Juvenile stakes action in New York this year commences June 3 when a field of six freshman fillies assemble for the $150,000 Astoria Stakes going 5 1/2 furlongs over the Belmont Park main track.
Swilcan Stable and LC Racing’s Mainstay , a half sister to reigning 2-year-old champion filly Vequist , will make her career debut in the Astoria for trainer Butch Reid Jr. The daughter of Astern will exit post 2 under Frankie Pennington.
Parx Racing-based Reid also trains Vequist for Swilcan Stable, Gary Barber, and Wachtel Stable. The Nyquist filly broke her maiden in the Spinaway Stakes (G1), her second career start, at Saratoga Race Course, was second in the Frizette Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park, and closed out 2020 by winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Keeneland.
“We’re excited about her and maybe she can do what her big sister did and break her maiden in a stakes,” Reid said of Mainstay. “She’s been very quick in the a.m. and she’s a smaller, stouter horse than her big sister, who was obviously a router from day one. This filly is more of a sprinter, I believe.”
Trainer Wesley Ward, a two-time Astoria winner, will send out Happy Soul , who impressed in her second career start with a decisive 11 3/4-length victory traveling five furlongs May 13 at Belmont Park.
Owned by Gayla Rankin, the daughter of medication-free second crop-sire Runhappy was second on debut to stablemate Nakatomi , who targets the Astoria’s counterpart race, the $150,000 Tremont Stakes June 4. Happy Soul was never in doubt last out as she extended her advantage throughout the journey.
“She’s a nice filly and ran a good race. It looks like she can still grow into a nice frame,” Ward said. “She’s doing great. She won so easily the other day that we figured we would give this a shot. She is a good-training filly.”
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez was in the irons in both starts and will return in pursuit of his fifth Astoria score from post 4.
Terry Hutto’s American Bound gave freshman sire American Freedom his first winner and could give the 2016 Travers (G1) runner-up his first stakes winner as well when breaking from post 6 for trainer Joe Sharp.
American Bound was a 1 1/2-length winner over the Keeneland main track on debut April 2 before finishing fifth over a sloppy and sealed track in the Kentucky Juvenile Stakes April 28 at Churchill Downs.
Jockey Luis Saez will return to the irons.
Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse will saddle Gary Barber’s Constitution Gal in her first start over the main track.
Jockey Kendrick Carmouche will guide Constitution Gal from post 3.
Belmont Park, Thursday, June 03, 2021, Race 7
- 5 1/2f
- 2 yo Fillies
- 6:15 PM (local)