WAR ECHO RETURNS TO BELMONT
Silverbulletday S. (G3) heroine WAR ECHO (Tapit), who has been sidelined since her good-looking score at Fair Grounds in February, will return to action in Wednesday's $65,000 Cat Chat S. for sophomore fillies at Belmont Park. The Steve Asmussen trainee will meet five rivals, including the Grade 1-placed MALIBU PRAYER (Malibu Moon) and smashing Saratoga allowance winner ACRONYM (Empire Maker).
War Echo, a three-quarter sister to recent Forego S. (G1) victor Pyro (Pulpit), broke her maiden impressively at this track and one-mile trip last October. The chestnut rounded out her two-year-old campaign with a fourth in the Frizette S. (G1) and a distant third in the Golden Rod S. (G2), beaten a total of 12 lengths by Rachel Alexandra (Medaglia d'Oro).
In her only start this season, War Echo rallied from well off the pace in the Silverbulletday, where she reeled in her Grade 3-winning stablemate Four Gifts (Even the Score) by 1 1/2 lengths. Another 7 3/4 lengths back in third was Just Jenda (Menifee), an eventual multiple Grade 3 winner herself.
At that time, War Echo was among the top hopefuls for the Kentucky Oaks (G1), but she sustained an injury after the Silverbulletday that ruled her out for the spring and summer. She returned to the worktab in early August at Churchill, and she put the finishing touches on her preparations with a pair of six-furlong drills over the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga.
War Echo, the 3-1 third choice on the morning line, will break from post 5 with regular rider Shaun Bridgmohan.
The once-beaten Acronym has been installed as the 9-5 morning-line favorite in her stakes debut. A Juddmonte Farms homebred trained by Bobby Frankel, the bay returned from a seven-month layoff to romp by 6 1/4 lengths in a second-level allowance at the Spa. Two starts back, she landed a Santa Anita maiden in January.
Acronym is a full sister to the multiple Grade 2-placed Turn Away, who just missed when third in the First Flight H. (G2) at Belmont in June. Alan Garcia will once again team up with the three-year-old, who has drawn the rail.
Malibu Prayer, the 5-2 second choice, is coming off three straight runner-up efforts in graded stakes. The Todd Pletcher filly was a remote second to Rachel Alexandra in the Mother Goose S. (G1), again a well-beaten second to Careless Jewel (Tapit) in the Delaware Oaks (G2), and a handily defeated second to Just Jenda in the Monmouth Oaks (G3).
On Wednesday, Malibu Prayer reverts to a one-turn mile for the first time since her 13-length maiden romp at Aqueduct in April. The bay is tactically drawn on the outside with John Velazquez.
Rounding out the field are Sharp Cat S. victress PAMONA BALL (Pleasantly Perfect), who has not raced since finishing sixth in the Hollywood Starlet S. (G1) last December; recent Saratoga allowance winner DEVIL BY DESIGN (Medaglia d'Oro); and Demoiselle S. (G2) fourth AIN'T LOVE GRAND (Dixie Union), fourth in a Monmouth allowance in her belated sophomore bow.
On the New York worktab
GIO PONTI (Tale of the Cat), a leading candidate for champion turf male honors with four consecutive Grade 1 wins to his credit, most recently the Arlington Million (G1), breezed five furlongs in 1:04 2/5 over Belmont Park's firm inner turf on Monday. He will likely reappear in the October 3 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (G1).
Multiple Grade 1 winner MUSIC NOTE (A.P. Indy), heroine of the Ballerina S. (G1) last time, breezed five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 over the fast main track at Belmont. Her next stop is the October 3 Beldame S. (G1).
Multiple Grade 3 queen SARA LOUISE (Malibu Moon), victorious in last month's Victory Ride S. (G3) in her return from a lengthy absence, worked four furlongs in a co-bullet :47 4/5 over the fast main track. The last horse to beat Horse of the Year candidate Rachel Alexandra (Medaglia d'Oro), she is headed toward Saturday's Gallant Bloom H. (G2).
Pennsylvania Derby (G2) romper GONE ASTRAY (Dixie Union), prepping for either the October 3 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) or the Indiana Derby (G2) the same day, also shared the bullet with Sara Louise.
Grade 2 veteran GAYEGO (Gilded Time), winner of an August 17 Saratoga allowance in his return from a layoff of more than five months, zipped five panels in a bullet :59 3/5. The Godolphin colt could line up in the October 11 Ancient Title S. (G1) at Santa Anita.
Multiple Grade 2 queen CRITICISM (GB) (Machiavellian), ninth in the Diana S. (G1) last time, breezed five furlongs in 1:01 4/5.
National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame S. (G2) hero COURAGEOUS CAT (Storm Cat) finished up in 1:01 3/5. The Bill Mott pupil is aiming for the October 10 Jamaica H. (G1).
Churchill Downs S. (G2) winner ACCREDIT (E Dubai), the trailer in the Metropolitan H. (G1) when last seen, sped in :49 2/5 for a half-mile.
French Group 3 winner DENOMINATION (Smart Strike), sixth in the Beverly D. S. (G1) in her U.S. debut, was timed in :51 2/5.
Grade 3 winner HUNTING (Coronado's Quest), unraced since December, clocked four panels in :48 4/5.
Grade 3 winner GRASSHOPPER (Dixie Union), unplaced in all three starts this season, covered three furlongs in :38 2/5.
Multiple stakes winner DISTORTED PASSION (Distorted Humor), third in the Bed o' Roses H. (G2) when last seen in April, breezed in :50.
CONSEQUENCE (El Prado [Ire]), unplaced twice since landing the American One Thousand Guineas, logged three-eighths in :38.
PERSISTENTLY (Smoke Glacken), runner-up in the 2008 Frizette S. (G1) and Matron S. (G2), finished in :51 2/5. She was third against allowance foes when last seen in April.
2008 Dwyer S. (G2) winner MINT LANE (Maria's Mon), the trailer in a September 3 allowance in his seasonal bow, worked five furlongs from the gate in 1:01 over the fast training track.
Busanda S. winner PUMPKIN SHELL (Lion Heart), a distant third in the Busher S. when last seen in February, traveled three furlongs in :37.
At Saratoga, Canadian champion and Grade 1 winner KODIAK KOWBOY (Posse) breezed five furlongs in 1:02 1/5 over the fast Oklahoma training track. He was the runner-up in the Forego S. (G1) last time.
Jim Dandy (G2) and Dwyer (G2) victor KENSEI (Mr. Greeley) earned the bullet with a move in 1:01 3/5. The three-year-old exits a sixth in the Travers S. (G1).
Grade 1 veteran UNBRIDLED BELLE (Broken Vow), the trailer in the Personal Ensign S. (G1) most recently, completed four furlongs in :49.
SETTE E MEZZO (Dynaformer), third in the Bernard Baruch H. (G2) in his stakes debut, logged six furlongs in 1:14 1/5.
Ballston Spa H. (G2) winner SALVE GERMANIA (Ire) (Peintre Celebre) breezed a half-mile in :49 over the firm turf at Oklahoma.
With Anticipation S. (G3) winner INTERACTIF (Broken Vow) also went in :49.
Prioress S. (G1) winner CAT MOVES (Tale of the Cat), third in the Test S. (G1) most recently, worked a bullet half-mile in :47 over the fast main track at Aqueduct.
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