Venti Valentine wins the Busher Invitational March 5, 2022 (Chelsea Durand)
By Keith McCalmont – NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— NY Final Furlong Racing Stable and Parkland Thoroughbreds’ multiple graded-stakes placed Venti Valentine will seek her third career stakes score in Saturday’s $100,000 Bay Ridge, a one-turn mile for New York-bred fillies and mares 3-years-old and up, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The Bay Ridge is slated as Race 3 on Saturday’s lucrative 10-race card which is co-headlined by a pair of $500,000 New York Stallion Series Stakes in the Fifth Avenue for eligible state-sired juvenile fillies in Race 7 and the Great White Way for eligible state-sired juveniles in Race 9. Also featured Saturday is the $100,000 Alex M. Robb at one-mile for New York-breds 3-years-old and up in Race 8. First post is 11:50 a.m. Eastern.
Trained by Jorge Abreu, Venti Valentine was last seen finishing sixth against older state-bred fillies and mares in the 6 1/2-furlong Iroquois on October 30 at Belmont at the Big A. With Irad Ortiz, Jr. up, the 3-year-old Firing Line chestnut saved ground in last-of-8 but failed to fire her best shot when 4 3/4-lengths back of the victorious November Rein.
“We backed her up to 6 1/2 [furlongs] in the Iroquois and the race really didn’t set up for her that day,” said Dan Zanatta, co-managing partner of NY Final Furlong Racing Stable. “Irad came back and said he never really had any running room for her, but she did gallop out well which is more than we could say for her previous races.”
Venti Valentine will look to regain the successful form that saw her win three of her first five career starts, including a second-out score in October 2021 in the Maid of the Mist against fellow state-breds at Belmont Park and a seven-length romp in the Busher Invitational against open company in March at the Big A.
Venti Valentine’s Busher score is surrounded by runner-up efforts traveling nine furlongs at Aqueduct in the Grade 2 Demoiselle last December when bested a neck by eventual multiple Grade 1-winner Nest; and in April when a pacesetting second to Nostalgic in the Grade 3 Gazelle.
Zanatta said the team had considered entering Venti Valentine in the one-mile Grade 3 Go for Wand on December 3 here, but decided a stretch out in distance against fellow state-breds was preferable.
“I think the one-mile configuration at Aqueduct will hit her square in the eyes. That’s what she really wants to do,” Zanatta said. “We nominated her to the Go for Wand, but I didn’t want to run her in that steep of company again. Keeping her against New York-breds and going a mile is going to be a good spot for her. We’ll see what she gives us.”
Venti Valentine has trained extensively over the Belmont dirt training track for her return, including a half-mile breeze in 48.65 Saturday.
Bred in the Empire State by Final Furlong Racing Stable and Maspeth Stable, Venti Valentine, out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Glory Gold, is a half-sister to multiple stakes-winner Espresso Shot, who banked $516,625 in 24 starts for NY Final Furlong Racing Stable, Maspeth Stables and Parkland Thoroughbreds.
Dylan Davis will pilot Venti Valentine from post 5.
CHC Inc.’s Let Her Inspire U [post 6, Jose Lezcano] enters from a prominent score over older state-bred fillies and mares in the nine-furlong Empire Distaff on October 30 at Belmont at the Big A for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher.
The Practical Joke sophomore attended a moderate pace of 25.12 and 49.93 set by Brattle House in the Empire Distaff, taking command three-eighths from home and drawing clear to a 2 1/4-length score over graded-stakes winner Sharp Starr.
The dark bay, who boasts a record of 8-4-2-1 for purse earnings of $350,800, was a game second in her previous stakes outing to Fingal’s Cave in the nine-furlong Fleet Indian for state-breds in August at Saratoga.
Bred by Pine Ridge Stables, the $500,000 Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-Year-Olds in Training purchase is out of the Speightstown mare Caribbean Lady, who is a half-sister to multiple graded-stakes winner Halory Leigh.
Know It All Audrey, trained and co-owned by Oscar Barrera, III, with Three Player’s Stable, was claimed for $16,000 out of a winning effort in September at Belmont at the Big A.
The 3-year-old Shackleford bay, bred by Geraldine Mazza, has won 2-of-3 starts since at the Big A, including an open allowance score in October and a frontrunning one-mile effort against older state-breds last out on November 4.
Out of the stakes-placed Midnight Lute mare Know It All Anna, Know It All Audrey will make her stakes debut from post 3 under Hall of Famer Javier Castellano.
Rounding out a contentious field are the stakes-placed Mashnee Girl [post 4, Kendrick Carmouche] and Spungie [post 1, Manny Franco] along with three-time winner Fight On Lucy [post 2, Luis Rodriguez Castro].
America’s Day at the Races will present live coverage and analysis of the Aqueduct fall meet on the networks of FOX Sports. For the broadcast schedule and channel finder, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule.
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