Fierce Boots looks for another stakes win in Busher; Delightful Quality, Lion DNA top Correction
By Jenny Kellner | 01/27/2014 05:21 PM ET
Last year, Princess of Sylmar opened what would be an outstanding 3-year-old campaign for trainer Todd Pletcher with back-to-back victories in the Busanda and Busher stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack. Saturday, Pletcher is hoping Bobby Flay's Busanda winner Fierce Boots will kickstart her sophomore season in similar style when she takes on eight others in the $100,000 Busher at the Big A.
The 1 1/16-mile Busher will be run as race 7 on the Big A's 10-race card, which also features the Grade 3, $250,000 Withers for 3-year-olds, the Grade 3, $150,000 Toboggan for sprinters, and the $100,000 Correction for filly and mare sprinters, headed by Delightful Quality and Lion D N A.
A bay daughter of Tiznow out of the Wild Again mare Shop Again, Fierce Boots made four appearances as a 2-year-old, with a maiden victory and a fourth in a seven-furlong optional claimer on the dirt and two off-the-board finishes on the turf. Sent off at 8-1 in the one-mile, 70-yard Busanda on January 4, Fierce Boots found herself alone on the lead through moderate early fractions and went on to score by two lengths over Flipcup.
"We hope to see continued improvement with her," said Pletcher of Fierce Boots. "We were very pleased with her last race and we're hoping to see another effort like that, or see her improve. In the seven-furlong race, she didn't break all that well and Jose [Ortiz] wanted to make sure she got away well. When she did that, she found herself in a favorable spot and Jose ended up riding a clever race."
Pletcher also will saddle My Jimmy Chew Girl, who will be making her first stakes appearance after two maiden races and a pair of starter optional claimers, and first start beyond six furlongs.
"We've always felt like she wants to run further and there have been limited opportunities of the starter sort," he said. "The owner [Twelve Gauge Stables] wanted to try and stretch her out, and if she can improve then maybe we can get a piece of one of these races."
Jose Ortiz returns aboard Fierce Boots, the 122-pound highweight from post position 2 who is listed at 4-1 on the morning line, while Chris DeCarlo has the call on My Jimmy Chew Girl, who drew post position 7 and was tabbed at 20-1 on the morning line.
The 2-1 morning-line favorite in the Busher is Darley Stable's Ballylee, a sparkling winner of her debut over the inner track on December 22. Trained by Tom Albertrani, Ballylee covered the one mile, 70 yards in 1:44.64 as she pulled clear to a 3 ¼-length win over Fade to Black. Irad Ortiz, Jr. has the return call on the Street Cry filly, who drew post position 5.
Making her first start beyond six furlongs is Swilcan Stables' Vero Amore, who was nosed out by Mamdooha at the wire in the Ruthless on January 12 at the Big A. Trained by Butch Reid, the Mineshaft filly had fashioned consecutive victories sprinting at Parx Racing in the fall before her game effort in the six-furlong Ruthless.
"We've always thought this filly was kind of special, and that she would like a distance of ground," said trainer Butch Reid. "She's coming back on short notice, but she came out of her last race bouncing, so this seems like a good spot."
Angel Arroyo will ride Vero Amore, the second choice on the morning line at 5-2, from post position 9.
The Busanda also drew Fleet of Gold and Ketel Twist, third and fourth, respectively, in the Busanda; Joint Return and Fleet Sixteen, first and second in a first-level allowance going a mile at Parx on New Year's Day; and Wraith, who broke her maiden at second asking on January 17 at Aqueduct.
In the Correction, Lion D N A goes in search of her second stakes win of 2014 as she heads a field of 12 filly and mare sprinters going six furlongs. The 5-year-old Lion Heart mare came from just off the pace to post a half-length victory over Fantasy of Flight in the Interborough on New Year's Day, her second triumph in as many starts over the inner track. Trainer Rudy Rodriguez will once again give a leg up to C. C. Lopez. The pair will leave from post position 7 with Lion D N A listed at 7-2 on the morning line.
Rodriguez also will send out 20-1 outsider Love to Score, a gray filly by Even the Score who will be making her first start outside Florida. Most recently, she finished seventh behind Tapicat in the Voodoo Dancer on January 1 at Gulfstream Park.
As in the Busher, Tom Albertraini will also saddle the morning-line favorite in the Correction, with Delightful Quality tabbed at 3-1. The 5-year-old Elusive Quality mare has been first, second or third in 11 of her 12 career starts, entering the Correction off a fourth-place finish as the favorite in the Interborough. Eddie Castro will ride from post position 12.
Making her first appearance since finishing seventh in the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga Race Course is I'm Mom's Favorite, who broke her maiden on the Big A's inner track and subsequently finished third over that surface in the Cicada to Elghayoor. Winner of the Miss Preakness on May 17, the Indian Charlie filly was fifth in the Grade 3 Victory Ride to Baby J prior to the Test.
"She had had a long, hard campaign at three and we gave her time off," said Reid, who took over her training in November. "We started back from scratch with her, and the weather caused us to miss a work, but the way she went on Sunday [a half-mile in 47.00 at Parx] convinced me she's ready to go."
Chris DeCarlo will ride I'm Mom's Favorite, 10-1 on the morning line, from post position 9.
Rounding out the field are Ms. Cruisen', who will be making her first Big A start; Masasi, who has two wins and two seconds in her four most recent starts; recent optional claiming winners Expression and P J's Superego; Baby J, third in the Interborough last time out; Uno Duo, winner of the Fickle Fanny overnight stakes in December; Merry Meadow, no worse than third in 16 or 17 career starts; and Conkate, fourth in the Are We Dreamin overnight stakes in December.
The field for the $100,000 Busher:
The field for $100,000 Correction