06/03/2013 3:44PM

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

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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.