Zagora Takes on Europeans in Flower Bowl
by Steve Haskin
Date Posted: 9/26/2012 5:12:13 PM
Last Updated: 9/29/2012 2:43:01 PM

Zagora won the Ballston Spa (gr. IIT) in her last start.
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Photo: Coglianese Photos/Courtney Stafford

The $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT) at Belmont Park Sept. 29 should produce several serious contenders for the Nov. 2 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park, with a classy international field of nine entered.

Heading the list is Martin Schwartz’s multiple graded stakes winner Zagora, European invaders I’m a Dreamer and Nahrain, and former European Dream Peace, who like Zagora is trained by Chad Brown. These four talented fillies have won or placed in nine grade or group I stakes in the U.S., Canada, France, and Ireland. All four began their careers in Europe.

Zagora, a French-bred daughter of Green Tune, captured the Diana Stakes (gr. IT) last year and was third in the race this year. She is in excellent form, having won four of her six starts in 2012, culminating with an impressive score in the Ballston Spa (gr. IIT) in her last start. Prior to coming to the U.S. in the fall of 2010, she won a pair of group stakes in France. She will have regular rider Ramon Dominguez aboard in the Flower Bowl.

 

Stablemate Dream Peace is coming off a second in the Diana behind now-retired Winter Memories in her U.S. debut. The 4-year-old Irish-bred daughter of Dansili, owned by Etreham Farm, captured the group II Prix de la Nonette Shadwell at Longchamp last year before finishing third in a three-horse photo in the E.P. Taylor Stakes (Can-IT) at Woodbine.

 

She appears to be back in form following an unsuccessful trip to Singapore for the group I Singapore Airlines International Cup against the boys. Julien Leparoux, who rode her in the Diana, will be back aboard and will break from the rail in the 10-furlong contest.

 

The two European invaders are going to be tough, based on their recent form and back class. The 5-year-old Irish-bred I’m a Dreamer has returned to the States following a successful invasion in August, in which she captured the Beverly D Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington Park. Prior to that, she finished third in the Barclays Bank Ireland Pretty Polly Stakes (Ire-I) under 135 pounds.

 

Nahrain, an English-bred 4-year-old daughter of Selkirk trained by Roger Varian, looked to be any kind after winning the first four starts of her career last year, including a nose victory in the Qatar Prix de l’Opera on Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) day. Her first defeat came when she finished second, beaten three-quarters of a length, in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT). She is back in America following a solid third in the Irresistible Jewel Blandford Stakes (Ire-II) at the Curragh, carrying top weight of 133 pounds. John Velazquez is aboard for the first time.

 

Despite these top-class fillies, the Flower Bowl is far from a four-horse race. Stuart Janney III’s Hit It Rich is coming off a wire-to-wire victory in the Glens Falls Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Saratoga for Shug McGaughey. California shipper Halo Dolly rolls in off a powerful score in the Yellow Ribbon Handicap (gr. IIT) at Del Mar for Jerry Hollendorfer. She has won four of her past five starts.

 

Hessonite has won three consecutive stakes in New York-bred company by a total of 11 lengths. Starformer was second in the Waya Stakes at Saratoga following a victory in the Robert Dick Memorial (gr. IIIT) at Delaware Park. Bizzy Caroline, winner of the Mint Julep (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs in June for Kenny McPeek, is coming off a second in the Glens Falls.

 

$600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes (gr. IT, Race 8, 4:38 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/4 Miles (Turf)
PP., Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Dream Peace, J. Leparoux, 119, C C Brown
2. Hessonie, J. Lezcano, 119, D G Donk
3. Hit It Rich, J. Castellano, 119, C R McGaughey III
4. I'm A Dreamer, H. Turner, 123, D Simcock
5. Starformer, M. Smith, 119, W I Mott
6. Bizzy Caroline, D. Cohen, 119, K G McPeek
7. Zagora, R.A. Dominguez, 121, C C Brown
8. Nahrain, J.R. Velazquez, 121, R Varian
8. Halo Dolly, J. Rosario, 121, J Hollendorfer 



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