The Chad Brown-trained Consumer Spending made her seasonal debut a winning one, prevailing narrowly over last year’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf heroine Pizza Bianca to take Sunday’s $100,000 Memories of Silver on Closing Day of the spring meet Aqueduct Racetrack.
Not seen since finishing sixth, beaten 1 3/4-lengths by Pizza Bianca in the Juvenile Fillies Turf to close out her juvenile campaign in November at Del Mar, Consumer Spending served notice in the Memories of Silver that she’s an improved filly.
In the Juvenile Fillies Turf it was Pizza Bianca who got the upper hand despite finding herself dead last leaving the far turn and having to rally through traffic in the stretch, but with no such impediment on Sunday there was no doubt who the superior filly was as Consumer Spending came out three-quarters of a length on top in the 1 1/16-mile outer turf race for 3-year-old fillies.
“This filly has really done well over the winter,” Brown said of Consumer Spending. “I’m really proud of my team that got her ready. I was really pleased every week that I saw her to keep moving forward over the winter. Trainers will say it, but she really did do what you want to see from two-to-three, both physically and mentally, almost to the point I was surprised how much she improved.
“I wasn’t sure off the Breeders’ Cup if she was the type to train on,” he added. “I was torn between if she was a juvenile that got there early, or is she going to show some good quality down the road. It was pretty apparent from February that this filly was really going the right way and doing everything you need to do to have a nice career ahead of her. She certainly proved it today.”
Pizza Bianca, also making her 3-year-old debut under returning rider Jose Ortiz, broke well and flashed newfound early speed in the Memories of Silver, sitting a close fourth as longshot Sail By seized control of the early lead.
Consumer Spending, meanwhile, took up position just off the favorite’s flank in fifth as the leader carved out sensible splits of 24.38 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, 50.22 for the half, and 1:15.26 for three-quarters over the firm going, with positions remaining unchanged until the field departed the backstretch.
It was the more tactical Pizza Bianca that made the first move, ranging up to the leaders while three wide on the far turn, but Consumer Spending and jockey Manny Franco didn’t let her out of their sights as they commenced a slightly wider rally on the outer turf course. The two favorites inevitably hooked up at the top of the stretch and surged by the pacesetter, with neither conceding an inch until inside the final sixteenth when Consumer Spending put her head in front for good, completing the distance in 1:43.59.
“I really had a great trip and followed the favorite the whole way around,” said Franco. “I was able to save ground in the first turn, and then in the backside I followed the right target. When my filly was clear, she just took off.
“I expected a little more of a fight,” Franco added. “I just hit my filly two times with the stick and my filly came running. I thought the other one [Pizza Bianca] was going to give me a little more [of a challenge], but my filly ran hard to the end.”
The win marked Consumer Spending’s third from five career starts for owner Klaravich Stables, who, along with Brown won spring meet titles at Aqueduct on Sunday. As the second choice in the betting, Consumer Spending returned $6.90 on a $2 win wager and increased her bankroll to $240,000.
Pizza Bianca, trained by Christophe Clement for celebrity chef Bobby Flay, ran valiantly in defeat in what was only her fourth career start. The Breeders’ Cup champ, who also placed second in last year’s Grade 1 Natalma at Woodbine, finished second, 3 3/4-lengths ahead of Sail By.
“I had a very good trip. I don’t have any excuses,” said Ortiz. “Chad’s filly ran a good race and beat us today. She ran a good race in the Breeders’ Cup, also. She’s not a bad filly.”
Miss You Ella, Alittleloveandluck, and On Alert completed the order of finish. Main-track only entrant Waters of Merom was scratched.
NYRA racing returns on Thursday, April 28, which marks Opening Day at Belmont Park with nine races on tap to kick off the spring/summer meet. First post is 1:20 p.m. Eastern.
America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the spring/summer meet at Belmont Park on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/belmont/racing/tv-schedule.
NYRA Press Release
Photo: Consumer Spending (NYRA Photo)