Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Brown trio in full bloom for G1 Flower Bowl

The New York Racing Association, Inc.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Contact: Sean Morris


Brown trio in full bloom for G1 Flower Bowl


ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Chad Brown has contenders littered throughout the TVG Super Saturday card on at Belmont Park, but perhaps none as formidable as the triumvirate he will deploy in the Grade 1, $600,000 Flower Bowl.


Brown will send out Alterite, Stephanie's Kitten and Watsdachances in the Flower Bowl, a 1 ¼-mile grass race for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up, with the trio accounting for more than $3 million in earnings.


Stephanie's Kitten, who has banked upwards of $1.9 million in her career, is most prominent of the threesome. The Ken and Sarah Ramsey-owned mare is a Grade 1 winner, having captured last year's edition of the one-mile Longines Just a Game on Belmont's Widener turf course for her former trainer Wayne Catalano.


Stephanie's Kitten was transferred to Brown for her 2014 campaign, and, though she is without a victory, has performed admirably. After two non-threatening finishes in Grade 1 races to begin the year, the daughter of Kitten's Joy rediscovered her best form with strong runner-up showings in the Grade 1 Diana at Saratoga Race Course and Grade 1 Beverly D. at Arlington Park.


"Her first two starts of the year were disappointing, given how well she was training," said Brown. "She really rounded back into form this summer; both the Diana and the Beverly D. were great efforts, and I think she was an unlucky loser of both races. She very well could have won both races with a better trip, and in the case of the Diana, a better post."


As a 5-year-old, Stephanie's Kitten has seemingly lost some of the early speed she previously possessed.


"It's give and take," said the trainer. "She's lost a little bit of the speed she had in her younger days, but with that, she's now able to go 1 ¼ miles effectively. When the Ramseys gave me this filly, their goal was to get her to the [1 ¼-mile] Breeders' Cup [Filly & Mare Turf]."


Hall of Famer John Velazquez will be aboard Stephanie's Kitten, the 5-2 morning-line favorite, and the pair will depart from outermost post 9.


Alterite, also a Grade 1 winner, has raced only twice this year, finishing off the board in the Diana and the Beverly D. In 2013, the French-bred filly took the Grade 1 Garden City at Belmont by 1 ½ lengths in her first North American start. Following a narrow miss in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Keeneland, the daughter of Literato finished third, beaten a length, in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf behind Dank and Romantica.


Brown, whose expectations for his talented filly were high entering her 4-year-old season, has been somewhat puzzled by her lackluster performances.


"Her two races so far this year have been disappointing," said Brown, who trains Alterite for Martin Schwartz. "With that said, she's been training terrific here at Belmont. She's really come unglued in both her races in the paddock, but I'm not sure if that's enough of an excuse for her as to why she's run so poorly. We've been schooling her and will continue to do so until race day, and hopefully running out of her own stall at Belmont, over a turf course she's already won a Grade 1 on, is the key to getting her back on track."


Alterite, 8-1 on the morning line, will be ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr. from post 7.


Watsdachances possesses the least imposing resume of the Brown entrants, but has been a consistent sort, racking up in-the-money finishes in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, Grade 2 Sands Point, Grade 2 Lake Placid, Grade 3 Gallorette and Grade 3 Matchmaker. Though she is without a graded stakes win, the bay filly captured the Summer Secretary Stakes last fall at Aqueduct Racetrack over fellow Flower Bowl entrant Maximova.


Watsdachances, 8-1 on the morning line, enters the Flower Bowl off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3, 1 3/8-mile Glens Falls.


"She seems to like Belmont, and 1 ¼ mile might be what she's looking for," said Brown. "I ran her too far last time [in the Glen Falls]. It's a big purse, and even if she were to get a piece of it, it would be worth running her. I think she deserves a shot."


Joe Bravo will be aboard Watsdachances, who drew post 6.


Trainer Christophe Clement, who will saddle Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist in the featured Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup, will send out 20-1 morning-line long shot Maximova. The bay daughter of Danehill Dancer most recently won a 1 1/8-mile optional claimer at Saratoga.


Although Maximova has made only one appearance at the graded stakes level - an eighth-place finish in last year's Grade 2 Lake George - with significant rain in the forecast on Thursday, Clement believes his filly may have an edge on less than firm ground.


"It's very ambitious on paper, but she's always trained well on soft [ground]," said Clement. "I've never run her far enough, which is a mistake on my part. I'm almost certain she's going to stay 1 ¼ miles, and she's been training very well of late."


Maximova will be ridden by Cornelio Velasquez from post 2.


Rounding out the field are Grade 1 winner Tannery; Abaco, who won the Grade 2 Ballston Spa in her most recent outing; Strathnaver, runner-up in the Ballston Spa and Just a Game this year; Starstruck, who took the Grade 3 Matchmaker at Monmouth Park two starts ago; and Viva Rafaela, runner-up in the Glens Falls in her latest start.


The field for the Grade 1, $600,000 Flower Bowl:








Abaco (KY)

J L. Ortiz


C R. McGaughey III



Maximova (NY)

C H. Velasquez


C Clement



Viva Rafaela (BRZ)

J Castellano


T A. Pletcher



Strathnaver (GB)

J Rosario


H Graham Motion



Starstruck (IRE)

K D. Clark


J Larry Jones



Watsdachances (IRE)

J Bravo


C C. Brown



Alterite (FR)

I Ortiz, Jr.


C C. Brown



Tannery (IRE)

J Lezcano


A E. Goldberg



Stephanie's Kitten (KY)

J R. Velazquez


C C. Brown




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