05/02/2011 12:28PM

Belmont Park: Seven furlongs uncharted territory for Lots of Stones, Cuff Me


ELMONT, N.Y. – Lots of Stones and Cuff Me, a pair of 4-year-old fillies in the habit of winning, try seven furlongs for the first time when they clash in Wednesday’s $60,000 Cupid’s Way overnight stakes at Belmont Park.

Six other New York-bred fillies and mares entered, including the Pont Street Stable entry of Devilish Spirit and Freud’s Notebook, with David Cohen named on both. Freud’s Notebook, one of two seven-furlong stakes winners in the lineup along with Big Brownie, is cross-entered in an open second-level allowance Thursday.

The Cupid’s Way runs through the Bruce Levine-trained Lots of Stones, who is 7 for 9 overall, and Cuff Me, who has won 5 of 7 starts for Tony Dutrow, her only losses coming in Grade 3 stakes last year.

Both fillies won their two previous starts at Belmont as much the best. Lots of Stones cleared two allowance conditions at the 2010 spring meet by better than eight lengths; and Cuff Me began her career winning twice here in 2009 by better than 19 lengths.

Lots of Stones, the 8-5 morning-line choice with Ramon Dominguez, comes off a new top Beyer Figure of 91 for a decisive score in the six-furlong Ruby Rubles on March 31, in which she tracked a 65-1 shot through the first quarter and took over at will on the turn.

“I was glad the other horse went because she’s much better with a target,” said Levine. “She really ran a big race. She’s got some speed to run at this time too, so I think she’ll be all right. She won easy going 6 1/2 furlongs at Belmont last year. I don’t think the extra sixteenth will make that much difference.”

Cuff Me is the 5-2 second choice with Cornelio Velasquez, who edged Dominguez for the Big A spring meet title, and had a four-win afternoon Saturday.

After winning the Lottsa Talc at Aqueduct last spring, Cuff Me was scratched from the Miss Preakness Stakes as the 4-5 morning-line favorite and spent a year on the sidelines. She returned at Oaklawn Park last month to win an open second-level allowance at six furlongs.

“We gave her a little time for her ankles, brought her back and she did not stay good so we gave her some more time,” said Dutrow. “I was happy with her race at Oaklawn. I’m not feeling a warning sign that [seven furlongs] is a problem. If she loses, I’ll think she lost because she wasn’t good enough.”

Also entered were Banker’s Buy, Laylaben, and Spa City Princess, who comes off a win in a muddy overnight stakes at Aqueduct for Pat Kelly.