09/13/2013 1:37PM

Belmont Park: Effie Trinket gets distance test in Hettinger Stakes

Email
Joe Labozzetta
Effie Trinket wins the $100,000 Diamondrella Stakes going seven furlongs at Belmont Park in July.

ELMONT, N.Y. – With Hessonite retired and Dayatthespa headed back to race in open company, Sunday’s $150,000 John Hettinger Stakes at Belmont Park offers 10 New York-bred fillies and mares a fair shot at winning a stakes race.

Effie Trinket, one of three 3-year-old fillies in the field, is the lone entrant in the Hettinger to have won a stakes on turf. Effie Trinket was entered in Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Garden City Stakes, but trainer Rick Violette said Friday she would scratch from that race and most likely run in the Hettinger. She, like many in here, will be trying 1 1/8 miles for the first time.

Go Unbridled, trained by Allen Jerkens, is a multiple stakes winner on dirt who has never raced on turf in 27 career starts. Harbor Mist won a statebred sprint stakes on dirt at Saratoga two years ago as a juvenile and is 1 for 2 on turf.

After two disappointing starts on turf at age 2, Effie Trinket has two wins and a second in three starts on grass this year. She won the $100,000 Diamondrella Stakes going seven furlongs here July 7 before finishing second to Garden City contender Summer of Fun in the $100,000 Auntie Mame going 1 1/16 miles at Saratoga on Aug. 10.

“That was a nice filly that beat her, and we got a little lost at the head of the lane,” Violette said. “It was her first time going two turns. She kicked back in in the stretch and finished a solid second.”

Though Effie Trinket was on the lead in the Auntie Mame, Violette said he would like to see her have a target in the Hettinger. Harbor Mist could play that role.

Lady’s Lunar Luck is the only member of the field with at least six wins. She has won her last two, both in 1 1/16-mile races at Saratoga in August. Though this will be Lady’s Lunar Luck’s first start at 1 1/8 miles, trainer John Kimmel does not see it as an issue.

“I don’t think the added sixteenth of a mile should be a problem,” Kimmel said. “If you can go a mile and a sixteenth, you can go a mile and an eighth – you just got to go a little slower the first part. She likes two turns. She’s run very well around two turns.”

Wholelottashakin, who has recorded all three of her victories at Belmont, is coming off a second-place finish to Dayatthespa in the Yaddo Stakes at Saratoga. Inimitable Romanee is only 2 for 17 but has 10 second- or third-place finishes.

Mlle Margaux, Dreaming of Cara, Love Stanza Chance, and Adriatic Dream complete the main body of the field. Mischief Maker will run only if the race is moved to the main track, an unlikely occurrence.