OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Klaravich Stables’ Grade 1-winner Search Results will make her seasonal debut in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Distaff Handicap, a seven-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The Distaff Handicap is one of six stakes on Saturday’s card which is headlined by the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino. Bolstering the Wood Memorial Day card is the Grade 1, $300,000 Carter Handicap presented by NYRA Bets; the Grade 3, $250,000 Gazelle; the Grade 3, $200,000 Bay Shore; and the $100,000 Danger’s Hour.
Trained by four-time Eclipse Award-winner Chad Brown, the 4-year-old daughter of Flatter posted a record of 6-4-1-1 last season, including Big A wins in the one-turn mile Busher Invitational and nine-furlong Grade 3 Gazelle ahead of a runner-up effort to Malathaat in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.
Search Results exited her narrow Oaks defeat to win the Grade 1 Acorn traveling a one-turn mile on June 5 at Belmont and completed her campaign with a third-place finish in the seven-furlong Grade 1 Longines Test on August 7 at Saratoga Race Course.
Brown said Search Results, who has trained extensively at Payson Park in Florida for her return, should appreciate a return to the Big A.
“She’s doing well. She’s freshened up well down at Payson,” Brown said. “This is a good spot and we know that she likes Aqueduct.”
Jose Ortiz will pilot Search Results, who carries a field-high 123 pounds, from post 4.
Shadwell Stable’s homebred Zaajel will make her seasonal debut off a six-month layoff from a fifth-place finish in the nine-furlong Grade 2 Beldame Invitational at Belmont Park.
Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, the 4-year-old Street Sense bay won her first two career starts in seven-furlong sprints at Gulfstream Park, graduating on debut in December 2020 ahead of a score in the Grade 3 Forward Gal in January 2021.
Zaajel followed with off-the-board efforts in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks last March and in the Grade 2 Edgewood last April at Churchill Downs before returning to winning form with a prominent effort in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 2 Mother Goose in June at Belmont.
Zaajel has trained at Palm Beach Downs for her return, including a half-mile breeze in 48.39 Friday.
“She wintered really well,” Pletcher said. “She had a good freshening and gained some weight. She’s training sharply like she always does. She ran well in her debut at this distance and we’re excited about getting her back. Hopefully, she continues to improve.”
Pletcher has entrusted the ride to Joel Rosario, last year’s Eclipse Award winner as Outstanding Jockey.
“It’s important for her to get a clean trip. She likes to be in the clear and she has enough tactical speed that she can put herself in a stalking-type position,” Pletcher said.
Rosario, who guided Zaajel to victory in the Mother Goose, led all riders last year with purse earnings of $5,049,320. He will ride seven horses for Pletcher on Saturday, including Mo Donegal in the featured Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino.
“Joel knows Zaajel really well,” Pletcher said. “He’s also a really good fit for Mo Donegal. On a day that’s difficult to get jockey assignments, we’re happy to have Joel come in on the day.”
Zaajel, carrying 120 pounds, will exit post 3
Glass Ceiling, trained and co-owned by Charlton Baker with Michael S. Foster, has gone from claim to fame, winning 4-of-8 starts for her current connections after being haltered for $40,000 in May at Belmont Park.
The 5-year-old Constitution mare was a game second to next-out graded stakes winner Lady Rocket in the seven-furlong Pumpkin Pie in October at Belmont. Glass Ceiling hasn’t lost in three starts since the Pumpkin Pie, taking the six-furlong Garland of Roses in December and an optional-claimer in January at the Big A. She enters from a half-length score in the seven-furlong Grade 3 Barbara Fritchie on February 19 at Laurel Park.
Dylan Davis, leading rider at the recently concluded Big A winter meet, retains the mount aboard Glass Ceiling [122 pounds] from the outermost post 6.
Sanford Goldfarb, Irwin Goldfarb and Nice Guys Stables’ Kept Waiting also enters on a three-race win streak for trainer Robert Falcone, Jr.
The 5-year-old Broken Vow mare, bred in New York by John Lauriello, was claimed for $40,000 in September 2020 and has won 5-of-7 starts since, including a last-out score in the six-furlong Broadway against fellow state-breds.
A winner on turf and dirt, Kept Waiting splashed to a 5 1/2-length score last out over sloppy and sealed going under Manny Franco.
Kept Waiting [118 pounds] will be piloted by Kendrick Carmouche from post 5.
Amsterdam Two Stables’ Easy to Bless, a 4-year-old daughter of Flat Out trained by James Ferraro, enters from a 9 3/4-length score in the 6 1/2-furlong Xtra Heat on the March 26 New York Claiming Championship card at the Big A.
Easy to Bless was claimed for $40,000 out of a runner-up effort in July at Saratoga Race Course and has posted a record of 8-3-2-1 for current connections.
Bred in Kentucky by Haymarket Farm, Easy to Bless [117 pounds] will emerge from the inside post under Jacqueline Davis.
Rounding out the field is Zilla Racing Stables and Perrine Time Thoroughbreds’ stakes-placed Dealing Justice [post 2, 116 pounds, Manny Franco], who enters from a 2 3/4-length optional-claiming score on March 4 at the Big A for trainer Ray Handal.
The Distaff is slated as Race 5 on Saturday’s 11-race card. First post is 12:50 p.m. Eastern.
America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the spring meet at Aqueduct Racetrack on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule.
NYRA Press Office
Photo: Search Results (NYRA Photo)