Laobanonaprayer shortens up for $200K NYSSS Park Avenue
by Keith McCalmont
Laobanonaprayer, owned and trained by Danny Velazquez, will cut back in distance for the $200,000 Park Avenue division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for eligible New York-sired sophomore fillies on Sunday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The Laoban bay finished fourth last out to undefeated Kentucky Oaks-contender Search Results in the open Busher Invitational traveling a one-turn mile on March 6 at Aqueduct.
Laobanonaprayer worked a bullet half-mile handily in 46.62 Saturday on the Parx main track in preparation for the turnback in distance.
"It was an amazing work. This is the best I've ever seen her," said Velazquez. "She's coming in really ready. These horses grow with you as they progress. She's a big filly and I'm hoping she's going to get faster and really come around."
Bred in New York by Christina Deronda, the Laobanonaprayer was purchased for $15,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale. The filly graduated at third asking in October 2020 in the Maid of the Mist, a one-turn mile for state-bred juveniles at Belmont Park, providing Velazquez his first stakes win.
Laobanonaprayer followed with an eight-length score in the seven-furlong NYSSS Fifth Avenue in December at Aqueduct ahead of a runner-up effort in the Franklin Square in her sophomore debut traveling 6 1/2-furlongs on a muddy Big A strip on January 16.
"She's had a nice, steady progression into the Busher where we ran fourth. She's missed no training after that race and it's been smooth sailing," said Velazquez.
Velazquez said he will let jockey Kendrick Carmouche determine the best trip for the talented filly, who will exit the inside post.
"I'll let Kendrick take care of that, but I'd envision her close to the pace and making one big run, but she's versatile," said Velazquez. “He knows her and he's won on her. He won me my first stakes race ever. We're really happy to have him on her."
Roddy Valente and Darlene Bilinski’s Shaker Shack enters from a pair of runner-up efforts in optional-claiming sprints for trainer Patrick Reynolds. The dark bay daughter of Bustin Stones, bred in New York by Valente and Dr. Jerry Bilinski, is a full sister to multiple stakes winner Bustin Out and a half-sibling to multiple stakes winner Oak Bluffs.
Shaker Shack graduated at second asking in a maiden claiming sprint on January 30 at the Big A in her first start for Reynolds before catching a muddy track in her last two starts.
Jose Ortiz will guide Shaker Shack from post 5.
Double B Racing Stables’ Bustin Bay was claimed for $25,000 last out from a 16-length score in a seven-furlong maiden claiming tilt for New York-bred fillies on March 26 at the Big A. Bred in the Empire State by Robert Rosenthal, Martin Greenberg, and Peter Rosenthal, the Bustin Stones filly, now trained by Antonio Arriaga, will be guided by returning pilot Trevor McCarthy from post 3.
Laura’s Bellamy, a C. Robert Valeri homebred trained by Todd Pletcher, earned a 61 Beyer Speed Figure in her half-length debut win sprinting six furlongs on a sloppy Big A main track on February 27.
The Bellamy Road bay made every post a winning one under Manny Franco, who retains the mount for the filly’s second start from post 4.
America’s Pastime Stables’ Jill’s a Hot Mess graduated at ninth asking last out in a maiden claiming sprint on March 12 at the Big A. Trained by John Kimmel, the Laoban bay completed the exacta behind Laobanonaprayer in the Fifth Avenue.
Off as the post-time favorite in her last four starts, Jill’s a Hot Mess, bred in the Empire State by Michael J. Galvin, will be guided from post 2 by Junior Alvarado.
Shesadirtydancer, a maiden winner at fifth asking in January at the Big A, exits the same pair of optional-claiming sprints as Shaker Shack. Trained and co-owned by Rudy Rodriguez with Michael Imperio, the War Dancer bay, bred in New York by Bill Frothinger, will be guided by Irad Ortiz, Jr. from post 6.
The NYSSS Park Avenue is slated as Race 7 on Sunday’s nine-race card, which closes out the 11-day Aqueduct spring meet. First post is 1:20 p.m. Eastern.
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