09/23/2011 5:22PM

Belmont: Emerald Beech will try Flower Bowl


Emerald Beech, winner of four consecutive races, will step up into Grade 1 company when she runs against Beverly D. winner Stacelita in Saturday’s $500,000 Flower Bowl Invitational, trainer Jonathan Sheppard confirmed on Friday.

Emerald Beech, a 5-year-old daughter of Maria’s Mon, is coming off a convincing 1 1/2-length score in the Grade 3 Glens Falls Handicap in which she handled a very soft Saratoga turf course.

“Most horses kind of plod along when it’s soft,’’ Sheppard said. “She just galloped by those horses on the last turn. I do think she’s improved regardless of what kind of ground there is, but soft ground and longer distances are her strong suit. Whether she’s a legitimate Grade 1 horse or not remains to be seen, but we’re going to give it a try.’’

The winner of the Flower Bowl, run at 1 1/4 miles, earns an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf on Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs.

BREEDERS’ CUP CHALLENGE: Racing schedule, replays, and past winners >>

In addition to Emerald Beech and Stacelita, others pointing to the Flower Bowl include Aruna, Deluxe, and Distorted Legacy. Senada is listed as possible.