Possible wet turf might help Sea Calisi in Flower Bowl
In three U.S. appearances, Sea Calisi has stamped herself among the division's best beyond nine furlongs. A dazzling winner off of a tepid pace on yielding ground in the Sheepshead Bay (G2) first out, she didn't quite work out a trip in the New York (G2), won by stablemate Dacita, but rebounded in the Beverly D. (G1) at Arlington rallying from 13 lengths down.
"It's been more of the same from Sea Calisi since the Beverly D.," Brown said. "She is a solid-training horse -- not spectacular. She's a small filly, very lightly framed, but trains well enough."
However, Lady Eli is no slouch. The once-beaten filly, who returned in August following a layoff of nearly 14 months after battling a near-fatal case of laminitis, moved early off a hot pace in the Ballston Spa (G2) only to be denied by longshot Strike Charmer in the final yards.
"She got a lot out of that race," Brown said. "I've really seen her move forward in her subsequent workouts. She should be fitter and stronger for this race. I think she will take a step forward."
The Divine Park filly, who has not run on ground rated less than good, was invincible at two and three, with tallies in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) and course-and-distance Belmont Oaks (G1) the highlights.
Strike Charmer, who also captured the Beaugay (G3) last spring, is the kind that needs a strong pace, but is unlikely to get anything close to that with no apparent front-runner among the field of six. Pace duties might fall on Sentiero Italia, a multiple Grade 2 winner last season who was closer to the hot Ballston Spa pace than either Lady Eli or Strike Charmer.
Leading French conditioner Andre Fabre has entered Ame Bleue, a stakes-winning four-year-old who placed in the Prix Jean Romanet (G1) at Deauville two back. However, her preference might be for ground firmer than she may see on Saturday. The field is rounded out by Itsonlyactingdad, most notably second to Lady Eli in the 2015 Belmont Oaks and heroine of the Matchmaker (G3) two back.
The inaugural $150,000 Belmont Turf Sprint over six furlongs attracted a solid group of Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1) prospects. Leading the way is the Christophe Clement-trained Pure Sensation, hero of the course-and-distance Jaipur (G3) in course record time of 1:06 3/5 on the Belmont Stakes Day, as well as the Parx Dash (G3) on yielding ground when last seen three months ago.
Other top contenders are Grade 2 veteran Long On Value, Green Mask, and Ready for Rye.
The $500,000 Hill Prince (G3), for three-year-olds at nine furlongs on the inner turf, features a rematch between Inspector Lynley and Camelot Kitten, who were separated by a head in the Saranac (G3) at Saratoga last month.
Beach Patrol, who missed by a head to Camelot Kitten in the American Turf (G2) in May, has since gone on to finish third in the Belmont Derby (G1) and score a head victory in the Secretariat (G1) at Arlington. Third in the latter was Kent (G3) hero American Patriot, who failed to fire in a fourth-place effort in the Commonwealth Derby (G2) at Laurel two weeks ago.
Dressed in Hermes and Monster Bea, minor check-getters in the Del Mar Derby (G2) last month, are also in the field along with Canadian Conquest Daddyo and the lightly-raced Annals of Time for Chad Brown.
(Four Footed Fotos)