09/21/2010 3:27PM

Yawkey Way has only a slight edge in Friendly Beauty

Barbara D. Livingston
Yawkey Way won two races at Saratoga, including the Ann Clare Stakes.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Two-year-olds dominate Thursday’s card at Belmont Park, which features five juvenile races, including the $60,000 Friendly Beauty overnight stakes.

The six-furlong Friendly Beauty drew nine New York-bred fillies, headed by Yawkey Way, who won her first two starts at Saratoga for Chad Brown, including the Ann Clare overnight stakes.

Yawkey Way had some anxious moments when keyed up and in tight down the backstretch of the Ann Clare, but recovered nicely to draw away late at 3-5.

“When the other horses got tired she just ran away from them,” said Brown, who finished third in the standings at Saratoga. “We’ve thought all along that she was one of the nicest 2-year-old fillies we had.”

Yawkey Way, who earned a Beyer Figure of 70 for the Ann Clare, has little margin for error over Saltamontes and Ginger Snapit, who earned respective figures of 69 and 70 for their last-out maiden wins at the Spa.

Saltamontes was ignored in the wagering for her debut Aug. 18, but the Gabrielle Farm homebred broke on top and pressed the pace before drawing off to win by four lengths at a $27 mutuel.

“She ran very good,” said trainer Rudy Rodriguez, who was atop the standings with five wins after the first seven racing days at the fall meet. “Since I got her, she’s been doing nothing but good.”

Ginger Snapit narrowly missed despite racing greenly and hitting the rail in the stretch first time out, but the gray daughter of Tapit turned in a more polished effort second out to become one of Todd Pletcher’s 18 juvenile winners at Saratoga.

Ginger Snapit may have a tougher time up front due to the presence of Ausable Chasm, a Gary Sciacca-trained filly who was far behind Yawkey Way in her debut, but improved markedly for a front-running score five weeks later over Lady Vi.

Lady Vi raced greenly and was wide rallying for second behind Ausable Chasm in her debut for Phil Serpe.However, she returned just a week later and pulled off a 13-1 upset in the $139,000 Lady Finger Stakes at Finger Lakes on Labor Day, and is thus the leading earner in the field.

Queen’s Harbor, Rosa Salvaje and Readygetsgold – third, fourth, and fifth in the Ann Clare – are back for another try.

Kocher Girl, a debut winner at Finger Lakes, completes the lineup.