Sue's Fortune will look to start her career 3-for-3 and post her second consecutive graded stakes win when she competes against a talented eight-horse field in the Grade 1, $400,000 Frizette Stakes for juvenile fillies on Sunday at Belmont Park.
One of four Grade 1 races as part of the October Festival of Racing from October 6-7, the 71st running of the Frizette is a "Win and You're In" qualifier for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies on November 2 at Churchill Downs.
||Brucia La Terra
||Take Me to Hardoon
||Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Sue's Fortune is one of two entries for trainer Jeremiah Englehart and returns to Belmont's Big Sandy for the first time since her 8 ½-length debut victory at 5 ½ furlongs on July 5. The Jump Start filly is the only Frizette runner to have registered a graded stakes win; a feat she accomplished when she outkicked Virginia Eloise by a half-length in the Grade 2 Adirondack on August 11 over 6 ½ furlongs at Saratoga Race Course.
The Fortune Farm-owned New York-bred will now look to stretch out to the Frizette's mile distance for the first time.
"The track when she won at Saratoga was a bad-break track that went against a lot of the fillies," Englehart said. "They might not have been used to that. But having that race on a bad-break track, along with a fast track at Belmont, should [help]. She's a filly who wants to run. Hopefully, she can handle the distance and coming back to her home track will help.
"I never want to be overly confident but I think she can handle it. Her breeding would suggest this might be a stretch or right at her limit."
Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. will pick up the mount from post 8.
Take Me to Hardoon
Sue's Fortune has been training in company with Take Me to Hardoon, who will be making her stakes debut after a one-length win at 5 ½ furlongs on September 2 on a fast Saratoga main track.
Owned by Gold Square, Take Me to Hardoon shipped from Saratoga two weeks ago, recording her latest breeze on Sunday at Belmont, going four furlongs in 49.82 seconds.
"I've been pretty happy with both fillies because I think they'll be able to handle whatever the race gives them, whether they're on the lead or off the pace," Englehart said. "That's one nice thing about it; I'm not overly concerned about tactics in this race because I think either horse can let us do what we want."
David Cohen, aboard for the maiden-breaking win last month, will have the return call from post 3.
Trainer Barclay Tagg also enters a pair of formidable entries in Cassies Dreamer and Brucia La Terra.
Last out, Cassies Dreamer rallied from last-of-11 to finish third in the Grade 1 Spinaway on September 1 at Saratoga. The Flatter filly stepped up to seven furlongs after breaking her maiden on a muddy Spa main track at 5 ½ furlongs on August 3, when she stayed just off the pacesetter before pulling away by 2 ¼ lengths.
Cassies Dreamer, owned by Turf Stable Racing and Hayward Pressman, will be making her first Belmont start. Tagg said he is unsure what kind of trip might be preferable but said she would be comfortable laying off the speed.
"I don't know how much they know the difference. Older horses do, but for 2-year-olds, it's a big deal to get in that gate and go," Tagg said. "They might not have a feeling for a higher class. Coming off the pace kind of suits a lot of them [in this field], but I think it probably will help."
Junior Alvarado will ride from post 7.
Brucia La Terra
William Ferrone's Brucia La Terra won her first start by 3 ¾ lengths on August 12 at Saratoga going seven furlongs. A daughter of El Padrino, Brucia La Terra breezed four times at Belmont in September in preparing for her first race on the track.
"They both seem to like it. Some horses don't like this track, but they seem [comfortable] here," Tagg said. "It's a guessing game right now. Both the owners wanted to do it and I can't blame them. To get a free ride to the Breeders' Cup, it's [enticing]. If you don't run them here, there aren't too many spots and you're running out of time with it being just a month before the Breeders' Cup."
Dylan Davis will be in the irons from post 1.
L N J Foxwoods' Covfefe is coming off an impressive 9 ¼-length win in her first start at six furlongs on September 16 at Churchill Downs. The Brad Cox trainee's 86 Beyer Speed Figure is the highest recorded of any horse in the Frizette as she readies for her first stakes start.
Purchased for $250,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Covfefe will have the services of Hall of Famer Javier Castellano from post 6.
Nonna Madeline, a $130,000 purchase at the same sale, will make her first start in four races at Belmont after a fifth-place effort in the Spinaway. After leading near the turn, Nonna Madeline bumped with Catherinethegreat in the stretch, preventing a stakes placing for a second consecutive start after a runner-up effort in the Grade 3 Schuylerville on the same track July 20.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Nonna Madeline will break from post 4 in tandem with Hall of Famer John Velazquez.
Rounding out the field is Jaywalk, winner of the White Clay Creek on August 22 at Delaware Park for trainer John Servis, from post 2; and Graceful Princess, who won her first start on September 2 at Saratoga at seven furlong as she readies for her first stakes appearance for trainer Ralph Nicks, out of post 5.