ELMONT, N.Y. – Michael Dubb and Michael J. Caruso’s Classic Lady will lead a field of seven New York-bred fillies and mares in Friday’s $125,000 John Hettinger, a nine-furlong inner turf test, at Belmont Park.
Trained by Christophe Clement, the 6-year-old Jimmy Creed mare will face three returning foes from her third-place effort last out in the $150,000 Yaddo at 1 1/16-miles on the Mellon turf August 27 as part of New York Showcase Day at Saratoga Race Course.
Classic Lady, bred by Seth Gregory and Robert Barney, enjoyed a productive 2020 campaign finishing second in the one-mile Mount Vernon at Belmont ahead of a win in the 1 1/16-mile Dayatthespa on the Saratoga inner turf that registered a 91 Beyer Speed Figure. She completed last year’s brief three-race campaign with a third-place finish in the Yaddo.
The veteran mare boasts a record of 20-4-5-5 with purse earnings of $291,290 and has made just two starts this season, including a close fourth off a 10-month layoff in a 1 1/16-mile optional-claiming event at Monmouth Park on July 31.
“I’m struggling a little bit to get her back as good as she was last year. I thought she ran a decent race last time,” Clement said of the Yaddo effort that garnered a seasonal-best 77 Beyer. “She’s trained well but I don’t have her quite at the same level as I had her at last year according to the numbers.”
Clement said Classic Lady, who boasts a perfect in-the-money record on the Belmont turf of 5-2-2-1, will need all of her stamina to secure the win.
“I think she will see the mile and an eighth, but she may be a little bit better going shorter,” Clement said.
Irad Ortiz, Jr. will pilot Classic Lady from the outermost post 9.
Lawrence Goichman’s homebred Myhartblongstodady put together a four-race win streak from November 2019 to October 2020 that included stakes scores in last year’s Yaddo and the 1 1/16-mile Ticonderoga in October at Belmont.
The ultra-consistent 6-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy is stakes placed twice this season with a third in the one-mile Plenty of Grace in April at the Big A and a close second last out in the Yaddo.
Trained by Jorge Abreu, Myhartblongstodady will exit post 8 under Jose Lezcano.
Ice Princess, trained and co-owned by Danny Gargan with Flying P Stable and R. A. Hill Stable, is graded-stakes placed on dirt having finished second in the nine-furlong Grade 3 Comely in November at the Big A. She captured the one-mile Maddie May on the Aqueduct main track in February 2020.
The Palace Malice gray, bred by Mina Equivest, is out of the Awesome Again mare Happy Clapper, who posted a record of 1-3-1 in 13 turf starts.
Ice Princess made her turf debut in June, finishing fourth in an open 1 1/16-mile allowance event after a troubled start. She enters from a four-length score in an open nine-furlong allowance event contested on a sloppy and sealed main track on August 19 at Saratoga.
Luis Saez will have the call from post 4.
Rounding out the field are Pecatonica [post 1, Jose Ortiz], a close fourth last out in the Yaddo; Dancingwthdaffodls [post 3, Eric Cancel], who saw a two-race win streak – both against optional-claimers – come to an end last out when seventh in the Yaddo; and recent allowance winner Cara’s Dreamer [post 5, Dylan Davis]. Make Mischief and Dancing Kiki [sixth last out in the Yaddo] are entered for the main-track only.
The Hettinger is slated as Race 8 on Friday’s 9-race card. First post is 1 p.m. Eastern.
America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the fall meet at Belmont Park on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/belmont/racing/tv-schedule.
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By Keith McCalmont/NYRA Press Office
Photo: Classic Lady winning the Dayatthespa at Saratoga on July 29, 2020, with Joel Rosario in the irons. (Chelsea Durand)