04/12/2013 12:04PM

Keeneland: Magical Moon looking for relaxed trip in Beaumont

Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Al Stall Jr. calls Magical Moon “a pretty high-strung filly that really needs to relax.”

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Al Stall Jr. believed post 14 would prove a major disadvantage for Magical Moon in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes last weekend at Keeneland, so the filly was scratched to wait instead for the Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes.

“I was a little leery of the distance anyway,” said Stall of the Ashland’s 1 1/16 miles. “She’s probably better suited to just one turn.”

Turns out that Emollient had no problem whatsoever from the 13 hole in the Ashland, winning in an absolute romp. As far as Stall is concerned, however, there has been no harm, no foul, and he is focused on seeing Magical Moon do her best Sunday in the $150,000 Beaumont at the Beard Course distance of seven furlongs and 184 feet.

Magical Moon, with Rosie Napravnik riding for Stall and the Columbine Stable, is one of a handful of contenders in a field of 11 well-matched 3-year-old fillies in the 28th running of the Beaumont, which is run over Polytrack.

The Beaumont winner gets 20 “wild card” points toward eligibility into the Kentucky Oaks, although some of these, including Magical Moon, are not under consideration for the May 3 filly classic at Churchill Downs. The Oaks field is limited to 14.

Magical Moon, a sharp third here last fall in the Grade 1 Alcibiades Stakes, is “a pretty high-strung filly that really needs to relax” for her to be successful, said Stall. “This race has that long run down the backside, where hopefully Rosie can put her on a long rein and let her lope into a nice rhythmic stride. She’s a talented filly, and this is the kind of race she ought to run well in.”

Other main players in the Beaumont include Premier Steps, winner of the Sweetest Chant on the Gulfstream Park turf in her last start; Judy In Disguise, undefeated in two starts in California since being imported to the United States; and Renee’s Titan, a 20-1 upsetter of divisional champion Beholder in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez at Santa Anita in January.

Premier Steps, to be ridden by Javier Castellano, is owned by a large partnership assembled by the Bradley Thoroughbreds of Peter Bradley, who also put together the ownership group of Watsdachances, runner-up to Flotilla last fall in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Both Irish-bred fillies are trained by Chad Brown.

“The only other logical spot here for Premier Steps was the Appalachian,” a Grade 3, one-mile turf race to be run here Thursday, said Bradley. “But we didn’t want to run her against Watsdachances, so here she is.”

The Beaumont, the eighth of nine Sunday races, is directly preceded by a $66,000 turf allowance that drew a handful of 2012 stakes winners, including Keep Up (Grade 3 River City Handicap) and Daddy Long Legs (Grade 3 Sunland Derby). The race is oversubscribed with 14 on the program.

After Sunday, Keeneland goes dark for two days before another five-day race week begins Wednesday. First post daily is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.