Saturday, May 26, 2012


TURF FILLIES CLASH IN SANDS POINT


ELMONT, N.Y. – Somali Lemonade, a graded stakes winner at 2, will attempt to add the Grade 2, $200,000 Sands Point to her resume Monday afternoon at Belmont Park as she heads a field of eight sophomore fillies in the 1 1/16th-mile turf race.

The Sands Point will be run as race 7 on the 11-race holiday card and kicks off a $500,000 Guaranteed All Graded Stakes Pick 4 that includes the Grade 1, $400,000 Ogden Phipps, the Grade 1, $300,000 Acorn for 3-year-old fillies, and the highlight of the afternoon, the Grade 1, $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap.


Somali Lemonade will be returning to the site of her maiden victory in the Sands Point, having rallied from last to break her maiden in a seven-furlong event at Belmont in September. The daughter of Lemon Drop Kid next employed similar late-running tactics in winning the Grade 3 Jessamine at Keeneland Race Course before concluding her juvenile campaign with a sixth-place finish behind Stephanie’s Kitten in the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Churchill Downs.

Trained by Michael Matz, who in the June 9 Belmont Stakes will attempt to upend I’ll Have Another’s bid for the Triple Crown with Union Rags, Somali Lemonade has made one start this year, finishing second to Dayatthespa in the Grade 3 Appalachian at Keeneland on April 19.

The even-money favorite on the morning line, Somali Lemonade will be ridden by John Velazquez from post position 3.

Also returning from the Jessamine is third-place finisher Regalo Mia, who is seeking her first victory since a maiden win at Gulfstream Park in December. The Sligo Bay filly opened her 2012 campaign with a third-place finish in the Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs in February, and subsequently was beaten only a neck by Dayatthespa in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride at Gulfstream Park.

With Javier Castellano in the irons, Regalo Mia will leave from post position 5. The Michelle Nihei trainee is the second choice on the morning line at 3-1.

Darley Stable’s Better Lucky, who will be making her graded stakes and turf debut in the Sands Point, comes into the race off an impressive 5 ¼-length victory in an optional claimer over a muddy Belmont main track on May 2.

“With her having liked the off going, there’s a chance she’ll like turf as well,” said trainer Tom Albertrani of the daughter of Ghostzapper. “She fits well in the race. It’s kind of an experiment, but going back to the Busher she put in a big run on the turn and she flattened out [to finish third]. She ran like a turf horse that day, and her pedigree suggests she can run on it.”

Eddie Castro will be aboard Better Lucky, 8-1 on the morning line, from the rail.

Rounding out the field are Dreaming of Cara, most recently fourth in an optional claimer; Firehouse Red, fourth in the Appalachian, and maiden winners Modulate, Preach Tome Daddy, and Zultanite.


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