From the NYRA Media Team:
Trainer Christophe Clement saddles Brooke Marie and Rose Flower in the 5th running of the $100,000 Christiecat as live racing returns to Belmont Park on Friday, September 6.
The 37-day Belmont fall meet offers 45 stakes worth $11.525 million in purse money and eight Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” qualifiers held over two weekends.
Jim Bakke and Gerald Isbister’s Brooke Marie boasts the highest Beyer Speed Figure in the field of nine sophomore fillies assembled for the six-furlong turf sprint, having garnered back-to-back 84 Beyers in winning a Monmouth Park allowance on July 19 and last out when a closing fourth in the Galway on August 11 at the Spa.
The bay daughter of Lemon Drop Kid graduated in October at Belmont in an off-the-turf sprint and has demonstrated consistency with a record of 2-2-1 from eight starts.
“She’s a filly that I like and has been training forwardly,” said Clement. “I thought she ran well in her last race. She broke her maiden at Belmont, so we know she’s familiar with the course. I’m just going to train her to the race and so far everything’s going good.”
Athlone Racing’s Rose Flower will make her North American debut in the Christiecat.
The German-bred daughter of Dabirsim launched her career under the tutelage of Giuseppe Botti in France where she won two of four starts including a 1 ¼-length score in the seven-furlong Prix Amandine on July 5 at Maisons-Lafitte.
Rose Flower has posted a pair of works on the dirt training track at Belmont in preparation for the Christiecat, including a four furlong effort in 49.96 seconds on August 26.
“She just came from France. She’s trained very well and is exciting,” said Clement. “She won her last race, which was a stakes, and although the six furlongs may be a bit short for her, we’ll take a shot in here with her.”
Brooke Marie will leave from post 3 under Junior Alvarado, while Rose Flower will emerge from post 9 with Manny Franco aboard.
Three-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown will send out Dancing Vega and Turf War for their North American stakes debuts in the Christiecat.
Waverley Racing’s Dancing Vega, an Irish-bred daughter of Lope de Vega, graduated at first asking in England at Doncaster while under the care of Ralph Beckett. Following an off-the-board effort as the favorite in the Group 3 Fred Darling at Newbury, she was transferred to Brown and made her North American debut on August 9 at Saratoga when ninth in a grassy one-mile optional claimer.
Turf War, a Kentucky-bred daughter of War Front, made her first six starts in France where she graduated at Caron last September for then trainer Jean-Claude Rouget. Owned by Martin Schwartz, Turf War has since contested a pair of allowance turf sprints at Saratoga, finishing fourth last out in a race won by Christiecat rival Saint Moon.
Dancing Vega will leave from post 5 under Hall of Famer John Velazquez, while Turf War will be guided out of post 7 by Joel Rosario.
Saint Moon, trained by Jorge Navarro for owners Ivan Rodriguez and Albert and Michelle Crawford, finished second in the Blue Sparkler at Monmouth two starts back. Last out, the grey daughter of The Factor earned a career-best 82 Beyer when leading gate-to-wire in a 5 ½-furlong turf sprint at the Spa.
Luis Saez retains the mount from post 4.
Rounding out the field are Peaceful [Javier Castellano, post 1], and Jennemily [Rajiv Maragh, post 2], Comedy [Jose Lezcano, post 6], and Queen of Bermuda [Joe Bravo, post 8].
The first 23 days of the 37-day Belmont fall meet will be held at Belmont Park before the action shifts to Aqueduct Racetrack for Belmont at the Big A beginning on October 11 and continuing through October 27.
The Christiecat is slated as Race 7 on Friday’s Opening Day card. First post is 3 p.m.