10/05/2017 3:39PM

Zhukova back in U.S. for Flower Bowl

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Barbara D. Livingston
Irish invader Zhukova, who beat males in the Grade 1 Man o' War, is back at Belmont to take on females in Sunday's Grade 1 Flower Bowl.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Zhukova, who came to the United States from Ireland in May to dominate the boys in the Grade 1 Man o’ War, will now take on females in Sunday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Flower Bowl Stakes at Belmont Park.

Zhukova drew post 4 in a field of six entered for the 1 1/4-mile Flower Bowl, which awards a fees-paid berth to the winner to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf on Nov. 4 at Del Mar.

Zhukova relished a yielding turf course when she won the Man o’ War here in May. She may not get that type of ground Sunday.

“She’s at her best on the softer ground,” said Caroline Cashman, who traveled with Zhukova for trainer Dermot Weld. “We’d like a drop of rain. We wouldn’t like it too firm.”

Zhukova was here in time to run in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic last week, but was not entered. It rained early on the card, making that turf course a little bit on the softer side. Cashman said the Joe Hirsch may not have been a good idea for Zhukova because she needed more time to acclimate.

“She was better off giving her the week to settle in and get into a routine,” Cashman said. “She’s a very routine-type horse.”

Trainer Chad Brown will have the two favorites in the Flower Bowl in Dacita and Grand Jete, who finished 1-2 in the Grade 1 Beverly D. on Aug. 12 at Arlington.

Beauly, War Flag, and Guilty Twelve complete the field.