09/16/2013 3:40PM

Belmont Park notes: Gyarmati's small stable running big

Barbara D. Livingston
Sweet Reason gave trainer Leah Gyarmati her first Grade 1 victory when she won the Spinaway Stakes on Sept. 1.

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ELMONT, N.Y. – These are heady times for trainer Leah Gyarmati, who ended the Saratoga meet with her first Grade 1 victory and began the Belmont fall season with two victories, including one from another promising juvenile prospect.

Not bad for an outfit that had just 20 horses as of Monday morning, though a new prospect was set to arrive Tuesday.

Sweet Reason, the star of the stable coming off her victory in the Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga, returned to the work tab Monday, breezing four furlongs in 48.36 seconds over Belmont’s main track under Alex Solis. Breaking off from the three-furlong pole, Sweet Reason went her first eighth in 12.41 and her last three furlongs in 35.95. She galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.99.

Gyarmati said Solis told her that Sweet Reason “was just playing, looking around, moving her ears back and forth until she saw horses in front of her, and then she got focused.”

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Gyarmati said she and owner Jeff Treadway are discussing whether to run in the Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont on Oct. 5 or wait until the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita on Nov. 1. Gyarmati said Sweet Reason probably would run in the Frizette, if only to prove she can be equally effective on a dry track as she has been in two starts over a sloppy track. Of course, that doesn’t take into account the possibility of rain for the Frizette.

“As much confidence as I do have in her, regardless of surface, you would like to see her on a dry track be as impressive as she’s been on a wet track before you head out to California,” Gyarmati said.

Meanwhile, Gyarmati won with another 2-year-old for Treadway on Saturday, when Noble Moon, a son of Malibu Moon, scored a 25-1 upset in his debut going six furlongs. He earned a 75 Beyer Speed Figure.

Noble Moon cost $200,000 and came out of the same Keeneland September sale as did Sweet Reason, who brought $185,000.

“I knew he was a nice horse,” Gyarmati said. “Everybody who’s gotten on him has always been high on him.”

Gyarmati noted that both Sweet Reason and Noble Moon had to break from the rail in their debuts. While Sweet Reason rallied from 18 lengths back to win, Noble Moon won while contesting the early pace.

“He’s shown in the mornings when you put him on the lead or next to a horse, he’s great,” Gyarmati said. “When he has to play catch-up, he’s not quite as into it. He starts playing and getting disinterested.”

Gyarmati said she does not have a plan for Noble Moon’s second start.

On Sept. 7, Gyarmati’s top 2-year-old from 2012, Smooth Bert, won a second-level New York-bred allowance race by three-quarters of a length, earning a career-best 96 Beyer. Smooth Bert could be a candidate for the $250,000 Empire Classic for New York-breds on Oct. 19, but Gyarmati was noncommittal.

Cluster of Stars in Gallant Bloom

Cluster of Stars, the undefeated (5 for 5) New York-bred filly who won the Grade 2 Distaff at Aqueduct in April, is set to return to the races in Saturday’s Grade 2, $300,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Cluster of Stars was given the summer off following her 2 3/4-length score in the Distaff – her fourth race in 13 weeks – but has been breezing regularly since early July. She has had 11 breezes since July 6, including a half-mile move in 51.07 over the Belmont training track Sunday.

“She had a great summer; I look forward to getting her back to the races,” said Toby Sheets, who oversees trainer Steve Asmussen’s Belmont Park string. “I hope she runs well and continues her lovely streak.”

The Gallant Bloom is shaping up to be a stern test for Cluster of Stars, as the field is expected to include Grade 1 winners Dance to Bristol, Dance Card, and Lighthouse Bay as well as Holiday Soiree, Classic Point, Livi Makenzie, and Munnings Sister.

Dance to Bristol, who has won seven consecutive races, including the Ballerina at Saratoga last out, was expected to arrive at Belmont on Tuesday, according to trainer Ollie Figgins III.