Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown has entered four fillies and mares in the $500,000 Longines Just a Game Stakes (G1T), a one-mile affair on the Widener turf course at Belmont Park June 5 that also attracted a pair from the overseas stable of Charlie Appleby and six other competitors.
Two of Brown’s horses, Blowout and Regal Glory, are owned by Peter Brant. Regal Glory is cross entered in the Intercontinental Stakes (G3T) June 3.
Blowout was a nose away from earning her grade 1 in the Matriarch Stakes (G1T) in November at Del Mar. The 5-year-old Dansili daughter came back strong May 1, leading at every point of call in the Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2T) at Churchill Downs. She held off returning Just a Game rivals New York Girl and Zofelle for a half-length score. Flavien Prat, aboard in both of those efforts, has the call again from post 11.
“Flavien really gets along with her well,” Brown said. “We saw that in the Matriarch. He has great hands and she can be difficult, but he really gets along with her and timed it right. She likes this track very much.”
Blowout has won two of three starts at Belmont. Her last race at the New York oval was the Sept. 26 Noble Damsel Stakes (G3T), in which she was second beaten a neck at the mile distance.
“She ran one of the best races I’ve ever had a horse run in defeat that day,” Brown said, “when she got away from Johnny (Velazquez) and went :44 (for the half-mile) and kept going. I don’t know how she was still there at the end. If she can settle at all, she has a good closing kick. She has run well on good ground in the past, but I prefer for it to be firm.”
Brown will also be represented by Juddmonte’s lightly-raced Pocket Square , a group 3 winner in France and a 2 1/4-length winner of a 1 1/16-mile allowance April 7 at Keeneland in her stateside debut. His quartet is rounded out by Swift Thoroughbred, Madaket Stables, and Wonder Stables’ Tamahere , who was second in the Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1T) April 10 at Keeneland.
Regal Glory opened her season April 11 in the one-mile Plenty of Grace Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack and, despite breaking out at the start and being rank into the first turn, ran down the pacesetter for a half-length victory.
Appleby’s two contenders for Godolphin are Summer Romance and Althiqa , who finished first and third, respectively, last out in the 1 1/8-mile Balanchine Sponsored by Range Rover (G2) at Meydan. One race earlier in Dubai, Althiqa won the eight-furlong Cape Verdi Presented by Longines (G2), in which Summer Romance checked in fifth.
“They all traveled over well and have trained well since they’ve been there,” Appleby said. “There’s been a little rain and the track’s very wet this weekend. The fillies are fit and well and have plenty of experience under their belt. The reason we went to America is they carry group 2 penalties here in Europe for the forthcoming season and the group 1 older fillies races aren’t until later in the year, anyway, so we thought it might be a good opportunity to get a grade 1.”
Also entered in the Just a Game are Sands Spring Stakes winner Sweet Bye and Bye , last out allowance winner Daddy Is a Legend , Abscond , and Always Shopping , who is cross entered in the New York Stakes (G2T) at 1 1/4 miles June 4.
Belmont Park, Saturday, June 05, 2021, Race 8
- Grade IT
- 4 yo’s & up Fillies and Mares
- 3:58 PM (local)