The Comely, a one-mile race for 3-year-old fillies, will go off as race 6 and will be the first leg of a $500,000 Guaranteed All Graded Stakes Pick 4 that will conclude with the Grade 1 Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial.
“She pretty much ran everyone off their feet,” said Todd Pletcher, who trains the homebred for E. Paul Robsham Stables. “The further they went, the further in front she went and the stronger she ran.”
Pletcher said his team considered having Broadway’s Alibi face males in Gulfstream’s Grade 3 Swale on March 10 but had to bypass the race after she shed a frog on her left hind foot. She was later pointed toward the Comely, which will be her first start beyond seven furlongs.
“I thought that with the way she ran [in the Forward Gal] and the way she has been training, the extra distance shouldn’t be a problem,” said Pletcher.
A strong performance in the Comely could put Broadway’s Alibi under consideration for the Grade 1, 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Oaks on May 4, Pletcher said.
“We would need her to run well and finish strongly for us to consider having her try two turns,” said Pletcher. “If she does, we’ll be monitoring the Kentucky Oaks.”
Javier Castellano will ride Broadway’s Alibi, the 4-5 morning-line favorite who drew the rail, for the first time.
Sagamore Farm’s Millionreasonswhy, who in her juvenile finale finished second by a neck to eventual Champion Two-Year-Old Filly My Miss Aurelia in the Grade 2 Adirondack at Saratoga Race Course, is set for Saturday’s Comely after taking Laurel Park’s Wide Country on March 3.
Victorious in the Grade 2 Matron at Belmont Park in July, Millionreasonswhy was denied narrowly by My Miss Aurelia in the Adirondack following a lengthy tussle. Trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Correas, IV decided to rest Millionreasonswhy after the Adirondack and focus on a sophomore campaign.
“It was a race that could break a horse’s heart,” said Correas. “She wasn’t the same filly after the race as she had been going into it, so we decided to give her some time off. She came back the same horse.”
In the seven-furlong Wide Country, Millionreasonswhy came from off the pace and overtook Dance to Bristol in midstretch to prevail by 1 ¼ lengths. It was an additional 12 ¾ lengths back to third-place finisher Officer’s Holiday.
“If you look at her numbers, she has been running [Beyer Speed Figures] in the 90s,” said Correas. “She went to Saratoga and faced one of the best fillies in the country, if not the best, in My Miss Aurelia and did well.”
Correas said his long-range target for Millionreasonswhy remains the Kentucky Oaks.
“I feel good about it. I feel like she’ll get the [Comely’s one-mile] distance,” said Correas. “She hadn’t run in six months [prior to the Wide Country], and it’s challenging coming back. She should be even better this time.”
John Velazquez, who rode Broadway’s Alibi in the Forward Gal, opted to ride Millionreasonswhy in the Comely. Millreasonswhy will leave from post 3 as the 5-2 morning-line second choice.
Another filly untested filly at Comely distance is Singlet, who has won three straight at six furlongs. The streak began with a 2 ½-length win in a Parx Racing allowance in November, continued with a six-length victory in Aqueduct’s Xtra Heat starter stakes in January, and was extended with a neck score against three opponents in the Big A’s Dearly Precious on February 11.
“She’s had about two months between races,” said Paul McClelland, assistant to trainer Tony Dutrow. “Tony planned all along that if she ran well in the Dearly Precious that she’d run in this race. It’s a definite step up in class, but she’s doing really well. We’ll find out what she is. She’s going to give a good account of herself.”
McClelland said he doesn’t expect the Comely’s one-mile distance to be an obstacle for Singlet, who is owned by Michael Dubb, Larry Brafman, and Daniel Ryan.
“It looks like she’ll rate, and she’ll relax, as well,” said McClelland. “I’m more concerned about the quality of the competition. She worked [four furlongs at Aqueduct] yesterday, went in [a bullet 48.55], and did everything the right way. We were going to work her on Sunday, but we had the rain and waited until Tuesday. Knock on wood, everything has gone perfectly.”
Singlet, 12-1 on the morning line, will leave from post 6 with Cornelio Velasquez aboard.
The Comely field also includes Off Limits, second in the Busher; Nuffsaid Nuffsaid, sixth in the Grade 2 Davona Dale; Welcome Guest, who broke her maiden by 5 ½ lengths at Gulfstream in her most recent start; and Bourbonstreet Girl, who has placed in three stakes so far in her career.