Friday, April 17, 2009


This time of year, as horses return north from their winter quarters, it is not uncommon for trainers, looking for just the right spot, to cross-enter runners. Sometimes, it is merely feeling out the competition to see what’s out there. At other times, it may be a chance to pick up some black type.

Maryland-based trainer Michael Trombetta is weighing his options this weekend with Jeff Singer’s Cowgirls Don’t Cry, and it may be a last-minute decision as to where she runs.

One direction is Saturday’s 53rd renewal of the Grade 2, $150,000 Bed o’ Roses Handicap for fillies and mares at seven furlongs on Aqueducts main track. She is one of seven entered in this sprint, which will be race 9 (4:50 p.m. ET) of a 10-race card and the third leg of a guaranteed $250,000 late Pick 4 that will begin on race 7 (3:52 p.m. ET).

The 5-year-old Pure Prize mare has only been in Trombetta’s barn for about three and a half months. Last year, while racing for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, she won on Aqueduct’s inner dirt track, then was nowhere in the Grade 3 Next Move.

But in her third start of the year, she finished third behind Rite Moment and Lady Marlboro in the Bed o’Roses Handicap, and that effort set her up for a Grade 2 victory in Belmont Park’s Shuvee Handicap.

That would be a workable repeat schedule, except that Cowgirls Don’t Cry is also entered under the lights in the $250,000 Sugar Maple for older fillies and mares at seven furlongs at Charles Town on Saturday.

“Both races have their ups and downs,” Trombetta said. “One is graded and the other isn’t and one is worth more money.”

Cowgirls Don’t Cry has flashed speed, and if she should bypass the Bed o’Roses, the pacesetter could be Edward P. Evans’ Spritely, who is racing uncoupled for Pletcher along with Gulf Coast Farm’s Distorted Passion. Spritely, a 4-year-old daughter of 1997 Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold, is also entered for the Sugar Maple.

Distorted Passion exits a second-place finish to Secret Gypsy in the Grade 2 Distaff Handicap here on March 2 and will get a new jockey in Cornelio Velasquez for the Bed o’Roses.

One trainer who is definite in running in the Bed o’Roses is Anthony Dutrow, who has been pointing Mercedes Stable’s Seattle Smooth for this race since the first of the year.

“After her three-year-old campaign, we decided to giver her plenty of rest and get her ready for her 4-year-old year,” Dutrow said of the Quiet American filly who ended 2008 with back-to-back wins in Delaware Park’s Go for Wand Stakes and an upset of Proud Spell in Philadelphia Park’s Grade 2 Fitz Dixon Cotillion on September 20. “She’s been with me here at Aqueduct, and she hasn’t missed a beat. She’s a very sound horse, and she has been training very well for this race.”

While most of her races have seen Seattle Smooth come from off the pace, the Cotillion showed that she can be involved in the pace without jeopardizing her chances.

“She is a very versatile filly,” Dutrow said. “I think that in this race, going seven furlongs, we won’t be right up close. We are using this race to kick off her season and to get her going longer, where I think she will be more effective. We want to use the Bed o’Roses to get her to better races in New York like the Shuvee (Grade 2, $150,000, one mile, May 16, Belmont Park) and the Ogden Phipps (Grade 1, $300,000, mile and a sixteenth, June 13, Belmont Park).”

Riding a two-race winning streak is Sovereign Stable’s Awesome I Am. She won both of her starts in 2009 and trainer John Terranova is hoping for a good campaign from the 4-year-old Awesome Again filly.

“She got sick on us and that set her back a little, but I like this spot to get her going again,” Terranova said. “Seven-eighths may not be her best distance, but she has raced against some of these fillies before and she is Grade 1-placed.

“Except for that brief period when she was sick, she’s had a good winter training. This race should give us a good idea of where she is at right now. There are a lot of options down the road in the filly and mare handicap division. She has done nothing but improve, and I really think this is the year she puts it all together. I can’t wait to get started.”

Also coming in after a layoff is Michael Bello’s Lovely Isle, who has drawn the rail here for Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel. A 4-year-old daughter of Double Honor, she ran third to Any Limit in Gulfstream Park’s Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie on February 15. Jorge Chavez has the mount on Saturday.

Are We Dreamin, winless in four starts since the You’d Be Surprised here on the inner track on December 13, completes the Bed o’Roses field for trainer Randi Persaud.

The field for Saturday’s 53rd running of the Grade 2 Bed o’Roses Handicap:

1. Lovely Isle Bobby Frankel Jorge Chavez 116
2. Distorted Passion Todd Pletcher Cornelio Velasquez 115
3. Awesome I Am John Terranova Eddie Castro 116
4. Spritely Todd Pletcher C. C. Lopez 115
5. Seattle Smooth Anthony Dutrow Ramon Dominguez 118
6. Cowgirls Don’t Cry Michael Trombetta R. Fuentes 115
7. Are We Dreamin Randi Persaud Richard Migliore 115

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