Chad Brown Well Represented in Soaring Softly Stakes
Pimlico isn’t the only racetrack hosting competitive graded stakes races this Saturday. Belmont Park in New York will also be in on the action with the $100,000 Soaring Softly Stakes (gr. III), a seven-furlong turf sprint for fillies and mares.Not surprisingly, the two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer —known for his extraordinary success with female turf horses—will be well represented in the Soaring Softly with two starters. The more accomplished of the pair is Africa, who began her career in France before being brought to the United States. Under Brown’s care, Africa ran second by a head in the six-furlong Mizdirection Stakes at Aqueduct last month, a solid effort that should set her up well for Saturday’s race.
But Brown’s other runner Brattata also brings fine form into the Soaring Softly. Never out of the trifecta in six starts, Brattata broke her maiden going 7 ½ furlongs at Gulfstream on February 4th, then stretched out to 8.5 furlongs and finished a good third in the Herecomesthebride Stakes (gr. III) over the same course. The cutback in distance to seven furlongs should be ideal for the daughter of More Than Ready.
Trainer Wesley Ward will also send out two starters in the Soaring Softly. One of them—Mentality—finished fourth in the Mizdirection Stakes and will be a bit of a longshot on Saturday, but the other—Nootka Sound—enters off a close runner-up effort in the six-furlong Bridgetown Stakes against colts over the Aqueduct turf course and was good enough to compete in the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot in England last summer.
Strategic Dreams, a two-time stakes winner sprinting on dirt, will attempt to transfer her success to the turf course for trainer Rudy Rodriguez. Making the same switch is Elevenses, a promising filly that has won three of her four starts on dirt for trainer Jimmy Jerkens, including the six-furlong Any Limit Stakes on March 24th at Gulfstream Park.
March X Press, winner of the Bolton Landing Stakes at Saratoga last summer and most recently third by a half-length in the Mizdirection Stakes, will attempt to turn the tables on Africa while stretching out in distance another furlong. Monimou, second in an Aqueduct allowance race last month, and Coffee Crush, a maiden winner at Aqueduct last December for trainer Jimmy Toner, round out the field.
The Soaring Softly Stakes is the ninth race on Belmont’s Saturday card, with a post time of 5:33 p.m. Eastern.