When Awesome Maria won impressively in last month’s Matron (gr. II), Stanley Hough said the juvenile filly should be even better going longer. The daughter of Maria's Mon will get a chance to prove her trainer right Oct. 10 when she headlines a field of seven in the $400,000 Frizette (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
Awesome Maria is the lone graded stakes winner in the one-mile Frizette, which offers the winner a berth in the $2-million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) Nov. 6 at Santa Anita. A co-headliner with the $400,000 Champagne (gr. I), the Frizette will go as race 8 on the Belmont card. Post time is slated for 4:43 p.m. EDT.
Owned by E. Paul Robsham Stables, Awesome Maria pressed the pace, took over at the top of the lane, and scored by 2 3/4 lengths in the seven-furlong Matron Sept. 19 at Belmont. That win came one race after the gray/roan filly romped by more than eight lengths when breaking her maiden in August at Saratoga.
Bred in Kentucky by Joyce Robsham and out of the Awesome Again mare Discreetly Awesome, Awesome Maria will once again be ridden by Cornelio Velasquez. They will break from post 4 as the 2-1 morning-line favorite.
“She’s a very good filly,” said Hough. “She shouldn’t have any problems with a mile, and I think she’ll go further. She’s not a real speed horse like Discreetly Mine (the Champagne-bound son of Pretty Discreet, whom Hough also trains); she’s more relaxed.”
Also coming out of the Matron are the second and third place finishers, respectively, Touching Beauty and Worship the Moon. Touching Beauty, a $235,000 2-year-old purchase, rallied nicely after a slow start in the Matron.
The other black-type winner in the field is Franny Freud, winner of Woodbine’s Ontario Debutante in August and the Lady Finger Stakes at Finger Lakes Sept. 7, both at six furlongs. The daughter of Freud was purchased privately by a team led by Paul Pompa Jr., shortly after she missed by a length in her stakes debut—the June 28 My Dear at Woodbine.
Bred in New York by Anthony Grey, Franny Freud is trained by John Terranova. She will be ridden by Channing Hill for the first time.
“You never know (if they’ll stretch out) until they do it, but she’s been training really well,” said Terranova. “I love the way she’s been training and I’m happy with the decision to stay home and race here.”
Among the Frizette starters who broke their maidens last out, the most impressive was Repole Stable’s Nonna Miss, who led from start to finish in a 12-length triumph going 5 1/2 furlongs at Belmont Sept. 20. The Bruce Levine trainee is a daughter of Empire Maker.
“It’s a big jump forward, but she was kind of impressive the day she broke her maiden,” said Levine. “She came out of the race really well."
$400,000 Frizette Stakes (gr. I, Race 8, 4:43 p.m.), 2YO Fillies, 1 Mile (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Annie's Melody (KY), C H Marquez Jr., 120, R E Nicks
2. Devil May Care (KY), J R Velazquez, 120, T A Pletcher
3. Nonna Mia (KY), R A Dominguez, 120, B N Levine
4. Awesome Maria (KY), C H Velasquez, 120, S M Hough
5. Touching Beauty (KY), E S Prado, 120, J A Jerkens
6. Franny Freud (NY), C Hill, 120, J P Terranova, II
7. Worship the Moon (FL), J Castellano, 120, M Shuman