshine for Life (KY), J R Velazquez, 120, R E Schosberg
4. Belle Allure (IRE), R A Dominguez, 120, C Clement
5. Namaste's Wish (KY), J Bravo, 116, W I Mott
6. Cable (KY), C H Velasquez, 116, C Clement
7. Kristi With a K (KY), J Lezcano, 116, B Tagg,
Main Track Only
8. Don't Forget Gil (NY), R A Dominguez, 120, M A Hennig
9. Tidal Dance (FL), no rider, 118, M E Hushion