Little Linzee Gets Back on Grass in $150K NYSSS Cupecoy’s Joy

June 15, 2023

Little Linzee (inside) crosses the wire first in the NYSSS Park Avenue April 23 at Aqueduct (Chelsea Durand)

By Ryan Martin – NYRA Press Office

ELMONT, N.Y.— Jan Durrschmidt’s New York homebred Little Linzee will seek her first stakes triumph, headlining a field of 11 eligible New York-sired sophomore fillies in Sunday’s 16th running of the $150,000 Cupecoy’s Joy division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series – a seven-furlong sprint on Belmont Park’s Widener turf course.

Little Linzee crossed the wire first last out at 18-1 odds in the April 23 NYSSS Park Avenue at Aqueduct Racetrack, but was disqualified to second after stretch interference. The Domenick Schettino-trained Honorable Dillion gray lugged out into the path of returning rival Les Bon Temps in deep stretch and got her nose in front first, but was subsequently taken down.

“She put in a great effort that day,” recalled Schettino. “We were unfortunate with a little drifting incident. The outcome was reversed, but all in all she ran very well, and we were happy with the run.”

Sunday’s engagement will also see a return to grass for Little Linzee, who broke her maiden over the Mellon turf course at Saratoga Race Course in July at first asking before finishing a distant eighth in the Grade 3 Matron on October 8 at Belmont at the Big A. She earned stakes placings when third in the NYSSS Fifth Avenue on December 17 and second in the state-bred Franklin Square on January 22 – both at Aqueduct.

Little Linzee breezed a half-mile in 48.48 seconds on Saturday over the Belmont training track under Katie Davis, who has piloted Little Linzee in her last four starts.

“She’s been training well. Katie got on her [Thursday] morning and schooled her in the gate. She’s been doing very well and training forwardly,” Schettino said. “She’s coming into the race in good shape. She had a good breeze last week, so we’re all systems go.”

Little Linzee will break from post 11.

Les Bon Temps after her elevated victory in the NYSSS Park Avenue (Susie Raisher)

Lady Sheila Stable, Purda Vida Investments, Cindy M. Hutson and Brett Setzer’s Les Bon Temps [post 8, Jose Ortiz] will make her turf debut for trainer Linda Rice.

Les Bon Temps brags three stakes conquests – two in NYSSS events – and field-best earnings of $609,260. The Laoban bay earned her first two stakes wins for her former trainer Mike Maker in the one-turn mile Maid of the Mist for state-breds in October and the NYSSS Park Avenue two months later.

“The Laobans have done well on the grass, so we were thinking it would be a good spot to try her,” Rice said. “She won the previous Stallion Stakes on the dirt, but I’m hoping we see some improvement on the turf.”

Les Bon Temps, bred in New York by Southern Equine Stables, will attempt to make amends following a last-out fifth to stablemate Downtown Mischief in the Bouwerie on May 29 over Big Sandy.

“It was a subpar effort for her that day, we’re just hoping she can rebound from that,” Rice said.

Maggie T wins her first start for Linda Rice in wire-to-wire fashion March 12 at Aqueduct (NYRA/Coglianese)

Rice also will send out Rideau Racers’ Maggie T [post 5, Jose Lezcano], who was claimed for $50,000 four starts back from prior conditioner Eddie Barker.

The gray daughter of Destin won her first start for Rice going wire-to-wire in a one-turn mile starter optional claimer in March at the Big A. She was bred in New York by Mr. and Mrs. Grant L. Whitmer.

“We thought she was a filly that looked like she would appreciate more distance when we claimed her and when we stretched her out, she won for us,” Rice said. “We wanted to give her a little breather between races, so I figured we’d try the turf. With Destin being a son of Giant’s Causeway, there’s a chance she might like it.”

Midtown Lights edges away to win an allowance optional claimer March 17 at Aqueduct (NYRA/Coglianese)

Clay Scherer, Carson McCord, Gregory M. Hoffman, Harriette Waldron and Sonny Dotson’s Midtown Lights [post 3, Manny Franco] enters off a third-place finish beaten eight lengths in the Bouwerie for trainer Brad Cox.

Bred in New York by Windylea Farm, the Redesdale chestnut made her first two starts on turf, running a respective fifth and third, before capturing her main track debut on December 3 at the Big A. She finished a respective second and third to Les Bon Temps in the NYSSS Fifth Avenue and NYSSS Park Avenue.

Midtown Lights got reacclimated to the turf on Sunday, breezing a half-mile over the inner turf in 48.81 seconds.

“She had her first two starts over the turf, so the breeze was just a refresher; a little maintenance breeze,” Cox’s Belmont-based assistant Dustin Dugas said. “It was just getting her a feel over it again before entering, but I thought it was fine. I’ve always thought she had a turfy feel to her.”

Completing the field are Red Moon [post 1, Javier Castellano, blinkers ON], Dream On Cara [post 2, Eric Cancel], Joeybignose [post 4, Jaime Torres], Bea Bea Kaz [post 6, Junior Alvarado], Camp Akeela [post 7, Trevor McCarthy], Stolen Future [post 9, Dylan Davis], Mz Big Bucks [post 10, Jose Gomez].

The NYSSS Cupecoy’s Joy is slated as Race 8 on Sunday’s nine-race program, which co-features the $150,000 NYSSS Spectacular Bid in Race 5. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.

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