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Belmont Park: Peace Preserver, Channel Lady look tough off of last in Pebbles Stakes
By Dave Litfin
ELMONT, N.Y. – Eight turf-meant 3-year-old fillies who last raced at six different tracks will meet in Monday’s $150,000 Pebbles Stakes, which is scheduled for one mile on the Widener turf course.
Todd Pletcher will be well represented by the uncoupled duo of Peace Preserver and Channel Lady, who figure to vie for favoritism after posting the field’s fastest races during the final week of racing at Saratoga.
Peace Preserver altered course to escape traffic into the stretch and finished strongly to get second in the Riskaverse Stakes behind multiple stakes winner Dayatthespa, while earning a new top Beyer Speed Figure of 89. She was a maiden winner at Belmont last fall on yielding turf for former trainer John Parisella.
Channel Lady was a maiden graduate when switched to turf at Gulfstream Park last winter. She returned at the Spa on Sept. 1 to upset a first-level allowance group at 11-1, improving to 2 for 2 on the grass.
On Tuesday, Channel Lady breezed a half-mile in 48 seconds, the fastest of 108 workouts at the distance on the Oklahoma training track.
More Than Love makes her first start since finishing off the board in the Edgewood Stakes on Kentucky Oaks Day. She is the lone graded stakes winner in the lineup, having prevailed by a nose in the Grade 3 Miesque at Hollywood Park last fall.
More Than Love was a maiden winner at Belmont on Columbus Day weekend last year.
“She’s coming into the race great after getting a freshening from late spring into the summer,” trainer John Terranova said. “She’s been getting better each week, and we’re looking for a good effort from her.”
In view of the recent wet weather and a forecast for more precipitation before the Pebbles, Filare l’Oro could find rain-softened going to her liking. A daughter of Hard Spun, she was a close second in the Virginia Oaks on yielding turf at Colonial Downs. Four weeks later, she won the $100,000 Dauphin Miss Stakes on soft ground at Penn National for trainer John Robb.
Ski Holiday, an Augustin Stable homebred, has won 2 of her 3 grass starts for Graham Motion, the lone defeat a third-place finish in the Virginia Oaks.
Ainsley, Assateague, and Carpe Pretium also entered for turf. Welcome Guest entered for main track only.
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