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Edited NYRA Staff Release – Augustin Stables’ multiple graded stakes-placed Mouffy has finished second in three of her last four outings, but will look to go one better in Thursday’s Listed $150,000 Perfect Sting, a one-mile turf test for older fillies and mares, at Belmont at the Big A.

Trained by Jonathan Thomas, the 5-year-old Uncle Mo bay has made all three of her starts this year versus graded company, highlighted by consecutive closing seconds within one length in one-mile events over good turf at Santa Anita Park, including the Grade 3 Megahertz in February and Grade 2 Buena Vista in March.

In the Buena Vista, Mouffy rallied from seven lengths back under returning rider Frankie Dettori to finish three-quarter-lengths off the pacesetting Ruby Nell, a $1.2 million 2-year-old purchase for Spendthrift Farm. Mouffy exited the game effort to finish off-the-board when stretching out to nine furlongs in the Grade 3 Modesty over yielding footing last out on May 3 at Churchill Downs.

“She has put together a decent year. The turf was probably a little softer than we anticipated at Churchill,” said Thomas. “We are finding that she really likes very firm turf. She certainly didn’t disgrace herself but with the lack of pace and some significant cut in the ground, we will draw a line through it and move on.”

Thomas said that Mouffy’s recent showings of a late turn-of-foot, which was also exemplified in her stakes debut win in the 1 1/16-mile Ellis Park Turf in August, may have revealed her preferred running style.

“She’s probably adaptable, but I think the best we have seen from her is when she has some pace in front of her and she has something to close into,” Thomas said. “The quicker they go early, the easier it is for her to settle and pounce and make a run. What she seems to prefer is pace.”

Mouffy holds $300,941 in earnings through an 11-4-4-0 record at eight tracks, adding another graded try in October on the Tapeta at Woodbine Racetrack when fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3 Ontario Matron.

The well-traveled Mouffy will break from post 1 with the globe-trotting Frankie Dettori aboard, a member of the British Flat Racing Hall of Fame. The international rider will be based this summer at Saratoga Race Course with agent Ron Anderson to book his mounts. 

Out of the graded-stakes placed Smart Strike mare Truly Together, Mouffy is a half-sister to the Thomas-conditioned Truly Quality, a last-out allowance winner over the Big A turf in May. Her second dam is 2008 Champion Grass Mare Forever Together.

Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown looks to add upon past successes with Daring Kathy [2015] and Uni [2019] as he sends out Midnight Mile [post 5, Irad Ortiz, Jr.] and Lady Beth [post 4, Flavien Prat].

Mrs. John Magnier and Roisin Henry’s Midnight Mile, a 4-year-old Irish-bred No Nay Never bay, finished second in her first start for Brown in the one-mile Listed Plenty Of Grace on April 21 here. The effort came from a layoff dating to an off-the-board result in the Group 3 Atalanta on September 2 at Sandown Park for previous trainer Richard Fahey.

For Fahey, Midnight Mile notched a head score in the 2022 Group 3 Oh So Sharp going seven-furlongs at Newmarket ahead of a rallying fourth in that year’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Keeneland. Last year, she posted a 5-1-0-1 record, taking a listed stake at York traveling 1 5/16-miles ahead of a third-place finish against males in the Group 3 Rose of Lancaster at the same distance in August at Haydock.

Midnight Mile is out of the Galileo mare Ruby Tuesday, who is a half-sister to 2003 Group 1 Irish 1,000 Guineas-winner Yesterday and dual Group 1-placed All My Loving.

Richard Schermerhorn’s graded stakes-placed Lady Beth was beaten a neck in her seasonal bow, made here on May 19 traveling Thursday’s distance versus allowance company. In defeat, the 4-year-old Hard Spun bay earned a career-best 87 Beyer Speed Figure.

Last year, Lady Beth finished third in the seven-furlong Grade 3 Soaring Softly in May at Belmont Park ahead of a pair of off-the-board finishes at Belmont at the Big A, in the one-mile Listed Winter Memories and six-furlong Glen Cove.

Out of the multiple stakes-place Makfi mare Boreale, Lady Beth was a $390,000 purchase at the 2022 OBS Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training.

Chris Larsen’s stakes-winning New York-bred Moonage Daydream [post 2, Joel Rosario] will stretch out in distance after winning a local state-bred second-level optional-claimer on May 24.

Trained by Jorge Abreu, the 4-year-old Candy Ride bay capped her last campaign as the beaten favorite in three turf sprints at the same level, following an off-the-board attempt in the one-mile Grade 3 Herecomesthebride at Gulfstream Park. 

Bred by 3C Stable, Moonage Daydream graduated at second asking when closing late in a local six-furlong turf sprint in September 2022 ahead of a wire-to-wire score at that distance in the Stewart Manor at Aqueduct.

Rounding out the field is Perrine Time Thoroughbreds’ Damaso [post 3, Jose Lezcano], who will step up to stakes company for the first time since her juvenile season. The 4-year-old Outwork bay has hit the board in 5-of-6 efforts this year for trainer Kathleen O’Connell, including two consecutive frontrunning scores going 1 1/16-miles at the allowance level, in April at Tampa Bay Downs and on June 2 at Monmouth Park.

Damaso has hit her stride for O’Connell, after a 2-of-9 start to her career for trainer Timothy Hamm and three off-the-board finishes during the latter stages of 2023 when racing for conditioner Jose D’Angelo on the Gulfstream Tapeta.

Movie Moxy, Bustin Bay and Royal Poppy are entered for the main track-only. 

The Perfect Sting is slated as Race 3 on Thursday’s 9-race card that also features the Grade 3, $175,000 Victory Ride, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for sophomore fillies in Race 8. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.

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