Nicole H goes for Interborough three-peat; Arena Elvira
The Michael Hushion mare is a perfect four-for-four
“I don’t think Nicole H has lost a step at all,” Hushion of the daughter of
Since 1921, only five other horses have won back-to-back runnings of the
Nicole H, the 123-pound highweight, has been installed as the 4-5 morning-line
Seven opponents stand in Nicole H’s way, including fellow Aqueduct aficionado Singlet, who comes off a victory in the December 1 Garland of Roses on the main
Singlet is poised for a big effort, according to trainer Tony Dutrow.
“She did so well last winter at Aqueduct we left her up there after the
Mildly Offensive, who won a stakes for trainer Carla Gaines at Santa Anita
earlier in her career, was purchased by WinStar Farm this summer and was
transferred to trainer Todd Pletcher. In her first start for her new
connections, she won the restricted Big Bambu in August at Saratoga.
“She’s always trained well, and we’re looking to knock down a couple of
stakes with her this winter,” said Michael McCarthy, assistant to Pletcher.
Also at Aqueduct on Tuesday, Arena Elvira and R Gypsy Gold
take a class drop from graded company for the $75,000
“In that first race back off the long layoff, I imagine she needed it,”
R Gypsy Gold has likewise failed to factor
The 1 1/8-mile
Among those making their stakes
debuts are a trio of recent allowance winners — Darley Stable’s homebred Villanesca, a daughter of Grade 1 queen Balletto; Laurel invader Smart Cash
and entrymate Dial Direct; and the New York-bred
Villanesca’s connections are looking forward to her performance.
“We think she is this kind of filly,” said Art Magnuson, assistant to trainer
“The timing is not what we envisioned (from her December 5 allowance romp),
but we’re going to play what’s dealt to us. She’s training very well, so we’re
going to run.
“To go from 6 1/2 (furlongs) to a mile and an eighth isn’t ideal, but we’re
not going to worry too much about it. She ran a mile one time before, and she
was a little speedy, ran into a good one, the timing wasn’t all that great, and
she didn’t run as well as we hoped, but we think longer will be better for her.”
Also on New Year’s Day, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) will hold its
annual calendar promotion, in which racing fans can purchase and redeem $2
coupons for the calendar, which features photos of many of the best horses who
competed at NYRA’s tracks in 2012.