Multiple graded stakes-winners will comprise an accomplished field in Saturday’s $100,000 Perfect Sting for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up competing at one mile on the Widener turf course at Belmont Park.
The Perfect Sting is one of two stakes on the Saturday card, including the Grade 2, $400,000 Suburban Handicap that is a “Win and You’re In” qualifier to the Grade 1, $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic in November at Del Mar.
While the eighth edition of the Perfect Sting is not graded, the resume of the participants provides a big-race pedigree, highlighted by Juddmonte’s Grade 1-winner Viadera.
The Chad Brown trainee will be making her 5-year-old debut after capping 2020 with three consecutive stakes scores by slim margins, starting with a win by a neck in the one-mile De La Rose in July at Saratoga Race Course in her second North American start.
The British-bred daughter of Bated Breath posted another victory by a neck in the Grade 3 Noble Damsel going one mile on the Belmont turf in September and concluded her successful year by edging Blowout by a nose in the Grade 1 Matriarch going one mile in November at Del Mar, earning a career-best 98 Beyer Speed Figure.
Viadera, who has been training at Saratoga leading into the Perfect Sting, won three of her first nine starts in Ireland and Great Britain before being shipped to the United States and transferred to Brown’s care.
Joel Rosario will ride from post 9.
Susan and John Moore’s Princess Grace also will be making her seasonal bow off graded-stakes success, with the 4-year-old Karakontie filly concluding her sophomore year with a 2 3/4-length win in the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere moved off the turf in November at Churchill Downs.
Princess Grace has won three of her four starts, getting her picture taken in her first two outings before earning a personal-best 88 Beyer for a runner-up effort in her stakes debut when she finished just a half-length back to Stunning Sky in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3 Valley View in October at Keeneland.
“She’s a small, feminine looking filly but she runs huge in her races and everything she does is game and all heart,” Stidham said. “Those kind don’t have to be big and powerful, they just have what it takes inside and she seems to have that.”
Luis Saez will have the call from post 3.
Piedi Bianchi has won three stakes on dirt but earned black type going seven furlongs on the turf last out, finishing just 1 1/2 lengths back to Change of Control in a strong runner-up finish in the Grade 3 Intercontinental on June 3 as part of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.
Owned by Jay Oringer, Jack Bick, Al Bianchi Racing, Adam Bayroff and Mike Maturo, Piedi Bianchi, whose experience at Belmont includes a third-place finish in the 2020 Grade 2 Ruffian on Big Sandy, put in a strong breeze going five furlongs in 1:01.55 on June 20 over the Belmont inner turf. Trainer Carlos Martin said her workout sustained her progress after earning an 86 Beyer for her Intercontinental effort.
“She showed another dimension last time and ran her best turf race. She really ran a terrific race,” Martin said. “We only got beat by Change of Control, who is one of the better turf fillies out there. She’s keeping the momentum and I’m optimistic. We’ll see. It just came up a very tough race for a listed stakes. This looks like a Grade 2 field.”
Piedi Bianchi, who won her first stakes in the Frances Slocum in 2018 before adding wins last year in the Correction at Aqueduct Racetrack and another in the 2020 edition of the Frances Slocum at Indiana Grand Race Course, will be seeking her first turf win in five starts.
The Overanalyze grey will break from post 4 under Flavien Prat.
Augustin Stable’s Honey Cake, an Irish-bred daughter of Siyouni who last raced in November when winning the seven-furlong Prix Ceres at the Fontainebleau in France, will make her first start in the United States.
Transferred into the care of Jonathan Thomas, the 4-year-old Honey Cake has been breezing at Belmont, including a five-furlong work in 1:01.80 on the inner turf Sunday.
Honey Cake will look to return off a seven-month layoff and show the form that led to four wins in eight starts in France to begin her career.
“She came with a nice resume,” Thomas said. “We’re just hoping to pick up where it left off. She’s a beautiful filly and seems to have a lot of class and had some good works on the turf. She’s shown a very nice turn-of-foot.”
Manny Franco will ride from the inside post.
Team Valor Racing and Everything’s Cricket Racing’s Madita, the runner-up in the One Dreamer in September at Kentucky Downs, will make her first start in more than eight months for trainer Arnaud Delacour, drawing post 7 with Hall of Famer John Velazquez in the irons. The German-bred Madita, making her 6-year-old bow, will be looking for her second win in seven starts since arriving from her native country in 2019.
Rounding out the field are Hogans Holiday [post 2, Irad Ortiz, Jr.] and Sunset Kiss [post 6, Jose Lezcano]. Truth Hurts and Velvet Crush are entered for the main-track only.
The Perfect Sting is carded as Race 9 on Saturday’s 10-race program. First post is 1 p.m. Eastern.
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