09/22/2016 3:59PM

Brown saddles two contenders in Commonwealth Oaks

Hoofprints Inc.
Noble Beauty is one of two fillies trainer Chad Brown plans to run in the Commonwealth Oaks.

The depth of the national 3-year-old filly turf division is on full display Saturday at Laurel Park in the Grade 2, $150,000 Commonwealth Oaks, which drew 11 entrants, several of them with plenty of talent.

Chad Brown, who himself is loaded in this division, entered two, Pricedtoperfection and Noble Beauty. Pricedtoperfection is clearly capable of winning, and she had to steady when squeezed between horses in the stretch run of the $100,000 Riskaverse last out.

But while her form is solid and she stays the Oaks’s nine furlongs, Pricedtoperfection has more grind than brilliance to her game, and she can be had by a horse with a better turn of foot.

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Noble Beauty, her stablemate, was elevated to first over this distance in the Grade 3 Pucker Up at Arlington last out and was flattered when that race’s first-place finisher, Try Your Luck, returned to romp at Kentucky Downs. But Noble Beauty on the whole might be a half-notch behind Pricedtoperfection, and there are at least two others who are perhaps just as good.

Most intriguing is Stella Rose, who makes her stakes debut for trainer Christophe Clement. Stella Rose made two starts on dirt before being switched to grass July 17 and made an immediate impression, rallying from last after a poor start to finish second behind On Leave, who had a better trip that day. On Leave has since risen toward the head of her class and was most impressive in winning the Sands Point last weekend at Belmont. Stella Rose, meanwhile, remained in allowance company and was a sharp winner Aug. 27 at Saratoga, where she stuck close to a much slower pace than she had encountered in her turf debut.

“I don’t think her position matters as long as she’s comfortable,” Clement said. “I’m very excited about her.”

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Shug McGaughey trains On Leave and has an able understudy in My Impression, who will have a chance at a fair price Saturday. My Impression won the $50,000 Christiana at Delaware by more than three lengths over fellow Commonwealth Oaks entrant Involuntary and had no chance last out in the very salty Lake Placid after slipping on rain-slickened turf.

“It was kind of like an ice rink,” McGaughey said. “She slipped going into the first turn, did it again coming out of the second turn. It’s a pretty interesting race. I think she could have a very good chance.”