ELMONT, N.Y. – Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown will saddle Pocket Square and Miss Teheran in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Athenia, a nine-furlong inner turf test for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at Belmont Park.
Brown has won four of the last five runnings of the Athenia and has totaled five wins overall, including scores by Pianist , Roca Rojo , Off Limits , Rymska  and Tapit Today .
Juddmonte homebred Pocket Square, a 4-year-old Night of Thunder chestnut, enters from a 4 1/2-length optional-claiming win traveling nine furlongs on the Saratoga Race Course turf on August 25.
A Group 3-winner as a juvenile in France for trainer Roger Charlton, Pocket Square posted a debut win for Brown in a 1 1/16-mile Keeneland allowance tilt in April. She followed with back-to-back fifth-place finishes in Grade 1 company in the one-mile Longines Just a Game in June at Belmont and the nine-furlong Diana in August at Saratoga.
“We had very high hopes for her coming out of the allowance win at Keeneland and we tried her in some ambitious spots. She has always trained well,” said Brown’s Belmont-based assistant Dan Stupp. “She came back into form at Saratoga and hopefully that gave her confidence. She’s made a good appearance at Belmont this fall.”
Doubledown Stables’ Miss Teheran, a 5-year-old Irish-bred daughter of Teofilo, captured a one-mile optional-claimer on the Saratoga turf on August 1 and rallied to finish second last out in the 1 1/16-mile Miss Liberty on August 28 at Monmouth Park. The late-running chestnut boasts a record of 13-4-4-1 with purse earnings of $199,372.
“She had a little bit of a trip and came with a nice late kick, but didn’t quite get the job done. She gave a good account of herself and we were pleased with her effort,” Stupp said of the Miss Liberty try. “Obviously, we would have liked to have won but she showed up off her allowance win at Saratoga and gave another good effort.”
Miss Teheran has breezed back twice at Belmont since the Miss Liberty, including a half-mile effort in 50.05 Saturday on the Belmont main track.
“She’s had a couple maintenance works and seems to be doing well,” Stupp said. “She’s a very honest filly and tries every time. She’s a one-run late filly – save a little ground, get a little cover and then get out and make her run.”
Irad Ortiz, Jr. has the call aboard Pocket Square from post 4, while Manny Franco will guide Miss Teheran from post 2.
Godolphin homebred Lake Lucerne, a 4-year-old Dubawi bay, enters from a narrow nose score in a 1 1/16-mile optional-claiming event on September 1 at the Spa.
Out of the multiple Grade 1-winning Awesome Again mare Round Pond, Lake Lucerne launched her career in England with trainer John Gosden which included a maiden score in March 2020 at Chelmsford.
Transferred to the care of trainer Brendan Walsh, Lake Lucerne rallied to finish fourth in her North American debut in February at Gulfstream Park and followed with a 3 1/4-length allowance score in May traveling 1 1/16-miles on the Churchill Downs turf.
Jose Lezcano has the call from the inside post.
Rounding out the field are Group 2-placed Made In Italy [post 3, Junior Alvarado] for trainer Graham Motion and two-time winner Stand for the Flag [post 5, Dylan Davis] for conditioner Rob Atras. Spice Is Nice is entered for the main-track only.
The Athenia is slated as Race 10 on Saturday’s 11-race card, which also features the Grade 2, $300,000 Kelso Handicap, a one-turn mile for 3-year-olds and up slated for Race 4. First post is 1 p.m. Eastern.
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Belmont Park Press Release
Photo: Belmont, (Fran LeDonne)