04/05/2012 12:15PM

Beulah: Sharp new rival Stamp Queen challenges Motega in Royal North

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Motega will have her work cut out for her Saturday when she faces nine other Ohio-bred 3-year-old fillies in the $50,000 Royal North at Beulah Park.

Trained by Joe Martin, Motega was the Ohio 2-year-old filly champion last year, winning her first four races by a combined 32 1/2 lengths. After winning her maiden event June 24 at Mountaineer, she reeled off three Ohio-bred stakes victories, including beating the boys at River Downs in the Hoover by 17 lengths.

In her final outing of the year, Motega finished second in the Best of Ohio J.W. Galbreath, her first attempt at two turns. The return to the six-furlong distance of the Royal North should be to her liking in her first outing this season. Martin wintered at Oaklawn Park and Motega signaled her readiness with a bullet best-of-48 work at Oaklawn last Sunday. Jareth Loveberry, aboard for all five of her lifetime starts,  retains the mount.

Stamp Queen comes into the Royal North off two impressive local victories for trainer Doug Cowans. Unraced as a 2-year-old, Stamp Queen won at first asking Feb. 21 by more than 21 lengths. After lunging at the start, Stamp Queen was under a tight hold by jockey Rafael Hernandez. In her last out March 12, Stamp Queen won an entry-level statebred allowance by more than 10 lengths, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 83, by far the best in Saturday’s field, in ridden out fashion. The final time of the race, 1:10.29 was one of the fastest of meet. Hernandez retains the mount.

Cowans also sends out Fluffyontheinside, undefeated in three statebred starts. Amanda Tamburello retains the mount.