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Four Major Diana Contenders Breeze Final Time
Althiqa winning the Just a Game (Credit: NYRA / Chelsea Durand)

Four Major Diana Contenders Breeze Final Time

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Four major contenders for Saturday’s $500,000 Diana (G1) breezed a final time in preparation for the event: Lemista, Pocket Square, Althiqa, and Summer Romance.

The Diana, a 1 1/8-mile turf test, headlines the first Saturday card of Saratoga’s 2021 meet.

Trainer Chad Brown breezed a number of horses over the Belmont Park inner turf on Sunday morning including Lemista and Pocket Square, who are both on target for the Diana.

The pair worked 5 furlongs in company with Lemista completing her work in bullet time of 1:01.80 outside of Pocket Square, who finished off in 1:01.89.

Owned by Peter Brant, Lemista earned a 100 Beyer in her North American debut in the Beaugay (G3) on May 8 at Belmont, finishing a late-closing second to Harvey’s Lil Goil. The 4-year-old daughter of 2008 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Raven’s Pass was a Group 2 winner 3 starts back at the Curragh over yielding going.

Juddmonte Farms’ Pocket Square, a Group 3 winner in France, was impressive in her North American debut on April 7 at Keeneland and subsequently was fifth as the lukewarm favorite in the Just a Game (G1) on June 5 at Belmont.

“They both worked well with one another and are going to the Diana,” Brown said. “Lemista has relished the time in between her races. With Pocket Square, I’m drawing a line through the Just a Game. She was lined up so well going into that race and there were things I was hopeful she would be able to overcome, but it didn’t quite work out.”

Brown has won the Diana 6 times, including the past 5 editions with talented turf distaffers Dacita (2016), Lady Eli (2017), Sistercharlie (2018-19), and Rushing Fall (2020).

Trainer Charlie Appleby sent out Althiqa and Summer Romance to a one-two finish in the Just a Game, a 1-mile turf event for fillies and mares.

On Sunday, the 4-year-old fillies breezed a 1/2-mile in company in 52.55 over the Belmont inner turf rated good. Althiqa started out in front of her stablemate with Summer Romance making up ground through the stretch run and galloping out in front.

Appleby’s travelling assistant Sophie Chretien said Summer Romance benefits from having a target.

“She relaxes more from behind and it’s better for her to develop,” said Chretien. “They’re both doing very well. With the way the weather has been lately, I’m glad we were able to do the gallop today.”

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