G1 Belmont Oaks Invitational Likely for Be Your Best

June 16, 2023

Be Your Best ahead of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)

NYRA Press Office

ELMONT, N.Y.— Michael J. Ryan’s Irish homebred Be Your Best was awarded an automatic invitation to the Grade 1, $500,000 Fasig-Tipton Belmont Oaks Invitational for her game runner-up finish in the Grade 2 Wonder Again on June 11 at Belmont Park.

Trainer Horacio De Paz said it is likely the talented daughter of Muhaarar will take advantage of that opportunity and be pointed to the 10-furlong test for sophomore fillies on July 8 at Belmont.

The Belmont Oaks Invitational is the opening leg in the Fasig-Tipton Fillies Turf Triple, a series of three important graded turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Following the Belmont Oaks, the series continues with the Grade 3, $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Oaks Invitational at 1 3/16-miles on August 4 at Saratoga Race Course; and the 11-furlong Grade 3 Fasig-Tipton Jockey Club Oaks Invitational to be held during the Belmont at the Big A fall meet.

Ridden from post 6 in the nine-furlong Wonder Again by Manny Franco, Be Your Best stalked in fifth-of-7 through the first three points of call before going four-wide in the turn and running down rivals into the stretch. She made a strong run down the lane and made up ground with every stride, but came up a neck shy of the victorious Prerequisite in a final time of 1:47.20, awarding her a career-best 85 Beyer Speed Figure.

“It was a very, very big effort,” said De Paz. “She looks good and went to the track yesterday. We’re thinking about the Belmont Oaks. It’s a little quick back, but we’ll see how she does. She will probably like going further, so it all depends on how she does in the next two weeks.”

The bay filly first flashed her talents on debut last summer at Saratoga Race Course, graduating by 3 1/4 lengths in a 1 1/16-mile turf maiden en route to a successful stakes debut in the P.G. Johnson over the same course and distance. She earned graded black type with a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Miss Grillo at Belmont at the Big A and wrapped up her season with an off-the-board effort in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

The Wonder Again was her second start off a five-month respite that ended with a seventh-place finish in the Grade 2 Appalachian at Keeneland to kick off her campaign.

“The Wonder Again was very rewarding to see,” said De Paz. “She didn’t run very much in the Breeders’ Cup and had some traffic trouble in the stretch. Coming back at Keeneland, we knew she was going to need that race to get her prepared for Belmont. We always thought highly of her and it’s good to see her return back to her 2-year-old form.”

Be Your Best is out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Kamakura, a full-sister to graded stakes-placed Bay of Plenty and a half-sister to multiple graded stakes-placed Fortify. Her third dam is multiple graded/group-winner Flagbird, who was produced from Reine de Course mare Up the Flagpole.

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