Piedi Bianchi streaks into $80K Harmony Lodge
by Keith McCalmont
Jay Oringer, Jack Bick and Madaket Stables' Piedi Bianchi brings a two-race winning streak into Friday's $80,000 Harmony Lodge, a six-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares on the third day of live racing, without spectators, at the Belmont Park spring/summer meet.
Piedi Bianchi is undefeated since being transferred to trainer Carlos Martin for her 2020 season. The Indiana-bred daughter of Overanalyze, who boasts a record of 14-4-3-3 with purse earnings of $458,100, enters Friday's test off a rallying head score over Harmony Lodge rival Slimey in the six-furlong Correction held March 14 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Martin said jockey Jorge Vargas, Jr., aboard for both an optional-claiming score and the Correction win at the Big A, was all smiles after breezing Piedi Bianchi three-eighths in 36.22 Sunday morning on the Belmont dirt training track.
"Jorge is a great young jockey. He's two-for-two on her and has come out for the past two workouts," said Martin. "He was on her when she went a minute and three-fifths [May 23] and this morning when she blew out in 36.1. He had a big smile on his face on the way home. He said she was 'on air' and went really smooth. I don't think the time off has hurt her at all. If anything, she's moved forward. She's put on a little weight and looks healthy and sound."
Previously trained by Doug O'Neill as a juvenile in 2017 and thereafter by Todd Pletcher before moving to Martin's care, the Correction was the second stakes score for Piedi Bianchi, who also captured the 2018 Frances Slocum at Indiana Grand Race Course.
The versatile filly has competed at distances from five furlongs up to the 1 ¼-mile Grade 1 Alabama in 2018, but Martin said he intends to keep the mare at shorter distances going forward.
Piedi Bianchi was second in the seven-furlong Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante and third in the Grade 1 Chandelier at 1 1/16-miles in a promising 2-year-old campaign that included a fifth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Del Mar and a third in the Grade 1 Starlet at Los Alamitos Race Course to close out the 2017 season.
The talented bay will again face tough company in a well-attended edition of the Harmony Lodge when she exits Post 5 under Vargas, Jr.
"For an $80,000 overnight, this is a pretty salty group," said Martin. "But, I think she has it in her. She was Grade 1-placed as a 2-year-old and in 2018 she had a long campaign with a couple of tough spots like the Alabama. Hopefully, we'll keep her to one turn and have some success with her."
Piedi Bianchi will have to topple a talented 10-horse field that includes Grade 2-winner Royal Charlotte and multiple-stakes winner Chalon.
First Row Partners and Parkland Thoroughbreds' Royal Charlotte, a 4-year-old daughter of Cairo Prince, made the grade in the Grade 3 Victory Ride in July at Belmont Park and added the Grade 2 Prioress to her ledger in August at Saratoga Race Course.
Trained by Chad Brown, Royal Charlotte last raced when fifth in the Grade 2 Raven Run in October at Keeneland.
She will be piloted by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano from Post 4.
Lael Stables' Chalon sports an ultra-consistent record of 7-7-1 from 18 starts and purse earnings of $878,895. The 6-year-old Dialed In bay was second in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss in July at Saratoga en route to a score in the Roamin Rachel next out in September at Parx. She was fourth last out in the Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America in October at Keeneland.
Trained by Arnaud Delacour, Chalon will depart Post 8 under Jose Ortiz.
Rounding out a talented field are Last True Love (Post 1, Andrew Wolfsont), Gypsy Janie (Post 2, Eric Cancel), Honey I'm Good (Post 3, Junior Alvarado), Nisha (Post 6, Reylu Gutierrez), Slimey (Post 7, Kendrick Carmouche), Mother Mother (Post 9, Joel Rosario) and Pacific Gale (Post 10, John Velazquez).
Slated as Race 9 on Friday's 10-race card, which offers a first post of 1:15 p.m. Eastern, the Harmony Lodge will feature on America's Day at the Races, produced by NYRA in partnership with FOX Sports, and airing live on FS2. Free Equibase-provided past performances are available for races that are part of the America's Day at the Races broadcast and can be accessed at https://www.nyra.com/belmont/racing/tv-schedule.
NYRA Bets is the best way to bet the 2020 Belmont Park spring/summer meet. Available to customers across the United States, NYRA Bets allows horseplayers to watch and wager on racing from tracks around the world at any time. The NYRA Bets app is available for download for iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.