A field of nine sophomore fillies will vie for 170 points toward a starting berth in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) when lining up in Saturday’s $300,000 Gazelle Stakes (G1) at Aqueduct.
The race is one of the few on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series of points races that is run at the Oaks distance of 1 1/8 miles.
Miss Sky Warrior should have no problem with that distance as the Kelly Breen trainee already captured the Demoiselle Stakes (G2) last November going nine furlongs on Aqueduct’s main track. That followed a win in the Tempted Stakes (G3) over the same surface and wrapped up the First Samurai filly’s juvenile season.
Miss Sky returned to action, and the winner’s circle, on March 4 at Gulfstream Park, taking the Davona Dale Stakes (G2) under regular rider Paco Lopez, who stays in the saddle Saturday for the Gazelle.
Yorkiepoo Princess has captured her past three starts, all against stakes company, and the last two were preps leading up to the Gazelle. The Edward Barker pupil romped by 7 1/2 lengths in the Ruthless Stakes on January 14 and scored by 1 3/4 lengths in the Busher Stakes last out on February 25, both over Aqueduct’s inner dirt. Irad Ortiz Jr. was aboard for those, as well as the Kantharos filly’s juvenile finale win in the Furlough Stakes on the main track, and retains the mount in this spot.
Lockdown captured another prep race for the Gazelle when taking the inner track Busanda Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths last out on January 15. The Bill Mott trainee needs the points from the Gazelle if she hopes to make the Kentucky Oaks field. Kendrick Carmouche has the call.
Tiz Rae Anna takes on Yorkiepoo Princess for the third time after running second in the Ruthless and third in the Busher. The John Toscano Jr. charge enters the Gazelle off a third in the Cicada Stakes under returning rider Rosario Montanez.
Full House ran second to Yorkiepoo Princess in the Busher last out. That came one race after the Jimmy Jerkens-trained daughter of Discreetly Mine broke her maiden by 13 lengths going a mile on Aqueduct’s inner. The bay miss is looking for her first stakes success here under Rajiv Maragh.
Rimanisempreforte has captured her last two and will be making her stakes debut in this spot for her third trainer from four starts. Conditioner Robert Falcone Jr. has tabbed Luis Saez to ride the Eskendereya filly on Saturday. Aspen Hilltop broke her maiden at first asking but didn’t finish the Davona Dale next out when stumbling over a rival. She’ll get another shot at stakes glory with Manuel Franco in the saddle for the first time for trainer Gary Contessa.
Completing the Gazelle field are last-out maiden winners North End and Stay Fond.