02/16/2011 2:18PM

Aspectoflove owns recency edge over Strawberrydaiquiri in Balanchine


The in-form Aspectoflove meets the off-the-layoff Strawberrydaiquiri in an intriguing running of the Group 2, $200,000 Balanchine Stakes at Meydan on Friday night when Calvin Borel will ride in legs 3 and 4 of the Meydan Masters jockey competition.

There is little to chose between Aspectoflove and Strawberrydaiquiri in the filly and mare Balanchine at 1 1/8 miles on turf. Trained by Saeed bin Suroor for Godolphin, Aspectoflove is coming off a victory in the Group 3 Cape Verdi Stakes locally at the same nine-furlong distance. Aspectoflove, who will be ridden by Frankie Dettori, had previously won a pair of listed miles in England and is in the best form of her career.

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Strawberrydaiquiri has accomplished more than her rival but has not run since finishing second, 1 3/4 lengths behind Sahpresa, on Oct. 2 in the one-mile, Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket. Last year, she won the Group 3 Dahlia Stakes at 1 1/8 miles and Royal Ascot’s Group 2 Windsor Forest Stakes at a mile when trained by Michael Stoute. On Friday, she makes her first start for her Bahrain-based trainer-owner Fawzi Nass, but Ryan Moore retains his place in the saddle.

The Mike de Kock-trained River Jetez was a most unlucky third in the Cape Verdi and would be no surprise under Christophe Soumillon. Long Lashes, absent since taking a Leicester allowance for Suroor and Godolphin on Oct. 12, is stepping up in class, while Reem, an Australian-bred Southern Hemisphere 3-year-old from the powerful de Kock stable, has split a pair of decisions with stablemate Mahbooba this winter, winning the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial and finishing second in the listed UAE 1000 Guineas.

Calvin Borel’s Dubai odyssey continues in the third race on the Meydan card when he partners the John Hammond-trained Telluride in a 1 9/16-mile turf handicap. A listed race winner at the distance at Deauville in 2009, the 5-year-old Telluride has been fourth in a pair of 1 1/2-mile handicaps here this winter. In Leg 4 of the Meydan Masters, a 1 1/8-mile turf handicap, Borel will ride Godolphin’s co-highweight Atlantis Star. Group 3 placed at Maisons-Laffitte, the 4-year-old Atlantis Star was only 13th of 14 last time in a one-mile Meydan handicap on Tapeta.

In the finale, Dubai Duty Free winner Al Shemali, fourth last time behind Bold Silvano in Round 2 of the Maktoum Challenge, faces 12 rivals in a $110,000 conditions race at 1 1/4 miles, the same distance as the Dubai World Cup.