Brown pair head Athenia Stakes field
Chad Brown’s runners are always tough to beat in turf races for fillies and mares, and the 1 1/16-mile Athenia Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park Oct. 28 looks to be no exception.
Brown trains three of the 12 entries, including the morning-line favorite Off Limits and second favorite Elysea’s World.
Off Limits has raced four times in 2017 for three victories. She won a Belmont Park allowance, finished second in the Perfect Sting Stakes, won an allowance at Saratoga, and at her most recent appearance won the one-mile Noble Damsel Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park Sept. 23.
Elysea’s World, like Off Limits an Irish-bred, has run well in two seasons but has found a stakes victory elusive. She’s had three graded stakes second-place finishes this year, the most recent in the 1 1/8-mile Canadian Stakes (G2) at Woodbine Sept. 26 behind Quidura. She should run well again.
Brown’s third runner is Penjade, who on Saturday is taking on stakes company for the first time this year, following three consecutive allowance victories.
Time and Motion, winner of the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland last year, hasn’t scored a victory this year, but she does have third-place finishes in the Beaugay Stakes (G3) and the Modesty Handicap (G3). She finished fourth to Off Limits in the Noble Damsel Stakes at her most recent appearance.
Two mares who recently took on grade one company are worth a thought. My Impression finished sixth in the Diana Stakes (G1) July 22, prior to picking up a victory in the One Dreamer Stakes at Kentucky Downs. Californian filly Decked Out, winner of the American Oaks (G1) last year, has run just twice this year; at her most recent start, she was fifth in the 1 ¼-mile Rodeo Drive Stakes (G1), just 1 ¼ lengths behind the Breeders’ Cup-bound winner Avenge.
Fellow Californian-trained filly Juno seeks her first graded stakes win since arriving from Brazil last year; her best efforts in 2017 are two third-place finishes at grade three level. Queen Caroline, Thundering Sky, Puca, and Firsthand Report start after ungraded stakes victories at their last start, while Westit flies in from France after finishing second in an allowance at Maisons-Laffitte.
Off Limits and Elysea’s World are clearly leading chances, but it may be worth a serious look at Decked Out given her close proximity to Avenge in the Rodeo Drive Stakes.