Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pellegrini Filly Rested and Ready for Stage Door Betty

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (September 21, 2012) – When Herman Van Den Broeck’s prized 4-year-old filly Angelica Zapata heads to the track as the likely favorite in Saturday’s Stage Door Betty Handicap, the three-time stakes winning daughter of Sharp Humor will be making her first start in 10 weeks, a respite that was born out of design and not necessity.

“That was always the plan with her,” trainer Ron Pellegrini said of the extended break given to Angelica Zapata following her nine-length triumph in the Nancy’s Glitter on July 14. “We wanted to keep her fresh for the second half of the year and we think that’s what we’ve accomplished; she was always going to get the time off following her last.”

During her planned summer break, Angelica Zapata still made the work tab with some regularity, putting in three five-furlong maintenance drills during the month of August before preparing for Saturday’s start with a bullet move in :59 at that same distance on September 15.

“We’re really happy with the way she is coming into this race and with the way she has progressed this year,” Pellegrini said. “She’s doing great, she’s put on weight since her last, and part of me thinks she could be better than ever.”

Even though Angelica Zapata currently holds firm to her claim as the top filly or mare distance horse on dirt at Calder, Pellegrini foresees a return to turf for the filly.

“Honestly, I think she’s a better turf horse and I want to try her back there soon,” Pellegrini said. “If you look at her record, she’s winless on grass, but she should have won a couple of her starts. She had her saddle slip in the Grade 3 (Dogwood) and she was still fourth even though the rider never really got a chance to really ride her. Then we took her to Arlington where she got shut off in the Pucker Up.

“Things like that kept happening,” Pellegrini continued. “So I’m pretty sure she was capable of winning two or three more times than she did. This year, those obstacles haven’t been there, and she’s been able to run to her ability. That’s made all the difference.”


A trio of Eddie Plesa-trained juveniles hit the Calder main track to work Friday morning led by Grade 3 Sapling winner Brave Dave who blasted a half-mile bullet in :47.20 over a wet-fast track in advance of an expected start in the $100,000 Birdonthewire Stakes, a six-furlong dash to be run at Calder on Saturday, September 29.

A maiden winner in his career debut at Calder on June 30 when besting two horses that returned to win in their next start, Brave Dave shipped north for the Grade 2 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga where he finished fourth prior to his three-quarter length win in the Sapling at Monmouth.

Also hitting the morning work tab from the Plesa barn was Florida Stallion Stakes Susan’s Girl Division fifth-place finisher Nasty Cat, who worked a mile in 1:49 on Friday, and recent Monmouth Park maiden allowance winner Speak Logistics, who covered a half-mile in :49.


Nominations for the Birdonthewire and its filly companion race the Cassidy Stakes were released earlier this week with 11 horses named as eligible participants in the Birdonthewire and 20 hitting the list for the Cassidy.

In addition to Brave Dave, locally-based stakes winners Sr. Quisqueyano and Two T’s At Two B were nominated to the Birdonthewire, while the Cassidy nominees feature Stallion Stake winners Candy Coded Kisses and Putyourdreamsaway in addition to impressive maiden winners Dreaming of Sophia and So Blessed.


Several horses with local ties will be competing in parts elsewhere this weekend including a Belmont Park appearance by the Eclipse Award winning Grade 1 Princess Rooney heroine Musical Romance, who will prep for her title defense in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint with a start in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom on Saturday.

The Bill Kaplan trainee drew post nine in the 10-horse field that will assemble for the Gallant Bloom with Juan Leyva to travel north for the ride.

Grade 3 Carry Back Stakes runner-up Trinniberg has been granted 9-5 morning-line favoritism for the $300,000 Gallant Bob Stakes at Parx Racing Saturday. The Shivananda Parbhoo owned and trained 3-year-old is one of nine horses that will line up for the six-furlong dash, with regular rider Willie Martinez named in the saddle.

Back at Belmont, Calder Derby winner Good Morning Diva will look for his first victory since that mid-April triumph when competing in a one-mile optional claiming allowance for trainer Tim Hills and jockey John Velazquez.

Since leaving the local barn of trainer David Braddy this spring, the son of Lion Heart has kept tough company, finishing third in the Grade 3 Pegasus and fourth in the Grade 2 Peter Pan.

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