09/29/2011 2:16PM

Belmont: Hard to look beyond Stacelita in Flower Bowl

Four-Footed Fotos
Stacelita's proven affinity for soft turf may be a big advantage in the Flower Bowl.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Stacelita, a ground-saving winner of the Beverly D. in her second U.S. start, will be a clear favorite in the $500,000 Flower Bowl Invitational Saturday at Belmont Park despite drawing the outside in a field of eight.

The 34th running of Grade 1 Flower Bowl, scheduled for 1 1/4 miles on the inner turf, is the first of six Grade 1 or Grade 2 stakes on “Super Saturday.” The winner earns an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf on Nov. 4.

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

Stacelita was transferred to Chad Brown after running third in the United Nations for Jean-Claude Rouget, and came from just off the pace to win the Beverly D. as the 9-5 choice. She figures to be a shorter price Saturday. She owns all four of the field’s Group/Grade 1 wins and has earned more than $2 million – more than her rivals combined – for Martin Schwartz.

“We’ll take it one race at a time, but when Mr. Schwartz hired me he had three specific races in mind,” said Brown. “We won the first one, so now we have two more to go.”

Recent rainy weather should work to the advantage of Stacelita, who relished a yielding course at Arlington Park, and won the Prix Saint-Alary on soft ground at Longchamp as a 3-year-old in 2009.

Deluxe, a Juddmonte Farm homebred out of the blue hen mare Hasili, was beaten a half-length in the 10-furlong Prix Saint-Alary last year. She made her U.S. and seasonal bow for Bill Mott in the one-mile Paris Opera Stakes at Saratoga, and finished fast only to run out of ground.

“I think the added distance is going to help her,” said Mott, who has won the Flower Bowl four times. “She has five siblings that are Grade 1 winners. She’s out of a fantastic family, so it’s our job to get it done.”

Two of Deluxe’s half-sisters, Intercontinental and Banks Hill, won the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Belmont Park.

Aruna also began her career in France, where she won once from five starts. She has improved substantially since coming to the U.S. last year for Graham Motion, winning 4 of 6 starts along with runner-up finishes in the Distaff Turf Mile and the Diana. This will be her first start since the Diana two months ago, and her first try at 10 furlongs since fading behind Deluxe in last year’s Prix Saint-Alary.

“This is her Breeders’ Cup test and will show whether she can get one and a quarter miles,” said Motion. “I hope the grass doesn’t come up too soft, because then she’ll be facing two new intangibles.”

Emerald Beech has climbed the ladder to win her last four starts, capped by the Grade 3 Glens Falls for Augustin Stables and Jonathan Sheppard, connections who won back-to-back Flower Bowls with Trevita and First Approach back in 1982-83.

Distorted Legacy, Dynaslew, Gitchee Goomie, and Senada complete the lineup.

Flower Bowl Invitational Field



Deluxe J. Velazquez
119 Lbs
W. Mott


Dynaslew C. Nakatani
119 Lbs
S. Benzel


Emerald Beech A. Solis
119 Lbs
J. Sheppard


Aruna E. Prado
119 Lbs
H. Motion


Gitchee Goomie A. Garcia
119 Lbs
R. Violette, Jr.


Distorted Legacy R. Maragh
119 Lbs
A. Penna, Jr.


Senada C. Velasquez
119 Lbs
B. Tagg


Stacelita (FR) R. Dominguez
123 Lbs
C. Brown