Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 3 Athenia Stakes is on tap for Belmont Park in Elmont, New York on Sunday, August 12. Fillies and mares three years old and upward will take to Belmont Park's turf track and go 1 1/16 miles in pursuit of the winner's share of the $200,000 purse.
A large field of 11 plus one Main Track Only entry have been confirmed for the Athenia - race 9 on Belmont Park's Sunday card. Post time is 4:58 PM. Here is a brief look into the past performances of all 12 possible entries for this Grade 3 stakes.
Annecdote - British bred Christophe Clement trained filly made her North American debut July 13 on this track and won the Grade 3 Noble Damsel Stakes thanks to a terrific late charge by 2 3/4 lengths after 13 starts at home yielded five wins, a second and a third place finish - three of those wins coming in stakes action including the Group 3 Netfred TV Oak Tree Stakes last August and the Sandringham Handicap last June. She had worst career performance two back - a tenth at Ascot in June after placing third in a stakes in May but bounced back in a big way last time out. Irad Ortiz will try to keep the roll going from the unfortunate outside post as the 5-2 morning line favorite.
Overheard - has never been worse than third in 13 career starts with five wins including the minor Alywow Stakes at Woodbine June 9, the Grade 3 Pin Oak Valley View Stakes in October and in the Grade 2 Dance Smartly Stakes at Woodbine July 6. She had a nice second last time out in the Grade 3 Violet Stakes at Monmouth Park August 23 and was a good second behind Unbelievable Dream April 18, 2013 in the Grade 3 Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland. Overheard followed that with an OK third in the Grade 3 Selene Stakes behind Coffee Clique in May. She has runner-up finishes in four of her last six starts - in the minor La Lonrgnette Stakes September 21, in the Grade 3 Ontario Colleen Stakes August 17, to Tannery in the minor Miss Liberty Stakes at Monmouth Park May 26 and last time out as well. Overheard has been in absolutely every race she enters and is expected to be competitive again Sunday. Javier Castellano rides the 7-2 morning line second choice from the rail.
Byrama - was decent in 2012 with three wins, three seconds and two third place finishes in 10 starts. She had nine starts in 2013 - a good second in the Grade 1 Madison Stakes April 13, an OK third in the Grade 2 Buena Vista Stakes, a third as favorite in the minor Wishing Well Stakes February 10, a pair of decent thirds in graded stakes action - in the Grade 2 A Gleam July 13 and the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes August 3 and an impressive win by 3 1/2 lengths in the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap at 6-1 odds June 15 being the best results. Byrama has five starts this year - a second last time out behind Annecdote in the Grade 3 Noble Damsel Stakes September 13, an ugly eighth in the minor Intercontinental Stakes here in June, a third in the Grade 3 Beaugay Stakes in May, a seventh in the Grade 1 Madison Stakes in April and a second in the minor Ten Palms Stakes in February. She will have John Velazquez in the saddle trying to cure her inconsistent ways Sunday from post 4 at 5-1 odds.
Julie's Love - H Graham Motion trained mare has just two starts in 2014 - an OK third in the Grade 3 Noble Damsel Stakes here September 13 followed a fifth in the minor Powder Break Stakes at Gulfstream in April and nine months away. She ended 2013 with a fourth in the Grade 2 Matchmaker Stakes July 28, a good second in the Grade 2 Dance Smartly Stakes at Woodbine July 7 and a fourth in the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay Stakes on this track in May of last year. Julie's Love has 26 career starts with five wins, eight seconds and five third place finishes but looks for her first win since May, 2013 - in the minor Owsley Stakes on this very track. Jose Lezcano rides from gate 5 at 6-1 on the morning line.
La Tia - placed in her first three starts this year highlighted by a win by a stunning 6 1/4 lengths in the Grade 3 Arlington Matron Stakes in front running style May 24 which was followed by a third in the minor Lincoln Heritage Handicap on that same track June 21. Last time out was an OK third in the Grade 2 Canadian Stakes at Woodbine September 14 after a fourth in the Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park August 16 and a nice win in the Grade 3 Ontario Matron Stakes in July. La Tia has 21 career starts with eight wins, a second and five third place finishes. She has looked competitive in every race this year and could be a factor Sunday. Joel Rosario gets the call from post 2 at 8-1 odds.
Baffle Me - Mark Hennig trained mare has 24 career starts with seven wins, three seconds and four third place finishes but has failed to place in any of her four starts this year. Last time out was a fourth in the Grade 3 Noble Damsel which followed another fourth in the minor Fasig-Tipton De La Rose Stakes at Saratoga August 2 and a pair of sevenths in minor stakes action. She did win two straight minor stakes races to end her 2013 campaign including the Jazzy Stakes in October but Baffle Me hasn't been great since. Jose Ortiz has the mount from gate 10 at 10-1 on the morning line.
Maximova - Christophe Clement trained filly has eight career starts with four wins, a second and a third place finish but has just one graded stakes start - a seventh in the Grade 2 Lake George Stakes at Saratoga in July of last year. She finished her 2013 campaign with a second in the minor Summer Secretary Stakes and has raced three Allowance Optional Claiming races in 2014 - a win last time out August 15 followed a third in July and a seventh in May. Manuel Franco will be in the saddle from post 9 at 12-1 odds.
Cushion - Christophe Clement trained British bred filly has 12 career starts with two wins, three seconds and three third place finishes. She has just two starts in North America - a tenth last time out as 3-1 favorite in the minor Fasig-Tipton Waya Stakes at Saratoga August 3 followed an Allowance score on this track June 28. She steps into graded stakes company for the first time Sunday with Cornelio Velasquez aboard from post 11 at 12-1 odds.
Embarr - has 29 career starts for trainer Susan Cooney with nine wins and a second place finish. She finished second in this race in 2012 and was seventh in the 2013 Athenia but has placed in just two of six starts since - both wins. Last time out was a victory in the minor Brookmeade Stakes at Laurel Park September 13 and the other win came in the minor Dahlia Stakes at Pimlico in April. She has three graded stakes starts this year with a fourth, a fifth and a sixth place finish. Embarr will line up in gate 3 Sunday with Forest Boyce in the reins at 30-1 on the morning line.
It's My Time - British bred mare has 23 career starts for trainer Niall Saville with two wins, three seconds and five third place finishes and makes her North American stakes debut Sunday. She is coming off an Allowance score at Laurel Park September 19 after a second and a third respectively in a pair of similar races this past summer. It's My Time enters in decent form but takes a major step up in competition with Sheldon Russell aboard from gate 7 at 30-1 odds.
Nashly's Vow - Lawrence Murray trained mare won her first two starts this year - both Allowance Optional Claiming races at Parx but failed to place in two graded stakes starts after that - a sixth in the Grade 3 Eatontown Stakes in June was followed by an eighth in the Grade 3 Matchmaker Stakes in July. Last time out was a respectable second in the minor All Brandy Stakes at Laurel Park September 6. Nashly's Vow has four wins, four seconds and two third place finishes in 13 career starts and will go with Xavier Perez in the irons from gate 8 at 30-1 odds.
Teen Pauline - Main Track Only entry and Todd Pletcher trainee may race on the heels of a very good three race win streak and a seven month layoff - the Grade 2 Top Flight Handicap last time out way back in March, and two minor stakes races - the Ladies Handicap and the Affectionately Stakes this past winter at Aqueduct. She has 11 career starts with five wins, a second and three third place finishes and if she does run will be the 3-5 morning line favorite from post 6. Irad Ortiz may ride.