06/15/2011 3:42PM

Belmont Park: Life At Ten to try again in Ogden Phipps

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Barbara D. Livingston
Life At Ten won the 2010 Beldame but was distanced in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Trainer Todd Pletcher entered three horses in Saturday’s Grade 1, $250,000 Ogden Phipps Handicap at Belmont Park including the enigmatic Life At Ten, who won this race last year. Pletcher also entered Awesome Maria, who has won three stakes this year, and Super Espresso, winner of the Grade 3 Allaire duPont Distaff in her last start.

The race also drew defending Breeders’ Cup Ladies' Classic winner Unrivaled Belle, graded stakes winner Payton d’Oro and Absinthe Minded.

Life At Ten will have a new rider in the Phipps. John Velazquez, who rode Life At Ten in her last seven starts beginning with last year’s Phipps, has opted to ride the in-form Awesome Maria. Cornelio Velasquez will ride Life At Ten.

Life At Ten has not won since beating Unrivaled Belle by two lengths in the Grade 1 Beldame here last October. She ended her 5-year-old season by getting distanced in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies' Classic after acting abnormally quiet in the paddock and in prerace warm-ups.

After being withdrawn from the Fasig-Tipton auction, scheduled for two days after the Breeders’ Cup, Life At Ten was put back in training for this, her 6-year-old season. After finishing second in an optional claiming race at Gulfstream with a less-than-smooth trip, Life At Ten finished third, 9 1/4 lengths behind Super Espresso in the DuPont.

“Didn’t have an excuse in the world,” Pletcher said. “Loomed up like she had a big chance, then she just flattened out down the lane. Came out of it well and has trained well since.”

Pletcher said that he and owner Candy DeBartolo are committed to running Life At Ten this year.

“So unless she runs just terribly, we’ll see out the year,” Pletcher said.

Life At Ten will break from post 4. She gets in with 117 pounds, seven fewer than Awesome Maria, who will break from post 3. Unrivaled Belle, who is winless in two starts this year, breaks from post 5 under Kent Desormeaux and 122 pounds.

Stakes winners on comeback trail

Three graded stakes winners who hope to return to the races sometime this summer put in workouts the last two days at Belmont Park.

Awesome Feather, the undefeated 2-year-old filly champion of 2010, worked five furlongs in 1:01.14 Wednesday morning over Belmont’s main track. It was her fourth work and first five-furlong move since her new connections – owner Frank Stronach and trainer Chad Brown – have tried to bring her back from a tendon injury.

“She’s doing good so far, I don’t know what I’m going to do with her just yet,” Brown said. “She’s getting there now. She galloped out three quarters in 1:13 and four."

On Wednesday, Eightyfiveinafifty, winner of the Grade 2 Bay Shore in April 2010, worked five furlongs in 1:00.67, the fastest of seven at the distance. Eightyfiveinafifty has not run since finishing last in the Woody Stephens last June.

“I still think we’re a long way from fruition, but we’re certainly headed in the right direction. It was a very nice move today,” trainer Gary Contessa said. "I’m not anywhere near running him because all his works are that outstanding. But I thought it was a very, very positive move today.”

On Tuesday, the multiple Grade 1 winner Winchester worked four furlongs in 49.59 seconds over the Belmont turf course. Winchester has not run since finishing 11th in the Hong Kong Vase last December. He was being pointed to the Elkhorn at Keeneland in April, but had to miss the race due to a splint bone injury.

Toner plots Winter Memories tour

Winter Memories worked four furlongs in 50.06 seconds Tuesday over the turf course, her first move since winning the Grade 2 Sands Point Stakes here on May 30.

Trainer Jimmy Toner said that he has plotted out the bulk of the remainder of Winter Memories 2011 campaign that will include the Lake George Stakes at Saratoga on July 27, the Lake Placid Stakes at the Spa on Aug. 21, the Garden City at Belmont in September and the Queen Elizabeth II at Keeneland.

Toner said that he didn’t want to ship Winter Memories to Virginia or California for graded stakes in the summer.

“The idea is to go into the fall with her while she’s still fresh,” Toner said.

Pompa buys Bellamy Star

Paul Pompa has privately purchased the 3-year-old filly Bellamy Star and turned her over to trainer Todd Pletcher.

Bellamy Star, a daughter of Bellamy Road, is coming off a victory in the Xtra Heat Stakes going seven furlongs on turf. Bellamy Star was owned by the Steinbrenner family’s Kinsman Stable and trained by Carl Domino.

“She’s a nice filly, lightly raced, and it looks like she’s going forward,” Pompa said. “It seems like the division is wide open besides Winter Memories.”

Be Bullish tops Friday feature

Be Bullish appears to meet softer than he’s been facing when he runs in an optional claiming race that serves as Friday’s feature at Belmont Park.

Though the New York-bred is taking on open company, he doesn’t meet the in-form Giant Ryan, who won the Ponche Handicap at Calder last Saturday and who had beaten Be Bullish in a New York-bred stakes at Aqueduct in April and a third-level allowance here last month.

Be Bullish, who is being offered for the optional claiming price of $75,000 will break from post 2 under Ramon Dominguez.

The field also includes Frazil, who scratched out of Saturday’s Grade 2 True North Handicap after winning four of his last five in the starter allowance/handicap level, Just Hold On, a winner of two straight, Spirit of Cochise and Stormin Bud.