09/02/2009 11:00PM

Beautician's best yet to come

Email
Barbara D. Livingston
Beautician (above) will get a rematch with Hot Dixie Chick in Sunday's Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - After Beautician got beat 6 1/4 lengths by Hot Dixie Chick in the Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes here on opening day, trainer Ken McPeek was looking to duck that filly at least until the races stretched out around two turns.

But circumstances dictated that Beautician miss the Adirondack in mid-August, and thus she has wound up in Sunday's Grade 1, $300,000 Spinaway at Saratoga, where Hot Dixie Chick figures to be a strong favorite.

A field of nine was entered in the seven-furlong Spinaway, though Adirondack winner Worstcasescenario was only entered in the event Hot Dixie Chick comes out, according to trainer Rick Violette. Worstcasescenario will most likely make her next start in the Grade 2 Matron at Belmont Park on Sept. 19.

Hot Dixie Chick, trained by Steve Asmussen, will break from the rail as she did in the Schuylerville. Amazingly, Asmussen-trained horses have drawn the rail in all five of the juvenile stakes run at this meet - and that's before entries were to be taken for Monday's Grade 1 Hopeful, where Asmussen planned to enter three horses.

Beautician won her debut at Churchill Downs on June 5 before encountering trouble when second in the Schuylerville. McPeek entered Beautician in the Adirondack but had to scratch when the filly displayed signs of colic two days before the race.

"The filly got a little bellyache a couple of days before, so we addressed that, but this is a good spot for her," McPeek said. "Still, our goals are longer. I've said all along the Alcibiades and the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Is she good enough to beat Hot Dixie Chick at this distance? Hard to say. Still, it's a prep for us."

Beautician will break from post 6 under Kent Desormeaux. Others entered include Sky Fever, Opus A, Bickersons, Sassy Image, Magic Appeal, and Snap Happy.

The Spinaway will go as race 10 of 11 on a card that also includes the Grade 3, $100,000 Sararanc at 1 3/16 miles on the outer turf. Al Khali and Sal the Barber, second and third behind Courageous Cat in the Hall of Fame Stakes, head the eight-horse field.

Icon Project likely for Beldame

Icon Project, the 13 1/4-length winner of the Grade 1 Personal Ensign here Sunday, will likely make her next start in the Grade 1 Beldame at Belmont Park on Oct. 3, trainer Marty Wolfson said Thursday.

Immediately following the race, Wolfson and owner Andrew Rosen indicated that the Spinster at Keeneland on Oct. 11 could be a possibility. However, Wolfson said he's not a fan of synthetic surfaces and would like to keep Icon Project on dirt. Icon Project won the New York Stakes at 1 1/8 miles over Belmont's main track after that race, originally scheduled for the turf, was moved to the dirt.

"I'm leaning toward the Beldame," Wolfson said. "I like the timing, I like the distance - a mile and an eighth at Belmont is fine. She's done that before. The Spinster is Polytrack. I just don't want to experiment on it, even though she came over here as a turf filly. I'm just against the Polytracks."

The Beldame has a purse of $600,000. However, if both the undefeated Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra start in the race, the purse would be supplemented to $1 million by TVG and BetFair.

Tapitsfly wins P.G. Johnson Stakes

Tapitsfly turned back a challenge from 6-5 favorite Smart Seattle at the quarter pole and gradually drew clear in deep stretch to a 1 1/4-length victory over that rival in Thursday's $73,750 P.G. Johnson Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. It was another 2 3/4 lengths back to Beautiful Song in third.

It was Tapitsfly's first start on turf and first around two turns.

Under Robby Albarado, Tapitsfly opened up a clear advantage while running fractions of 23.76 seconds and 48.75 for the opening half-mile. Smart Seattle, under Jeremy Rose, drew on even terms with Tapitsfly approaching the quarter pole but could not stay with her in the stretch. Tapitsfly, a daughter of Tapit owned by Frank Jones and trained by Dale Romans, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.08 and returned $6.50 as the second choice.

"They picked it up from the three-eighths pole," Albarado said. "Her maiden races at Churchill, she was well-matched. She ran against Proud Zoe, Hot Dixie Chick, some very, very fast fillies when actually I think this is more to her liking. The further we went, the better. Today, she showed that two turns is probably going to be her best race. Grass, dirt I don't think it's going to matter to her."

Migliore to ride Backtalk in Hopeful

With jockey Miguel Mena ruled ineligible to ride in New York due to his recent drunken driving arrest in Kentucky, trainer Tom Amoss has tabbed Richard Migliore to ride the undefeated Backtalk in Monday's Grade 1, $300,000 Hopeful Stakes.

"We were lucky a rider of his caliber was available, so we seized the opportunity to get him," Amoss said Thursday. "As far as Miguel is concerned, this is a time for him to concentrate on getting well."

Mena appears to be dealing with an alcohol issue that required him to attend Alcoholic's Anonymous meetings in Louisville. However, on Tuesday, he was arrested on drunken driving charges and the New York stewards have ruled him ineligible to ride in New York.

Mena has ridden Backtalk to three victories from as many starts, including a one-length score in the Grade 3 Bashford Manor at Churchill on July 3 and a neck score in the Sanford on July 30.

A large field is expected for the Hopeful, including Aikenite, Aspire, Dublin, Enumerate, Grand Slam Andre, Honor in Peace, One Note Samba, Overlap, Prince Rooney, and Westover Wildcat. Possible starters include Not Macho Any More, Liston, and Successful Score.