OZONE PARK, N.Y. – A field of seven sophomore fillies will begin chasing their Kentucky Oaks dreams in Sunday’s $100,000 Busanda at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The 1 1/8-mile event, which awards 10-4-2-1 qualifying points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks, will see trainer Kelly Breen send out January 10 maiden winner Persisto in pursuit of a stakes victory in her first start since a fourth out graduation over the Aqueduct main track.
Owned by Cavallino Racing and Team USA Thoroughbreds, the daughter of fourth-crop sire Orb will make her first start around two turns since her career debut on October 13 at Monmouth Park, where she was second beaten 2 ½ lengths to fellow Busanda aspirant Fiftyshays Ofgreen.
Persisto followed with two placings against maiden special weight company going a one-turn mile at the Big A before breaking her maiden last out.
“I’ve been waiting for it,” Breen said of the opportunity to run around two turns. “It’s a much easier pace going two turns but she should be up and on the pace. I’ve really been relishing the opportunity to bring her back around two turns. She has a tendency to look around, but I thought she ran a very professional race last time.”
Bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, Persisto is out of the War Front broodmare Vivere and comes from the same family as prominent sires Flatter and Congrats. She was acquired for $25,000 from the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale in April 2019.
Jockey Dylan Davis, who piloted Persisto to her maiden score, will be back aboard as he attempts his third stakes win of the meet, drawing post 4.
Harvey’s Lil Goil, who has not raced since defeating Persisto in breaking her maiden at second asking on December 12 at the Big A, will seek a first stakes win when she breaks from post 6.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott for the Estate of owner-breeder Harvey A. Clarke, the daughter of 2015 Triple Crown champion and last year’s leading first crop sire American Pharoah tracked the pace in her maiden victory while up against the rail and angled two wide around the turn en route to a six-length triumph. Harvey’s Lil Goil registered a 76 Beyer Speed Figure from the victory.
Harvey’s Lil Goil is out of the Tapit broodmare Gloria S, who is a half-sister to 2012 Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another and dual graded-stakes winner Golden Award. Jockey Junior Alvarado, a two-time stakes winner this meet, will again pilot Harvey’s Lil Goil.
Trainer Rudy Rodriguez, who found success in the local preps for the Kentucky Oaks with Condo Commando five years ago, will saddle Water White who arrives off of a fifth-place finish in her two-turn debut in the Grade 2 Demoiselle.
Owned by E.V. Racing Stable, the gray or roan daughter of Conveyance broke her maiden at third asking as the heavy favorite on November 15 at Aqueduct, but recorded a career-best 80 Beyer in her prior effort where she was second to subsequent stakes winner Maedean.
Jockey Jorge Vargas, Jr. will pilot Water White from the rail.
Magic Stable’s Ankle Monitor is the most seasoned filly in the Busanda field and returns to the Big A after finishing a distant fourth in the Tempted four starts ago. Since then, the Claudio Gonzalez-trained daughter of Raison d’Etat has recorded two victories over her Laurel Park, the most recent of which was a narrow win over a muddy main track going one mile.
Jockey Manny Franco, last year’s leading rider on the NYRA circuit, will be aboard from post 2.
Completing the field are Quality Heat [post 3, Eric Cancel]; Truth Hurts [post 5, Luis Castro Rodriguez] and Fiftyshays Ofgreen [post 7, Kendrick Carmouche].
The Busanda pays homage to the Ogden Phipps’ female veteran of 65 career starts who won prominent races on the New York circuit in the early 1950’s such as the Alabama, Top Flight and defeated colts in the Suburban for the late Hall of Famer Sunny ‘Jim’ Fitzsimmons. Perhaps her biggest claim to fame is producing eventual Hall of Famer Buckpasser, who was crowned Horse of the Year in 1966. Her name is an acronym for the U.S. Navy’s Bureau of Supplies and Accounts, where Phipps assisted during World War II.
The Busanda will go as Race 7 on Sunday’s eight-race card. First post is 1:20 p.m. Eastern.