Sunday Girl Stays Undefeated in NYSSS Park Avenue

April 14, 2024

Sunday Girl scores under Katie Davis. (Chelsea Durand)

By Mary Eddy

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Mitre Box Stable, Clear Stars Stable and Eighth Note Stable’s Sunday Girl remained undefeated with a strong victory in Sunday’s $200,000 Park Avenue division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for eligible New York-sired sophomore fillies, at Aqueduct Racetrack. 

Trained by David Duggan, the chestnut daughter of Central Banker entered from a dominant 7 1/4-length debut score on February 10 here with Katie Davis aboard. The sharp six-furlong romp from off the pace produced a co-field-high 66 Beyer Speed Figure.

With Davis in the irons again, Sunday Girl emerged best of all from the outermost post 8 as longshot Bustin Time hustled up the rail to take a brief advantage before Sunday Girl pressured her to take command through an opening quarter-mile in 22.36 seconds over the fast main track. 

“I gave her [Davis] no instructions,” said Duggan. “I knew she was going to be a little bit sharper again and she had a clear trip on the outside. She had to pass the test today and she did that. The question mark going in was seasoning and I think she passed that test.”

The pacesetting pair were well clear of Fast and Frisky in third down the backstretch with My Shea D Lady, last-out winner of the $500,000 NYSSS Fifth Avenue, tracking patiently widest of all in fourth. Sunday Girl was in-hand to the outside of a tiring Bustin Time through the half-mile in 45.18 and was asked for her best by Davis at the top of the lane to take a 2 1/2-length advantage from the oncoming My Shea D Lady. 

Davis shook the reins at the quarter pole and Sunday Girl found more with every stride as My Shea D Lady battled on down the center of the course and Sohana made a late run from fifth. But Sunday Girl, despite drifting in a touch when shown a right-handed crop, had plenty left to stave off her rivals and crossed the wire three lengths in front in a final time of 1:16.91. 

My Shea D Lady held place honors by 1 1/2 lengths over Sohana with Fast and Frisky completing the superfecta. Handle On You, Baroness Bourbon, Bustin Time and Jay’s Love completed the order of finish. 

Davis said Sunday Girl’s debut gave her a strong foundation to succeed today. 

“Honestly the first time she ran, she broke great, but she was more, ‘What’s going on’ kind of thing. She broke out of the gate and was like ‘what do you want me to do,’ but she was nicely in my hands,” said Davis. “Today, the post really helped us nicely and I got to take advantage of the outside post and being where I wanted to be, and she was game.”

Duggan said he will consider stretching out Sunday Girl to seven furlongs for the $125,000 Bouwerie against fellow state-bred sophomore fillies on June 9 at Saratoga Race Course. 

“You roll on to the next challenge that they give us which will probably be the Bouwerie at Saratoga,” said Duggan. “If she gets seven-eighths – there will be a different type of horse coming in there, so with a little more time and maturity you’d like to think that you’re going to improve again. I don’t think she needs to improve a whole lot but that was quite a nice performance today.”

Bred in New York by McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds and Spruce Lane Farm, Sunday Girl was a $100,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale and is out of the winning Harlan’s Holiday mare Lady Daphne. Her second dam is stakes-winner Littlebitabling, who is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes-winner Too Much Bling as well as multiple stakes-winners Ready for Roses and Barnsy.

Sunday Girl banked $110,000 in victory, boosting her total purse earnings to $148,500. She returned $4.60 on a $2 win ticket.

Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, aboard the Carlos David-trained My Shea D Lady, said the daughter of Solomini was game in defeat. 

“I had a perfect trip, beautiful good stalking position which was what I was looking for today,” Castellano said. “I kept track of the speed and it seemed to be holding today with the way the wind came from. Turning for home, I asked my filly and she responded so well. I think she was second best today.” 

Live racing resumes Thursday at Aqueduct with an eight-race card. First post is 1:20 p.m. Eastern.

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