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The Athenia

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 10/13/2010 4:53:34 PM

Let’s take a break from the Breeders’ Cup previews for a bit and take a look at the Belmont feature Saturday, the mile and a sixteenth Grade 3 $100,000 Athenia on grass.

The race is for fillies and mare 3 and up and is named for the winner of the 1946 Ladies Handicap.

Some stars have succeeded in this fray over the decades. Champion De La Rose, who I saw winning Grade 1 races in the West, took this race in 1981.

Love Sign cashed the year before and Wild Heart Dancing opened up this decade with a win in this feature. Last year Belle Allure was coming off a 2nd in a Saratoga $83,000 stakes when she came from 2nd to last to get up by a head with a 90 Beyer.

Eleven will face the starter Saturday and starting from the rail out, here’s what we are looking at this time.

Giant Move is seeing her 5th career grass win. Fresh from a fine second at Monmouth in the $76K Revidere, she brings speed to the party in a race where there is not all that much pace.

Mary’s Follies is making her first start of the year for Richard Dutrow but she broke her maiden off a vacation and proved her class winning a Grade 2 to close out 2009.

Trix in the City will force the issue up front but she was out of the money in her 2 other stakes attempts.

Miss Catalyst ended last year winning a $100K stakes but was only a brief factor in her 2010 opener while Tottie makes her first start on this circuit but has a penchant for finding the wire and is coming off a 89 winning Beyer in a Jersey stakes.

Western invader Exquisite has failed in all 4 stakes tries and ran off the board in her last, a 6th at Del Mar.

Eye of Taurus broke through for the first time in her last beating the rail runner and she proved she can retain form with back-to-back wins last year, the last in a Grade 3.

Darjeeling has been right there in all 3 starts this season but is another that must prove her grit in a stakes.

Missit likes to cut it close even when she brings the A game as 3 of her 4 scores have come in photos.

Would be careful before getting talked into Way With Words, a Jersey-bred that has won in open company but never at this level.

Strike the Bell needs help up front but if the pace is hot and contested, she will be putting in her late bid.

On the Main Track Only list is McVictory, a distant third last time that is 0 for 4 when facing stakes caliber foes.

So how does it shake out? Well, look for Giant Mover to gun from the fence trying to steal the race. Ridden by David Cohen, who broke his teeth in California and hits at 33% when riding for Todd Pletcher, this gal is versatile and doesn’t need the lead to win.

She was almost 8 clear of the show horse last time and if the rider can get her to relax on a moderate pace, she figures to get brave.

Don’t be shocked if Eye of Taurus will come running hard at the end along with Strike the Bell and Tottie.

Good luck.

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