ELMONT, N.Y. – Sister Sophia surprised even her trainer, Jorge Abreu, when she came with an eye-catching rally to go from last in a field off 11 to first in a first-level allowance race going 5 1/2 furlongs at Saratoga last month.
“The way she ran really impressed me that day,” Abreu said. “I don’t think she really wants to do 5 1/2. Three-quarters is better for her.”
Sister Sophia will get three-quarters of a mile when she returns to her favorite surface Friday in a second-level allowance/optional $62,500 claimer that serves as the featured event on Belmont Park’s nine-race card.
Sister Sophia is 4 for 14, with three of those wins coming at Belmont. Two of those three wins came at six furlongs, including a New York-bred second-level allowance victory here last September.
For Abreu, Sister Sophia has two wins and three seconds from six starts. She finished fourth to La Moneda – a subsequent stakes winner – going a mile here in June.
“A mile is not for her,” Abreu said.
Judging by her last performance, soft turf – which could very well be the case Friday – is for Sister Sophia, who handled give in the ground just fine at Saratoga.
“It was pretty soft,” Abreu said. “She didn’t mind it. She can run on both.”
Manny Franco has the call on Sister Sophia.
Franco is also named to ride Play Unified, who is entered to run only if the race is moved to the dirt. She won a similar race in the mud at Belmont in June. She was offered for the optional claiming price of $62,500 that day and is entered for that price on Friday as well.
Sister Sophia, by Tale of the Cat
Last 3 Beyers: 84-76-79
◗ Won as easy as she pleased rallying from last despite a moderate pace last month.
“That’s just her style,” Abreu said. “She breaks with them and then she takes herself out of the race.”
Quality Time, by Exceed and Excel
Last 3 Beyers: 84-81-78
◗ Doesn’t win very often as her 2 for 13 record would suggest, but she has enough speed to be a factor in this spot under Joel Rosario.
“Big question mark is going to be the [soft] ground,” said Christophe Lorieul, assistant to trainer Christophe Clement. “It’s coming back a bit quick, but the filly’s doing okay.”
◗ Lorieul felt that Quality Time’s fourth in this condition at Saratoga was one of her better races.
“The quality of the field and the way she ran,” he said. “She was right there and she just gave up the last sixteenth of a mile.”
Sugar Queen, by Gemologist
Last 3 Beyers: 74-74-67
◗ Returns from 11-month layoff with a solid work tab for trainer Todd Pletcher.
◗ Finished third, beaten one length, in her lone try sprinting on turf, the Bolton Landing Stakes 13 months ago at Saratoga.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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