“We’ve had high expectations for her from the beginning,” said Tagg. “She’s doing real good and bucking and playing this morning. It looks like a Graded stakes-quality field. It will be a tough test but we think she’ll be up to it.”
The dam Bit of Whimsy is a daughter of Distorted Humor bred and raced by the same connections. She won four of 10 starts including the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Stakes (G1) at Keeneland and Mrs. Revere Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs for Tagg in 2007.
Caroline Thomas’ chief rival would appear to be John Davison’s Mystic Love with regular jockey Elvis Trujillo aboard for trainer Jessica Campitelli. Mystic Love has won three of four starts and beat colts here last out winning the $100,000 Dania Beach Stakes on Dec. 15. The Maryland-bred daughter of Not For Love won the Selima Stakes sprinting over the Laurel Park course in her previous start on Oct. 27.
“We chose the Dania Beach against colts rather than wait for the Ginger Brew two weeks later because of the timing and the distance,” said Campitelli. “We didn’t want her to have to go a mile-and-and-sixteenth in her first start going a distance after sprinting in her first three starts when she only had to go a mile in the Dania Beach. She’s trained great and we’re looking forward to this race.”
Patricia Generazio’s New York homebred filly Discreet Marq has already run in four stakes for trainer Jane Cibelli, most recently finishing third in the $75,000 Ginger Brew Stakes over the Gulfstream course on New Year’s Day after setting the pace to mid-stretch. Jockey Joe Rocco, Jr. gets the call on the daughter of Discreet Cat who won an overnight stakes on turf at Aqueduct on Nov. 22 in her previous start.
An intriguing contender in the Sweetest Chant is Swift Thoroughbreds and partners’ Irish-bred Premier Steps to be ridden by Javier Castellano for trainer Chad Brown. The daughter of Footstepsinthesand won one of five starts in England last year before traveling to California where she finished sixth in the Miesque Stakes (G3) at Hollywood Park last out on Nov. 24, although beaten only 2 ¾ lengths for it all after a rough start.
Alice and James Sapara’s Leinan makes her first start since capturing the $155,000 Glorious Song Stakes going seven furlongs on Polytrack at Woodbine on Nov. 11. Jockey Luis Contreras is named to ride for trainer Josie Carroll.
Leinan is a daughter of Ready’s Image purchased for $80,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sales and made three starts before the Glorious Song, beginning with an impressive five-length debut victory on Polytrack in April at Keeneland. She didn’t run again until posting runner-up efforts at Woodbine in September and October, one on Polytrack and the other on turf.
Completing the field are W.S. Farish and Gabe Grossberg’s Jadira, Alan Garcia; Team Block’s I O Ireland, Francisco Torres; and Brooklyn Boyz Stables and MeB Racing Stable’s Heading to Toga, Joel Rosario.