Two fillies with win streaks against vastly different levels of competition will face off in Friday’s $600,000 New York Stakes (gr. II) going 1 ¼ miles over the inner turf course at Belmont Park.
Holy Helena is 3-for-3 this year and enters the New York Stakes off wins in the The Very One Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream and the Sheepshead Bay Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont. Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, the daughter of Ghostzapper showed major talent on Tapeta last year while winning the prestigious 1 ¼-mile Queen’s Plate Stakes against males, but she’s elevated her game to a new level since switching to turf and looks poised for another strong effort on Friday.
In contrast, Fahan Mura is 4-for-4 this season for trainer Vladimir Cerin, with all of her victories coming at a mile over the turf course at Santa Anita. Her first two wins came for a $32,000 claiming tag, but the well-bred daughter of English Channel has absolutely dominated her last two starts in allowance company, sprinting clear early before powering home to win by wide margins in fast times. Fahan Mura will likely play “catch me if you can” in the New York, and while she’s never run 1 ¼ miles, she certainly has the speed to make an impact in this race.
But both Holy Helena and Fahan Mura could see their win streaks come to an end if Sistercharlie brings her A-game. Trained by Chad Brown, Sistercharlie was a top-class runner in France, winning the Prix Penelope (Fr-III) and finishing second with a trouble trip in the prestigious Prix de Diane (Fr-I). She was subsequently brought to the U.S. and recorded a runner-up effort in the Belmont Oaks Invitational (gr. I) before going to the sidelines; she returned to action on April 14th in the Jenny Wiley Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland and promptly won by 2 ¼ lengths, stamping herself as a force to reckon with in the filly and mare turf division this year.
Brown will also be represented by Fourstar Crook, runner-up in the Jenny Wiley and winner of the Hillsborough Stakes (gr. II) two starts back. Finishing fourth in the Hillsborough, but beaten just a length, was Daddys Lil Darling, who won the American Oaks (gr. I) going 1 ¼ miles last December. The return to that distance for the New York should be beneficial.
Snowy Winter, a capable handicap competitor in Great Britain, ships in off a runner-up effort at Ayr on May 23rd, while Empressof the Nile ran well when second in the Soaring Softly Stakes at Gulfstream in March. Rounding out the field are Equisse, who has posted a couple of near-misses going a mile in allowance company for trainer Graham Motion, and Mom’s On Strike, who has won five of her last six starts, including the Bewitch Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland.
The New York is the ninth race of the day, with a post time of 5:14 p.m. Eastern.