Rougir Debuts for Brown in Beaugay

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RougirScoop Dyga

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French Group 1 winner Rougir (Fr) (Territories {Ire}), who beat elders to capture the prestigious G1 Prix de l'Opera Longines last fall, will look to give trainer Chad Brown his fourth GIII Beaugay S. in the last five years and record fifth overall as a strong favorite in Saturday's renewal of the 1 1/16-mile turf test at Belmont.

Victress of the G3 Prix de Reservoirs in her 2-year-old finale at Deauville in October of 2020, the chestnut finished off the board in her first three sophomore starts before a trio of agonizingly close finishes, running second by a head in the G3 Prix Chloe, fourth by a neck in the G1 Prix Rothschild and third by a neck in the G2 Prix de la Nonette. Undeterred, bettors made her an 11-5 favorite against 13 rivals in the Prix de l'Opera and Rougir obliged, finally ending up on the right side of a photo and getting up by a nose in the last jump. Shipped to Del Mar in her final start for trainer Cedric Rossi, she was seventh with a troubled trip in the GI Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

“She's been training very well,” Brown told the NYRA notes team. “We took the winter to get her acclimated and such and she's been coming along nicely. We know that she has some good form last year and it looked like maybe she needed a break after a long campaign. We gave her extra time and brought her along slow. Her last string of works have been impressive and she has a nice turn of foot. [The Beaugay] might be a touch short for her, but it's a starting point.”

Should Rougir falter, Brown brings backup in last year's Beaugay runner-up Lemista (Ire) (Raven's Pass). Victress of The Curragh's G2 Kilboy Estate S. at three in 2020, the dark bay came up a half-length short off the bench in the Beaugay, earning a 100 Beyer, but failed to build on that in two more starts as a 4-year-old, checking in last of eight in the GI Diana S. and running a non-threatening third in the GI Beverly D. S.

“This filly has come along well. She got sick on us after the Beverly D.,” Brown said. “When she returned home from Arlington she had to go to the shelf for a while, so we took our time and brought her back and she's another one that's been training well.”

Fringe contenders are headlined by Plum Ali (First Samurai), who goes for her third straight stakes victory. Undefeated in three starts to begin her career, including a score in the local GII Miss Grillo S., the chestnut then went seven starts without a trip to the winner's circl before getting back on track with a tally in the Winter Memories S. in her 3-year-old finale Nov. 14 at Aqueduct. Given the winter off by trainer Christophe Clement, she returned with a half-length triumph in the Big A's Plenty of Grace S. Apr. 16.

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