10/08/2009 11:00PM

Awesome Maria comes back quick for Frizette

Barbara D. Livingston
Awesome Maria, winner of the Grade 2 Matron on Sept. 19, will go for her third straight win in the Frizette.

ELMONT, N.Y. - In a division riddled by injuries, Awesome Maria would certainly fit in a race like next month's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies off of what she has already accomplished. But trainer Stanley Hough is unlikely to ship Awesome Maria cross-country for that race, run over a synthetic surface, which is why he is wheeling her back in three weeks in Saturday's Grade 1, $400,000 Frizette Stakes at Belmont Park.

Awesome Maria, a daughter of Maria's Mon, is coming off a 2 3/4-length victory in the Grade 2 Matron on Sept. 19, four weeks after she won a maiden race at Saratoga. She will face six rivals in the one-mile Frizette, including two horses she beat in the seven-furlong Matron - Touching Beauty and Worship the Moon - as well as the multiple-stakes-winning New York-bred filly Franny Freud.

"I wish I had a little more time, but that being said she's doing fine, she's a good-feeling filly," said Hough, who would prefer not to run Awesome Maria over Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface. "I think the extra distance will not hurt her. I think if anything it would help her."

Hough thought Awesome Maria would be coming from off the pace in the Matron. But the speed didn't materialize like he thought, and Awesome Maria was pressing the pace before taking command in upper stretch. With horses like Nonna Mia and Franny Freud in the field, Hough anticipates Awesome Maria coming from a little farther off the pace Saturday.

"I don't think she'll be far off of it, but I'd like to see her off the pace a little bit," Hough said.

Worship the Moon, third to Awesome Maria, may have had the most trouble in the Matron, and her connections are happy to come back in the Frizette. Racing along the rail down the backside, Worship the Moon got shuffled back to next-to-last entering the far turn of the Matron. She made a six- to seven-wide move in the stretch under Javier Castellano and just missed second by a nose, while getting beat 2 3/4 lengths for the money.

"It probably cost us the race," said Mark Shuman, the trainer of Worship the Moon. "The lengths she made up in the stretch were enough to win the race."

Nonna Mia will attempt to stretch out to one mile after winning a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race by 12 lengths here Sept. 12, while earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 92.

"She's built like a router, leggy," trainer Bruce Levine said. "Whether she's fit enough I don't know. We'll find out. Might as well find out in a Grade 1."

Devil May Care was a dominant maiden winner going six furlongs in the slop at Saratoga for trainer Todd Pletcher, who has won 11 2-year-old races at this meet. From Sunday through Thursday, Pletcher had won 6 of the 7 races he had horses in at Belmont.

"We're obviously giving up some experience and seasoning, but we think this filly trained like a filly that's very, very good," Pletcher said. "She's a filly that will get better as the distances get longer. A mile is definitely a step in the right direction."

Franny Freud stretches out to a mile off a pair of sprint-stakes scores, and has trained very well at Belmont for trainer John Terranova. Annie's Melody, a debut winner at Monmouth in August, completes the field.