06/03/2013 4:44PM

Belmont Park: Centre Court will need her best for Just a Game Stakes

Coady Photography/Keeneland
Centre Court, winner of the Jenny Wiley at Keeneland, faces crack foes in the Just a Game.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Centre Court has won races from a mile to 1 1/8 miles, but trainer Rusty Arnold would be hard-pressed to declare at which distance she is best.

“I need to know that, but I don’t,” Arnold said Monday. “This year, I’m going to know that for certain. She’s got a pretty good turn of foot when you need it at a mile.”

Given the quality of the field shaping up for Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Just a Game Stakes going a mile on turf at Belmont, Centre Court is going to need her very best turn of foot. Centre Court figures to be among the favorites in the Just a Game, a race that is expected to draw at least five Grade 1 winners and a pair of Grade 2 winners when entries are drawn and post positions assigned Wednesday.

Centre Court, a 4-year-old daughter of Smart Strike owned and bred by G. Watts Humphrey, captured her Grade 1 in the Jenny Wiley at Keeneland going 1 1/16 miles on April 13. It was her third consecutive win. She has 6 wins and 4 seconds from 10 starts on turf.

Arnold skipped the Distaff Turf Mile at Churchill on Derby Day to await this and said given the rain-softened condition of Churchill’s turf course, he wouldn’t have run anyway.

Centre Court, who was expected to ship to New York on Tuesday, worked a half-mile in 48 seconds Sunday over the synthetic main track at Keeneland.

“She’s really doing well,” Arnold said. “I think there are several fillies that seem to all look good in there.”

The other Grade 1 winners pointing to the Just a Game are Better Lucky, Dayatthespa, Mizdirection, and Stephanie’s Kitten. Hungry Island and the European import Laugh Out Loud have won Grade 2 stakes.

Dave More than 1 year ago
Blanket finish in this one. Center Court is very good but I'm not sure if one turn and a mile is her best game. And she doesn't rate much higher than this field numbers wise. Mizdirection? This is not a G2 or G3 in Cali let's put it that way. Better Lucky is very interesting and she'll probably offer a bit of a price.
Ronald Dodgen More than 1 year ago
Finally a Grade one race with more than one Grade one winner in it. That's our problem their not beating other Grade one Horses.
John More than 1 year ago
Mizdirection has developed into a freak ! She seems to know where the wire is and just gives enough to get it done . Can beat these connections, lets hope it stays dry for a fair race ! For you east coast players, this sprinter from California, "Let it Shine" is a rocket ship, fast or wet, this horse will be in front, how long? My $$$ will say, all the way to the "cashiers line " Good Luck everyone, lets knock them dead ! Does anyone like Orb ? I need help, please who is going to win the Belmont ?
Pat More than 1 year ago
Orb will win easily.
Robert Austin More than 1 year ago
Mizdirection beat all the boys at the Breeders Cup. Why wouldn't anyone think she can't beat these?? Gonna be 7/5 winner.
Perl More than 1 year ago
That was 6.5f downhill. This is a different ballgame. But she'll be much, much longer than 7/5, so go get em.
aaronrayk More than 1 year ago
Centre Court is a beast. Hoping she handles the 1-turn well.
Perl More than 1 year ago
She will be vulnerable in this spot, especially on a wet turf course.
aaronrayk More than 1 year ago
Never worse than 2nd in 10 career starts on the Turf. 6 wins, 4 places, & currently on a 3-race win streak.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Yup, she's a monster alright. No argument there. But these high class filly grass races can be tough. If it goes soggy she might have trouble getting up before th ewire.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Weatherman says 70% Friday and 60% on Belmont Day. We're cursed!?!
Eric Rickard More than 1 year ago
i hope I can get at least 4 - 1 on misdirection. She always seems to find the wire.
Lawrence Macselwiney More than 1 year ago
Mizdirection has been phenomenal. Soft turf?
bill More than 1 year ago
this field is Loaded
Mark More than 1 year ago
aaronrayk More than 1 year ago
ddwage62 More than 1 year ago
she is a grade 1 winner at 9 furlongs, im sure the mile will be perfectly fine. Being out of City xip she should actually appreciate the turnback.
Mark More than 1 year ago
4 time winner at the distance