ELMONT, N.Y. – Multiple graded stakes-placed Our Super Freak, who has tackled the heaviest hitters in her division, seeks a breakthrough victory against an all stakes-winning field in Sunday’s 43rd running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Ruffian for older fillies and mares at Belmont Park.
The one-turn mile over the main track honors Stuart Janney, Jr.’s late dual champion filly, who is recognized as one of the greatest distaffers of all time. Her notable Grade 1-winning accomplishments include triumphs in the Spinaway, Mother Goose, Acorn, and Coaching Club American Oaks with most of her victories being earned by wide margins. Trained by Frank Whitley, Jr., Ruffian earned a spot in the Hall of Fame in 1976 and is buried in the infield at Belmont Park.
Owned by Paul Winandy’s LBD Stable and David Ingordo, the husband of trainer Cherie DeVaux, Our Super Freak made both of her 2021 starts at Oaklawn Park, where she finished second in the Pippin on January 23 and against two-time champion Monomoy Girl in the Grade 3 Bayakoa on February 28.
“This is my first time running her a one-turn mile which is what I think she wants to do,” DeVaux said. “She can run the two-turn mile, since she has good position early and tactical speed, but I’m very interested to see how she handles the one-turn mile at Belmont.”
Originally campaigned on the Mid-Atlantic circuit by Jamie Ness, Our Super Freak notched her only stakes victory in the restricted Shine Again in September 2019 at Laurel Park, marking her final start for Ness.
“We’re always looking for prospects that could be appealing as a broodmare and she has a really nice physical,” DeVaux said. “She already had some black type on her, and we were looking to see if putting a horse like her in our program would help increase her value. We looked at her physical and past performances and she checked all the boxes. She’s a strong, gorgeous filly with some good form.”
Last season, Our Super Freak garnered graded stakes black type when finishing second to subsequent New Jersey Horse of the Year Horologist in the Grade 3 Molly Pitcher in July at Monmouth Park and third to Letruska in the Grade 3 Shuvee in August at Saratoga.
“She’s been unlucky having faced a lot of extremely nice fillies and mares like Letruska and Monomoy Girl,” DeVaux said. “She’s faced a lot of good horses. We haven’t backed down or been afraid of anyone. We’re trying to find a spot to give her the best opportunity to get a graded stakes win.”
DeVaux said she is looking forward to possibly training a sibling of Our Super Freak in the near future, after her husband purchased the mare’s dam Thatcher.
“When we had this filly, my husband found the broodmare. She was baren last year when we got her and they bred her to Catalina Cruiser, so she now has a beautiful Catalina Cruiser colt,” DeVaux said.
Breaking from post 3, Our Super Freak will be ridden by Jose Ortiz.
Our Super Freak’s largest obstacle to victory comes from Godolphin homebred Lake Avenue, who has done no wrong in her pair of starts this season for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.
The 4-year-old daughter of Tapit out of Grade 1-winner Seventh Street broke a step slow in her 2021 debut going seven furlongs at Gulfstream Park, but was nevertheless all class winning by 4 ½ lengths in a February 3 allowance optional claimer.
She displayed another open-length triumph when returning to stakes company with vigor in the Heavenly Prize Invitational on April 3 at Aqueduct. The pair of wins were the quite the turnaround for Lake Avenue, who had not tasted victory in four starts last year. During her juvenile campaign, Lake Avenue broke her maiden second out by 12 ¾ lengths at Aqueduct before a four-length win in the Grade 2 Demoiselle at the Big A, winning both races in frontrunning fashion.
Lake Avenue breaks from post 4 under Junior Alvarado.
Gibberish, a dark bay Lea filly trained by Saffie Joseph, Jr., arrives at the Ruffian off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Royal Delta on February 20. Breaking alertly when second from the rail, Gibberish initially displayed her usual frontrunning tactics, but was challenged on the front end by graded stakes winner Mrs. Danvers and gave way around the far turn, just missing third by a half-length.
Gibberish won her three starts prior, with all victories taking place at different tracks. After a five-length triumph travelling the one-turn mile last September at Gulfstream Park, Gibberish won going the same distance at Gulfstream Park West before shipping to Delta Downs for a victory in the Treasure Chest on November 27 over a sloppy and sealed track.
Bred in Kentucky by Dell Ridge Farm, Gibberish was selected as a weanling from the St. George Sales consignment at the 2017 Keeneland November Sale, where she was bought for $230,000. She is out of the Pulpit mare Nippy, who is a half-sister to stakes-winners Economic Model, Your Love and Well Monied.
Gibberish, breaking from post 6, will be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano who targets his third Ruffian win.
Rounding out the field is Water White [post 2, Irad Ortiz, Jr.], a last out four-length winner of an optional-claiming mile, who captured the 2020 Busher Invitational at Aqueduct, Saguaro Row [post 5, Trevor McCarthy], a two-time stakes winner going one turn at the Big A, as well as stakes-winner Vault [post 1, Joel Rosario].
The Ruffian is slated as Race 8 on Sunday’s nine-race card. First post is 1:00 p.m. Eastern.
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Belmont Park Press Release