Curalina, winner of the Acorn Stakes (gr. I) and Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) earlier this summer, is expected to make her debut against older mares on September 26th in the $400,000 Beldame Invitational (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
The nine-furlong race is a major prep for the $2,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) on October 30th at Keeneland, and a victory in the Beldame could go a long way toward securing Curalina an Eclipse award as the champion three-year-old filly of 2015. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Curalina most recently finished third in a slow-paced renewal of the ten-furlong Alabama Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga, but she should appreciate the cutback in distance for the Beldame and signaled her readiness for the race by breezing a solid four furlongs in :49.49 over the Belmont training track on September 19th.
One of Curalina’s major rivals will be Wedding Toast, a five-year-old daughter of Street Sense trained by Kiaran McLaughlin. Unraced since winning the June 6th Ogden Phipps Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont by five lengths, Wedding Toast is 4-for-5 at Belmont and could be difficult to beat over her home track. She has posted five workouts in preparation for the Beldame, most recently going five furlongs in 1:01 flat at the Greentree Training Center on September 18th.
Also expected to start in the Beldame are Catch My Drift, Hot Stones, and House Rules. Call Patt and Holiday’s Jewel are possible starters.