OTB Race Previews
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Wings of Dawn will be making her stakes debut in her first career start on dirt as part of a six-horse field of 3-year-old fillies in Saturday's 63rd running of the Grade 2, $250,000 Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park.
Wings of Dawn posted back-to-back wins over Woodbine's Tapeta synthetic track, including a maiden-breaking one-length victory on May 3 and a 4 ½-length score on May 19, with both contests at the 1 1/16-mile Mother Goose distance.
Race 8 at Belmont Park on Saturday, June 29 - Post 5:18 PM
|1||Dunbar Road||4-5||Jose Ortiz
|2||Classic Fit||8-1||Jose Lezcano
|5||Cassies Dreamer||10-1||Manuel Franco
|6||Wings of Dawn||5-1||Dylan Davis
Trainer Mark Casse started the Medaglia d'Oro filly on turf in her first two career starts at Gulfstream Park, with a sixth-place finish in her debut on December 1 and an eighth-place effort on January 2.
Casse, an 11-time Sovereign Award-winner as the top trainer in Canada, said Wings of Dawn was impressive in her two breezes on the Woodbine dirt training tack earlier this month, including a five-furlong breeze in one-minute flat on June 12. Since shipping to Belmont from her Rexdale, Ontario stable, Wings of Dawn registered a four-furlong breeze in 48.11 seconds on Sunday on Belmont's main track.
"A lot of people don't know this, but Woodbine has a dirt track as well that you can train on, and you can see in her last few breezes that she's been extremely good," Casse said. "We've been preparing for the Mother Goose and we're excited to see what she can do."
Wings of Dawn, bred by Aaron and Marie Jones, was purchased for $600,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September Sale. She has improved her Beyer Speed Figures in each of her four career starts.
Jockey Dylan Davis will pick up the mount for the first time, drawing the outside post.
Jeltrin is more familiar with Belmont's Big Sandy, having finished third in the Grade 1 Acorn on Belmont Stakes Day, June 8, and is the field's most experienced entrant, with a 2-1-2 ledger in eight career starts.
Owned and trained by Alexis Delgado, Jeltrin is the field's lone graded stakes winner, capturing the Grade 2 Davona Dale on March 2, earning a personal-best 91 Beyer.
After placing ninth in the 1 1/8-mile Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on May 3, Jeltrin cutback in distance and rallied for third behind Serengeti Empress and winner Guarana in the Acorn on a fast track.
The daughter of Tapizar recorded one breeze since then, going four furlongs in 49.49 on the main track on Monday under jockey Leonel Reyes.
"She worked well and is very adapted to Belmont, so everything looks OK to run," Delgado said.
Under Reyes, Jeltrin will break from post 4.
Cassies Dreamer will return to stakes company for the first time since capping her 2-year-old season with a fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies in November at Churchill Downs.
After a series of early good efforts on dirt, including back-to-back third-place Grade 1 finishes in the Spinaway in September at Saratoga Race Course and the Frizette in October at Belmont leading into the Breeders' Cup, trainer Barclay Tagg moved Cassies Dreamer to turf following a four-month freshening in her 3-year-old bow, fishing fourth at Gulfstream.
Cassies Dreamer was slated to try turf again but won an optional claimer by 2 ¼ lengths on a sloppy track in a race that was moved off the grass on May 5 at Belmont.
"I thought she might like the turf better; we're still experimenting a little bit with her," Tagg said. "She won her first race [in August at the Spa] and was pretty calm, cool and collected about that. She's matured in a lot of ways. We still haven't run her enough to know that much about her. We took her to the Breeders' Cup last year. I wasn't real keen on it but she was doing OK and the owners wanted to run her, and I couldn't deny them that. But it took a lot out of her, so we gave her some time off."
Owned by Hayward Pressman and Turf Stable Racing, Cassies Dreamer will get another opportunity to show her connections that the dirt suits her style better. Tagg said a smaller field, with less chances for a troubled trip, could be helpful as they look to assess the Kentucky-bred's future.
"With 3-year-olds, they average about six weeks [between starts] if they are healthy and sound," Tagg said. "Time runs out on you. Right now, I'm very happy with her. She's sound, training well and eating well. All is good."
Manny Franco will be in the irons from post 5.
Peter Brant's Dunbar Road has never finished out of the exacta in three career starts, winning her debut on March 3 at Gulfstream before finishing second, a half length behind Champagne Anyone, in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks on March 30.
Conditioned by Belmont spring/summer meet-leading trainer Chad Brown, Dunbar Road won her first Belmont start, besting allowance company by 5 ½ lengths last out on May 30.
Dunbar Road, purchased for $350,000 at the same sale as Wings of Dawn, drew post 1 with Jose Ortiz aboard.
Classic Fit, trained by Michael Stidham, will be making her sophomore bow after ending 2018 with three consecutive starts since a third-place debut effort in August, with victories at Monmouth Park, Presque Isle Downs and a win in the Hut Hut in December at Gulfstream. Jose Lezcano will have the call, breaking from post 2.
Safta, who graduated at fourth asking last out on May 30 at Belmont, will make her first stakes appearance since running fifth in the Gulfstream Park Oaks for trainer Dermot Magner. Joel Rosario will ride from post 3.
The Mother Goose is slated for Race 8 on Saturday's nine-race card that will also include the $100,000 Perfect String for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up on the Widener turf in Race 7. First post time is 1:30 p.m. Eastern.
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