Owned by Farnsworth Stables and trained by Tom Albertrani, Gozzip Girl broke her maiden at second-asking over the turf course at Aqueduct in November of her 2-year-old season and rapidly evolved into a sophomore turf standout, winning the Coconut Grove Stakes and Grade 3 Herecomesthebride on the grass at Gulfstream Park last winter. In her first Grade 1 start, the Ashland run over Keeneland’s Polytrack on April 4, 2009, the late-running Dynaformer filly missed by just a neck.
On Saturday, Gozzip Girl will make her first start at four, and trainer Tom Albertrani hopes the New York will be a steppingstone to Saratoga success later in the summer.
“The goal would be the Diana [Grade 1, $500,000, July 31], and after that we’ll leave our options open,” Albertrani said. “There’s a possibility we would try her on dirt – maybe in the Personal Ensign [Grade 1, $300,000, August 29]. She always works well over it, and she ran well over the Polytrack. She only ran once on it, her first time [sixth] and I’d like to see if she really didn’t like it, or if she was just green in her initial outing.”
While future plans are fluid, Albertrani is confident that Gozzip Girl is coming into Saturday’s race in fine shape.
“She’s doing very well,” Albertrani said. “We considered the Sheepshead Bay for her [Grade 2, May 22], but she was a little short on works prior to that in order to go a mile and three-eighths. The timing of this race set up better and she looks fit and ready to go.”
New York’s leading jockey Ramon Dominguez will ride Gozzip Girl for the first time, breaking from post 7.
Stepping up to challenge her is Changing Skies, an Irish-bred daughter of Sadler’s Wells who has put together four consistent efforts since her arrival in Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott’s barn last fall.
A winner in her first U.S. outing, a 1 1/8th-mile turf allowance at Belmont Park on September 30, she was then second in an October allowance at Keeneland, and won the Grade 3 The Very One at Gulfstream on February 27. She most recently finished second after setting a slow pace in the Grade 3 Bewitch at Keeneland on April 22.
On Sunday, Changing Skies breezed a bullet five furlongs over the Inner Turf course, covering the distance in 1:00.67.
“She worked well and finished up the last three furlongs very well,” said Mott, who trains the mare for Swettanham Stud. “It looks like she’s ready.”
Channing Hill gets the call and the pair will break from post 2.
Lady Shakespeare, who tracked Changing Skies in the Bewitch and caught her in the stretch to win by 2½ lengths, is one of two entrants for trainer Roger Attfield, who will also saddle Ave.
A 4-year-old daughter of Theatrical, Lady Shakespeare earned her first graded stakes victory in the Bewitched. She is 6-2-1 from 11 lifetime starts and has finished worse than fifth only once, when she ran sixth in the Grade 3 Natalma Stakes at Woodbine in her second start as a juvenile. In addition to her win in the Bewitch, the filly has two second-place finishes this year, both head losses in stakes company.
Owned by her breeder, Charles E. Fipke, Lady Shakespeare will be ridden by John Velazquez from post 6.
Attfield will also saddle Three Chimneys Racing’s Ave, a British-bred daughter of Danehill Dancer, who will make her second U.S. start in Saturday’s race. A Group 3 winner in Ireland, Ave earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 99 for her third-place finish in the Grade 3 Gallorette Handicap on the Preakness Day undercard May 15 at Pimlico.
With Mike Luzzi in the irons, Ave will break from the rail.
Statehouse Stable’s turf veteran Nehantic Kat, most recently second in the Sheepshead Bay, looks for her first win since the Yaddo Handicap at Saratoga on August 23. An extremely consistent runner throughout her career, the 7-year-old gets the services of David Cohen from post 4.
Rounding out the field is Team Valor International’s Daveron, a German-bred mare who will make her second start for trainer Christophe Clement on Saturday. Previously trained and raced in Europe by Andreas Trybuhl, Daveron was the impressive winner of 1 1/16th-mile optional claiming event at Belmont on May 14.
“She is very athletic and a very good mover, but she’s not the easiest filly,” Clement said. “I hope she can settle going a mile and a quarter.”
Rajiv Maragh will ride from post 5.
Sweet and Flawless, most recently sixth in the Grade 3 Arlington Matron Handicap, completes the field.