ELMONT, N.Y. – Trainer Chad Brown likely will have the two top betting choices in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Noble Damsel Stakes at Belmont Park. But both Uni and Dream Awhile likely will have to catch Hawksmoor, who looms the potential lone speed in what is expected to be a field of four fillies and mares to contest the one-mile turf race.
Six were entered in the Noble Damsel, but the connections of Lift Up and Mythical Mission said Thursday those horses will run in Saturday’s $150,000 All Along Stakes at Laurel instead.
Hawksmoor, a 5-year-old Irish-bred daughter of Azamour, won both the Grade 3 Beaugay and Grade 2 New York stakes in front-running fashion at Belmont in the spring of 2017. But she is winless in seven starts since then, with four runner-up finishes, including a second to Quidura in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa at Saratoga on Aug. 25.
“I thought that was a very competitive race,” trainer Arnaud Delacour said. “I was pretty happy with that. They didn’t go very fast early, but they really came home. I was very happy to see she could kick and stay with that type of filly.”
Delacour believes Thundering Sky also could show speed in the Noble Damsel, but he would be content to see Hawksmoor sit second early under Manny Franco.
“For sure, we need to get her out of the gate wherever she’s comfortable, whether it’s on the pace or right off the pace,” Delacour said. “She should be close.”
Uni is 2 for 2 this year, both wins coming at one mile and in listed stakes. She did show an explosive turn of foot to run down stablemate Precieuse in the De La Rose on Aug. 4 at Saratoga, her first start after missing the Grade 1 Gamely due to a temperature after she shipped to Southern California.
“She ran super to run down a nice filly in Precieuse,” Brown said.
Dream Awhile was beaten a neck by stablemate Elysea’s World in the Grade 3 Matchmaker after winning the Grade 3 Eatontown in June. She was scratched out of the Dr. James Penny Memorial at Parx earlier this month when that race came off the turf.
Dream Awhile has finished worse than third only once in 11 career starts. Javier Castellano rides the 126-pound highweight.
Thundering Sky is only 3 for 24, but one of those wins came in the Pebbles Stakes going a one-turn mile here in 2016.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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