Espresso Shot looks to jolt Sunday's NYSSS Staten Island
by Brian Bohl
Two-time stakes victor Espresso Shot last earned a trip to the winner's circle when racing at Aqueduct Racetrack, and the Jorge Abreu trainee will look for her first win since March in a return trip to the track in the seven-furlong $150,000 Staten Island for state-bred fillies and mares 3-years-old and up on Sunday at the Big A.
A part of the New York Stallion Stakes Series, the 13th running of the Staten Island is slated for Race 8 and is one of two stakes on the 10-race card, joining the $100,000 Stewart Manor for juveniles going six furlongs on the outer turf. First post is 12 p.m. Eastern.
Espresso Shot, who capped her juvenile campaign with a win in the East View in December at Aqueduct, started her 3-year-old year with a victory at the same mile distance at the Ozone Park oval, capturing the Busher by three-quarters of a length in March.
After running fifth in the Grade 2 Gazelle in April at Aqueduct and sixth in the Bouweire on May 27 at Belmont Park, the Mission Impazible filly ran a strong second to Wait a Minute in the New York Oaks, finishing two lengths back of the winner in the 1 1/16-mile route at Finger Lakes on July 24.
Abreu then gave her a freshening, where she will now make her first start in more than three months after breezing at Saratoga before recording her last two workouts on the Belmont dirt training track.
"I just gave her a little break because I think she runs better fresh," Abreu said. "We gave her a lot of races last year. She always shows up. I decided to [rest] her, she didn't have any issues or anything. She's been training pretty well for this race, so I feel pretty confident."
Espresso Shot, owned by NY Final Furlong Racing Stable, Maspeth Stables and Parkland Thoroughbreds, is 3-2-1 in nine starts. Jockey Eric Cancel, aboard for the New York Oaks, has the return call from the inside post.
Trainer Linda Rice will saddle a pair of contenders, including Beach Haven Thoroughbreds' Newly Minted, who has four wins in six career starts, with three coming against stakes company.
The Central Baker filly, unraced as a juvenile, started her career with three straight wins, breaking her maiden on April 13 at the Big A before winning the NYSSS Park Avenue on the same track April 20 and capturing the Bouwerie a month later at Belmont.
After running third in the turf NYSSS Cupecoy's Joy on turf - a race won by Staten Island-rival Kid Is Frosty - Newly Minted registered a nine-length score in the Fleet Indian on August 23 at Saratoga before running fourth last out in the one-mile Empire Distaff. Cutting back to seven furlongs, the former $110,000 purchase at the 2018 Ocala Breeders' Sale has been training at Belmont.
Jose Lezcano, the rider for all of Newly Minted's starts, will be tasked again, breaking from post 3.
Rice's other entrant, Winning Move Stable's My Roxy Girl, bested allowance company in a six-furlong sprint last out on October 5 at Belmont. The 4-year-old daughter of Emcee will have jockey Manny Franco ride from post 5.
Bad Boy Racing's Kid Is Frosty has won two NYSSS races on the turf, the Cupecoy's Joy and the Statue of Liberty, for trainer Brad Cox and finished second to Newly Minted in the Fleet Indian this summer on Saratoga's main track. After running fifth in the Ticonderoga last out on the Belmont turf on October 19, Cox will again switch the sophomore Frost Giant filly to dirt, where she made her first seven starts.
Luis Saez will be in the irons from post 6.
Fair Regis, owned by Michael Dubb and Bethlehem Sables, enters off a second-place effort in the Iroquois in October 19 at Belmont. Trained by Jason Servis, Fair Regis defeated allowance company on September 22 at Belmont and will be returning to the Big A for the ninth time looking to improve a 2-2-0 career record at the track.
Irad Ortiz, Jr. drew the assignment as Fair Regis drew post 9.
Trainer Charlton Baker also has two entered, including Our Super Nova, the runner-up in the Empire Distaff Handicap last month at Belmont, finishing a head back to Ratajkowski in the one-mile route. Junior Alvarado will ride for the sixth consecutive race, breaking from post 10.
Her stablemate, Bluegrass Jamboree, will compete in a stakes for the first time in 24 months and 12 starts. The 5-year-old daughter of Bluegrass Cat has finished as the runner up in two of her last three starts. Joel Rosario will ride from post 7.
Rounding out the field is Carrera Cat, who won the Union Avenue in August at the Spa for trainer John Morrison [post 8, Rajiv Maragh]; Cathy Naz, making her first stakes appearance in 12 starts, for trainer H. James Bond [post 11, Dylan Davis]; Purrageous Dyna, a last-out winner against optional claimers on October 25 at Belmont for conditioner Edward Allard [post 2, Jose Ortiz]; and Filibustin, a two-time stakes winner in 2016, for trainer Gary Contessa [post 4, Kendrick Carmouche].