Nest captures the Beldame Oct. 9 at Aqueduct (Chelsea Durand)
NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Aron Wellman of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners said he is hopeful that newly acquired Frosty O Toole can make a big splash in Saturday’s Grade 3, $250,000 Gazelle at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The Gazelle is the final local qualifier for the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on May 5 at Churchill Downs, and awards the top-five finishers points based off a 100-40-30-20-10 scale.
Unbeaten in two starts on dirt, Frosty O Toole was privately purchased by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners following her recent score against winners on March 8 at Tampa Bay Downs for her previous trainer Mike Dini. There, the daughter of Frosted stalked from 1 1/2 lengths off the pace down the backstretch, inched her way to third nearing the far turn and bested dual stakes-placed favorite Personal Pursuit to win by 3 1/2 lengths.
The winning effort came following a triumphant main track debut on February 4 going two turns at Tampa, where she displayed similar tactics to win by a half-length. In her previous two starts, she was unplaced on the turf and synthetic at Gulfstream Park.
“We took a little run at her once she broke her maiden and couldn’t get a deal done. But once she validated her maiden victory with a very impressive allowance score at Tampa last month, we went in with a little heavier artillery to get her bought,” Wellman said. “We’re hoping she’s a filly that’s just getting better. She’s on such an upward trajectory right now and the fact that she definitely appreciates a route of ground on the main track made her a very attractive prospect to add to the stable.”
Frosty O Toole is a half-sister to Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners-owned Sister Otoole, who is three-times graded stakes placed on turf. Both are out of the unraced Distorted Humor mare O’Toole, who is a half-sister to Group 1 winner Well Armed and also produced black type producing mare Plenty O’Toole.
“Physically, Sister Otoole is a much more light-framed, streamlined type. I was actually down in South Florida this past weekend to see Frosty O Toole breeze at Palm Beach Downs and she’s a much more robust, really built for power, type of individual. Talent wise, hopefully Frosty O Toole proves she’s a stake type caliber filly,” Wellman said. “They both relish a distance of ground. They might have started this filly on the grass and synthetic because of who her sister was. Clearly, this filly, being by Frosted, is a much more dirt-influenced type page and she’s really taken to routing on the dirt.”
Wellman said Champion 3-Year-Old Filly Nest has been reunited with the Pletcher stable at Palm Beach Downs and is training towards a potential long-term target of the Grade 1, $500,000 Ogden Phipps on June 10 at Belmont Park. A three-time Grade 1-winner, the Curlin filly is owned by Eclipse in partnership with Repole Stable and Michael House.
“She came back to Todd a few weeks ago. She’s back galloping and probably a little ways away from her first breeze,” Wellman said. “Nothing is etched in stone at this point, but perhaps a soft circle around the Phipps on Belmont Day, but that’s very tentative at this point. We’re just going to let Todd do his thing and when she’s ready, she’ll tell us.”
Nest captured last year’s Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland before finishing second in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks and Grade 1 Belmont Stakes against colts. Over the summer at Saratoga Race Course, she became the 20th filly to sweep the Coaching Club American Oaks-Alabama double, something Pletcher previously did with Princess of Sylmar  and Stopchargingmaria .