07/13/2012 1:32PM

Belmont Park: Clement out for big finish

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Antonia Autumn, with Ramon Dominguez riding, wins her racing debut.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Trainer Christophe Clement looks to put an exclamation point on a fabulous Belmont spring/summer meeting for his stable when he sends out a trio of runners on Sunday’s closing-day card, including the exciting 3-year-old filly prospect Antonia Autumn.

Clement entered the final three days of racing here with 21 wins from 84 starters, putting him second in the trainer standings behind only Richard Dutrow Jr. (27 for 104).

Clement has a chance to surpass his personal-best Belmont spring/summer meet record for wins, 23, set in 2009.

“Lucky guy,” Clement said. “I train for great owners who send me nice horses.”

One of those owners is Shane Ryan, who a few years back sent Clement Gio Ponti, a horse who won 11 stakes – seven of which were Grade 1’s – and $6.1 million.

Ryan also sent to Clement the 3-year-old Antonia Autumn, a half-sister to Gio Ponti who won her debut by two lengths on April 29. Sunday, Antonia Autumn makes her second start in a $77,000 first-level allowance race scheduled for 1 1/16 miles over Belmont’s inner turf course.

In her debut, Antonia Autumn sat in seventh position under Ramon Dominguez, who displayed great patience on the filly before guiding her home under a hand ride. She ran a mile in 1:34.71 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 79. The third- and fourth-place finishers from that race came back to win.

“I thought she was going to run well, but she surprised me how easy she made it look,” Clement said.

Clement said that Antonia Autumn came out of the race “a bit sore behind” and was given some time off. She has only three breezes leading up to her second start, where she will face seven runners.

“I think she’s fit enough,” Clement said. “I think mentally this is a better place to run her than Saratoga at the moment.”

Glamour N Glory, Holiday Broad, Rock on Baby, and Rhonin Victoria loom the major threats.

Clement gets his Sunday action started early with Limonar in a second-level allowance race in the opener and Hunter Forward in a $35,000 claimer in the second.

Limonar, a stakes winner in France, is winless in four U.S. starts, three at this meeting.

“Funny filly,” Clement said. “Even in Europe her form was okay. She had one race on ratings that was so much better than the rest. Was that race a fluke? I’m not sure. She trains better than she’s run so far.”

Hunter Forward finished third in a pair of third-level allowance races. Sunday, Clement drops the 6-year-old mare in for $35,000.

“She’s a filly who trained well. We tried her at the allowance level – she’s a notch below that and we’ve been waiting for that race for aw hile,” Clement said. “I think she’ll be very competitive.”

Clement also has Fruttidimare entered as a main-track only entrant in the fifth. There is a 40-percent chance of showers Sunday.

Following Sunday’s card, there will be four dark days before racing moves north to Saratoga beginning Friday.