Hot Little Thing strolls home to a 14 ½ victory in the Back Home Again (Coady Photography)
By Ryan Martin – NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— September Farm, Union Park Thoroughbreds, Storyteller Racing and Jonathan Wilmot’s Hot Little Thing will make her first start outside her native Indiana when coming off a five-month layoff in Saturday’s $100,000 Cicada for sophomore fillies going six furlongs at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Hot Little Thing, a Rodolphe Brisset-trained daughter of Army Mule, enters off a distant third as the favorite in the one-mile-and-70-yard Miss Indiana on October 5 at Horseshoe Indianapolis. Piloted by Alex Achard, she displayed her usual frontrunning tactics down the backstretch and held a clear advantage at the top of the stretch but retreated and completed the trifecta 10 1/4 lengths in arrears of winner Corningstone.
A maiden winner at second asking, Hot Little Thing was a seven-length gate-to-wire victress in an open company maiden on August 6 going five furlongs before delivering an even more emphatic effort in the following month’s six-furlong Back Home Again against fellow Indiana-breds. There, she extended her advantage throughout and crossed the finish line a 14 1/2-length winner and garnered a career-best 77 Beyer Speed Figure.
Brisset admitted there were some presumptive distance limitations prior to her last effort.
“She doesn’t want to go two turns. We kind of knew that going into it last time, but at the end of the day you do have to find out for sure in the afternoon,” Brisset said. “We were pretty sure that would be her last race of the year if she didn’t win, so we gave it a try and she ran like a horse that didn’t want to go that far. She made the lead pretty easily and I told Alex that we didn’t want to try to rush her on the lead, so we let her cruise where she was happy. It looked like she was a winner at the quarter pole and then the distance got to her. We’re going to map everything going one turn this year.”
Hot Little Thing has worked extensively at Keeneland over both the synthetic and main track. Her most recent work was a half-mile move over the main track on Saturday in 48.60 seconds.
“We know we’re coming off a big layoff but she’s ready to run and she actually changed a lot physically. She put a lot of weight on,” Brisset said. “We got seven works and one work on the main track at Keeneland last week and she worked very well. We’re hoping to go up there and be competitive. If we can get more black type and a check, we’ll take it. The fact that she’s Indiana-bred has us a little bit limited around Kentucky, where she isn’t eligible for the full money. We’ve been looking around and it looks like we’re coming to New York.”
Bred in the Hoosier State by Elevage II and St. Elias Stables, Hot Little Thing is out of the Uncle Mo mare Bouffant, who is a half-sister to dual turf sprint stakes winner Icon Ike. She was purchased for $80,000 at the 2022 OBS March Sale.
Achard will retain the mount from post 2.
Darryl Abramowitz’s Pennsylvania-bred Tappin Josie rides a three-race win streak into her New York debut for trainer Horacio De Paz, who claimed the Anchor Down filly for $50,000 three starts back out of a 4 1/2-length triumph on January 20 at Laurel Park. She followed with two more victories, winning a February 11 allowance optional claimer at Laurel before shipping to Parx Racing to win the Society Hill on March 6.
De Paz said he was not 100 percent committed to run and will monitor her energy level heading into Saturday.
“She is in good form and came out of her last race in good order so coming back-to-back like that, were just making sure she’s in the right state to be able to run,” De Paz said. “She’s been doing really well. In her races before we got her, she was going to the lead and now she’s shown she can come off the pace and is able to rate. She showed another dimension to her.”
De Paz said he claimed Tappin Josie upon the recommendation of Abramowitz.
“Being based at Laurel I know she’s a good feeling filly in the mornings so we put everything together,” De Paz said. “Even before we claimed her, her numbers were pretty good. She seems to be a competitive filly. Being a Pennsylvania-bred, we could target some state-bred races down the road. If she were to continue on, she would be pretty salty in those spots.”
Boasting a consistent 10-5-2-1 record, Tappin Josie has a field-high bankroll of $200,200.
Tappin Josie drew post 1 and will be ridden by Kevin Gomez.
Trainer Linda Rice will saddle two-time winners Downtown Mischief [post 3, Jose Lezcano] and Fancy Azteca [post 6, Dylan Davis]. Owned by Lady Sheila Stable, Downtown Mischief was a 7 3/4-length winner of her January 14 debut over a good Big A main track before returning to the same oval to score against winners on February 17 over a sloppy and sealed main track. Both wins took place against fellow state-breds going the Cicada distance.
A New York homebred by Into Mischief, Downtown Mischief is out of the Speightstown mare Downtown Mama – a half-sister to graded stakes winner Alpha Kitten.
Ronald P. Stewart’s Fancy Azteca, by Sharp Azteca, was claimed for $20,000 by Rice out of a nine-length romp going a one-turn mile on January 22 at the Big A. She followed with a victorious cutback to 6 1/2 furlongs off less than two weeks’ rest against starter optional claiming company.
Trainer Tony Dutrow will attempt to earn a milestone 2,000th career victory as a trainer when saddling maiden winner Fabulously Funny. Owned by Harold Lerner, AWC Stables, Nehoc Stables, Scott K. Akman and Paul Braverman, the Practical Joke chestnut earned a second-out graduation on February 17 at the Big A where she battled to the outside of pacesetting Wonder Girl and kicked clear in the stretch to a one-length conquest.
Bred in Kentucky by International Equities Holding, Fabulously Funny is out of the Include mare Just Fabulous, who also produced graded stakes placed Midnight On Oconee.
Kendrick Carmouche will pick up the mount from post 4.
Completing the field is Built Wright Stables’ Musicmansandy, who enters off a 4 1/2-length triumph at Laurel Park for a $40,000 tag for trainer Norman Cash. The daughter of Accelerate was claimed for $20,000 three starts back out of a victory going 5 1/2 furlongs on February 17 at Laurel.
Manny Franco will ride from post 5.
The Cicada pays honor to the Hall of Fame distaffer who became racing’s first filly to earn Champion honors at ages two, three and four. Owned by Christopher Chenery’s Meadow Stable and trained by Casey Hayes, Cicada’s accolades include victories in the Frizette, Schuylerville, Spinaway, Kentucky Oaks, Acorn, and Beldame. Cicada won 23-of-42 lifetime starts from 1961-64 and retired with $783,674 – a record for female thoroughbreds at that time.
The Cicada is slated as Race 9 on Saturday’s 10-race program at the Big A. First post is 1:20 p.m. Eastern.