On Sunday, Teuflesberg’s full-sister Phi Beta Mom makes her 2008 debut going 6-furlongs on the Belmont inner turf in race 4. She showed nothing in her first outing for Todd Pletcher last August at Saratoga, but now she’s with Kiaran McLaughlin, and has posted some nice workouts in advance of this. I wouldn’t discount her. Her young sire Johannesburg has already produced some nice grass runners, including G3 Transylvania winner Marcavelly, French G1 (Prix d’Ispahan, over Darjina) winner Sageburg, and 3-year-old Australian Group 1-placed (Doomben 1000) colt Turffontein.
Speaking of turf, Steppenwolfer is back after more than a year break, running in the 6-furlong Inside the Beltway Stakes over Belmont’s inner turf on Wednesday. The race also features undefeated Ferocious Fires making his first turf start, and not one but two Godolphin runners, Emirates to Dubai and Rallying Cry. With close-up second (Salute the Count) and fourth (True to Tradition) place finishers from the G3 Jaipur also entered, this looks like a very nicely carded mid-week event.
Doubtlessly a result of slots money, the grassy $200,000 Dr. James Penny Memorial Handicap at Philly Park on Monday is coming up very competitive. Nary a local horse in the race, which features IEAH’s Sharp Susan with Kent Desormeaux making a rare appearance at the Pha. Also entered: G3 Beaugay runner-up All is Vanity (Alan Garcia), G3 Eatontown winner Social Queen (Jose Lezcano), G3 Gallorette third-place runner Valbenny (Ramon Dominguez), last year’s race runner-up Royal Pleasure (Rosemarie Homeister), and Graham Motion’s first-time stakes starter Drop a Line (Kendrick Carmouche).