05/18/2012 4:14PM

Belmont: Clement more than ready for stakes doubleheader

Shigeki Kikkawa
Achillies won his first two starts at Santa Anita.

Christophe Clement will have a big say in the Tiller and Key Cents, a pair of $90,000 overnight stakes that share top billing on Sunday, but cautions, “It’s New York, it’s Belmont, and it’s never easy.”

Clement has strength in numbers in the Tiller, scheduled for the Widener turf at seven furlongs. He sends out three of the eight 3-year-olds, with Summer Breezing tabbed as a slight favorite over stablemate Achilles, while Faretti will be a price.

“All three are training well,” said Clement

Summer Breezing has improved his Beyer Speed Figures on a variety of surfaces since a debut turf win at Aqueduct last fall, topped by a 94 for a front-running allowance win at Keeneland. The New York-bred colt could prove the one to catch from the rail.

Achillies won his first two starts at Santa Anita for Neil Drysdale, beginning with a maiden victory at the expense of Grade 1-placed Brother Francis.

After three five-furlong turf sprints at Gulfstream, Faretti was fourth most recently behind Sum of the Parts, who returned to capture the $100,000 Tom Ridge Stakes at Presque Isle Downs last week.

Among the others, Mr. Prankster, who won a couple $50,000 stakes at Turfway Park, could be live for Mike Maker. He has been freshened since a wide trip in the Spiral behind Went the Day Well, and makes his turf debut.

Swag Daddy, winner of two New York-bred stakes on Aqueduct’s inner track for Rick Dutrow Jr., returns from a two-month layoff.

George Weaver sends out Partly Mocha and Richmond County, each a two-time winner on grass. Richmond County could be a sleeper, as his maiden win was at seven furlongs on the Widener course last fall.

Margano rounds out the field.

In the Key Cents, a one-mile race out of the chute, the Clement-trained Miss Valentine will likely vie for favoritism with Rick Violette Jr.’s speedy mare Opus A.

After winning the Northern Willy in her seasonal bow at Aqueduct, the homebred Miss Valentine has won stakes at 2, 3 and 4.

“She is training well, and should be tighter,” Clement noted.

Opus A has been given seven weeks off since setting the pace to the stretch against open stakes company first time on a sealed track. She has turned in a pair of bullet works, and will likely try for the lead from the rail.

Lady On the Run, a rallying second to odds-on Risky Rachel in the mud first time out this year, stretches out for John Morrison.

Risk a Chance, who set the pace and finished second to Miss Valentine last month, is back for another try. An A.P. Indy filly, she is a three-time winner at the distance for John Kimmel.

Go Unbridled won the off-the-turf John Hettinger Stakes at Belmont last fall for Allen Jerkens. She makes her first start since a fifth behind Awesome Maria in the Rampart Stakes on Mar. 31, but may want a bit more ground.

raymond More than 1 year ago
Achilles best bet of the day.