Venti Valentine returned to her winning ways in the $100K Bay Ridge (Joe Labozzetta)
NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— NY Final Furlong Racing Stable and Parkland Thoroughbreds’ Venti Valentine is slated to receive some down time following a redeeming 3 3/4-length triumph in Saturday’s $100,000 Bay Ridge at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Jorge Abreu, the sophomore chestnut daughter of Firing Line entered the one mile test for New York-bred fillies and mares winless in her previous five outings, last finding the winner’s circle in the open-company Busher Invitational in March at the Big A. Piloted by Dylan Davis for the first time in Saturday’s race, Venti Valentine settled in fourth position early on, launched her bid around the five-sixteenths pole and battled to the outside of Know It All Audrey in the last eighth of a mile to earn an 85 Beyer Speed Figure for the winning performance.
Dan Zanatta, the co-managing partner of NY Final Furlong Racing Stable, said Venti Valentine will soon head to RiceHorse Stables in Fort McCoy, Florida for a freshening before joining Abreu’s winter division at Palm Meadows Training Center in South Florida. A possible long term target for Venti Valentine could include stakes action on Big Apple Showcase Day, traditionally run on Memorial Day weekend at Belmont Park.
“She scoped clean and came out of the race good last night. She’ll head down to Florida and get a break. She deserves it,” Zanatta said. “She’ll get 60 days on the farm and train at Palm Meadows until everyone comes back to Belmont. Hopefully, we’ll have her ready to run at the Belmont spring meet and we can go from there. That might be good timing for her. We’ll see how she comes back and how she trains during March and April and let her tell us when she’s ready to come back.”
Venti Valentine took the partners of NY Final Furlong on a memorable ride earlier this season. Following her seven-length romp in the Busher, she was narrowly defeated by Nostalgic in the Grade 3 Gazelle in April at the Big A before running in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on May 6 at Churchill Downs where she finished last-of-14. She re-routed to state-bred company after a distant fourth in the Grade 2 Mother Goose and followed with a distant third in the nine-furlong Fleet Indian on August 26 at Saratoga Race Course under Irad Ortiz, Jr., who returned to the irons for a penultimate sixth-place finish in the October 30 Iroquois at Belmont at the Big A.
“We’ve been on quite a journey with this filly,” said Zanatta. “We never were able to find the perfect race for her. Some of the partners were having their doubts, but yesterday really was redeeming. Everyone is on board for giving her a break and campaigning her next year We had a bunch of the breeders there so there was some great energy.”
Zanatta said Ortiz, Jr., who recently moved his tack to Gulfstream Park for the winter, reached out to him following the race to offer congratulations.
“In her last two starts, Irad even said seven furlongs to a mile is really what she needs. Irad texted us after the race and congratulated us,” Zanatta said. “He’s always been high on her. It was unfortunate he couldn’t ride for us, but it was fun to see he was following her and happy for the filly.”
The journey with Venti Valentine has been somewhat similar to that of her half-sister Espresso Shot, who also won the Busher as a 3-year-old and ended up doing her best running going one-turn against fellow New York-breds. A daughter of Mission Impazible, Espresso Shot won stakes at ages 2, 3, 4, and 5. Both are out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Glory Gold.
“Espresso Shot ultimately told us the same things. She never really wanted to go two turns,” Zanatta said. “Both fillies have a lot of heart and natural ability. Whenever they got beat or finished off the board, they didn’t get beat by much. Ultimately, were being led to the same places with them both. Even the mare, Glory Gold, won sprinting.”
Venti Valentine, bred by NY Final Furlong Racing Stable in partnership with Maspeth Stable, was initially scheduled to be sold at auction in the summer of 2020, but Zanatta said he backtracked due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For the most part, our breeding operation is meant to sell everything. We get excited as breeders and owners of these families,” Zanatta said. “Venti might be the first homebred that we’ve bred to race. When she was scheduled to sell as a yearling it was in the middle of the pandemic and we didn’t think the market was going to help bring what we thought, so we syndicated her to the partnership. It’s turned out really well.”
Venti Valentine has a soon-to-be 2-year-old half-sister, who was purchased by Roy and Gretchen Jackson’s Lael Stable for $500,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale. Glory Gold is currently in foal to Munnings and is scheduled to be bred to Uncle Mo next year.