Updated on 09/15/2011 12:20PM

Clement a double threat in Sheepshead Bay


ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Christophe Clement says he would hate to have to choose between Aiglonne and Playact, a pair of 4-year-old fillies the French-born trainer sends out in Saturday's Grade 2 $150,000 Sheepshead Bay Handicap at Belmont Park.

"I don't think there's that much difference between the two," Clement said.

Handicappers won't have to fret over which Clement-trained filly is better, as, because of common ownership, Aiglonne and Playact will be coupled in the wagering and loom a short-price in the 1 3/8-mile turf race.

Clement's pair faces five rivals, topped by California invader Janet, the 118-pound highweight under David Flores. Darrell Vienna, trainer of Janet, has already expressed concern about running over a soft turf course.

Clement believes a soft turf course may favor Aiglonne, who while racing for trainer Henri-Alex Pantall in France, won the Group 3 Prix Fille de L'Air. In two starts in this country, Aiglonne finished fifth in the Grade 2 La Prevoyante Handicap at Calder and third in the Grade 2 Orchid at Gulfstream. In both cases, Clement believes the turf course was too hard for Aiglonne.

"Aiglonne, I think she's going to love a good or soft turf course," said Clement, who won the Sheepshead Bay in 1993 with Trampoli and last year with Lisieux Rose.

Clement said Aiglonne came out of the Orchid a bit sore but she has had two months to recover and is training well coming into the Sheepshead Bay. Robbie Davis will ride Aiglonne from the hedge under 115 pounds.

Playact, who spent the early part of her career in France with Clement's brother, Nicolas, may prefer good to firm ground. In two starts this spring at Keeneland, Playact won a third-level allowance race and was second, beaten a head, by Keemoon in the Grade 3 Bewitch Stakes.

Playact did win a listed stakes in France last summer over soft ground. If forecasted showers move the race to the main track, Playact should be able to handle it as she finished second in last November's Long Island Handicap at Aqueduct.

Perhaps the only negative for both of Clement's fillies is their running style. Both are one-run closers and the Sheepshead Bay appears to void of speed. However, they have overcome pedestrian paces in the past.

Janet could be a major threat if she's able to handle soft ground. Janet has won two consecutive races, including the Grade 3 Yerba Buena Handicap at Bay Meadows, racing close to the pace.

"She's been so versatile she doesn't have a fixed style," Vienna said. "She could probably run on the front end."

Critical Eye, Just a Ginny, Unbridled Waters, and Lady D'jour complete the field.