05/08/2013 2:01PM

Belmont: Miss Valentine capable of firing fresh in No Reason


ELMONT, N.Y. – When Miss Valentine left New York for south Florida last December, trainer Christophe Clement had designs on trying the New York-bred daughter of Afleet Alex in an open company stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Unsatisfied with how Miss Valentine trained when she first arrived at Payson Park, Clement opted to scrap those plans and give Miss Valentine a break.

Miss Valentine returns to action for the first time since December on Friday at Belmont Park when she takes on six rivals in the $90,000 No Reason Stakes, restricted to New York-breds going a mile over the main track.

Owned and bred by Waterville Lake Stable, Miss Valentine has won 7 of 18 starts, including two restricted stakes at Aqueduct.

Miss Valentine has shown the ability to fire fresh, having won her career debut at Belmont in October 2010 and the Northern Wily Stakes off a five-month layoff going a one-turn mile last April at Aqueduct.

“She will probably benefit from the race, but she’s doing well enough to run,” said Clement, who has Kentucky Derby-winning rider Joel Rosario to ride. “It’s tough. She feels good – I’m happy with her – but every year you got new players. Are they better or lesser?”

Among those new players is Clear Pasaj, a 4-year-old daughter of Smoke Glacken who has finished first or second in eight of nine dirt starts, all at six furlongs.

Trainer Bruce Levine said he had twice entered Clear Pasaj in sprint races that didn’t go so he decided to see whether she could handle a mile.

“That’s what we’re going to find out,” Levine said when asked if Clear Pasaj could get a mile. “There’s rain in the forecast. She likes it wet. Those are two ingredients I like when baking a cake. Catch me if you can.”

In Harbor Mist and Fiftyfour Forever, there does appear to be other front-running types in this field.

A solid pace could set things up for the Allen Jerkens-trained Go Unbridled, a daughter of Unbridled Jet twho drops out of graded stakes competition and into a restricted stakes. Go Unbridled’s most recent victory came in the Saratoga Dew Stakes, a race restricted to New York-breds last Aug. 27 at Saratoga.

Lady On the Run is off form, but returns to her favorite surface as she has a 3-3-1 record from 7 starts at Belmont.

Erin Enchanted comes off a second-place finish in the Shot Berry Stakes, a one-turn mile at Aqueduct in April.