Balletto, Play With Fire Meet Again in Frizette

Darley Stable's Balletto and Gary Zweling's Play with Fire face off again in Saturday's 57th running of the Frizette Stakes (gr. I) for 2-year-old fillies at Belmont.

Balletto and Play With Fire last met in the Matron (gr. I) at Belmont Sept. 19. Balletto finished second a length behind unbeaten Sense of Style, with Play at Fire just another three-quarters back in third.

Balletto, bred in the United Arab Emirates by Darley, owns two victories and a second from three starts. Trained by Tom Albertrani, she broke her maiden July 18 at Belmont, and then shipped to Saratoga for an entry-level allowance score.

Corey Nakatani will be aboard Balletto, who gets her fourth different jockey in as many starts.

Balletto's first two races were at 5 1/2 and 6 1/2 furlongs. Even when stretched out to a mile for the Matron, the juvenile filly seemed to have little problem handling the extra ground.

"I would imagine with a little bit more distance, she should improve," Albertrani said of his filly. "I believe she's going to improve and mature as she runs. She certainly has gotten better with each start."

Balletto has shown versatility.

"She showed she could run off a fast pace at Saratoga and could run off a slow pace in the Matron," Albertrani said. "Having a clean trip will be key Saturday."

Balletto is by 1994 juvenile champion Timber Country out of the Nijinsky II mare Destiny Dance. Balletto's sire won the 1994 Champagne and Breeders' Cup Juvenile, and the 1995 Preakness (all gr. I). Destiny Dance scored her lone stakes win in the 1990 Sheepshead Bay (gr. IIT).

Trained by Mark Hennig, Play With Fire broke her maiden first time out, then finished third in the Spinaway (gr. II) and Matron behind Sense of Style.

The 1 1/16-mile distance of the Frizette could be a question for Play With Fire. Her dam, Realm, won both of her races in routes. Her sire Boundary went six-for-eight in sprints with a pair of grade III wins in 1994.

Claiborne Farm bred Play With Fire in Kentucky.

Sis City will be making her Frizette start off a 16-length win in the $60,000 Mongo Queen Stakes at Monmouth.

Owner Sanford Goldfarb and trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. claimed Sis City for $50,000 out of a Saratoga maiden race in which the filly won by a nose in her third career start. She was winless against maiden special weights in two runs at Churchill Downs this spring.

"My sheets guy liked her line, plus she's bred for distance," Dutrow said of the filly whose sire, Slew City Slew, won all his races in routes and scored in the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. I) and Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. I).

Sis City, bred by Heiligbrodt Racing Stable in Kentucky, has been on or near the lead in all four starts.

"I was very happy with her race at Monmouth," Dutrow said. "She won all the way on the lead in that race, but I'm not sure she needs the lead. She had a pretty easy lead at Saratoga, but it looked like she was folding late."

Dutrow realizes Sis City will face a much stiffer test, but the trainer is willing to take a shot.

"We've got nothing to lose by trying this," Dutrow said. "It's not a tough race and our filly is coming off a big race."

Eibar Coa, who rode Sis City at Monmouth, will be aboard Saturday.

Comedian, J P Jewel, Reid's Gal, Darn That Girl, and Shebeongstoyou round out the field.

Frizette Stakes (gr. I), $500,000, 1 1/16 miles 2-year-olds and up, 120 pounds, Belmont, Saturday, Oct. 9

PP -- Horse, Trainer, Jockey
1 -- Balletto, Tom Albertrani, Corey Nakatani
2 -- Sis City, Richard Dutrow Jr., Eibar Coa
3 – Shebelongstoyou, Kelly Breen, Joe Bravo
4 -- J P Jewel, Nick Zito, Javier Castellano
5 -- Play With Fire, Mark Hennig, Pablo Fragoso
6 -- Darn That Girl, Richard Violette Jr., Cornelio Velasquez
7 – Comacina, Patrick Biancone, Tony Farina
8 -- Ready's Gal, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez