OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Repole Stable’s Chocolate Gelato backed up a highly impressive maiden victory, utilizing a ground-saving trip under jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. to capture a breakthrough win in Sunday’s Grade 1, $400,000 Frizette at the Belmont at the Big A fall meet.
Chocolate Gelato came into the Frizette off an 8 1/2-length maiden victory at second asking going six furlongs on August 14 at Saratoga Race Course, where she defeated next-out winner Take Charge Briana. The dark bay daughter of second crop sire Practical Joke proved capable of stretching out to a one-turn mile in the 75th running of the Frizette, which is a Breeders’ Cup “Win And You’re In” qualifier for the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on November 4 at Keeneland. A total of eight fillies have captured the Frizette-Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies double, including last year’s winner Echo Zulu.
Chocolate Gelato broke inwardly from post 3 but was immediately corrected by Ortiz, Jr. and secured a close fifth position down the backstretch as impressive New York-bred maiden winner You’re My Girl established frontrunning tactics through an opening quarter-mile in 23.14 seconds and a half-mile in 46.90 over the sloppy and sealed main track. Stakes-winner Vedareo was two paths to her outside in second with Grade 1 Spinaway winner Leave No Trace sitting in between horses in third.
Around the far turn, Chocolate Gelato split foes and found herself on even terms with You’re My Girl nearing the quarter-pole as the two recorded three-quarters in 1:12.66.
Chocolate Gelato gained a narrow advantage around the three-sixteenths pole, but You’re My Girl put up a stubborn run to the inside and fought her rival in deep stretch. However, there was no sugarcoating Chocolate Gelato, who kept You’re My Girl at bay and secured a one-length conquest in a final time of 1:38.57.
You’re My Girl finished another 2 3/4 lengths ahead of Leave No Trace, followed by American Rockette, Vedareo and The Great Maybe completing the order of finish. Raging Sea was scratched.
Chocolate Gelato provided Hall of Fame conditioner Todd Pletcher with his fourth Frizette win after saddling Adieu , Devil May Care  and Dreaming of Julia  to victory. She returned $5.30 for a $2 win wager as the 8-5 post time favorite.
Pletcher said the effort gave him confidence that his filly is capable of the two-turn journey that lies ahead of her in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, and praised runner-up You’re My Girl for a valiant effort.
“She settled through and handled the mile really well. I liked the way she turned off, and it gives you the impression two turns is going to be within her range,” Pletcher said. “I think she got there a little bit early and was waiting a bit. She [You’re My Girl] didn’t give up – that’s a nice filly. She fought back, so I was proud of our filly for staying on to the wire. That was a nice field she beat.”
Ortiz, Jr., who captured his first Frizette win, said Chocolate Gelato’s move around the far turn was done with no asking.
“She was there for me and at the three-eighths pole, she hit the clear and was moving forward on her own,” Ortiz, Jr said. “She got to the horse on the lead and was thinking a little bit. It’s only her third start; she’s still learning and I had to work a little more aggressive on her, but she kept responding and got the job done.
“The way she moved, I didn’t want to get in her way,” Ortiz, Jr. added. “I let her do her thing and she was moving already so I said, ‘Alright, it’s time to go,’ and I didn’t want to get in her way. I had a lot of confidence in her. She’s a nice filly, so I ride her with confidence. When I asked, she was there for me.”
Prior to her maiden victory, Chocolate Gelato was third on debut going 5 1/2 furlongs on July 14 at Saratoga en route to her second-out win one month later. Pletcher noted how the dynamics of the racetrack at Saratoga had changed considerably from the beginning of the meet.
“Mike [Repole] and I talked about it after the race. After the first week at Saratoga, that first group of babies that we ran – I don’t think we were expecting the track to be as demanding as it was,” Pletcher said. “I don’t think a lot of our 2-year-olds were as fit as we thought they were. She’s a perfect example of one who improved a lot in her second start.”
John Terranova, trainer of runner-up You’re My Girl, applauded his filly for a “game effort” and did not rule out pursuing a start in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. The Gatsas Stables, R.A. Hill Stable and Hidden Brook Farm-owned Overanalyze filly was a 14 1/2-length winner on debut against fellow Empire Sate breds on September 2 at Saratoga.
“It was the second start of her life. It was a big run coming back in her second start. A very nice filly won,” Terranova said. “We’ll talk to the boys and see what everyone wants to do and see how she is more importantly and figure it out.”
You’re My Girl also impressed her jockey Joel Rosario, who praised the filly for her determination in her first start at one mile.
“She hung in there really well,” Rosario said. “She ran a big race. It looked like for a second that horse was going to go away from me, but she came back and was fighting so that was a good race for her going long the first time.”
Banking $220,000 in victory, Chocolate Gelato enhanced her lifetime earnings to $290,350 through a 3-2-0-1 record.
Bred in Kentucky by Vincent Colbert, Chocolate Gelato was bought for $475,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Select Sale in March, where she was consigned by SGV Thoroughbreds. She is out of the Candy Ride mare Special Treat and hails from the prominent matriarchal bloodlines of Get Lucky, Numbered Account and La Troienne.
Live racing resumes Thursday at the Big A with a nine-race program. First post is 12:35 p.m. Eastern.
America’s Day at the Races will present live coverage and analysis of every day of Belmont at the Big A on the networks of FOX Sports. For the broadcast schedule and channel finder, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule.
NYRA Press Release
Photo: Chocolate Gelato (Coglianese Photos)