The 27th running of the six-furlong First Lady will share top billing on Sunday’s 10-race program with the $100,000 Sweetest Chant Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on turf. Trainer Eddie Plesa, Jr. will send out a pair of contenders each with solid credentials in the field of 11.
The daughter of Limit Out was on her game last summer winning the First Flight Handicap (G2) at Belmont Park on July 4 and the Honorable Miss Handicap (G2) at Saratoga on Aug. 1, but will bid to bounce back from her last two starts of the year when sixth in the Thoroughbred Club of America (G3) on Polytrack at Keeneland and sixth trying a mile at Aqueduct last out on Nov. 28.
John R. Velazquez will have the mount on Game Face for trainer Todd Pletcher as she makes her first start since a sharp allowance victory at Churchill Downs on Nov. 15. The chestnut daughter of Menifee was very impressive here last winter romping to a seven-length victory in the Old Hat Stakes (G3) and ran well to be second behind Bsharpsonata in the Forward Gal Stakes (G2).
Trainer Marty Wolfson sends out a solid contender in Live Oak Plantation’s 5-year-old homebred mare Slewfoundmoney with jockey Edgar Prado to ride in her first start since a very game runner-up performance in the one-mile Top Flight Handicap won by Leah’s Secret. A daughter of Seeking the Gold, Slewfoundmoney had posted easy scores in two overnight stakes at Calder before the Top Flight.
Completing the field for the First Lady are Mrs. Ty Scheumann’s J Z Warrior, Joe Bravo; Caroni Stable’s Orinoquia, Eibar Coa; Four Horsemen Stable’s Freedom Afleet, Eduardo Nunez; Timothy O’Toole’s Saratoga Tango, Pedro Monterrey, Jr.; and J.R. Seiler and partners’ Awsugahnow, Julien Leparoux.
Eddie Plesa, Jr. is off to a good start in the Gulfstream meet with three winners and holds a strong hand in the Sweetest Chant with James Riccio’s Exe and Trilogy Stables and his wife Laurie’s Ameribelle to be ridden by Edgar Prado and Paco Lopez, respectively.
Exe won the John Franks Juvenile Fillies Turf at Calder last out on Nov. 8 with Ameribelle second. A roan/gray daughter of Exchange Rate, Exe was making her first start on turf after finishing a respectable third in the My Dear Girl Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes on the main track.
Ameribelle is a Florida homebred by Medaglia d’Oro out of stakes winner Miz United States and just missed by a half-length to Exe in the John Franks after winning a turf allowance over the Calder course in her first try on grass. Ameribelle broke her maiden on the main track going one mile in her third career starts before switching over to turf.
Two Legends Farm’s Saar Treaty will get plenty of support in the Sweetest Chant after a game runner-up finish in the Miss Moo Luvs You overnight stakes on a ‘yielding’ course at Belmont Park on Oct. 26 in her last start. Jockey Javier Castellano rides the daughter of Saarland for trainer Tim Hills, who takes over after trainer Tim Wooley, who developed her through her first four starts.
Completing the field are New Life Racing Stable’s Hopeful Image, Frank Calabrese’s Sugar Mom, Edward P. Evans’ Weekend Strike, Patricia Generazio’s Just Livin a Dream, Pamela Edel’s C Karma, Chester Bishop’s Oilgonewile, A. Steven Mile, Jr.’s Banker’s Choice and Wanda and Lendy Brown’s Sweetsainomine.