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ELMONT, NY – Eclipse Award-winning trainer Brad Cox will send out undefeated Australasia, who will look to go 6-for-6 as part of a six-horse field of sophomore fillies, in Sunday’s $150,000 Jersey Girl going 6 furlongs at Belmont Park.
Australasia, owned by Magniffico and bred in Louisiana by J. Adcock and Hume Wornall, is already a 3-time stakes winner. The Sky Kingdom filly won in an 8 1/4-length romp in her lone race as a juvenile, besting 10 competitors going 5 1/2 furlongs in November at Fair Grounds. She commenced her 3-year-old campaign in similar fashion, winning the 7 1/2-furlong Louisiana Jewel at Delta Downs by 6 lengths in January before wiring the field in the Louisiana-Bred Premier Starlet by 7 1/4 lengths, stretched out to 1 mile over the same track a month later.
In March, Cox shipped her back to Fair Grounds, where she tracked in second position early before winning the Crescent City Oaks at 1 mile and 70 yards. Cut back to a sprint against optional claimers last out, Australasia showed the ability to stalk and close, posting a 2-length win on April 30 at Churchill Downs at 6 1/2 furlongs to win for the fifth time in 5 tries.
Australasia will have the services of jockey Joel Rosario from post 4.
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Michael Imperio and Vincent Scuderi’s Bella Sofia earned a field-high 94 Beyer Speed Figure for her debut win going the Jersey Girl distance on May 6 over Big Sandy and will seek her second straight win for trainer Rudy Rodriguez.
Bella Sofia cruised to an 11 1/4-length win over Steal My Sunshine on a fast track last month, and the daughter of Awesome Patriot will against team with jockey Luiz Saez, breaking from post 3.
“She looked good last time and we were just looking for a race against 3-year-old fillies, so hopefully she shows up the right way,” Rodriguez said. “A couple of horses in this field are pretty salty. She broke good last time and she beat some OK fillies, so we’re just looking for her to improve. We’re definitely looking forward to seeing her run again.
“She has to show up a little more to compete against these horses, but all of the owners are excited to see her run again, and it’s a good opportunity to see what she has,” he added.
An intriguing wrinkle to the race will be the possibility of Miss Brazil’s inclusion. The Palace Malice filly is also entered for Saturday’s $500,000 Acorn (G1) going a one-turn mile. Owned by Team D and Madaket Stables, Miss Brazil has compiled a 3-1-1 record in 5 starts, including an impressive 6 1/4-length win in the 7-furlong Ruthless in February at Aqueduct Racetrack.
After running second in the Busher Invitational going 1 mile at the Big A in March and an optional claiming win cut back to 6 1/2 furlongs last out in April at Belmont, Miss Brazil was entered in the Acorn, drawing post 3 in the six-horse field with Hall of Famer Javier Castellano tabbed to ride.
While listed at 5/1 on the morning line in the Acorn – headlined by even-money favorite Search Results – Dutrow said he still hasn’t determined which race he’ll decide for the Haymarket Farm Kentucky bred.
“She’s doing great,” Dutrow said. “I can’t tell you if she’s going to run in the Jersey Girl or not, I’ll discuss that with my partners tomorrow, but she’s doing fantastic. But I think she’s at the very best she’s ever been. I really liked her race over at Belmont Park’s surface in April.
“I told my partners and everyone involved with Miss Brazil that I was going to enter her in the Acorn and the Jersey Girl and just decide our best option,” he added. “A mile could be a little far for Miss Brazil; 6 furlongs is a distance she excels out. But knowing the Acorn is a Grade 1 with so much opportunity, it’s enticing. But we’ll talk on Friday and we’ll choose which one we go to.”
LNJ Foxwoods’ Decade has won 2 in a row and will make his stakes debut for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. The daughter of 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome was second in her debut in August at Ellis Park before edging next-out winner Color of Dawn in her second start in September at Churchill Downs.
In her last start, Decade handled her first race on a sloppy and sealed track, posting a 3-length victory in an optional claimer on April 29 at Oaklawn Park. A $170,000 purchase at the 2019 Keeneland September Sale, Decade will make her first start at Belmont by drawing the outermost post 6. Jose Ortiz will be in the irons.
Kinsman Stable’s Shop Girl, second last out in the Any Limit in March at Gulfstream Park, has registered a pair of wins and second-place efforts in 4 starts for trainer Christophe Clement. The Constitution filly also ran second in the Glitter Woman in her sophomore bow in January at Gulfstream and will have Manny Franco ride for the first time breaking from post 1.
Cash in King and LC Racing’s Dr B will make her first stakes appearance, entering off back-to-back wins at Parx for conditioner Butch Reid. Frankie Pennington, aboard for all 3 of the Liam’s Map filly’s starts, will have the return call from post 2.
Carded as race 7 on the 9-race card, the seventh running of the Jersey Girl has a post time of 4:08 PM Eastern. First post is 1 PM.
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