Chad Brown Holds Strong Hand in Flower Bowl Stakes
Ten furlongs on turf? At Belmont Park? For fillies and mares?Those are the conditions of Sunday’s $500,000 Flower Bowl Stakes (gr. I), and if the race seems tailor-made for the deep stable of female turf stars trained by Chad Brown, then it should come as no surprise that Brown has won the race four times since 2011.
Naturally, Brown will be well-represented in this year’s renewal of the Flower Bowl, which serves as a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. I) at Churchill Downs. His main candidate for victory is the accomplished six-year-old Fourstar Crook, winner of the New York Stakes (gr. II) and Hillsborough Stakes (gr. II) already this season. The daughter of Freud has yet to score a signature win at the Grade 1 level, but did finish second behind her Brown-trained stablemate Sistercharlie in both the Beverly D. Stakes (gr. I) and the Jenny Wiley Stakes (gr. I) this year, so in the absence of Sistercharlie, Fourstar Crook looms as the probable favorite and the horse to beat.
But Fourstar Crook won’t be escaping from her stablemates entirely, for Brown will also send out Onthemoonagain, a Group 2-placed runner in France. The four-year-old daughter of Cape Cross has been beaten in her first two starts for Brown, but one of those was a fourth-place finish in the Glens Falls Stakes (gr. II) where she was compromised by a very slow pace, so she could be a candidate to rebound on Sunday.
Speaking of the Glens Falls, the gate-to-wire winner of that race—Lady Montdore—is back and will seek to bring her U.S. record to a perfect 3-for-3, though she’s unlikely to secure as easy a lead this time around as she did in the Glens Falls. After all, Tricky Escape has plenty of speed too, which she has utilized to win both the Waya Stakes at Saratoga and the Ramsey Farm Stakes at Kentucky Downs after setting the early pace.
Holy Helena was in great form earlier this year, with a victory in the Sheepshead Bay Stakes (gr. II) among the highlights of her season, but she’ll be returning from a three-month layoff in the Flower Bowl and will need to bring her A-game against a field of this caliber. Danceland, third in the Glens Falls Stakes, and Feeling Bossy, a stakes winner against New York-breds earlier this spring, complete the field.
The Flower Bowl is the eighth race on the card, with a post time of 5:18 p.m. Eastern.