“She’s doing very well,” said Mettee, North American Racing Manager for Godolphin Stable. “She will have another work and then go out to California along with (Grade 1 Beldame winner) Cocoa Beach.”
“Even if you took Zenyatta out, you’re still dealing with Ginger Punch, Hysterical Lady and now Carriage Trail,” said Mettee. “It’s a very tough race.”
Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, Carriage Trail set a track record of 1:46.77 in winning the Grade 1 Spinster at Keeneland.
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Oft-injured Chatain is back in training, but Angel Penna Jr. is understandably reluctant to commit to the horse’s next start.
“I don’t want to jinx him,” said Penna of Chatain, who has come close to returning to the races several times since his victory in the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope in January at Gulfstream Park, but has been repeatedly sidelined. “Basically, when he’s ready to run, I will find a spot for him to run. Whatever is available.”
A logical spot for Chatain, who breezed Monday in 51:02 over a wet-fast training track, would be the Grade 3, $150,000 Sport Page Handicap at seven furlongs on October 25 at Belmont Park.
“But if I plan, I am afraid something will happen,” said Penna of the 5-year-old son of Forest Wildcat. “So, I am not planning.”
Penna said that Al Basha, winner of last year’s Mohawk Handicap on New York Showcase Day, was gearing up for what he hopes will be a repeat performance in the nine-furlong turf event on October 18, one of seven state-bred stakes races on the card.
“He ran a clunker at Saratoga – it was one of those monsoon days and I don’t think he cared for the tight turns,” said Penna of Al Basha’s fifth-place finish as the favorite in the West Point Handicap on Aug. 10. “But then, he came back and won an allowance here (Sept. 10).”
The 4-year-old son of Aljabr worked Monday, covering five furlongs in 1:06.82 over the soft inner turf course.
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In addition to seven stakes races worth more than $1 million on October 18, New York Showcase Day will feature a guaranteed $400,000 all-stakes Pick 4 on races 7-10, culminating in the $250,000 Empire Classic.
The day’s events will also include a myriad of free family-friendly activities in Belmont Park’s beautiful backyard, from pumpkin carving and face-painting to hay rides and a scarecrow hunt. The Family Festival runs from noon until 4 p.m., while nearby in the Festival Tent, grown-ups can experience live music, hand-rolled cigars and whisky and wine tasting, all free of charge, in the Premium Sampling area beginning at 11 a.m.
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A reminder that Belmont Park will be racing this week through Monday, October 13 (Columbus Day), and will be dark on Tuesday, October 14 and Wednesday, October 15.