Chocolate Gelato Returns to Action in $150K Jersey Girl

June 4, 2023

Chocolate Gelato ahead of her run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)

By Ryan Martin – NYRA Press Office

ELMONT, N.Y.— Repole Stable’s Grade 1 winner Chocolate Gelato will make her first start since finishing 12th in last year’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies when taking on six other 3-year-old fillies in Thursday’s ninth running of the $150,000 Jersey Girl going six furlongs at Belmont Park.

The Jersey Girl is one of two stakes on Thursday afternoon, which raises the curtain on the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival. Also carded for Thursday is the Grade 2, $200,000 Wonder Again for 3-year-old fillies going nine furlongs on the inner turf.

Chocolate Gelato, trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, captured the Grade 1 Frizette on October 2 going a one-turn mile at Belmont at the Big A where she battled down the stretch with New York-bred You’re My Girl to win by one length. The triumph, her first at stakes level, came following a gate-to-wire maiden score at second asking going six furlongs at Saratoga Race Course, where she earned a career and field-best 92 Beyer Speed Figure.

The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies was the first start going two turns for Chocolate Gelato, who Pletcher said has progressed well into her 3-year-old year.

“She’s done well and has been breezing really well. For her, it’s been a good transition from 2-to-3 and we’re looking forward to getting her going again,” said Pletcher, who also trained the race’s three-time Grade 1-winning namesake.

Chocolate Gelato displayed different pace tactics in both victories. After her frontrunning maiden conquest, she stalked the pace in the Frizette from fifth, sitting three lengths off pacesetter You’re My Girl.

“I think we’ll just play it off the break. She’s shown enough versatility where she can adapt to the race scenario,” Pletcher said.

Pletcher added that the Jersey Girl is a springboard for, “hopefully bigger things down the road” but did not identify any specific race as a long term goal.

“Everything’s in play,” Pletcher said. “She handled the mile, but didn’t run her race in the Breeders’ Cup. We’ll gradually try to stretch her out.”

Bred in Kentucky by Vincent Colbert, Chocolate Gelato was bought for $475,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Select Sale in March. 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.

Irad Ortiz, Jr., the pilot in all four of her prior starts, retains the mount from post 4.

Red Carpet Ready defeats Munnys Gold in the Eight Belles (G2) on Kentucky Oaks Day (Daniella/Ricci/Past The Wire)

Ashbrook Farm and Upland Flats Racing’s graded stakes winner Red Carpet Ready [post 1, Luis Saez] brings field-best earnings of $588,670 to the Jersey Girl, arriving off a narrow victory over promising filly Munny’s Gold in the Grade 2 Eight Belles on May 5 at Churchill Downs.

Trained by Rusty Arnold, the dark bay filly suffered her lone defeat in five starts when third beaten seven lengths in the Grade 2 Davona Dale on March 4 at Gulfstream Park.

“I think the race in Florida, there were just a couple small things that weren’t quite as well going into that race. But Rusty brought her back to Keeneland and did a great job getting her back to winning form,” said Bo Bromagen, Racing Manager for Ashbrook Farm.

Prior to the Davona Dale, Red Carpet Ready won her sophomore debut in the Grade 3 Forward Gal on February 4 at Gulfstream Park. At two, she was a 10-length winner on debut in October at Churchill Downs before capturing the Fern Creek one month later at the Louisville oval.

A campaign on dirt ended up being somewhat of a happy accident for Red Carpet Ready, whose second crop sire Oscar Performance was a four-time Grade 1 winner on grass.

“When I bought her, I figured she’d be a turf horse. But with no turf at Churchill last year, we didn’t have a whole lot of other options,” Bromagen said. “We just put her on the dirt to see what she had, and she ended up showing up in a big way. She’s proven that this is what she likes and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Bred in Kentucky by Lynn B. Schiff, Red Carpet Ready is out of the Street Sense mare Wild Silk – a half-sister to Grade 1-winner Joking. Her fifth dam Narrate is the grand dam of the late influential sire Pulpit.

Aunt Becca impresses in an allowance April 22 at Keeneland (Coady Photography)

Trainer Cherie DeVaux will send up Turtle Creek Farm’s Aunt Becca [post 5, Joel Rosario] following a 6 1/4-length conquest at 13-1 odds against winners on April 22 at Keeneland. The Uncle Mo dark bay has made all three of her starts going six furlongs, starting with a February 1 debut triumph on the Turfway Park synthetic over next out winner She’s On the Rocks.

“She exited her last race in really good shape,” DeVaux said. “She trains really well on the dirt and she was 13-1 because her numbers were a little slower on the synthetic. I was impressed with how she ran, but I was not surprised that she won.”

Bred in Kentucky by Sanford Robertson, Aunt Becca is out of the Broken Vow mare Skipped – a half-sister to graded stakes winner Auntie Joy and full-sister to graded stakes winner Divine Oath.

Madaket Stables’ L Street Lady [post 7, Manny Franco] will make her first start outside of Maryland, while attempting her second stakes conquest for trainer Brittany Russell. The Munnings bay was triumphant in her sophomore debut, capturing Laurel Park’s Xtra Heat on January 21 two starts before earning graded black type when third in the Grade 3 Miss Preakness on May 19 at Pimlico Race Course.

Completing the field are dual stakes-winner Girl Trouble [post 6, Paco Lopez] – who is cross-entered in Sunday’s Smart N Classy Handicap at Monmouth Park; maiden winner Wildhawk [post 2, Kendrick Carmouche]; and dual winner Unified Alliance [post 3, Javier Castellano].

The Jersey Girl honors the Ackerly Brothers Farm’s New Jersey-bred daughter of Belong to Me, who provided Pletcher with his first Grade 1 triumph in the 1998 Acorn. As a broodmare, Jersey Girl produced Grade 1-winner Jersey Town. The Jersey Girl is carded as Race 8 on Thursday’s 10-race program. First post is 3:05 p.m. Eastern.

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