A highly contentious field will line up for Saturday’s $500,000 Sands Point (G2) at Belmont Park over nine furlongs, a group that includes the winners of Saratoga’s major stakes for three-year-old turf fillies and an unusually large European contingent.
The domestic team includes Sentiero Italia, who prevailed as the 8-5 favorite in the August 14 Lake Placid (G2) at the Spa, and Mrs McDougal, who overcame a wide journey to take the Lake George (G2) three weeks earlier. Those two rebounded following fourth-place efforts in the Belmont Oaks (G1) and American Oaks (G1), respectively.
Miss Temple City, a stakes winner at Pimlico in May who ran a very strong fourth in the Coronation (G1) at Royal Ascot the following month, was overtaken by Sentiero Italia inside the final furlong of the Lake Placid in her U.S. comeback. Also looking to bounce back from tough recent beats are Her Emmynency, second by three parts of a length in the Del Mar Oaks (G1), and Cara Marie, a half-length third in the Lake George.
Osaila, third to Lady Eli in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) last fall, makes her second U.S. appearance here for trainer Richard Hannon. A multiple Group 3 winner in England and scorer in the Sandringham H. at Royal Ascot, she was narrowly second in the Oak Tree (G3) at Glorious Goodwood in her most recent start.
Malabar is also a multiple Group 3 heroine in England, including the Thoroughbred (G3) at Glorious Goodwood against the males. Others invading from across the pond are Group 3-placed stakes winner Blond Me and the French listed winner Iromea.
One former European mainstay that has already been acclimatized is Marabea, Group 3-placed in Italy at two and winner of a second-level allowance in her U.S. debut at Delaware Park in late July.
Only four older horses accepted invitations for the $200,000 Temperence Hill over 1 1/2 miles, with V. E. Day looking for his first win since the 2014 Travers (G1). A close second in the Brooklyn (G2) two back, the Jimmy Jerkens charge was a nondescript fifth in the Whitney (G1) last time.
Both V. E. Day and Tacticus, recent winner of the $100,000 Birdstone at Saratoga over 14 furlongs, will attempt to run down potential pacesetter Slim Shadey.
(Sentiero Italia photo: NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography)