Trainer Chad Brown has the numbers in the $500,000 Flower Bowl (G1) at Belmont Park on Saturday, but Irish invader Curvy looks like the one to beat in the 1 1/4-mile prep for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).
A three-year-old daughter of Galileo owned by the Coolmore, Curvy kicked off her 2015 campaign with four straight wins, including a neck victory over colts in the Gallinule (G3) at The Curragh and a one-length score in the Ribblesdale (G2) at Royal Ascot. In the latter she defeated Pleascach, whose victories this season include the Irish 1000 Guineas (G1) and Yorkshire Oaks (G1).
The David Wachman-trained Curvy was a half-length fourth in the latter event in her first try with blinkers. She was also third in the Irish Oaks (G1) to Covert Love, subsequently second to Pleascach in the Yorkshire Oaks. With wet conditions possible Saturday (two were entered in the Flower Bowl for the main track only), Curvy might find conditions ideal.
Brown saddles four for the turf, including last year’s Flower Bowl heroine Stephanie’s Kitten. Subsequently second in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita, the six-year-old was underwhelming in the New York (G2) and Diana (G1) following a Grade 3 score at Tampa Bay Downs.
Last time, she was involved in a stretch altercation with Secret Gesture in the Beverly D., which resulted in that mare’s demotion to third and the elevation of the Brown-trained Watsdachances and Stephanie’s Kitten to first and second, respectively. Watsdachances, an 8-1 outsider in the field, appeared to relish the testing conditions, which she could see again on Saturday.
Brown’s other two, Regardez and Danza Cavallo, appear less qualified on paper, although both might move up on soft ground. European invader Mutatis Mutandis and domestic entries America and Distorted Beauty would be surprises.
Entered for the main track only are Sheepshead Bay (G2) winner Rosalind, and the Bill Mott-trained Tiz So Sweet.
A race with fewer Breeders’ Cup implications is the $500,000 Hill Prince (G3), a nine-furlong grass test for three-year-olds. Jay Gatsby and Tale of Life, both making their second U.S. appearances following their importation from France, could improve enough to threaten World Approval, Takeover Target, Money Multiplier, Courtier, and Royal Albert Hall, all of whom have graded wins or placing to their credit.
(Stephanie’s Kitten photo: Chelsea Durand/Adam Coglianese Photography)