Undefeated Maple Leaf Mel Returns in $100K East View

March 19, 2023

Maple Leaf Mel captures the Seeking The Ante and stays unbeaten (NYRA/Coglianese)

By Mary Eddy – NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— August Dawn Farm’s undefeated stakes winner Maple Leaf Mel returns off a seven-month layoff in Friday’s $100,000 East View, a six-furlong sprint for New York-bred sophomore fillies, at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Trained by Jeremiah Englehart, Maple Leaf Mel was an impressive debut winner of a six-furlong state-bred maiden special weight on August 10 at Saratoga Race Course with Joel Rosario up. There, she stormed home to a strong five-length victory over next-out winner and returning rival Security Code, earning a co-field-high 81 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort.

She returned 16 days later to capture the state-bred Seeking the Ante on August 26 with Rosario in the irons, leading at every point of call to post the 3 1/2-length victory over a sloppy and sealed main track.

Maple Leaf Mel did not return to the worktab until early January at Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach, Florida, where she has posted a series of works over the dirt track, including a sharp half-mile from the gate in 46.80 seconds on March 9. 

Englehart said Maple Leaf Mel has trained forwardly after growing out of some physical issues she had last year.

“She had shins that were bugging her and, with time, they healed up just fine,” said Englehart. “We haven’t had any other issues as she has gotten older. Work wise last year, when we asked her, she really responded, and it seems like she’s doing the same thing right now. She’s had some really nice works with Joel on her and it’s been business as usual. We wanted to give her one or two good works coming into this race and hopefully she’s got enough work into her to run well.” 

The East View’s timing worked out well for Englehart, who planned to bring Maple Leaf Mel back in March in either a first-level allowance or a New York-bred stake.

“This is a nice little race and there’s some good competition in here. She’s been in Florida getting ready for this year’s campaign and she seems like she’s ready to go,” said Englehart. “She’s been training really well and hopefully this is a good spot to start off. It’s not going to be a walk in the park and she doesn’t have to win, but we want to see her progress the way we want to see this summer. She seems like she’s one of those horses who enjoys the competition.” 

A $150,000 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training purchase, Maple Leaf Mel was bred by Joe Fafone and is out of the twice-winning City Place mare City Gift, who also produced the stakes-place Eddie’s Gift.

Rosario will retain the mount from post 4.

Les Bon Temps captures the NYSSS Fifth Avenue (Susie Raisher)

The consistent Les Bon Temps will look to continue her recent good form in her second start since being transferred to the barn of Linda Rice. Owned by Lady Sheila Stable, Deuce Greathouse, Cindy Hutson and Brett Setzer and bred by Southern Equine Stables, Les Bon Temps arrives off a runner-up finish in the state-bred Maddie May traveling one-mile on February 19.

There, she tracked close to the pace in third through the first half-mile under Jose Lezcano before making a move at the stretch call and improving to second, finishing 1 1/4 lengths in arrears of longshot Cairo Sugar, who exited that effort to finish third in the Beyond the Wire on Saturday at Laurel Park.

Les Bon Temps made her debut in May at Churchill Downs with a determined neck victory facing open company in a five-furlong maiden special weight. She ran twice more for trainer Norm Casse before making her way to the barn of Mike Maker and finishing third in the Joseph A. Gimma in her first outing for her new conditioner. She followed with back-to-back stakes scores with a one-length victory in the state-bred Maid of the Mist in October and the $500,000 NYSSS Fifth Avenue in December, both at the Big A.

“This race might be a little short for her, but I felt like based on the options I see in front of me this race was the best choice,” said Rice. “She’s been doing really well.”

Les Bon Temps, who boasts field-high earnings of $482,260 through a 7-3-1-2 record, will emerge from post 7 in rein to Lezcano.

Jan Durrschmidt’s homebred Little Linzee is in search of her first stakes victory on the heels of two state-bred stakes placings. Trained by Domenick Schettino, Little Linzee’s latest effort was a runner-up finish in the Franklin Square to multiple stakes-winner Stonewall Star, who captured the Wide Country at Laurel Park against open company in her next outing.

Little Linzee, a grey daughter of Honorable Dillon, also finished third to Les Bon Temps in the Fifth Avenue, defeated three lengths after a strong rally from ninth-of-10. She is in search of her first victory since graduating on debut in a 5 1/2-furlong state-bred maiden over the Saratoga turf in July.

Katie Davis has the call from post 1.

The stakes-placed Lady Mine will look to rebound from a distant fifth-place finish in the Joseph A. Gimma as she makes her first start off a six-month respite for trainer James Chapman, who co-owns the First Samurai filly with Rolf Obrecht. Lady Mine graduated at third asking in a 5 1/2-furlong state-bred sprint in July at Saratoga and followed with an admirable performance in her first start against winners when second to Maple Leaf Mel in the Seeking the Ante, defeated 3 1/2 lengths after stalking the pace throughout.

Bred by Anlyn Farms, Lady Mine will exit post 5 with Jose Gomez in the irons.

Rounding out the field are the Jim Bond-trained maiden winner Queens Masterpiece [post 2, Trevor McCarthy]; multiple stakes-placed Security Code [post 3, Manny Franco], who races with blinkers off for trainer Phil Serpe; and two-time winner Banterra [post 6, Dylan Davis] for Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen.

The East View is slated as Race 7 on Friday’s eight-race program. First post is 1:20 p.m. Eastern. 

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