05/06/2013 3:51PM

Belmont Park notes: Dayatthespa proves she's put tendon injury behind her

Email
Joe Labozzetta/NYRA
Dayatthespa returned from a tendon injury to win Sunday's You Go West Girl Stakes by four lengths.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Yes, she was a Grade 1 winner running in a restricted stakes, but Dayatthespa’s victory in Sunday’s You Go West Girl Stakes at Belmont Park was impressive and significant.

In her first start since suffering a tendon injury in November’s Grade 1 Matriarch at Betfair Hollywood Park, Dayatthespa repelled a challenge from Kibosh at the quarter pole and drew clear to a four-length victory in the race restricted to New York-bred fillies and mares. She ran a mile in 1:33.52 over a firm turf course and earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 95.

“She ran really well,” trainer Chad Brown said Monday. “It felt good to get her back. There was a moment there we didn’t know if she’d run again potentially.”

Dayatthespa, who had won her first five races of 2012, including the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Keeneland, appeared to jump a shadow and hit the rail around the first turn of the Matriarch at Hollywood Park. She tried to get back into the race but finished fifth, beaten 4 1/4 lengths.

“She did injure her tendon pretty significantly,” Brown said. “It was superficial, but it required a bunch of stitches. You just don’t know how they’re going to come back.”

Dayatthespa was put back into training in early January to determine whether she could make it back to the races or would have to be retired and bred.

“We tested her out some at Palm Meadows early enough where we could have bred her,” Brown said. “She passed all the tests.”

Brown said Dayatthespa would be pointed to the Grade 1 Just A Game at a mile here June 8 on the undercard of the Belmont Stakes.

“As long as it’s firm turf,” Brown said. “I won’t run her on soft.”

The Just A Game also is expected to attract Stephanie’s Kitten and Hungry Island, the top two finishers in Saturday’s Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile.

Pletcher assistant to Saudi Arabia

Whit Beckman, who for the last several years has worked as an assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher, has taken a job in Saudi Arabia to train for owner Al Shareef Hazza Bin Shaker Al Abdali.

“I wanted to give it a shot and see how it works out,” Beckman, 31, said Sunday at Churchill. “It’ll be a while before I know if it’s a good decision or a bad decision, but you don’t know until you try.”

Beckman said he expects to leave for Saudi Arabia in June.