Stonesintheroad looks for clear path in Saturday's NYSSS Park Avenue
by Brian Bohl
Closing Day at Aqueduct Racetrack will see nine contenders looking to end the spring meet with momentum when they compete in the 26th running of the $200,000 Park Avenue for New York-bred 3-year-old fillies on Saturday.
Part of the New York Stallion Stakes Series, the Park Avenue, carded as Race 8, is one of three stakes slated for the finale of the 12-day spring meet, joining the NYSSS $200,000 Times Square for 3-year-olds on the turf in Race 9 and the $100,000 Woodhaven for 3-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the turf in Race 6.
Team Penney Racing's Stonesintheroad will make her fourth start of the year in looking to earn her second stakes win after she captured the Franklin Square by a 3 ¾-length score on February 23 at Aqueduct. Her stakes debut victory was followed by a third-place finish last out in the Cicada on March 23.
With her first three sophomore starts at six furlongs, trainer Jeremiah Englehart will stretch Stonesintheroad out to the Park Avenue's 6 ½-furlong distance. Her conditioner said he thought of giving the Bustin Stones filly some time off but was impressed with her workouts, including a four-furlong breeze over the Belmont Park training track on Friday.
"She has worked well coming out of her last race, so I decided to go ahead and run," Englehart said.
All four of Stonesintheroad's starts - which include a 3-0-1 record - have come at Aqueduct. Jockey Rajiv Maragh, aboard for all of the homebred's previous starts, will have the return call from post 8.
"She likes the track and seems ready to compete," Englehart said.
Kelly Mitchell's Kid Is Frosty will make her stakes debut. Since being transferred to trainer Brad Cox, the daughter of Frost Giant is 1-2-0 in three starts, including a maiden-breaking victory at fourth asking on February 23 in a six-furlong Aqueduct sprint. Following that effort, she rallied for second behind Quietude in a six-furlong optional claimer on March 31 at the Big A.
Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. will pick up the mount, breaking from post 6.
Beach Haven Thoroughbreds' Newly Minted will step up to stakes company after besting an eight-horse field by 5 ¾ lengths in her debut on April 13. With a field-best 87 Beyer Speed Figure, the Linda Rice trainee will be racing for the second time in eight days.
"Franky, we spent a lot of time getting her to the races. We gave her the summer off and didn't put her in training until late in the fall," Rice said. "We've given her lot of time to get to this point. She was very professional the other day and ran a big figure. It's back on short rest, but I wanted the opportunity to look at it and make the decision to run."
Newly Minted, bred by Chester and Mary Broman, was purchased for $110,000 at last year's Ocala Breeders' Sale. She drew post 5 with Jose Lezcano, who piloted her to the maiden-breaking win.
The lightly raced Bangle Gal will be making just her second career start after running third in her debut at six furlongs on February 16 at Fair Grounds. The daughter of Emcee, who was purchased for $65,000 at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Mid-Atlantic 2-year-old sale, has been training at Keeneland, including a four-furlong breeze in 47.20 seconds on Saturday.
Trained by Michael Stidham, Bangle Gal will make her first start in the Empire State, drawing post 9 with Manny Franco in the irons.
Rounding out the field is four additional first-time stakes starters, including Canarsie Princess, trained by Michael Miceli, from post 2; Fair Lassie, a Bruce Grossman trainee out of post 3; the Marialice Coffey-trained Alphadora from post 7; Dancing Slippers, trained by Robbie Davis out of post 4; and Pretty Spectacular, conditioned by Alejandro Maymo, breaking from the rail.