10/18/2010 3:23PM

Amber Grace can turn tables on Gold d'Oro

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Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Bill Mott says Gold d'Oro may not like soft ground.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Gold d’Oro defeated Amber Grace by one length in a second-level allowance race at Belmont Park on Sept. 23. When the two meet again in Wednesday’s $70,000 Scoot Stakes here going 1 1/4 miles, there are reasons to believe Amber Grace can turn the tables.

In the allowance race, Gold d’Oro was able to gain a clear lead while running fractions of 24.93 seconds, 50.58, and 1:15.02 for six furlongs over firm turf while Amber Grace was five lengths off the pace and had to wait for running room in upper stretch. Wednesday, there appears to be several others who could press Gold d’Oro early, and the course will likely be yielding, a type of ground that Gold d’Oro – who is 2 for 2 at the distance – has not handled in the past.

“It seems like she doesn’t like real soft ground,” said Bill Mott, trainer of Gold d’Oro. “She’s been effective at the trip, but there looks like there’s more speed in there.”

Michael Moran, trainer of Amber Grace, said he’s banking on there being more pace for his filly. He also has hope that Amber Grace will handle soft turf though she has yet to run on it.

“She’s got a big turf foot, and most of her family raced in Europe and ran over it,” Moran said.

Amber Grace, a daughter of Elusive Quality, has 2 wins and a second from 5 lifetime starters. Moran believes his filly has had significant excuses in her two poor races. On July 5, in her first start in 11 months, Amber Grace finished seventh as the favorite in a first-level allowance race at Philadelphia Park (now Parx Racing). Moran said the turf course “was like a plowed field. She didn’t handle that well.”

On Sept. 3, in a second-level allowance race at Monmouth Park, Amber Grace got loose behind the gate after unseating jockey Joe Bravo. She was apprehended and ran anyway, but afterward Moran noticed that the bit had been completely turned around in her mouth.

“She’s had some bad behavior at the gate,”Moran said. “She’s been more mature about that.”

The other speed types in the field include Queen Martha, Becky’s Exchange, and possibly Ainamaa.

Daveron looked good winning a second-level allowance race in May at Belmont, but has yet to duplicate that race. She was beaten a neck in a third-level allowance at Laurel last out and may appreciate some give in the ground. She could be suspect at 1 1/4 miles, however.