09/17/2010 3:31PM

Quiet Meadow back to try Noble Damsel again

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Barbara D. Livingston
Quiet Meadow (left) lost the closest of photos to Rutherienne in last year's Noble Damsel.

ELMONT, N.Y. – It’s a photograph that trainer Chad Brown still finds hard to digest. But the picture of last year’s Noble Damsel Stakes did indeed show Rutherienne’s nose on the wire ahead of Quiet Meadow, even if the body of the jockey of Quiet Meadow was ahead of that of Rutherienne’s rider.

“It looks like we’re ahead, but I’ll take their word for it,” Brown, the trainer of Quiet Meadow said.

Sunday, Brown and Quiet Meadow will once again try to get their picture taken in the winner’s circle following the Noble Damsel when that 5-year-old mare tries the Grade 3 race again at Belmont Park. Quiet Meadow has lost her last eight starts, five of them second-pace finishes by one half-length or less.

“She’s been a real steady performer for us, a nice horse to be around,” said Brown, who trains Quiet Meadow for Dan Zucker and the Hidden Brook Farm of Sergio de Sousa. “She shows up every time, is normally 1-2-3.”

Quiet Meadow hasn’t won since taking the Turf Distaff at Tampa Bay Downs on April 4, 2009. She has faced some of the top turf females around in Forever Together, Tuscan Evening, and Rainbow View.

As was the case entering last year’s Noble Damsel, Quiet Meadow will be cutting back to a mile from a 1 1/8-mile race while running off a seven-week layoff. Jose Lezcano, who broke a 0-for-25 start at Belmont with an upset in Friday’s $60,000 Fifth Marine Stakes aboard Lubash, rides Quiet Meadow.

Meriwether Jessica has reeled off three consecutive victories, two of those having come at Belmont Park. Last out, Meriwether Jessica won the Yaddo in her first start at 1 1/8 miles. Here she cuts back to a mile, a distance at which she won an optional claimer here July 14.

“She’s doing so well she’s deserving of winning a graded race,” said Rick Violette, the trainer of Meriwether Jessica. “Certainty, the timing is right, it looks like a reasonable spot.”

Strike the Belle could be interesting after attempting to make up ground over the speed-favoring Saratoga turf when sixth, beaten 3 1/4 lengths in the Ballston Spa at Saratoga.

“She was a little further back than I expected her to be, and she had a lot to do,” trainer David Donk said. “She didn’t run a bad race and she was coming off a couple of big efforts at Monmouth. She stands a good chance Sunday.”

C.S. Silk, Chestoria, Kristi With a K, Scolara, and Sweeter Still complete the field.