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Belmont At The Big A Preview | Chelsey Flower Stakes 2023: Living Magic Stretches Out On Turf

Belmont At The Big A Preview | Chelsey Flower Stakes 2023: Living Magic Stretches Out On Turf

HnR Nothhaft Horse Racing’s Kentucky homebred stakes-winner Living Magic will make her first start beyond sprint distances in Friday’s $135,000 Chelsey Flower, a 1 1/16-mile inner turf test for juvenile fillies, at Belmont at the Big A.

The Chesley Flower is slated as Race 6 on Friday’s nine-race card, which co-features the Grade 3, $200,000 Bold Ruler in Race 8 and the re-scheduled $150,000 Athenia in Race 7. First post is 12:35 p.m. Eastern. 

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Trained by Phil Schoenthal, the daughter of Justify arrives from a gutsy runner-up effort to Rosa in the 6 1/2-furlong Presque Isle Downs Debutante over synthetic on September 25 at its namesake. There, she showed an impressive turn of foot under Antonio Gallardo to pounce from 2 1/2 lengths off the pace and vie for command into the stretch, but was caught final strides by Rosa and defeated a half-length, garnering a 76 Beyer Speed Figure.

“We felt like she ran a winning race, but just didn’t win – credit to the horse who ran her down,” said Schoenthal. “We felt she showed a better dimension of being able to rate and relax, and that gives us the confidence to try her going long.”

The talented chestnut graduated on debut in May at Parx Racing when sprinting 4 1/2 furlongs over the main track ahead of a third-place finish in the 5 1/2-furlong Astoria over Belmont Park’s main track when making her stakes debut. She followed with a pacesetting victory in the 5 1/2-furlong My Dear over the Woodbine synthetic in July that garnered a field-best 77 Beyer, and a subsequent off-the-board finish in her lone turf outing in the Catch a Glimpse at the Toronto oval.

Schoenthal said Living Magic’s lackluster effort on turf is not indicative of her true grass ability.

“That’s a race to draw a line through,” said Schoenthal. “After the race, she scoped full of mucus. It’s a toss-out race and she bounced back with a remarkable effort next out at Presque Isle.”

As Living Magic has progressively stretched out since her debut, Schoenthal said the ability to rate comfortably will be key as she races farther.

“I think asking a horse to go two turns for the first time, at some point they’re going to have to take a deep breath and relax, which is different than a lot of sprint races,” said Schoenthal. “The fact that she relaxed on the backside and off the pace at Presque Isle gives us the hope she’ll do that here. She’ll have to switch it off mentally and gallop along for three-eighths of a mile before she’s asked for her best.”

Living Magic is the third foal produced from the multiple graded stakes-winning millionaire Living The Life, whose three top-level scores came over synthetic surfaces. Living Magic has banked $118,667 through a lifetime record of 5-2-1-1.

Ruben Silvera has the call from post 3.

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Bal Mar Equine’s undefeated Gavea [post 10, Jose Ortiz] makes her stakes bow off a successful American debut for trainer Al Stall, Jr. on September 29 at Churchill Downs. The Gleneagles bay was a winner at first asking in a seven-furlong maiden tilt in July at Chantilly when in the care of conditioner Waldemar Hickst, rallying from off the pace to nab a nose victory at odds of 14-1.

Gavea followed with an allowance coup in similar fashion last out, angling three-wide under Tyler Gaffalione to get up in the final strides and secure a head victory over Mo Fox Givin in the one-mile turf route. She earned a 66 Beyer for the effort.

Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown will send out Madaket Stables, Michael Doheny and Thomas Coleman’s stakes-placed maiden Latte Lizzie [post 8, Irad Ortiz, Jr.] off a closing third-place effort in the one-mile Juvenile Fillies on September 10 at Kentucky Downs. The Catalina Cruiser chestnut was 6 1/2 lengths back in sixth-of-8 at the quarter-mile call, and steadily improved position throughout to claim show honors 3 1/4 lengths back of the victorious Austere.

Latte Lizzie is still in search of her first victory after finishing third on debut in a 1 1/16-mile maiden tilt in August at Saratoga Race Course. Her second dam, Danzig’s Dreamer, is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes-winner and influential sire Distorted Humor.

Mark Stanley’s New York-bred Tricky Temper [post 6, Katie Davis] arrives from a game runner-up effort to Jody’s Pride in the off-the-turf six-furlong Matron on October 8 for trainer Jeremiah Englehart. The Into Mischief bay, bred by Sequel Thoroughbreds and Lakland Farm, was jostled near the quarter-pole when making a rally from sixth-of-7 under returning rider Katie Davis, but kept on well to claim place honors 3 1/4 lengths back of the winner. She was a debut winner in an off-the-turf sprint against fellow state-breds in August at the Spa.

“She’s been training really well and we wanted to give her a chance on the grass and give it a go,” Englehart said of the quick turnaround. “I was elated with the way she ran and she could have had every excuse to have been last after the trouble she had, but she made a move down the lane that made me think she can handle both surfaces. It’s early in her career and we know she has talent, we’re just trying to figure out what she wants to do.”

Completing the field are stakes-placed maiden winner Flowers for Me [post 9, Jose Lezcano] for trainer Jim Ryerson, the Horacio De Paz-trained pair of maiden winners Red Burgundy [post 1, Trevor McCarthy] and Awesome Czech [post 4, Kendrick Carmouche]; and maiden winners Ozara [post 5, Dylan Davis] for trainer Christophe Clement, Cynane [post 7, Javier Castellano] for trainer Tom Morley and Gold Lightning [post 2, Manny Franco] for conditioner Brad Cox. Takemetothebeach, Being Betty and Day Away are listed as also-eligible.