ELMONT, NY – Belmont Park’s opening Saturday will feature three prestigious stakes, including the inaugural running of the $750,000 Jockey Club Oaks Invitational for 3-year-old fillies over the inner turf.
The 1 3/8-mile test is the final leg of the newly minted “Turf Tiara”, which started with the Belmont Oaks (G1) and continued with the Saratoga Oaks Invitational in August. The race’s male counterpart, the $1 million Jockey Club Derby, along with the $300,000 Grand Prix American Jockey Club Invitational, also feature on the 11-race card.
Three European sophomore fillies ship in for the contest, led by Madame Stella Thayer’s Group 1-winner Wonderment, who seeks her first win since the Criterium de Saint Cloud (G1) last October in France. Trained by Nicolas Clement, the Irish-bred daughter of Camelot enters the Jockey Club Oaks off of a sixth-place finish in the Prix Minerve (G3) on August 11 at Deauville.
Regular rider Stephane Pasquier will have the mount from post 6.
Also shipping to Belmont is Love So Deep, who enters the race off of a close second in the Darley Prix de Pomone (G2) at Deauville.
Trained by Jane Chapple-Hyam, the Japanese-bred daughter of Deep Impact won the British Stallion Studs EBF Chalice Stakes at Newmarket two starts back and seeks a fourth career victory.
“I was intrigued by the purse and I feel that it’ll get [graded] status next year and I felt that it was a good opportunity when she’s been improving hugely in her last two starts,” Chapple-Hyam said. “The jockey reports back that she is much more solid and stronger. She’s a very small filly, built like a bull. She’s very fit.”
Chapple-Hyam said that Love So Deep can run over any ground but would be better suited going over a firm turf.
“She goes well over any ground which in intriguing. She goes on firm going and she goes on soft ground,” Chapple-Hyam said. “Her regular rider John Egan feels that she’s better on the firm and I was kind of hoping that’s what I would get in New York.”
Love So Deep is out of the Sadler’s Wells broodmare Soinlovewithyou, who is a half-sister to five-time Group 1 winner Duke of Marmalade and well as 2013 Epsom Derby (G1) winner Ruler of the World.
Jamie Spencer will pilot Love So Deep from post 5.
His Highness the Aga Khan’s Edisa rounds out the European contingent, entering off of two runner-up efforts against grouped stakes company overseas. Last out, the Alain de Royer-Dupre trained daughter of Kitten’s Joy was second in the Prix de Psyche (G3) on July 27 at Deauville, which came after running second in the Prix de Malleret (G2) at Saint Cloud.
Jockey Flavien Prat has the mount from the rail.
The Jockey Club Oaks field from the rail out: Edisa, Romantic Pursuit, Lady Prancealot (IRE), Desert Ride, Love So Deep (JPN), Wonderment (IRE), Dyna Passer, and Art of Almost.
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