Eight juvenile fillies have been entered to go 1 1/8 miles in Saturday’s $250,000 Demoiselle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct, and the race appears to come down to Wonder Gadot and Daisy.
The talented duo will be trying nine furlongs for the first time in this spot, the same distance over which the Kentucky Oaks (G1) is run next spring at Churchill Downs. The Demoiselle is part of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series of points races and will award 10-4-2-1 points to the respective 10 four finishers.
Wonder Gadot is seeking her first win on the dirt for trainer Mark Casse. The Medaglia d’Oro filly just tried the conventional main track last out in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). She finished sixth that day, and entered the championship contest off a six-length wire job in the Mazarine Stakes (Can-G3) over Woodbine’s synthetic Tapeta.
Wonder Gadot began her career on turf, breaking her maiden in an allowance in her debut on August 26 and finishing a close third in the Natalma Stakes (Can-G1) on September 17. Patrick Husbands has piloted the dark bay miss in her four races thus far, but John Velazquez will be in the saddle for the Demoiselle.
“She’s doing great,” Casse said. “We sent her to Ocala after the Breeders’ Cup, and got her ready for the race then we shipped her up there on Sunday to Aqueduct.
“She should’ve been third in the Breeders’ Cup,” he added. “(Trainer Chad Brown’s) filly (Separationofpowers) came out and stopped us cold, and probably cost us third place, but she ran well. She did good. We think the mile and an eighth will be good for her. It’s just her second start on dirt, but the field is coming along well, it’s a good race, so we’ll see.”
Daisy is unbeaten in two career races, capturing the pair by a combined 12 3/4 lengths for trainer John Servis. The bay daughter of Blame wired her maiden debut by eight lengths at Parx Racing on October 8 and returned November 3 over Aqueduct’s main track to add a 4 3/4-length victory in the one-mile Tempted Stakes (G3) to her resume. Kendrick Carmouche held the reins for that last one and retains the mount.
The only other stakes winner in this field is Held Accountable, who won her first two starts before finishing second in the Maid of the Mist Stakes last out on October 21 at Belmont Park. Prior to that, the Phil Serpe-trained daughter of Exchange Rate scored a 2 1/4-length victory in the Joseph A. Gimma Stakes on September 30 at Big Sandy. The bay miss opened her career breaking her maiden by that same margin at Saratoga on August 17, and keeps regular rider Luis Saez in the irons Saturday.
Held Accountable earned a 93 BRIS Speed rating for her Maid of the Mist second, and shares the field-topping Speed figure with two others in the Demoiselle.
Indy Union was awarded that number when romping by seven lengths to break her maiden going a mile at Belmont on October 26 under Jose Ortiz, who will be back in the irons for trainer Jeremiah Englehart in this spot. Maurer Power is two-for-two for Servis after breaking her maiden at Delaware Park on July 15 and taking an allowance at Parx Racing on October 21. It was for that latter contest that she earned a 93 BRIS Speed figure, and the dark bay miss gets Irad Ortiz Jr. holding the reins for the first time while making her stakes bow here.
“Everything is going real well, but I have a feeling one of them won’t be undefeated after Saturday,” Servis joked about stablemates Daisy and Maurer Power. “They’re both nice fillies. I hate racing them against each other, but there really wasn’t much of a choice. It’s brutal.
“Daisy has just matured, she’s gotten better,” he added. “She’s just training great. Maurer Power, we’ve always been kind of high on her. She didn’t show a whole lot in the morning, but she went out and broke her maiden, then we gave her a freshening. She really just figured it all out. They’re both going farther in distance now, but I think they can handle it without a problem.”
Vindictive Ways will be facing winners for the first time in the Demoiselle after breaking her maiden in her third try under returning rider Forest Boyce. The Broken Vow filly got the job done over a good, sealed track at Laurel Park on October 29, just 19 days after a close second against similar at Parx Racing.
Completing the Demoiselle field are Layla Noor, an allowance/optional claiming winner three weeks ago at Laurel Park, and Stakes On a Plane, a maiden-claiming victress at Delaware Park in early October.