ELMONT, N.Y. -- Unlike the West Coast - where the undefeated Zenyatta dominates - the female division on the East Coast is a tad more interesting. Unfortunately, the best older fillies and mares appear to reside in the same barn.
Grade 1 winners Music Note, Cocoa Beach, and Seventh Street are all owned by Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum's Godolphin Racing and are based at Belmont Park. Saturday, Music Note and Seventh Street make up two thirds of a three-ply Sheikh Mohammed entry entered in the the Grade 1, $300,000 Ogden Phipps Stakes. Sea Chanter, owned by Sheikh Mohammed's Darley Stable, is also entered in the 1 1/16-mile race, run around one turn.
With only five betting interests, the Phipps is scheduled as the fourth race on Belmont's 10-race card.
With three Grade 1 wins at Belmont on her resume, Music Note is certainly more accomplished than Seventh Street. But as it pertains to the Phipps, Seventh Street may have an edge.
Music Note, a finalist for an Eclipse Award last year in the 3-year-old filly division, has not been out since finishing third behind Zenyatta and Cocoa Beach in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic last Oct. 24. She wintered in Kentucky and has a steady string of works leading up to this, though her major breeze - a six-furlong move in 1:14.20 on June 2 - was rated subpar by her connections.
Meanwhile, Seventh Street has emerged with four wins in her last five starts, including the Grade 1 Apple Blossom in her last out. Even the loss was impressive, as she overcame a horrid start to finish second in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie at Laurel in February.
Though she is 2 for 2 around two turns, Seventh Street's speed may actually make her more effective around one turn.
"She can use her speed to her advantage more going one turn," said jockey Rajiv Maragh, who will ride Seventh Street.
If anyone can knock off the Godolphin entry, it most likely is Seattle Smooth. She has won her last four races, all on dirt, though she had to work harder than expected to win last month's Grade 2 Shuvee here.
"What I got out of the race was Seattle Smooth had to deal with adversity and she was successful," said trainer Tony Dutrow, who seeks his first Grade 1 win since Burning Roma won the Futurity here in 2000.