10/13/2010 3:09PM

Tottie could have an edge on soft turf in Athenia

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Christiana Scavuzzo/Equi-Photo
Tottie (left) scored a victory in the Omnibus Stakes at Monmouth Park in her last start on Aug. 21.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Trainer Chad Brown had three fillies or mares nominated to Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Athenia Stakes at Belmont Park, and any of the trio would have fit. In the end, Brown decided to go with Tottie, one of several contenders in an 11-horse field entered for the 1 1/16-mile turf race.

Tottie, a British-bred daughter of Fantastic Light, is 4 for 6 this year for Brown, including a victory in the Omnibus Stakes last out at Monmouth Park. That race came just three weeks after Tottie finished third, beaten a half-length in the Grade 3 Matchmaker, also at Monmouth.

Though Tottie is cutting back from 1 3/8 miles to 1 1/16 miles, she did win at that distance here in the June, beating, among others, Miss World, who won the Grade 1 Garden City Breeders’ Cup here as a 3-year-old.

Brown said he chose to run Tottie in the Athenia over Maram and Quiet Meadow in part because of a forecast that calls for rain Friday, which might produce a soft turf course Saturday.

“She’ll appreciate soft ground,” Brown said.

Jose Lezcano will ride Tottie from post 5. She is co-highweight at 123 pounds along with Strike the Bell, who won the Grade 3 Noble Damsel here Sept. 19.

The Athenia drew stakes winners Mary’s Follies, unraced since taking the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere last November; Miss Catalyst, the 2009 Pebbles winner; Eye of Taurus, the Revidere winner; and Way With Words, who won the South Beach at Gulfstream in April.

Aruna likely to Mrs. Revere

Aruna, the three-length winner of Monday’s $100,000 Pebbles Stakes here, will likely make her next start in the Grade 2, $175,000 Mrs. Revere Stakes on Nov. 20 at Churchill Downs, trainer Graham Motion said Wednesday.

“The timing is very good for that,” Motion said. “That would be my plan, and it’s graded.”

Aruna’s victory – in which she earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 90 – was not unexpected to Motion, who had high hopes for the filly following a first-level allowance win at Saratoga on Sept. 6 in which she came from last over a speed-favoring turf.

“I would have been disappointed if she had not run that way,” Motion said. “I see no reason why she wouldn’t be even better next year.”

Motion said that the Mrs. Revere would likely be Aruna’s final start this year before she likely heads to south Florida for the winter.

Ruthenia scores at first asking

Ruthenia, a full sister to the Grade 1-winning stakes filly Rutherienne, duplicated her sister’s achievement of winning first time out when she took a one-mile maiden race by 3 1/2 lengths Monday. It remains to be seen if she can match her older sister’s accomplishments.

Rutherienne won 11 of 24 starts, including the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks, and earned nearly $1.3 million in her racing career that ended with a fourth-place finish in the Matriarch last November. Rutherienne is now boarded at Stone Farm in Versailles, Ky., where she is in foal to Empire Maker.

Ruthenia, also by Pulpit out of the dam Ruthian, came from just off the pace to win first out Monday, running a mile in 1:37.40 and earning a 70 Beyer Speed Figure. Her odds were 20-1, compared with the 9-5 on Rutherienne when she won her debut at Calder in November 2006. Both fillies are owned by Virginia Kraft Payson and trained by Christophe Clement.

“She’s very similar to her sister; a small filly and a little bit on the anxious side,” Clement said. “She showed a great turn of foot, and it’s exciting for the future.”

Clement said he was uncertain what might be next for Ruthenia. Hollywood Park does host the Grade 3, $100,000 Miesque Stakes for 2-year-old fillies on Nov. 28.

Mountain Town eyes Remsen

Mountain Town, second to Uncle Mo in last Saturday’s Grade 1 Champagne, will aim for the $200,000 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct on Nov. 27, trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said Wednesday.

Dutrow said that Mountain Town had only one breeze in the 17 days leading up to the Champagne after having a little issue with his hind end.

“The jock said there is still something that’s not right,” Dutrow said, referring to Cornelio Velasquez. “I think we can get him better behind. He got a big number – a six on the sheets – so I’m not looking to run him back real quick. It’s very good timing.”

* Acting Happy, the Black-Eyed Susan winner, worked five furlongs in 1:01.02 on Wednesday morning for a possible start in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies' Classic.