ELMONT, N.Y. – A year ago this weekend, Capla Temptress won the Grade 1 Natalma at Woodbine in her North American debut.
Capla Temptress is winless in four starts since, but not without some excuses. Most recently, she finished second in the Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes at Saratoga, her lone excuse being she simply wasn’t as good as the winner, Rushing Fall, the Chad Brown trainee who is 5 for 6 lifetime and a Breeders’ Cup winner.
There does not appear to be anyone the caliber of Rushing Fall in Saturday’s Grade 2, $400,000 Sands Point Stakes at Belmont Park, giving Capla Temptress a big shot in the 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies.
The last time she raced at Belmont, Capla Temptress finished seventh in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks at 1 1/4 miles. An opening along the rail that presented itself at the top of the lane quickly closed, and Capla Temptress had to steady. While Athena won that race by 2 1/2 lengths, Capla Temptress missed second by 1 1/4 lengths. She was trained by Marco Botti then. Bill Mott took over after the Belmont Oaks and was pleased with Capla Temptress’s effort in the Lake Placid, where she finished 2 3/4 lengths behind Rushing Fall and 2 1/2 lengths clear of the rest of the field.
“If she repeats that last race, I think we’re in with a chance,” Mott said. “We’re pretty happy with her. Seems like she’s feeling good, doing well.”
With several riders out of town this weekend, Trevor McCarthy has picked up the mount on Capla Temptress.
While Rushing Fall is likely awaiting next month’s Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Keeneland, Brown is sending out three runners, including recent European arrivals Barkaa and Shadan.
Barkaa, owned by cousins Joe Allen and Peter Brant, won a Group 3 at Longchamp in April. She finished fifth in the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches – three-quarters behind fourth-place Capla Temptress – before running ninth in the Group 1 Prix de Diane in June.
Shadan is coming off two straight wins at lesser tracks in France. Shadan did show speed in her most recent victory in April, and the Sands Point lacks a clear front-runner.
Brown’s third starter is Reversethedecision, who overcame a slow pace to win a first-level allowance at Saratoga on July 28.
Trainer Graham Motion sends out Secret Message and Colonia. Secret Message rallied from 11 lengths back to win the Grade 3 Pucker Up on Aug. 11 at Arlington Park. In her prior start, she finished fourth in the Grade 3 Regret, but Motion said she was agitated in the gate before the race, contributing to a slow start.
Colonia won the Hatoof Stakes at Arlington before being left with too much to do and finishing fifth in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks.
Californiagoldrush, third in the Del Mar Oaks, and Victorine, fourth in the Group 3 Prix de Psyche going 1 1/4 miles, complete the field.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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