Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 1 Just a Game Stakes is on tap for Belmont Park in Elmont, New York this Saturday, June 7 as part of an intriguing Belmont Stakes undercard. Fillies and mares four years old and upward will be after the winner's portion of the $750,000 when they go one mile on Belmont Park's turf track.
a field of 10 will go in the Just a Game Stakes - race 8 on Belmont Park's Belmont Stakes card. Post time is 4:00 PM. Let's take a glance into the past performances of all 10 entries for this Grade 1 stakes.
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2014 Just a Game Stakes Race Favorite Entries
Discreet Marq - Christophe Clemente pupil has been terrific the last year - she hasn't finished worse than second in her last eight starts (four wins and four seconds). Last time out was a second in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keenaland April 12 after a second by a nose in the Grade 1 Matriarch at Hollywood Park December 1 - after a win in the listed Pebbles Stakes in October, a second in the Grade 1 Garden City in September and a nice win in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks in October. She also won the Grade 2 Sands Point Stakes in May and the listed Eventail Stakes in July. Discreet Marq has been at or near the top in every start in 14 months - more of the same is expected Saturday. Irad Ortiz has the call from post 9 on the 5-2 morning line favorite.
Better Lucky - defending runner-up behind Stephanie's Kitten in this race has placed in her last eight starts for trainer Thomas Albertini - she has five wins, three seconds and five third place finishes in 15 career starts overall. She is coming off a second behind Judy the Beauty in the Grade 1 Madison Stakes at Keeneland in her only start of 2014 after finishing 2013 with a third in the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes at Hollywood Park, a terrific win in the Grade 1 First Lady Stakes in October and a third in the Grade 3 Noble Damsel Stakes here in September. Better Lucky has two Grade 1 scores in her career and has been very competitive every time out the last couple of years. She will have Joel Rosario aboard as she tries to keep her impressive run going - from the outside post.
Just a Game Stakes 2014 | Remaining Contenders
Stephanie's Kitten - had a very productive Juvenile campaign in which she won or placed in all five starts (three wins and two third place finishes). Among Stephanie's Kitten's impressive wins are the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades Stakes. She was a leading Juvenile filly on dirt and turf in 2011 and looked OK in 2012 as well - wins in the Grade 1 Lake Placid Stakes and the minor Edgewood Stakes at Churchill Downs in May. She ended her 2012 campaign with a disappointing sixth in the Grade 1 QE II Challenge Cup and then took 6 1/2 months off. She had just three starts in 2013 - a great win in the Grade 2 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile over Hungry Island, another impressive score over Better Lucky in the 2013 Just a Game Stakes and a third in July in the Grade 1 Dania Beach Stakes at Saratoga. Stephanie's Kitten has just one start in 2014 - it resulted in a very disappointing eighth in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland. She hopes to bounce back after a career worst performance with John Velazquez in the saddle from post 6. Stephanie's Kitten is the morning line third choice - 4-1 odds.
Waterway Run - Chad Brown trained filly raced to a sixth in the 2012 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf after winning three of her first four career starts. She returned to Europe after that and had some unflattering results before returning to North America and posting two second place finishes and a win this year - the best coming in the Grade 3 Hillsborough Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs March 8. Last time out was a terrific win in the Grade 3 Beaugay Stakes - on this track May 3. She sits at 6-1 on the morning line and will have Jose Lezcano in the saddle from post 8.
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Somali Lemonade -Michael Matz trained mare recorded a win in the Grade 3 Dr. James Penny Memorial over Miz Ida and Pianist at Parx last July 2 after a fourth in an Allowance Optional Claiming in June and a 6 1/2 month layoff. She had been mostly disappointing before she caught fire at the start of 2014 - since adding blinkers. She won the Grade 3 Gallorette Handicap at Pimlico May 17 after and Allowance score in April and a second in the Grade 3 Marshua's River Stakes in January at Gulfstream. Before the streak was a sixth in the Grade 3 My Charmer Handicap December 7, a fifth in the Grade 3 Cardinal Handicap November 9, a sixth in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl in September and a fifth behind Laughing among others in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa at Saratoga August 24. Somali Lemonade is certainly trending upward ahead of this weekend and could be the surprise of the Just a Game. Luis Saez rides from post 4 at 8-1 odds.
Coffee Clique - Brian Lynch trained filly has five wins, a second and a third place finish in 10 career starts and enters on t tidy two race win streak - the Grade 2 Churchill Distaff turf last time out May 3 and an Allowance Optional Claiming at Gulfstream in March after seven months away. She ended 2013 with three starts at Woodbine - a third in the Grade 3 Ontario Colleen Stakes, a fourth in the Grade 2 Dance Smartly Stakes and a nice win in the Grade 3 Selene Stakes May 19, 2013. Coffee Clique has looked very good this year and is another in the line of serious threats in the Just a Game. Javier Castellano gets the call from gate 5 at 10-1 odds.
Strathnaver - H. Graham Motion pupil had two wins and a second place finish in nine starts in Britain before shipping. Her American debut was a good one - an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Gulfstream last March 16 in record time for 1 3/16 miles on turf and she followed that with another impressive score in the Grade 3 Bewitch Stakes at 18-1 odds at Keeneland April 25. She struggled in two starts after that - a seventh in the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay Stakes at Belmont Park in May and an eighth in the Grade 3 Modesty Handicap at Arlington Park in July but bounced back with as nice win in the minor Lady Baltimore Stakes at Laurel Park September 21. Strathnaver has been OK in three starts since - a fourth in the Grade 3 Long Island Handicap in October was followed by a third in the Grade 3 My Charmer Handicap at Calder in December and a fourth in her only 2014 start - the Grade 3 Doubledogdare Stakes at Keeneland April 18. She starts from post 2 with Mike Smith aboard at 20-1 odds.
Dame Marie - is coming off a good second in the Grade 2 Churchill Distaff after an ugly seventh in the Grade 3 The Very One Stakes at Gulfstream in February. Before that was an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Churchill Downs November 29 for trainer Eddie Kenneally after three straight fourths - including the minor Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf Stakes in September and the Grade 3 Modesty Handicap at Arlington in July. Dame Marie has 18 career starts with four wins, three seconds and a third place finish and has to be confident off her best career showing. Jose Ortiz gets the mount from post 3 at 20-1 odds.
Unlimited Budget - Todd Pletcher trained filly has placed in just one of her last five starts - a second two back in the Grade 3 Rampart Stakes at Gulfstream in March. Last time out was a fifth in the Grade 1 La Troienne Stakes May 2. She won her first four career starts and then finished third in the 2013 Kentucky Derby and sixth in last year's Belmont Stakes but hasn't exactly been the same since. She hopes to regain her early 2013 form this weekend as she goes off at 20-1 odds with Rosie Napravnik in the reins.
Ready Signal - Amy Tarrant trained mare was last seen running fourth in the Grade 2 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile after two straight minor stakes scores - the Powder Break Stakes April 5 and the Ten Palmas Stakes in February - both results at Gulfstream. She has 20 career starts with four wins, two seconds and two third place finishes but enters in decent form. Ready Signal is the longest shot in the field and departs from the rail at 30-1 odds.
2014 Just a Game Stakes Entries & Odds
Race 8 on Belmont Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 4:00 PM.
|1||Ready Signal||E. Prado||A. Tarrant|
|2||Strathnaver (GB)||M. Smith||H. Motion|
|3||Dame Marie||J. Ortiz||E. Kenneally|
|4||Somali Lemonade||L. Saez||M. Matz|
|5||Coffee Clique||J. Castellano||B. Lynch|
|6||Stephanie's Kitten||J. Velazquez||C. Brown|
|7||Unlimited Budget||R. Napravnik||T. Pletcher|
|8||Waterway Run||J. Lezcano||C. Brown|
|9||Discreet Marq||I. Ortiz, Jr.||C. Clement|
|10||Better Lucky||J. Rosario||T. Albertrani|