Friday, December 06, 2013
Miss Mischief, Baby J take on elders in Garland of Roses
OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Miss Mischief and Baby J, a pair of 3-year-old fillies exiting stakes victories, will take on older runners when they compete in the $100,000 Garland of Roses on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Previously, Miss Mischief had won a maiden race at Delaware Park and an allowance at Saratoga in four starts. She entered the Pearl City off a fourth in an optional claimer in September at Laurel Park.
"I think we're making a big step up, but we're going to have to face [older horses] sooner than later," said Sheets. "She's very versatile. We haven't made her do anything; we let her do her own thing last time, and we're pleased with how she ran. We'll do the same thing [this time]. We're not going to force her; we're going to let her create her own race."
Rajiv Maragh has picked up the mount aboard Miss Mischief, who drew post position 5 and was installed at 5-1 on the morning line.
Paul Pompa, Jr.'s Baby J enters the Garland of Roses having won two of her past three starts, all in stakes.
In the Grade 3 Victory Ride in July at Belmont Park, Baby J dueled with Bridgehampton early, yielded to that rival in upper stretch, and came again on the outside to get up by three-quarters of a length.
After finishing last of eight in the Grade 1 Test in August at Saratoga, Baby J rebounded by defeating two rivals when taking the Catinca overnight stakes by a neck over Maracuya on October 2 at Belmont.
"She's speedy and game, and she's ready," said trainer Patrick Reynolds. "When they hang out the $100,000, you usually get some horses who can run. I don't think we're overmatched; we should be right there. We found out the hard way she doesn't have to be in front. She got knocked sideways in the Victory Ride and had to pick herself back up and run down Bridgehampton. Last time out, it looked like she was beaten by Maracuya."
The Test was Baby J's only start beyond six furlongs, and Reynolds believes the filly well be better suited to Aqueduct's series of six-furlong stakes.
"We've elected to keep her at six furlongs," said Reynolds. "As Clint Eastwood once said as Dirty Harry, 'A man has got to know his limitations.' I think she has distance limitations, so we're keeping her at six furlongs."
Cornelio Velasquez will ride Baby J, 6-1, for the first time in the Garland of Roses. They'll leave from post 7.
The 2-1 morning-line favorite is Ullapool, who overcame a stumbling start to win an optional claimer by 4 ¼ lengths on October 17 at Belmont. It was the front-running filly's first start since taking an allowance by 3 ¾ lengths in September 2012 at Belmont.
Ullapool, owned by trainer Eddie Kenneally and Marc Detampel, is yet another Garland of Roses entrant who will have a new rider on Saturday. Irad Ortiz, Jr. will guide the gray filly from post 4.
Darley Stable's Delightful Quality, 3-1, seeks a breakthrough victory in the Garland of Roses. She has placed in five stakes, including a third-place finish in last year's Garland of Roses. In her three most recent starts, she was third in the Grade 3 Bed o' Roses Handicap in June at Belmont and second in both the restricted Shine Again Stakes and in an optional claimer in August at Saratoga.
Trained by Tom Albertrani, Delightful Quality will leave from the rail with Junior Alvarado aboard.
My Wandy's Girl, imported from Puerto Rico last fall, returns from an eight-month layoff. Last year at Aqueduct, she won the 6 ½-furlong Pentelis overnight stakes and was third in the Grade 1, 1 1/8-mile Gazelle. She has made two starts around one turn this year, finishing second by three-quarters of a length in both the Grade 2, seven-furlong Barbara Fritchie Handicap in February at Laurel and the Grade 2, one-mile Ruffian Handicap in April at the Big A.
Michael Hushion trains My Wandy's Girl for Guillermo Berrios. The daughter of Flower Alley drew post 2, was tabbed at 7-2 on the morning line, and will be ridden by Jose Ortiz for the first time.
The field also includes Crespano and Conkate.
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