Graded stakes-winner Orglandes will seek to continue an upward trajectory when taking on a field of six in Sunday’s $150,000 Zagora for fillies and mares going 1 ½ miles over the Widener turf course at Belmont Park.
Trained by Chad Brown, who conditioned the race’s namesake, Orglandes arrives at Sunday’s test off a runner-up effort to stablemate My Sister Nat in the Grade 3 Fasig-Tipton Waya on October 3 at Belmont Park. The French-bred daughter of Le Havre finished sixth in her previous two efforts at graded stakes level this season.
Orglandes capped off her 2020 campaign in only her second North American start when shipping to the West Coast for a victorious effort in the Grade 3 Red Carpet last November at Del Mar.
“It was nice to get her back on track because she sort of lost her way this year. We had high hopes for her this year and things just didn’t work out,” Brown said. “Now that she’s finally coming around late in the season, I’m hoping she can find her way to the winner’s circle to end her year.”
Irad Ortiz, Jr. will ride Orglandes from post 1.
Repole Stable homebred Always Shopping, a dual-surface graded stakes winner, will attempt to recapture her winning form for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher.
The 5-year-old daughter of the late Awesome Again won the Grade 3 La Prevoyante in January at Gulfstream Park in her 2021 commencement. She followed the three-length victory with a narrow second-place finish in the Grade 3 Orchid in March at the South Florida oval and a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay on May 1 at Belmont.
Initially campaigned over the main track, Always Shopping captured the Grade 3 Gazelle in April 2019 during her 3-year-old year.
“She’s doing really well right now,” Pletcher said. “The plan is to take her down to Florida and run her a few times at Gulfstream after this and then she’ll probably be bred next year.”
Breaking from post 4, Always Shopping will be ridden by Luis Saez.
Trainer Christophe Clement will seek to make Moyglare Stud Farm’s Beautiful Lover a graded stakes winner. The daughter of Arch earned black type last year when second in both the Grade 2 Hillsborough at Tampa Bay Downs and the Grade 3 Matchmaker at Monmouth Park when racing for Chad Brown.
This season, Beautiful Lover ended a seven-race losing streak when besting next-out winner Miss Teheran in a June 27 allowance optional claimer going 1 1/16 miles over the Belmont inner turf. She arrives off a fifth-place finish in the 11-furlong Grade 3 Waya.
Clement noted that his mare did not get the best of trips in her most recent effort.
“The race was a little bit against her,” Clement said. “She was at the back and she lost a bit of footing in the last turn and by the time she started running in the stretch the race was over. She won well here going shorter. I’d like to give her one more chance going long.”
Breaking from post 5, Beautiful Lover will be ridden by Joel Rosario.
Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey will saddle Emory A. Hamilton’s Hungry Kitten, who finished second in last year’s Zagora. The daughter of Kitten’s Joy, out of two-time graded stakes winner Hungry Island, was a last-out fourth in August at Saratoga in an allowance optional claiming tilt won by next out graded stakes-winner Pocket Square.
Jose Ortiz will pilot Hungry Kitten from post 7.
Completing the field are three-time winners Lovely Lucky [post 2, Paco Lopez], Go Big Blue Nation [post 6, John Velazquez] and Candy Flower [post 3, Kendrick Carmouche].
The Zagora honors the 2012 Champion Turf Mare who captured four graded stakes victories that season, including the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, en route to Eclipse Honors. The daughter of Green Tune became the second of 11 champions to be conditioned by Chad Brown. She retired with earnings in excess of $2.3 million.
The Zagora is carded as Race 4 on Belmont’s 10-race card, which also includes the Grade 3, $150,000 Nashua for juvenile colts going a one-turn mile. First post is 11:50 a.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.
NYRA Press Release