ELMONT, N.Y. - Sunday's feature graded stakes at Belmont Park, the Grade 2, $200,000 Matron for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs, will see a talented field of six each looking to make their mark in the juvenile division.
Trainer Todd Pletcher will saddle a pair of formidable contenders each looking to rebound from their most recent starts in Island Saint and Tonasah. Island Saint, a home-bred daughter of Speightstown for Siena Farm, impressively won her debut on July 30 by 2 ¾ lengths on an off track at Saratoga Race Course before finishing third in the Sorority Stakes on September 6 at Monmouth Park .
"I thought she ran well both times," said Pletcher. "Maybe we took her back a little too soon last out, I think she's more of a free-running filly. We'll try to do that this go round and see how she does."
Listed at 10-1 on the morning line, Island Saint will depart from the rail with Manuel Franco aboard.
A daughter of Malibu Moon and a $250,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase for Star Ladies Racing, Tonasah will look to improve off a fifth-place finish last out in the Spinaway. She began her career on July 2 at Belmont winning her debut by 5 ½ lengths, followed by a second place finish in the Grade 2 Adirondack on August 15 at Saratoga.
"She's doing well," said Pletcher. "We probably ran her back a little too quick for the Spinaway. I think she'll benefit from having a little more space between races since then and now. Hopefully she gets back to her best race. She's a pretty quick filly away from the gate, so I don't think post position is a huge concern."
Set to leave from post position 2 with Javier Castellano in the irons, Tonash is listed at odds of 4-1 on the morning line.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will enter West Coast invader Pretty N Cool for owners Karl Watson, Michael Pegram, and Paul Weitman. A gray daughter of Scat Daddy, Pretty N Cool is the most accomplished runner in the field with two wins from three starts and a second-place finish. Winning her debut on July 19 at Del Mar over a sloppy track while collecting a 95 Beyer Speed Figure, she followed that effort with a win in the Grade 2 Sorrento on August 12 at Del Mar and last out finished second in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante at seven furlongs after pressing the pace and giving way in the stretch.
The morning-line favorite at odds of 7-5, Pretty N Cool will depart from post 5 with Martin Garcia aboard.
Rounding out the field are Constellation, for LNJ Foxwoods and trainer Steve Asmussen; who last out finished third in the Spinaway; Wave of Glory for trainer James Ryerson and owner Patricia Generazio, who enters the Matron after breaking her maiden in her debut at Belmont on September 13; and Libreta for Goldolphin Racing and trainer Tom Albertrani who won in her second lifetime start by 6 ½ lengths at Belmont on September 27.
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