(Trainer Chad Brown / Photos by Holly M. Smith)
From the NYRA Media Team / Ryan Martin:
Four-time Eclipse Award winning trainer Chad Brown will send out graded-stakes winner Liguria and stakes-placed Tax Implications in search of a second consecutive score in Saturday’s $150,000 Wild Applause, a one-mile Widener turf test for sophomore fillies, at Belmont Park.
Alpha Delta Stables’ Liguria enters from a fifth-place finish in her sophomore debut in the Grade 2 Edgewood on May 5 at Churchill Downs. Forwardly placed throughout, she lacked racing room toward the hedge in upper stretch and finished 1 1/2 lengths back of the frontrunning winner Heavenly Sunday.
The Edgewood was the daughter of War Front’s first effort since a triumphant stakes debut in the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante on December 3 at Del Mar, where she maintained outside position from sixth entering the first turn and made a sweeping five-wide move in upper stretch. She took command inside the final furlong and strolled home a 2 1/4-length winner under Flavien Prat.
Liguria drilled through five furlongs over Belmont’s inner turf in 59.98 seconds on Sunday.
“She worked super,” said Brown, who won this event last year with Eminent Victor. “She didn’t take to the turf at Churchill.”
Bred in Kentucky by Tada Nobutaka, Liguria, out of the Woodman mare Lerici, is a full-sister to multiple Grade 1-winner Avenge.
Irad Ortiz, Jr. will pick up the mount aboard Liguria, assigned a field-high 122 pounds, from post 3.
Klaravich Stables’ Tax Implications [post 2, Manny Franco] will face Liguria for the first time since defeating her stablemate by 6 3/4 lengths in a one-mile maiden event on September 11 at Monmouth Park.
The Mehmas chestnut followed with a runner-up effort in the October 28 Chelsey Flower at Belmont at the Big A, lugging in during the stretch drive and finishing one length in arrears of stablemate Implicated. Tax Implications will make her 2023 debut in the Wild Applause and has breezed extensively at Saratoga Race Course, most recently going a half-mile in 49.74 seconds over the Oklahoma training track on June 18.
Brown has also entered Peter Brant’s graded-stakes placed Shidabhuti for the main track only.
Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Steven Rocco and Tango Uniform Racing’s Breath Away [post 8, Joel Rosario] will strive to keep her consistent 4-2-2-0 record afloat for trainer Christophe Clement.
The British-bred daughter of Bated Breath was a last-out second beaten a half-length in the May 19 Hilltop at Pimlico Race Course. She entered the Hilltop from a score in the 7 1/2-furlong Sanibel Island on April 1 at Gulfstream Park, where she was a ground saving last-of-9 into the first turn before weaving her way through traffic in the stretch to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Breath Away was more forwardly placed in her debut maiden triumph in January at Gulfstream when stalking from third and pouncing to a half-length victory.
Wertheimer and Frere’s Soviet Excess [post 6, Dylan Davis] invades from Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher’s South Florida division and will make her first start away from Gulfstream Park.
The Uncle Mo bay was a pacesetting second at third asking to next out Grade 3 Soaring Softly winner Queen Picasso on March 5 over the turf before utilizing stalking tactics to break her maiden on April 30 over synthetic. She enters from a 1 1/2-length victory in an allowance optional claimer over turf on May 28.
Trainer John Kimmel will saddle New York-bred Im Just Kiddin [post 4, Jose Ortiz], by Justify, who recently defeated winners via disqualification on May 29 over Belmont’s inner turf.
The Chester and Mary Broman homebred was off a step slow and tracked in third down the backstretch before a deep stretch duel with Collaboration, who bumped Im Just Kiddin outside the eighth pole and crossed the wire a three-quarter length winner but was subsequently taken down.
The Wild Applause will be Im Just Kiddin’s first open company stakes engagement since finishing fifth in the Miss Grillo in October.
Completing the field are the stakes-placed Violet Gibson [post 1, Junior Alvarado] for trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr.; and maiden winners Cecile [post 5, Julien Leparoux] for conditioner Lindsay Schultz and the New York-bred Kerry [post 7, Javier Castellano], who makes her debut for trainer Joe Sharp.
The Wild Applause honors the graded stakes winning Northern Dancer mare who had a highly influential career as a broodmare. Trained by Hall of Famer Mack Miller and owned by Paul Mellon, Wild Applause, a half-sister to 1993 Kentucky Derby winner Sea Hero, produced graded stakes winners Roar and Yell. She is also the second dam of prominent sires Flatter and Congrats as well as multiple black-type producing mare Meghan’s Joy.
The Wild Applause is slated as Race 6 on Saturday’s 10-race program. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.
America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the spring meet at Belmont Park on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/belmont/racing/tv-schedule.