Clement Has Top Pair for Opening Belmont Stakes Weekend

(From track report)
In her first American start, Waterville Lake Stable's Mariensky ran admirably well. Starting from post eight in the July 29 Lake George, the Gulch filly was subject to a wide trip and some traffic problems, but only was beaten by a half-length in third.

Following that effort, trainer Christophe Clement said he would wait to run her in the $250,000 Garden City Breeders' Cup (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies at a nine furlongs Sept. 8.

Although Mariensky was nominated to a couple other spots at the Saratoga meet, Clement kept his word and will be running a fresh horse on the first weekend of the Belmont Fall Championship meet.

Mariensky ran seven times in France for Clement's brother, Nicolas, before coming over to the United States. She won twice as a 2-year-old, but is without a victory in 2002. Her last races in France were against Group I company in the Prix Saint-Alary and the French Oaks, in which she was fifth and sixth.

"She's doing great," Clement said. "She came back in good shape, she's trained well and she looks well."

Clement was upset that the temporary rail was up for the Lake George, thinking that because it was stakes race there would be not be one. The placement of the rail could have exacerbated Mariensky's ground loss in the Lake George.

"Belmont will be an easier place for her than here," Clement said. "It's a bigger track and it has bigger turns. It's a better track for her style."

Likely starters to face Mariensky in the Garden City are Cyclorama, Distant Valley, Lake George winner Nunatall, Riskaverse, Spring Star and Lake Placid winner Wonder Again.

Clement said he is likely to run Catherine Wills' Craigsteel in the $500,000 Man o' War (gr. IT) at 1 3/8 mile on turf the day before the Garden City. The Man o' War will be part Super Saturday, and a triple Grade 1 card that will also include the Gazelle and Woodward.

Seven-year-old Craigsteel's last race was a win over Man From Wicklow in the Cape Henlopen at Delaware July 21st.

"He's a true distance horse," Clement said. "He loves a soft turf course and you never know this time of year. They got a lot of rain the last couple days in New York; if they get anymore rain next week, maybe it will be on the soft side."

Blazing Fury, Lord Flasheart, Man From Wicklow, Paolini, Tobougg and With Anticipation are scheduled to compete in the Man o' War. Falcon Flight is a possibility.

Probable starters for the $250,000 Gazelle (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 mile are Bella Bellucci, Imperial Gesture, Jaramar Rain, Lost At Sea, Magic Storm, Nonsuch Bay, Take Charge Lady.

The $500,000 Woodward (gr. I) at 1 1/8 mile is coming up a short field at this point. E Dubai and Lido Palace are likely to run, according to Stakes Coordinator Andrew Byrnes.

E Dubai has missed training with a bruised foot and was also forced to miss the Saratoga Breeders' Cup.

Other possible starters for the Woodward include Baseball Champion, Cat's At Home and Snake Mountain.