Dracarys (inside) battles Evvie Jets for the win. Photo by Chelsea Durand
By Keith McCalmont
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Al Shira’aa Farms’ Miss Dracarys earned her first career stakes win with a frontrunning effort under Dylan Davis in Sunday’s $135,000 Forever Together, a 1 1/16 mile outer turf test for fillies and mares 3-years-old and upward, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Hall of Famer Neil Drysdale, the 4-year-old Malibu Moon filly entered from a similar pacey effort in a nine-furlong optional-claimer on October 20 here when racing from a four-month layoff.
Drysdale said the strong run of form at Aqueduct has convinced the connections keep Miss Dracarys in training into 2023.
“She’s come well as of late. She’s an improving filly and we look forward to racing her again next year,” Drysdale said. “That was decided after this race. I spoke to [Al Shira’aa Stud] general manager Kieran Lalor and he felt that Miss Dracarys should stay in training for next year. She’ll spend some time in Kentucky and get turned out.”
Davis hustled Miss Dracarys from the gate and took command through splits of 24.35 seconds, 48.73 and 1:13.05 over the firm footing with the Eric Cancel-piloted Evvie Jets tracking in second position.
Cancel gave Evvie Jets her cue into the far turn and the last-out Grade 3 Noble Damsel-winner responded, advancing to the outside of the pacesetter as Finest Work and post-time favorite Messidor launched their wide bids. But Miss Dracarys dug in gamely from the top of the lane and bravely put away the challenge from Evvie Jets to win by one length in a final time of 1:42.40. Evvie Jets completed the exacta by four lengths over the ground-saving Coconut Cake with Finest Work, Messidor and Lashara rounding out the order of finish. Por Que No, Fluffy Socks and main-track only entrant Exotic West were scratched.
Davis, who has been aboard Miss Dracarys through her last five starts, said the decision to take the lead was made easier following the scratch of likely pacesetter Por Que No.
“Then it was a no-brainer. It made things a lot easier for us,” Davis said. “She ended up breaking well and I still helped her across there to get to the turn. I found myself on the lead again, so I just tried to mimic the last race. She kind of has one pace so I got into her around the three-eighths pole to get her run going. She’s a fighter so when a horse challenges her, she fought off the challenger. I really thought she was going to be second or third and she fought back and ended up the winner.”
Evvie Jets has now posted a record of 10-3-5-0 since being claimed for $80,000 last September by trainer Mertkan Kantarmaci for owner Robert Amendola. The consistent run of form includes a runner-up effort in the Grade 3 Athenia here on September 24 ahead of making the grade last out on October 22 in the one-mile Noble Damsel.
Cancel said he was proud of the effort from the hard-trying Evvie Jets.
“It was a pretty decent pace. The filly ran very well and the ground was a little too hard for her; she was spinning her wheels a little bit trying to keep up,” Cancel said. “But she ran a big race and she’s been improving every single time. We’re just really happy with her. I tried to move a little bit earlier because I knew he [Davis] had an advantage over me.”
In addition to her recent optional-claiming score, Miss Dracarys had made two previous starts over the Big A turf, posting a winning debut sprinting six furlongs in December 2020 and a close third to Plum Ali last November over good going in the 1 1/16-mile Winter Memories. She raced twice in optional-claiming company at the Belmont spring/summer meet, including a good second to eventual graded-stakes winner Love And Thunder going one-mile in May and an even fourth on June 10 traveling seven furlongs before taking a break.
The $525,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase, out of the Speightstown mare Ask Me When, is a full-sister to graded stakes-placed Aristocratic and a half-sibling to graded-stakes placed Up the Ante.
Bred in Kentucky by Castleton Lyons and Kilboy Estate, Miss Dracarys banked $74,250 in victory while improving her record to 12-4-2-1. She returned $12.80 for a $2 win ticket.
Live racing resumes Friday at Aqueduct with a nine-race card featuring the Grade 3, $300,000 Long Island, the Grade 3, $175,000 Comely, the $150,000 Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship and the $100,000 Notebook. First post is 12:20 p.m. Eastern.