Plans Undecided for Johnstone Mile Winner Venti Valentine

August 17, 2023

Venti Valentine gets up to win the Johnstone Mile Handicap (NYRA/Coglianese)

NYRA Press Office

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.— Dan Zanatta, co-founder and managing partner of NY Final Furling Racing Stable, said upcoming racing plans for Venti Valentine are in flux following her half-length triumph in last Wednesday’s $125,000 Johnstone Mile Handicap at Saratoga Race Course.

The 4-year-old Firing Line chestnut, bred in the Empire State by Final Furlong and Maspeth Stable, earned her fourth lifetime stakes conquest in the Johnstone Mile Handicap, where she tracked in fourth down the backstretch and fanned five wide into the stretch to collar stakes winner Timeless Journey in the final sixteenth. She earned a 79 Beyer for the win, which was her fourth victory in five starts at one mile.

Zanatta said Venti Valentine, who is trained by Jorge Abreu and owned in partnership with Parkland Thoroughbreds, came out of her hard-fought performance in good shape and they are considering options for the 2021 Champion New York-bred 2-Year-Old Filly.

“She came out of the race great. She had really high energy going into the race and came out with a bunch of energy,” Zanatta said. “She ran pretty hard so we may want to give her five or six weeks before her next race. I don’t see much for her on the stakes schedule, so I’m not really sure where we’ll take her next. We kind of have to take the wait and see approach.”

While he would prefer to campaign her in her native state, Zanatta did not rule out an out-of-state venture.

“I’m not sure she really appreciates travelling so we may have to take that into consideration,” Zanatta said. “Being the one-turn mile specialist that she is, there aren’t too many tracks that have that configuration so sometimes travelling doesn’t help us. There could be some turf stakes to enter MTO.”

Zanatta credited jockey Manny Franco, who breezed Venti Valentine in her two works going into the Johnstone Mile, for executing a well-timed ride.

“That day the track was playing a little slow and a little tiring, which I knew would play to our benefit because she likes that type of track. I thought she’d be a little more forwardly placed, but she was travelling well,” Zanatta recalled. “I thought the pace was honest enough to be able to close into. We just wanted Manny to get her in the clear, and as soon as he did that at the top of the stretch, she really started to make up ground. I thought he rode her perfectly. He had breezed her a couple of times going in and said it was the best she had ever felt. I think that was key. He had a lot of confidence going in, so he rode her with a lot of confidence. That whole relationship worked out well. He rode her pretty darn hard to get her up, so he deserves a lot of credit.”

In addition to her recent stakes score, Venti Valentine captured the state-bred Maid of the Mist in October 2021 at Belmont Park before a second-place finish beaten a neck in the Grade 2 Demoiselle at Aqueduct Racetrack behind eventual Eclipse Award-winner Nest. In her sophomore debut, she won the open company Busher Invitational at Aqueduct by an astonishing seven lengths while earning a career-best 92 Beyer and rounded out her season with a 3 3/4-length win in the Bay Ridge at the Big A.

She is out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Glory Gold, who produced multiple stakes-winning New York-bred Espresso Shot, also campaigned by NY Final Furlong Racing Stable and Abreu.

@jonathanstettin Thank you. This is a truly beautiful tribute to a racing legend. Good to hear the true story of what happened that day.

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