Evvie Jets Set To Take Flight in G1 Just a Game

May 26, 2024

Evvie Jets shoots up the rail to win the Ballston Spa (G2) Aug. 24 at Saratoga (Janet Napolitano)

NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— The Estate of Robert J. Amendola’s multiple graded-stakes winner Evvie Jets will make her second start off the layoff in the Grade 1, $500,000 Just a Game, a one-mile turf test for older fillies and mares on June 7 during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival at Saratoga Race Course.

Trained by Mertkan Kantarmaci, the 6-year-old Twirling Candy bay made her seasonal debut in the one-mile Grade 2 Distaff Turf Mile on May 4 Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs. There, Evvie Jets traveled well off the pace early and finished a distant eighth over the good turf. The event’s top three finishers, a Chad Brown-conditioned trio of Chili Flag, Coppice, and Delahaye, are also nominated to the Just a Game.

Kantarmaci said that he doesn’t blame the seven-month layoff for the uncharacteristic effort, but rather the softer turf after heavy precipitation leading up to the race.

“The lay-off wasn’t the worry we had. It rained too much over there after the Oaks Friday night,” said Kantarmaci. “It was still raining, raining, after all the rain. She never has run over that heavy of a turf ever, I was expecting that it could be better for her, but it totally went the wrong way.”

Evvie Jets’ last graded victories came over firm green, when coming from off the pace to win 1 1/16-mile Grade 2 Ballston Spa in August at Saratoga and running prominently to capture the one-mile Grade 3 Noble Damsel in October 2022 at Belmont at the Big A.

“She couldn’t get a hold of the ground [last out]. She couldn’t compete her race. She would be the real Evvie Jets over firm,” Kantarmaci said. “If there is no speed, she can always be on the lead, and she is going to fight at the last part. Whoever comes, she is going to answer.

“If there is a speed horse, we shouldn’t get involved like we did last year,” added Kantarmaci, regarding the versatility Evvie Jets put on display last summer when rallying up the rail to win the Ballston Spa at odds of 29-1.

Kantarmaci said he will call upon Dylan Davis, who hasn’t yet ridden the mare during her 24-start career, to engineer a winning trip.

Evvie Jets has worked twice since her last effort, including a half-mile solo breeze over the Belmont Park dirt training track Sunday in 50.31 seconds.

Bred in Kentucky by Farfellow Farms, Evvie Jets was haltered by her current connections for $80,000 out of a runner-up effort in September 2021 at Belmont. She boasts a lifetime record of 24-7-6-3 with $777,768 in earnings including Listed scores last year in the Perfect Sting in July at Belmont and the Plenty of Grace in April at Aqueduct.

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