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Baltimore Belle Looks To Repeat In Saturday's Dahlia Stakes
BALTIMORE, 04-19-12---Eleven starters and two also-eligibles assure that, weather permitting, the gate will be full for Saturday’s $75,000 Dahlia Stakes, a one mile test for fillies and mares on the grass at Pimlico Race Course.
Defending champion Baltimore Belle is the 3-1 morning line favorite. The Mike Trombetta trainee who won this race last year when it was contested on the main track, took the Lady Baltimore Stakes (on the turf) and was victorious the Geisha Stakes at Laurel Park last fall. She has finished first or second in her past six starts, capping the run with a good second to multiple stakes winner Bold Affair in the Conniver Stakes last out. Julian Pimentel, who teamed up with Baltimore Belle in the Dahlia last year, has the mount.
“She usually gives us an honest effort,” Trombetta said. “I really like the distance and we are really happy with her. She has been training well since the Conniver.”
Martita Sangrita (7-2) started three times on the turf at Tampa Bay Downs this winter. Trainer Leigh Delacour has named Luis Garcia to ride the Johar mare, who captured the St. Georges Stakes on the infield at Delaware in 2010 when she was in the barn of Michael Matz. Martita Sangrita posted a bullet workout at Fair Hill Training Center on April 14.
Master Shade (4-1), another resident at Fair Hill, started her career in Germany but now campaigns for Graham Motion. She is a winner of three of five on the turf for Motion, including a handy score in Aqueduct’s Mid State Stakes last November. Sheldon Russell picks up the mount.
Motion has also named She Be Classy (12-1) for Saturday’s race. The mare won two stakes at Delaware Park last year when those races were moved from the turf to the main track. Russell is named to this one, as well.
Kelly Breen sent In the Rough (6-1) to Maryland last fall (third in the Lady Baltimore) before sending her to Florida. In the Rough made three starts on the grass at Gulfstream Park over the winter. Breen has also entered Sleepless Dixie (15-1), who has finished on the board in five of six turf tries.
Dane Kobiskie supplemented Embracing Hearts (10-1) into the race. The Sky Mesa filly finished second in the Selima Stakes on the grass at Laurel. Malcolm Franklin has the mount.
“I like her,” Kobiskie said. “I took her down to Keeneland earlier this month and knew we were going to be short (finished sixth in an allowance race on the turf). I am dying to go two turns with her. She has a shot to win this race. We are hoping for an 80 Beyer, which could be good enough.”
Isle Talk (12-1), Access to Charlie (15-1), Dream Louise (15-1) and Delicate Genius (20-1) complete the main body of the field. Coco Ecolo and Plum are also-eligibles.
BEN’S CAT PREPS FOR JIM MCKAY TURF SPRINT WITH ALLOWANCE TEST
Two weeks after capturing the 10th stakes win of his career, Ben’s Cat will be back at Pimlico Saturday afternoon headlining a $43,000 allowance race on the grass. The King Leatherbury homebred is the 4-5 favorite in the 5-furlong test, which will be the fourth race on the card.
Ben’s Cat won the Mister Diz Stakes on April 7 for the third consecutive year in his 6-year-old debut. After the victory, Leatherbury said his star would run next in the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint Stakes here on May 18, a race he won a year ago.
“It is a surprising move but last year I ran him in-between the Mister Diz and Jim McKay,” Leatherbury said. “Of course he didn’t run well in that one (finished fifth in the one mile Henry Clark Stakes). This allowance race came up in the condition book so we entered. I am surprised it filled but the schedule works out well.”
The son of Parker’s Storm Cat had to recover from a broken pelvis before he made his maiden debut at age four. He has now won 15 of 21 starts with lifetime earnings of $845,230 and is considered one of the top turf sprinters in the nation.
Horacio Karamanos will be aboard Ben’s Cat for the second consecutive race, while regular rider Jeremy Rose recovers from a shoulder injury.
The 10-horse field also includes multiple stakes winning mare Suzzona, Delaunay, who finished third behind Ben’s Cat in the Mister Diz and speedy Ju Jitsu Jax. Diski Dance, My Cuz C J and Kens Cape would be formidable foes if the race comes off the turf and is contested on the main track.
“Even though this isn’t a stakes race, there are some runners in here,” added Leatherbury.
The 79-year-old ranks third on the all-time win list with 6,340 winners and has conditioned two Grade 1 winners: Catatonic (1987Hempstead Stakes) and Taking Risks (1994 Iselin Handicap), saddled four Preakness runners and trained other graded winners such as Ameri Valay, Learned Jake, Dynamic Trick and Ah Day.