Venti Valentine in the paddock prior to the Kentucky Oaks, in which she was last of 14 (Coady Photography)
NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Multiple graded-stakes placed Venti Valentine will attempt to end her sophomore season on a winning note against fellow New York-bred fillies and mares in the $100,000 Bay Ridge going a one-turn mile at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Jorge Abreu and owned by NY Final Furlong Racing Stable and Parkland Thoroughbreds, Venti Valentine was a seven-length winner of the Busher Invitational in March at the Bay Ridge distance before being narrowly defeated in the Grade 3 Gazelle. She parlayed her good form to the Grade 1 Longines Kentucky Oaks on May 6 at Churchill Downs where she endured a troubled trip and finished last-of-14.
The daughter of Firing Line has now shifted her focus to one-turn events against her Empire State-bred counterparts and will enter the Bay Ridge off a sixth-place finish in the Iroquois on October 30 at Belmont at the Big A.
“She did gallop out well, which is more than we could say from her previous races,” said NY Final Furlong Racing Stable co-managing partner Dan Zanatta. “Her last few breezes have been very good. I think the one-mile configuration at Aqueduct will hit her square in the eyes. I think that’s what she wants to do.”
Venti Valentine is a half-sister to multiple New York-bred stakes winner Espresso Shot, who also won the open-company Busher Invitational during her 3-year-old season. Espresso Shot, who was fifth in the Gazelle as the favorite, went on to have a productive career, garnering stakes wins for the next two seasons.
“Venti Valentine came out of the Oaks in good shape and we pressed on with her,” said Zanatta. “She was able to compete going two-turns early on, but she’s really not a two-turn horse. We kind of had a feeling that would be the case, but it just became evident over the summer. We ran into a similar situation with her sister, Espresso Shot.”
Venti Valentine is out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Glory Gold and was bred in the Empire State by Final Furlong Racing Stable and Maspeth Stable. She has banked $469,250 through a record of 9-3-2-1.
Zanatta said the stakes-placed Weekend Rags, who finished second to Stonewall Star in the Key Cents for Abreu, could target turf racing in the future. Owned in partnership with WLIR Racing Stables, the juvenile daughter of Street Boss will seek her first career win at some point before the end of the calendar year.
“The Key Cents came up light and we couldn’t resist running in there. Based on nominations and how it came up, she was second best on paper and she proved second best in the race,” Zanatta said. “We were pretty happy with the outcome. We got a stakes placing out of her. It also was the fifth consecutive year we had a 2-year-old earn black type and we’re pretty proud of that achievement. She’ll run one more time this year and head down south. She’s going to be an exceptional turf horse. We’ve breezed her a couple times on turf and she’s pretty special.”
Weekend Rags is bred by Sebastian Murat, Kelly Zanella and Paul Zanella, and was bought for $30,000 as a weanling at the 2020 Keeneland November Sale, where she was consigned by Nicky Drion Thoroughbreds.