07/02/2014 11:31AM

Keep Crossing, Tea Time square off from inside in Beautiful Day Stakes

Barbara Weidl/Equi-Photo
Tea Time, the last-out winner of the Jostle Stakes, will look to back up that performance Thursday in the Beautiful Day Stakes at Delaware Park.

If Keep Crossing and Tea Time had been entered in last Sunday’s Grade 3 Victory Ride Stakes at Belmont Park, nobody would have batted an eye. They would have belonged. Instead, the pair will meet in the feature race Thursday at Delaware Park, the $50,000 Beautiful Day Stakes.

The Beautiful Day, a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-old fillies, has attracted a field of nine. Keep Crossing, trained by Larry Jones, and Tea Time, conditioned by Michael Match, have drawn posts 1 and 2, respectively.

Keep Crossing may be the quicker of the two, but both have speed, and there shouldn’t be much separating them early. This will be the fourth career start for Keep Crossing, a Brereton Jones homebred daughter of Istan, who comes into this off two daylight wins, a maiden race in February at Fair Grounds and an allowance May 31 at Delaware. This will be the first time she has been able to run in two races back to back without a layoff.

Although it may be a statistical aberration, post 2 has fared much better at the Delaware meet than post 1 in races under a mile. Post 1 is 5 for 83 (6 percent) in such races at the meet, while post 2 is 11 for 83. Of the first eight inside posts, the rail far and away has the lowest winning percentage.

Tea Time enters off a 3 1/4-length score in the Jostle Stakes at Parx. Her other stakes win from seven starts came in the Sharp Cat at Belmont last October.

Tea Time’s 87 Beyer Speed Figure in the Jostle is eight points higher than any of her rivals has ever run. Fat Kat, who finished second in the Jostle, ran in Sunday’s Victory Ride for trainer Butch Reid but was too close to a blazing pace set by Red Velvet and tired to finish seventh.