Cindy Could Impact Contrast in Prioress

(from Belmont Park report)
Trainer Alan Goldberg has a big shot in Saturday's $250,000 Prioress (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park with his undefeated Contrast. But with Tropical Storm Cindy expected to dump three inches of rain in the area by Friday night, he's got a decision to make.

"We'll see what happens over the next couple of days," Goldberg said while approaching the six-furlong Prioress. "I don't really want to run her over a wet, drying out track if I don't have to."

It's easy to understand why Goldberg won't want to take any chances with Jayeff B Stables' Contrast. The daughter of Unbridled has been ultra-impressive in a pair of starts, albeit against significantly easier company.

In her debut on May 7 at Delaware Park, Contrast won by four lengths going six furlongs in 1:11 4/5. The time does not seem too fast, but the track was slow that day at Delaware. Against winners for the first time, the filly towered over an entry-level allowance field in the first race on Belmont Stakes Day and ran away to a popular 2-5 victory.

For Jayeff B and Goldberg, Contrast is special not only because she is undefeated, but also because they campaigned 1989 Champion Sprinter Safely Kept, the dam of Contrast. Safely Kept won eight of nine starts in 1989, including a 3 ¾-length triumph in the Prioress. The next year, Safely Kept won the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Belmont Park when Dayjur jumped a shadow in deep stretch.

"She's a really good filly," Goldberg said of Contrast. "She's a little inexperienced compared with the bunch that she'd run against."

Contrast could engage Talented in a speed duel. Talented has been on the lead in all three of her starts.

Talented is one of two fillies entered by trainer Todd Pletcher. Sent off the 3-5 favorite in her first race at Gulfstream March 21, the daughter of 2000 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Fusaichi Pegasus  led most of the way before yielding to For All We Know, who is now undefeated in three starts.

Since her debut, Talented has cruised to easy victories, breaking her maiden at Keeneland by eight lengths as the 1-5 choice and taking the Twist Afleet at Belmont in May by six lengths at odds of 2-5.

Padua Stables owns Talented while Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith have interest in Maddalena, a filly that looked so impressive in a pair of wins at Gulfstream over the winter, but has not run her best race since taking the Old Hat (gr. III) on Feb. 5. She did win the Legal Light at Delaware April 30, but not impressively. Maddalena failed to fire in the Miss Preakness as the 3-2 favorite over a sloppy sealed racetrack, a surface she could get again Saturday.

Arthur Hancock's Burnish has won her last two races over a sloppy track, so her connections wouldn't mind if the track were wet Saturday. The daughter of Menifee appears to be ascending to the top of her game.

Sense of Style looked as if she could be one of the best fillies in her age group last year when she went undefeated in her first three starts, including stakes wins in the Spinaway (gr. II) and Matron (gr. I). She failed to hit the board in a pair of starts around two turns last year, but made her 2005 debut going a mile and 70 yards in the Revidere at Monmouth, missing by a nose. When she turns back to six furlongs Saturday, she will be running shorter than she ever has.

"I think she has a lack of stamina," said Patrick Biancone, who trains the filly for Smith and Tabor, who will be coupled with Maddalena. "She won the Spinaway by 6 ¾ lengths at seven furlongs, but only won the Matron at one mile by a length."

$250,000 Prioress (gr. I), 3-year-old fillies, 6 furlongs
1. a-Sense of Style, Patrick Biancone, Edgar Prado, 121
2. R Fast Lady, Eoin Harty, Richard Migliore, 119
3. Acey Ducey, John Morrison, Diane Nelson, 119
4. a-Maddalena, Todd Pletcher, Eibar Coa, 119
5. Contrast, Alan Goldberg, Stewart Elliott, 117
6. Burnish, Nick Zito, Rafael Bejarano, 119
7. Slew Motion, Juan Rodriguez, Rudy Rodriguez, 115
8. Talented, Todd Pletcher, Javier Castellano, 115
a-Tabor/Smith-owned entry