05/02/2013 12:03PM

Belmont Park: Trainers Brown, Clement have strong hands for Grade 3 turf stakes

Tom Keyser
Lubash, who won two stakes for New York-breds last summer, will make his second start of the year in Saturday's Grade 3 Fort Marcy.

Graded turf stakes action returns to New York on Saturday, when the Fort Marcy and Beaugay, a pair of Grade 3, $150,000 races scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the Widener course, share top billing at Belmont Park.

Six older males, including New York-breds Abilio, King Kreesa, and Lubash, entered the Fort Marcy.

Lubash had a solid campaign in 2012, winning the West Point and the Ashley T. Cole for trainer Christophe Clement, who also sends out Speaking of Which, a Group 3 winner at 10 furlongs in his native Ireland for former trainer Dermot Weld.

“We got him in late November, and he’s definitely an exciting horse,” Clement said. “He might want to go a bit farther.”

There is ample speed, as King Kreesa, Bombaguia, and Abilio like to mix it up early.

King Kreesa posted three front-running wins last year for Jeremiah Englehart and led to deep stretch in the Grade 1 Jamaica.

Bombaguia, who led to the final yards when nipped in the Bowling Green last fall, is making his second start following a layoff for John Kimmel after a sharp placing in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park.

Although Lubash has had his number in several previous meetings, Abilio turned the tables last fall in an overnight stakes at Aqueduct.

“He’d have to run his ‘A’ game to win it, but we don’t have a whole lot of alternatives, so we’re going to give him a chance in here and see how he runs over maybe a firmer course,” said Tom Albertrani, who trains Abilio.

The wild card is Real Solution, a Pennsylvania-bred from owners and breeders Ken and Sarah Ramsey who makes his U.S. debut for new trainer Chad Brown after winning three of five starts in Italy. The Ramseys come off a record-shattering Keeneland meet, and the momentum has carried over, as their Twitter feed noted Wednesday: “In the last 30 minutes, Derby Kitten won at Churchill, Major Marvel won at Belmont and Pay Day Kitten won in Ireland. Going good.”

Real Solution, who also has speed, will get first-time Lasix.

“He’s been working up a storm,” assistant trainer Cherie DeVaux said. “We did the same thing with Desert Blanc [second last year before winning the Manhattan Handicap], and it worked out very well for us.”

Eight turf-meant fillies and mares go in the Beaugay, including three from Brown, two from Clement, and returning dual New York-bred champion Hessonite.

Hessonite closed out 2012 by winning the Ticonderoga for the second straight year and makes her 5-year-old debut for trainer David Donk.

“I tried to run her a couple of weeks ago [April 13] in the overnight stake that didn’t fill,” Donk said. “She’s been ready to go. She’s doing really well, and I’m looking forward to getting her started and seeing how aggressive we can be during the summer. I’m using this maybe as a springboard to the Sheepshead Bay [May 25]. She hasn’t won a graded stake yet, so that’s the first goal.”

Among Brown’s trio of Pianist, Dealbata, and Dream Peace, the latter shapes up as a clear favorite based on three classy efforts in North America last year, beginning with a runner-up finish in the Diana and a close third as the choice in the Flower Bowl.

Naples Bay and Ruthenia, Grade 3 winners last year for Clement, have been idle since last fall.

“We are excited to see Naples Bay run back,” Clement said. “We were looking for an easier spot for Ruthenia, but she is ready to run.”

Peace Preserver and Suroof also entered for turf. Centring entered for the main track only.