06/14/2013 1:14PM

Belmont Park: Caroline Thomas aptly spotted in Bit of Whimsy

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Tom Keyser
Caroline Thomas will be racing at 1 1/8 miles for the first time in the Bit of Whimsy.

ELMONT, N.Y. – In the world of overnight stakes in New York, it is quite common for a trainer to be represented in the race for whom the horse is named. The instance is rare, however, for the honored horse to be represented by one of its own progeny.

Such is the case Sunday when Caroline Thomas, a daughter produced by the Grade 1-winning mare Bit of Whimsy, runs in the $90,000 Bit of Whimsy Stakes at Belmont Park.

Bit of Whimsy, owned and bred by Joyce Bonner Young, won three stakes, including the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Keeneland and the Sands Point Stakes, then a Grade 3, at Belmont Park. Caroline Thomas, seeking her first stakes win, comes out of a fifth-place finish in the now-Grade 2 Sands Point here on May 27.

Barclay Tagg, the trainer of Caroline Thomas – and Bit of Whimsy, for that matter – said he was dumbfounded by the fifth- and sixth-place finishes of Caroline Thomas and Unbelievable Dream in the Sands Point.

“I thought those horses would be first and second, and I didn’t know which way it would be,” Tagg said. “That’s how much confidence I had.”

Tagg deduced that Caroline Thomas and Unbelievable Dream were just too far back in the early stages and that both of their riders “got caught napping.”

The Bit of Whimsy will be the first try for Caroline Thomas at 1 1/8 miles and Tagg thinks that should suit her just fine.

“I really think she’s a long-distance horse,” Tagg said. “Sometimes you think a horse needs a mile and a quarter, and all they need is more speed up front in a mile. But I still think she’s probably a mile-and-an-eighth to a mile-and-a-quarter type horse.”

Caroline Thomas won a mile race over yielding ground last November at Aqueduct and an allowance race over firm turf at Gulfstream in December.

Luis Saez will ride Caroline Thomas from post 2.

Maximova, a daughter of Danehill Dancer, is 2 for 2 for trainer Christophe Clement, having won her debut at Aqueduct on April 14 and then overcoming a slow start to win a first-level allowance at Belmont on May 22.

“She’s won two, so she needs to get black type,” trainer Christophe Clement said. “She was very impressive in her last race.”

There is not much early speed in the race, which could make With Sugar On Top dangerous if she is able to run back to her first two races on turf. She will have to bounce back from a dull fifth in an overnight stakes at Gulfstream in March.

Magnificent Shirl, whose pedigree includes graded winners Shakespeare, Perfect Shirl, and Lady Shakespeare, returns to turf after finishing third in an-off-the-turf allowance race at Churchill last out.

Alternative Meds has won three straight though two of those wins came for $16,000 claiming. Mariel N Kathy has recorded both of her career victories on the turf at Belmont.