Blue-blooded Centring seeks graded victory in Turnback the Alarm
By Jon Forbes | 10/23/2013 05:13 PM ET
Centring, a daughter of a pair of Grade 1 winners, will attempt to register her first stakes victory when she competes in the Grade 3, $200,000 Turnback the Alarm Handicap for fillies and mares on Saturday at Belmont Park.
Five of the eight entrants in the 1 1/16-mile Turnback the Alarm have captured at least one stakes, but none have won at the graded level.
Centring, a 5-year-old Darley Stable homebred, has finished third in her two most recent starts, the Grade 1 Personal Ensign Invitational Handicap in August at Saratoga Race Course and the Grade 1 Beldame Invitational on September 28 at Belmont. In addition, she was third in Belmont's Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Handicap in May, which she followed with a fourth in the Grade 1 Delaware Handicap in July, also won by Royal Delta.
In the Personal Ensign, Centring raced as far as 17 lengths off the pace before picking up the pieces to finish 6 ¼ lengths behind Royal Delta. She raced just off the pace in the Beldame but couldn't match strides late with the top two, reporting home 8 ¾ lengths behind the winner, Princess of Sylmar, who defeated Royal Delta by two lengths. Both races had five starters.
Centring is by 1992 Horse of the Year and Belmont Stakes winner A.P. Indy and out of dual Grade 1 winner Composure, and her connections are hoping to win a graded stakes with her before she is retired for broodmare duty.
"She's managed to be stakes placed a couple of times this year, so we're pretty happy about that," said trainer Tom Albertrani. "We're still hoping to get a stakes win under her. Hopefully, this is a good opportunity to make her a stakes winner. This could be her last year in training. We still have a little time [after the Turnback the Alarm]. We still have the opportunity to, maybe, bring her down to Florida."
With Royal Delta and Princess of Sylmar absent from the Turnback the Alarm, Albertani is hopeful Centring will get that elusive stakes win on Saturday.
"She's been racing with some of the top fillies this year," said Albertrani. "She has been managing to get a piece of the purse in these big races. Hopefully, this will be a bit of a class break her for her. We'll see how she competes here."
Joel Rosario will ride Centring, the 2-1 morning line favorite, from post position 6.
Both Royal Lahaina and Fantasy of Flight will be making their first starts for trainer Todd Pletcher in the Turnback the Alarm. Royal Lahaina took an off-the-turf edition of the restricted Mariensky in June for Rudy Rodriguez, while Fantasy of Flight was second in the Grade 2 Vagrancy Handicap and Grade 3 Bed o' Roses for Michelle Nevin.
Since the Mariensky, Royal Lahaina finished fifth in the Grade 3 84 Lumber Shuvee Handicap in July at Saratoga and second in the Lady's Secret on August 25 at Monmouth Park. Fantasy of Flight was second in an optional claimer on the turf in July at Saratoga and will be stretching out in distance off a seventh in the Grade 1, seven-furlong Ballerina on August 23, also at the Spa.
"We've had Royal Lahaina for five or six weeks now and she's been training well," said Pletcher, who trains the 5-year-old for James A. Riccio. "There haven't been a lot of options for her, so we've been targeting this for a while now.
"It's a similar situation with Fantasy of Flight," Pletcher added of the 5-year-old owned by Sanford H. Robbins. "Most of her races have been shorter, but we're going to try her at 1 1/16 miles."
In her lone start beyond one mile, Fantasy of Flight was second in a one mile, 70-yard optional claimer at Aqueduct Racetrack in March 2012.
Fantasy of Flight has raced just once beyond one mile, finishing second in a one mile, 70-yard optional claimer in March 2012 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Jose Ortiz has the call aboard Royal Lahaina, 6-1 on the morning line, from post 7. Fantasy of Flight, 9-2, will depart from the rail with Hall of Famer John Velazquez aboard.
Street Secret, who placed in three stakes on the turf in Europe, has found her niche on the dirt in the United States since being transferred to trainer Chad Brown.
A 5-year-old owned by Peter A. Putsch, Street Secret began her stateside career with a win in an optional claimer at Gulfstream Park and a dead-heat third in the Miss Liberty in May at Monmouth Park on the grass before she switched surfaces. Since then, she has won the Open Mind in June at Belmont, and finished second in Saratoga's Alada in August and Belmont's Parlo on September 19. All three races were restricted stakes on the main track, with the Alada having been contested in the slop.
"She has been doing really well since we put her on the dirt, and we're looking forward to trying a graded stake on the dirt," said Brown, the leading trainer by wins during the Belmont fall meet. "She had been running on the turf over in France. She had always trained well on the dirt, and her pedigree suggested she could possibly handle the dirt. When the opportunity came to try her on the dirt, we went for it, and it has worked out well so far."
Street Secret, the 3-1 morning-line second choice, will have the services of meet-leading jockey Javier Castellano from post 2.
Roman Invader, who defeated Street Secret in the Parlo, will try to rebound off a last-of-five performance in the Beldame. The Parlo was Roman Invader's first win in five starts since she was claimed for $62,500 in June by trainer David Jacobson, who owns her in partnership with Christopher T. Dunn.
Since being claimed, Roman Invader has routed and sprinted and has raced on both dirt and turf, but Jacobson says the 6-year-old is best going long on the main track.
"It was hard getting her into the groove of running. We were having trouble finding the right races," said Jacobson. "There were few races [for her] in Saratoga, and she was running on the grass. She can run on the grass, but she seems to excel on the dirt. That kind of showed when she finished second in that optional claiming race. When she went long on the dirt [in the Parlo] she just exploded. We ran her back a little too quick in the Beldame, but we freshened her up a little bit and she's pretty sharp coming into this. I think this will be an easier spot."
David Cohen will ride Roman Invader, 12-1, from post 8.
The field also includes Lady Cohiba, who won an off-the-turf renewal of the Glens Falls on September 2 at Saratoga; Stanwyck, a half-sister to Grade 1 winners Giacomo and Tiago who was fifth in an optional claimer on the turf on July 21 at the Spa; and Moon Philly, a 5 ½-length winner of the Justakiss on October 7 at Delaware Park.
The field for the Grade 3, $200,000 Turnback the Alarm Handicap: