NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Trainer Charlie Appleby will send out Godolphin’s Irish homebred Eternal Hope in Saturday’s Grade 3, $350,000 Fasig-Tipton Jockey Club Oaks Invitational, a 1 3/8-mile inner turf test for sophomore fillies, at Belmont at the Big A.
The Jockey Club Oaks is the final leg of the Fasig-Tipton Fillies Turf Triple series, which began with Aspen Grove’s victory in the 10-furlong Grade 1, $500,000 Fasig-Tipton Belmont Oaks Invitational on July 8 at Belmont Park and saw Elusive Princess capture the middle leg in the 1 3/16-mile Grade 1, $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Oaks Invitational on August 4 at Saratoga Race Course.
Appleby could be in for a bumper day should Eternal Hope, the even-money morning-line favorite, oblige in the Race 9 feature at 5:21 p.m. Eastern as the England-based conditioner will also be represented in Grade 1s at Woodbine by Dazzling Star in the Natalma [Race 8, 5:07 p.m.] and Master of the Seas in the Woodbine Mile [Race 9, 5:42 p.m.].
“The races in Canada bookend our race at Aqueduct, so we’ll be trying to follow the coverage from Woodbine as best we can,” said Appleby’s travelling assistant Chris Connett, with a laugh.
Eternal Hope, a Teofilo chestnut, captured the 12-furlong Oaks Trial over the Lingfield synthetic in May ahead of a distant seventh in the Group 1 Epsom Oaks in June. She enters from a good third-place finish in the 10-furlong Group 2 Prix Alec Head over soft going on August 20 at Deauville, finishing 1 1/2-lengths back of the victorious Group 1-winner Jannah Rose. The runner-up of that event, Lumiere Rock, came back to win the Group 2 Blandford on Sunday at The Curragh.
“It was nice to get back to that kind of performance with her off of the Oaks run. She’s a tough filly,” Connett said. “All credit last out to the winner and the second – who came back to frank the form – they’re good fillies and if she runs to the level again, she should take all the beating.
“She’s not an overly imposing filly, but she’s well put together,” added Connett. “I know the team thinks a lot of her and when she stepped up and won the Oaks Trial at Lingfield, it wasn’t a surprise.”
Eternal Hope arrived in New York on Sunday and was able to train at Belmont Park on Wednesday before blowing out down the lane on Thursday over Big Sandy with exercise rider Rob Challis aboard.
“It was just our typical blowout. A regular canter and then quicken up for two furlongs down the lane to let her stretch her legs a little,” Connett said.
Jamie Spencer, who guided Godolphin’s Yibir to victory in the 2021 Jockey Club Derby Invitational at Belmont Park for Appleby, will have the call aboard Eternal Hope from post 6 in the seven-horse field.
“He’s a world class jockey and we’re fortunate to have him come out. It’s a vote of confidence to the filly,” Connett said.
Eternal Hope is out of the Dubawi mare Voice of Truth, who is a half-sister to multiple group-winner and sire Rio de La Plata.