10/27/2010 2:48PM

Heaven's Heart tries to follow in her dam's footsteps in Topicount Stakes


ELMONT, N.Y. – In the fall of 1998, a 3-year-old filly named Heaven’s Command came to North America from Europe and in her first start here won a listed turf stakes over Belmont Park’s turf course. A dozen years later, Heaven’s Heart, a daughter of Heaven’s Command, will attempt to do the same thing.

Heaven’s Heart, who only managed 1 win from 9 starts in France, makes her North American debut for owner/trainer Christophe Clement in Friday’s $70,000 Topicount Stakes for 3-year-old fillies scheduled for 1 1/8 miles over Belmont’s inner turf. Showers forced all of Wednesday’s turf races to the main track, but dry weather was forecast for Thursday and Friday.

According to Clement – who trained Heaven’s Command upon her arrival in North America – Heaven’s Heart came to his barn during the summer, but suffered from sore feet. She has been on a steady work schedule since mid-September and she should handle a less-than-firm turf course that is likely on Friday.

“This is a bit more ambitious spot than I’d like to do, but the next [first-level] allowance isn’t for another three weeks and I didn’t want to wait that long,” said Clement, who has Ramon Dominguez to ride.

Heaven’s Heart has not run since June 5, when she finished sixth in a listed stakes at Longchamp. Via Medici, the winner of that race, came back to win a Group 3 stakes in France. In fact, the winners of the last three races in which Heaven’s Heart has run have come back to win Group 3 stakes in France.

Like Heaven’s Heart, Gitchee Goomie has only one win on her r é sum é . But she did finish a solid third behind Check the Label in the Grade 1 Garden City here on Sept 18, a race in which Eibar Coa may have moved a bit too early in a failed attempt to keep favored Check the Label boxed in.

“We probably should have been second that day,” trainer Rick Violette said. “She ran great, she belongs with those kind.”

Awesome Maria, who won the Riskaverse Stakes at Saratoga in her only turf start, would be a factor if she runs. However, trainer Todd Pletcher entered her in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Turnback the Alarm on dirt and wanted to look at both races before deciding where to run.

Grecian Maiden, who won the Twin Light Stakes at Monmouth on Sept. 4, is the only one in the body of the field to have won at the 1 1/8-mile distance.