The Eclipse Award winning trainer, who will be looking for his first win of the Belmont meet, will unleash Dorthy Matz's Atelier and Ogden Phipps' Country Hideaway on four rivals. Atelier will make her third start of the season. A stakes winner as a 3-year-old last year, the Deputy Minister filly is undefeated in two starts so far this year. She won a Gulfstream allowance on March 12, and then came back less than three weeks later in the grade III Next Move Handicap at Aqueduct. Country Hideaway has done her best work at distances up to one mile. A multiple graded stakes winner last year, the Seeking the Gold mare won her 2001 debut at Gulfstream before finishing third in the grade II Distaff Breeders' Cup Handicap to Dream Supreme and Folly Dollar when she did not get a favorable pace set up.
McGaughey said this should be last time Atelier and Country Hideaway meet for a while. Atelier's major objective for the summer are the two grade I's going long for fillies and mares at Saratoga, the Go for Wand and the Personal Ensign, a race named for the McGaughey runner who won the 1988 Shuvee. Country Hideaway will likely be pointed for the grade I Ballerina at seven furlongs. New York-bred champion filly Critical Eye continues to show her versatility with each start. The 4-year-old daughter of Dynaformer has won sprinting, routing, on turf, and won the Gazelle (gr. I).
Critical Eye finished a nose behind Country Hideaway in her last start, but trainer Scott Schwartz is confident his filly can turn the tables on her rival. Aaron Gryder will fill in for Jorge Chavez, who is riding Monarchos in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).The rest of the field includes: Tax Affair (Joe Bravo) 113; March Magic (Mike Luzzi) 113; Atelier (Edgar Prado) 117; Country Hideaway (John Velazquez) 118; Critical Eye (Aaron Gryder) 115; Apple of Kent (Richard Migliore) 114.