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Homeracing

Comparing Nest to recent Belmont fillies

Profile Picture: Ashley Anderson

June 10th, 2022

Following her disappointing second-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks (G1), Nest will look to rebound against the boys in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont S. (G1) on Saturday, June 11.

The daughter of Curlin is one of two entered in the third jewel of the Triple Crown for Todd Pletcher's barn (the other is Kentucky Derby fifth-place finisher Mo Donegal) and will be the third filly to run in the Belmont for the Hall of Fame trainer.

The 8-1 morning line choice is the first female to run in "The Test of the Champion" since Unlimited Budget in 2013 and the 24th filly to attempt the difficult test in the event's 154-year history.

Below we look at the six most recent fillies to run the Belmont, dating back to 1980, and compare their résumés to that of Nest to predict how the three-year-old will finish in the final leg of the Triple Crown.

Unlimited Budget, 2013

Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Field size: 14
Post position: 13
Finish in Belmont: 6th

Following her third-place showing in the 2013 Kentucky Oaks, Todd Pletcher entered Unlimited Budget in the Belmont to face Kentucky Derby winner Orb and Preakness S. (G1) winner Oxbow.

Rosie Napravnik picked up the mount for the Street Sense filly, who came home sixth to Pletcher's Palace Malice.

Prior to her Belmont start, Unlimited Budget owned a 3 2-0-1 record in 2013, with victories in the Rachel Alexandra S. (G3) and Fair Grounds Oaks (G2).

She had no prior experience at Belmont before tackling 1 1/2 miles on the dirt track. Her previous races up to that point in her career were run at Aqueduct, Fair Grounds, and Churchill Downs.

Rags to Riches, 2007

Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Field size: 7
Post position: 7
Finish in Belmont: Won

Undefeated as a three-year-old entering the 2007 Belmont, Rags to Riches won the Las Virgenes S. (G1) and Santa Anita Oaks (G1) before romping to a 4 1/4-length victory in the Kentucky Oaks.

With John Velazquez aboard, the chestnut made her debut at Belmont in the third leg of the Triple Crown and beat out Preakness star Curlin by a head after stumbling at the start.

Interestingly, Curlin is the sire of Nest, whose damsire, A.P. Indy, sired Rags to Riches.

Silverbulletday, 1999

Trainer: Bob Baffert
Field size: 12
Post position: 3
Finish in Belmont: 7th

Another Kentucky Oaks winner who boasted an undefeated (5-for-5) season record ahead of the Belmont, Silverbulletday weakened late to finish seventh behind Peter Pan S. (G3) third-placer Lemon Drop Kid.

The daughter of Silver Deputy won the Davona Dale S. (G3), Fair Grounds Oaks, Ashland S. (G1), and Black-Eyed Susan S. (G2) prior to her Belmont start, her first at the track. The Bob Baffert pupil also triumphed in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at age two.

My Flag, 1996

Trainer: Shug McGaughey
Field size: 14
Post position: 9
Finish in Belmont: 3rd

Another Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner, My Flag got off to a fast start in 1996 with a second-place showing in the Davona Dale, followed by victories in both the Bonnie Miss S. (G2) at Gulfstream and the Ashland at Keeneland.

However, in the Kentucky Oaks, the 7-10 favorite in a field of six failed to fire and came home fifth to Pike Place Dancer, a Jerry Hollendorfer trainee.

Conditioner Shug McGaughey opted to run the Easy Goer filly against the boys in spite of her flat effort in the Oaks and bounced back to finish third, five lengths behind Kentucky Derby sixth-placer Editor's Note.

Her appearance in the Belmont marked her fourth start at Belmont Park, where she broke her maiden in her two-year-old debut, similar to Nest. My Flag also won the Breeders' Cup at the same track and earned a second in the Frizette S. (G1) and third in the Matron S. (G1) in 1995.

Winning Colors, 1988

Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
Field size: 6
Post position: 3
Finish in Belmont: 6th

The most recent filly to win the Kentucky Derby, Winning Colors also defeated males in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) and finished third in the Preakness that same year to Risen Star, a 14 3/4-length winner of the Belmont.

The daughter of Caro had no previous experience at Belmont before vying for the blanket of carnations and brought an 8-6-1-1 lifetime record into the Triple Crown race.

Three-time Belmont-winning jockey Gary Stevens guided the filly, where she finished last of six.

Genuine Risk, 1980

Trainer: LeRoy Jolley
Field size:
10
Post position:
1
Finish in Belmont:
2nd

The second of three fillies to win the Run for the Roses, Genuine Risk followed up her Derby win with a second-place finish in the Preakness to Codex, before again coming home second in the third leg of the Triple Crown to 50-1 longshot Temperence Hill.

The Exclusive Native daughter garnered a 5-3-1-1 record for her three-year-old campaign prior to her Belmont start and had run once before at Belmont Park, where she broke her maiden on debut in September 1979.

How Nest compares to recent Belmont fillies

Nest (8-1)

Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Field size: 8
Post position: 3
Finish in Belmont: TBD

Never out of the money in her six-race career, Nest drew post 3 in a field of eight in Saturday's Belmont.

A number of Belmont trends favor the filly, including a three-time-winning trainer in her corner who also celebrated victory with a filly in 2007. Nest will also be ridden by a Belmont-winning jockey in Jose Ortiz, who last won the race when paired up with Pletcher aboard Tapwrit, co-owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, the co-owners of Nest.

Furthermore, Nest has raced at Belmont before and broke her maiden at the track in her two-year-old debut, like Belmont third-placer My Flag and second-place finisher Genuine Risk.

The filly's damsire, 1992 Belmont winner A.P. Indy, also provides an important connection to the lone Belmont-winning filly of the last century, Rags to Riches. But where she differs from Pletcher's champion could be vital, too.

Rags to Riches was undefeated as a three-year-old before her Belmont run and won the Kentucky Oaks in her lead-up to the Triple Crown event. Nest, on the other hand, carries a 3 2-1-0 record as a three-year-old, with her lone loss a second to Secret Oath in the Kentucky Oaks.

Another concern is Nest's post position. No starter has won out of post 3 since 2012, and the most recent filly to draw that post, Silverbulletday, came home seventh in the Belmont, while Winning Colors finished sixth when leaving that stall.

But, post position aside, Nest has plenty going for her in her second start at Belmont and first try against males — including Pletcher's other starter Mo Donegal and Peter Pan winner We The People, the 2-1 morning line favorite.

While she could face an uphill battle in this small field at "The Championship Track," Pletcher has proven he can win with the ladies before, and Nest is special enough to push for a top-three finish in a competition historically dominated by the boys.

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