(Civil Union / Susie Raisher Photo & Courtesy of NYRA)
From the NYRA Media Team:
The top-four finishers in the Grade 2 Glens Falls last month at Saratoga Race Course will each vie for supremacy again in Saturday’s rematch that highlights the Grade 1, $250,000 Flower Bowl for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up going 1 1/4 miles on the Belmont Park inner turf.
Allen Stable’s Civil Union, trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, outkicked the Chad Brown trainee My Sister Nat by one length in the Glens Falls going 1 3/8 miles on September 5. The two will renew acquaintances in the 43rd running of the Flower Bowl, which serves as a “Win and You’re In” qualifier to the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf on November 7 at Keeneland.
In total, Saturday’s 11-race card features five graded stakes, including the Grade 1, $300,000 Champagne, a Breeders’ Cup qualifier for juveniles; the Grade 1, $250,000 Frizette offering the same Breeders’ Cup entry for juvenile fillies and the Grade 2, $150,000 Sands Point for sophomore fillies on the turf. Taking center stage will be the Grade 1, $250,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup for 3-year-olds and up with a spot in the Grade 1, $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic awarded to the victor.
The only trainer besides Brown to capture the Flower Bowl since 2014 is McGaughey, who won with War Flag in 2017. Civil Union, a 5-year-old War Front mare, has won three in a row, starting with a 1 ¼-mile allowance tilt on the Belmont turf on June 21 before winning the River Memories on the same track going 1 1/2 miles on July 12.
“I think she’s a nice filly and she’s learned to put it all together,” McGaughey said. “We’ve been able to space her races in a good way and we’ll see if she moves it up the next notch. She’ll run as far as you want to run her.”
Originally trained by Brown, Civil Union is 3-0-1 in four starts in 2020 for McGaughey, with all of her efforts coming over firm turf.
“Most of the War Fronts like the firm turf,” McGaughey said. “I think she likes this big race track at Belmont, too. She liked Saratoga and ran good there, but I think everything is coming together with her and I’m hoping it comes together Saturday.”
Joel Rosario will have the call from post 3.
Peter Brant’s My Sister Nat is one of three entrants for Brown, who has won five of the last six Flower Bowl runnings. The 5-year-old Acclamation mare, who was a group stakes winner in her native France before arriving in the United States in 2019, won her first graded stakes for Brown by edging Mrs. Sippy by a neck in the Grade 3 Waya going 1 1/2 miles on the Spa turf on August 8. That effort netted her a personal-best 95 Beyer Speed Figure setting up her competitive second to Civil Union in her last start.
Out of the Galileo mare Starlet’s Sister, his half-brother Sottsass captured the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triumphe last weekend at France’s Longchamp.
Jose Ortiz will ride My Sister Nat for the fifth consecutive race, breaking from post 2.
OXO Equine’s Cambier Parc returned off an 11-month layoff to run second behind Rideforthecause in the Grade 2 Canadian going 1 1/8 miles on the Woodbine turf on September 12.
The well-deserved rest leading into that race was given after a 2019 season in which she won the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks one start after running third in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks. In October 2019, she followed with a victory in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, ending her year on a high note.
Cambier Parc will look to start her 4-year-old campaign 2-for-2, exiting the inside with Hall of Famer John Velazquez aboard.
Brown will also send out Irish-bred graded stakes winner in Nay Lady Lay, who enters off victories in the Grade 3 Matchmaker on July 18 at Belmont Park and the All Along on September 7 at Laurel Park.
The 4-year-old No Nay Never filly, owned by First Row Partners and Hidden Brook Farm, is 5-1 in eight career starts. She ended her 2019 with her lone graded stakes win, rallying from seventh to win the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere in November at Churchill.
Irad Ortiz, Jr. picks up the mount from post 6.
Trainer Tom Albertrani will send out a pair of contenders in Mark Anderson’s Beau Belle and Elizabeth Mateo’s Lovely Lucky, who ran third and fourth, respectively, in the Glens Falls last out.
Beau Belle will be making her 24th career start. The 5-year-old Giant’s Causeway daughter was third in her previous appearance at Belmont in the River Memories.
“She’s training well and came out of the race fine,” Albertrani said. “Hopefully, we can just step up a little bit and make up a couple of lengths. She didn’t get beat very far. She tries hard every time she runs and she’s always right there.”
Beau Belle did not make her graded stakes debut until her 4-year-old year and in her 11th start overall. After winning her first start in her 15th career race in July 2019, Albertrani said she started to figure things out.
“It took her awhile to break her maiden but once she did, it looks like she just started going forward from there,” Albertrani said. “She’s matured and she got a little older and a little better.”
Luis Saez will be in the irons on Saturday, drawing post 5.
Lovely Lucky broke her maiden at fifth asking – and in her second career turf start- in June 20 over the Belmont grass before besting allowance company going 1 3/8 miles on the Saratoga turf on July 24. After running fourth in her graded stakes debut in the Glens Falls, Jose Lezcano will retain the mount from post 7.
Lovely Lucky made her first three starts on the main track before Albertrani moved her to turf to start 2020. She has won two of four starts since, including a 6 3/4-length score against allowance company going 1 3/8 miles on July 24 at Saratoga.
“She’s also doing well. Ever since we stretched her out, she’s shown she can be a competitive filly in these longer races,” Albertrani said. “I thought she ran well in the Glens Falls. She was a bit keen early on, so hopefully Saturday she’ll settle a little bit and hopefully make up more ground.
“She was really impressive her first start at Saratoga,” he added. “That race was an eye-opener. We put her in the deep end in the Glens Falls but she ran quite well and wasn’t beaten that far.”
La Signare won the Grade 3 Wonder Again last year and was third in the Grade 2 Distaff Turf Mile on September 5 at Churchill. Since taking over the training duties last fall, Brendan Walsh has conditioned the French bred to a win in the Sand Springs on March 28 at Gulfstream and a strong runner-up effort in the Grade 3 Mint Julep in May at Churchill Downs.
Manny Franco will be aboard La Signare from post 4.
Saturday’s card will feature a 12:20 p.m. Eastern first post. America’s Day at the Races will present daily television coverage of the 27-day fall meet on FOX Sports and MSG Networks. For the complete America’s Day at the Races broadcast schedule, and additional programming information, visit www.nyra.com/belmont/racing/tv-schedule.