ELMONT, N.Y. - Red Velvet will go in search of her third consecutive victory on Sunday at Belmont Park when she contests the Grade 3, $150,000 Victory Ride for 3-year-old fillies at 6 Â½ furlongs on the main track.
Red Velvet began her career in May of last year, taking a 4 Â½-furlong maiden race by a head for trainer Michael Trombetta. The daughter of City Zip was not seen on the track again until April 8, when she resurfaced in the barn of trainer Todd Pletcher and finished second in a statebred allowance race over a muddy, sealed surface at Parx Racing. The bay filly attempted the same condition three weeks later, this time on a dry track at Penn National, and responded resolutely, winning by a widening 9 Â¾ lengths.
Pletcher, who trains Red Velvet for Three Diamonds Farm, shipped the filly to Belmont for her next start, which came in a stakes raced named for Pletcher's first Grade 1 winner, Jersey Girl. Red Velvet delivered another devastating performance in the Jersey Girl, taking the field gate to wire to score by 5 Â¾ lengths.
"She seems to have done well since her last start," said Pletcher. "She's pretty straightforward and very willing to train. We're just trying to keep her happy."
In Red Velvet's last two wins, no horse has come within two lengths of the speedy filly at any point of call, something that may factor into the way she's ridden by jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. on Sunday.
"Our strategy will be straightforward," said Pletcher. "We'll let her run her race."
Red Velvet, 3-1 on the morning line, will break from post 6.
Milam, runner-up in the Grade 3 Eight Belles at Churchill Downs in her last start, may offer the stiffest challenge to Red Velvet. The bay filly earned a 93 Beyer Speed Figure for her second-place finish in the Eight Belles, finishing only a half-length behind the winner for trainer Eddie Kenneally. Prior to the Eight Belles, the daughter of Street Sense had won three races from six starts, including the Pica Slew by eight lengths on February 22 at Calder Race Course.
Owned by Joseph Sutton, Milam is the 5-2 morning line favorite, and will break from post 3 with Jose Lezcano aboard.
The winner of last year's Grade 2 Matron at Belmont, Miss Behaviour, is set to return to the scene of her only graded stakes triumph on Sunday. As a 2-year-old, the Jump Start filly won the first three races of her career before faltering in the Sharp Cat on October 27 at Belmont. After a fifth-place finish in the Grade 3 Delta Downs Princess on November 23 and an unsuccessful 3-year-old debut in the Stormy Blues on turf at Pimlico Race Course, Miss Behavior got back to the winner's circle in the Miss Preakness, a six-furlong dash on the Black-Eyed Susan undercard. For the win, she earned a career best Beyer of 91.
Miss Behavior, trained by Phil Schoenthal for Cal MacWilliam and Neil Teitelbaum, sits at 7-2 on the morning line and will be ridden by Sheldon Russell from post 2.
Trainer Lisa Lewis will send out Isabelle, gate-to-wire winner of the Bouwerie on May 31 at Belmont in her stakes debut. Prior to the Bouwerie, the bay filly won an off-the-turf race by 12 Â½ lengths over a muddy racetrack, and finished second to next-out winner and Mother Goose entrant Princess Violet in a maiden race.
Alex Solis will be back aboard Isabelle, who is owned by William Schettine, and the pair will depart from the rail. Isabelle sits at 5-1 on the morning line.
Rounding out the field are Fat Kat, second-place finisher in the Jostle at Parx in her last start; Street Story, winner of the Instant Racing at Oaklawn Park when last seen on the racetrack; and West Coast Chick, who won a first-level allowance race at Belmont in her latest outing.
OTB Race Previews
OTB Accepts Green Dot MoneyPak
- Fund your OTB account with cash
- Buy at Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid + many more
- Instant access to your money