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AQUEDUCT BARN NOTES

Edited NYRA Staff Release – Ziaerati, trained and co-owned by Robert Falcone, Jr. with John Grossi’s Racing Corp., registered an 83 Beyer Speed Figure for her gate-to-wire 8 1/4-length debut score in a seven-furlong maiden special weight on Sunday at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The sophomore daughter of Into Mischief, bred in Kentucky by Whitehorse Stable, battled for the lead with My Betsy through a half-mile in 48.80 before kicking clear in upper stretch and drawing off under a hand ride from Dylan Davis. She covered the distance in 1:26.72 over the fast main track.

“You never know it until you bring them over and they show it in the afternoon, but she gave us a very early indication when we started working her that she was a runner,” Falcone, Jr. said. “She did everything perfectly. I’ve been waiting for her to run for a very long time and I’d been talking her up to John Grossi. She’s been very professional the whole time.

“She couldn’t blow out a candle in the winner’s circle,” Falcone, Jr. added. “I think she wants to go long, so we skipped the three-quarters race and waited for seven-eighths and that’s usually tough to get first time out.”

Falcone, Jr. said Ziaerati had worked well into her debut, including against older company.

“Dylan worked her for me a couple times and it doesn’t matter how fast she goes or how far you make her gallop out, she always comes back to the barn not blowing,” Falcone, Jr. said. “As a trainer, that can make you wonder. It’s a sign of her being really fit but at the same time, is she not doing enough to go seven-eighths first time? You don’t want them to get tired in the afternoon for the first time.”

Ziaerati exited the maiden score in good order and will now look to stretch out another furlong in the $200,000 Busher Invitational on March 4 at the Big A, which offers 50-20-15-10-5 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points to the top-five finishers.

“We’ll take a shot there. I like that it’s a flat mile and I like the spacing of it,” Falcone, Jr. said.

Ziaerati, out of the stakes-placed Munnings mare Zia, was purchased for $145,000 at the OBS March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training. The bay filly was given the nickname of “Fancy Face” as a foal at Mill Ridge Farm due to her distinctively large white blaze which garnered Ziaerati plenty of admirers on social media during the farm’s virtual tours in 2020.

“Yeah, me too,” said Falcone, Jr. of being part of the filly’s burgeoning fan club. “She definitely has some unique features.”

Falcone, Jr. and John Grossi’s Racing Corp. also campaign another promising sophomore filly in Lady Shylock, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Collected, who graduated on debut here on November 27 in a maiden claiming tilt.

The $50,000 OBS March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training purchase won by 5 1/4-lengths in gate-to-wire fashion under Romero Ramsay Maragh, sprinting six furlongs in 1:14.38 over a sloppy and sealed main track. The in-hand score garnered a 66 Beyer.

Lady Shylock has breezed back three times over the Belmont dirt training track, including a half-mile in 52 flat on January 14. She is under consideration for the $100,000 Ruthless, a seven-furlong sprint for sophomore fillies on February 4.

Falcone, Jr. will hope for a similarly successful debut when he sends out New York-bred Daddyslilbosslady for his father’s Beast Mode Racing [Robert Falcone, Sr.] in Race 1 on Sunday at Gulfstream Park, a five-furlong turf sprint for sophomore fillies.

The dark bay daughter of Mendelssohn is out of the multiple stakes-placed Street Boss mare Rumble Doll, who provided Falcone, Jr. with three of his four wins in his first year of training in 2014.

Falcone, Jr. and his father haltered the New York-bred Rumble Doll for $25,000 in March 2014 at the Big A and she won first out for her new connections just one month later at double the claiming price in a six-furlong sprint on the Aqueduct main track. She won twice more that year for the Falcones, closing from deep to capture a 5 1/2-furlong claiming turf sprint at Saratoga in August 2014 along with a seven-furlong state-bred allowance in similar fashion that September at Belmont.

“We claimed her off Eddie Kenneally for $25,000 my first year of training and put her on the grass,” Falcone, Jr. “She’d come from a different area code every time. She ended up winning six times for us.”

Rumble Doll, bred in New York by Lawrence Goichman, stayed with the Falcones until October 2018 when she was claimed for $62,500 out of an off-the-board effort on the Belmont turf and retired just two starts later.

“That filly was very good to me and my dad,” said Falcone, Jr. “She gave her attitude to the foal. This one may even be more spicy than Rumble Doll was. She doesn’t look like her, but attitude wise, I see a lot of Rumble Doll in Daddyslilbosslady.”

Rumble Doll was purchased for $145,000 in foal to Mendelssohn at the 2019 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. Daddyslilbosslady subsequently was an RNA at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Preferred New York-bred Yearling Sale, but sold for $37,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale to Beast Mode Racing.

Daddyslilbosslady, the first foal out of Rumble Doll, trained in New York at Belmont and Saratoga last summer. She remained at Belmont until mid-December before shipping to Florida where she has breezed three times over the Palm Meadows Training Center turf, including a half-mile in 51.60 on January 13.

Falcone, Jr. said he expects the debutante won’t be as far back in the early going as her dam.

“She’s training good,” Falcone, Jr. said. “ She’s more forward from the gate in the morning. I’d expect her to be more forwardly placed, especially going five-eighths.”

Daddyslilbosslady, bred by Spruce Lane, Hidden Brook, Bartolotta, Becker, Conley and Copper Beech et al., will exit post 5 under Paco Lopez.

Spirit And Glory, winner of the Virginia Oaks in September at Colonial Downs, is under consideration for a trio of graded stakes in Florida. She was last seen finishing fourth under jockey Isaac Castillo in an off-the-turf renewal of the Tropical Park Oaks on December 26 at Gulfstream.

Falcone, Jr. said he was expecting a better result over the Gulfstream Tapeta as Spirit And Glory had launched her career in Ireland over the Dundalk synthetic in the care of her former trainer Michael Mulvany.

“The jock said she didn’t handle the synthetic too well, but she came out of the race good,” Falcone, Jr. said. “She’s won on it overseas so we thought she might be able to handle it over here, but I’m sure their tracks are different than the ones here.”

Trained and co-owned by Falcone, Jr. with Michael Nentwig, Michael Dubb, Beast Mode Racing and John Rochfort, the 4-year-old Irish-bred daughter of Cotai Glory made a memorable North American debut under Davis with a last-to-first optional-claiming score traveling 1 1/16-miles in June at Belmont.

Spirit And Glory finished seventh in the one-mile Grade 2 Lake George in July at the Spa and a closing fifth in the nine-furlong Grade 2 Sands Point in October at Belmont at the Big A ahead of a fourth in the Winter Memories here in November.

But her best effort last season came with a 12th-to-first charge in the nine-furlong Virginia Oaks under Irad Ortiz, Jr. and Falcone, Jr. said he will look to reunite the pair next out in a Florida turf tilt.

Spirit And Glory is invited to the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3, $500,000 Pegasus Filly and Mare Turf Invitational on January 28 at Gulfstream, but the filly is also under consideration for the 12-furlong Grade 3, $150,000 La Prevoyante on the Pegasus undercard as well as the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3, $175,000 Endeavour on February 4 at Tampa Bay Downs.

Falcone, Jr. said Spirit And Glory seems to have overcome an issue with being rank in the early stages of her races and that stretching out to 1 1/2-miles could benefit.

“Dylan rode her perfect first time out and Irad rode her perfect after that. You just have to put your hands down and let her be where she wants to be,” Falcone, Jr. said. “If you put her to the rail, she gets aggressive behind horses early and you want to take a hold of her and her head goes up in the air.

“If we go in the mile and a half race, we might end up with Irad and he knows her well,” continued Falcone, Jr. “He left her alone in the Virginia Oaks and let her go around on a loose rein and when he asked her, she responded. If he does that, the mile and a half will suit her well. She can gallop all day.”

Bred by Dr. Noel Cogan and Patrick Williams, Spirit And Glory, out of the Invincible Spirit mare Supreme Spirit, boasts a ledger of 10-3-1-1 for purse earnings of $206,720.

WILL MISS T TOO GO OUT A WINNER?

Stoneway Farm’s Kentucky homebred Miss T Too looks to end her career on a high note in Saturday’s $100,000 Interborough for fillies and mares 4-years-old and upward going seven furlongs at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The bay daughter of perennial leading North American sire Into Mischief boasts a consistent but lightly-raced 11-2-2-3 record for a 6-year-old mare, which includes a second out graduation in March 2020 going a one-turn mile at Gulfstream Park where she defeated eventual graded stakes winner Envoutante and stakes-placed Mylastfirstkiss.

She triumphed against winners by five lengths that September at Churchill Downs, registering a career-best 97 Beyer Speed Figure. Her lone two starts at stakes level were off the board efforts in the Grade 3 Indiana Oaks at Horseshoe Indianapolis and the Fort Springs at Keeneland, both in 2020.

Transferred from the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott to Michael McCarthy last year, Miss T Too enters Saturday’s engagement off a pair of third-place finishes at sprinting allowance level. She was most recently beaten 3 1/2 lengths on December 15 over the all-weather surface at Turfway Park.

Terri Burch, racing manager for Stoneway Farm, confirmed that the Interborough would most likely be the final start for Miss T Too before being sent to their farm in La Grange, Kentucky – just 25 miles outside of Louisville.

“We’re looking to get her stakes placed before bringing her home to breed her,” Burch said. “We have a couple stallions at Coolmore picked out. I expect that we’ll breed her fairly strong and get some nice babies out of her.”

Burch described Miss T Too as a mare with a strong personality, who needed time to develop.

“She’s a pretty high strung girl who likes doing things her own way,” Burch said. “They just have to mature into their bodies and sometimes you have to wait on them to grow up. That’s why she’s been lightly raced. A lot of it was a matter of growing up and filling into her body. A lot of times when they do that, they aren’t always doing what you want them to do the right way, so sometimes they just need to grow up. We’ve been very fortunate to have the farm that we can send the horses to and give them some time off when they need to develop and grow.”

Miss T Too has now finished developing and maturing according to Burch and has a better understanding of what’s required of her.

“She’s finished growing and her mind is much better now,” Burch said. “She’s more adaptable to what you want to do with her instead of just jumping out of the gate and go as fast as you can as far as you can until you run out of energy and then finish where you finish. Now, you can actually rate her. She’s been breezing well. I’ve been happy with her, watching her works, so we’re hopeful.”

Miss T Too is out of the stakes-winning Midnight Lute mare Midnight Ballet, who also was campaigned by Stoneway. Burch said Midnight Ballet, who won the 2012 Sharp Cat at the now defunct Hollywood Park, was also a sizeable horse who conveyed a bold attitude.

“She didn’t think she was a horse. She thought she was a person and had to be kept up as this queen standard,” Burch recalled. “We had to bring her home once and we had her in a paddock and she did nothing but stare at the barn. She refused to graze, eat or anything, so we had to bring her in and keep her pampered. She had to be in her stall, groomed every day and the fan on her in the summer. Miss T Too does not like to be turned out either. We tried her in a round pen and she hates it. She’s very much like her mother that way. Midnight Ballet is a broodmare so she doesn’t mind going out now, but she sure likes being pampered still.”

Burch reported that Midnight Ballet is currently in foal with a three-quarters sibling to Miss T Too, by Practical Joke, that is due to be born this year.

Eric Cancel will pilot Miss T Too from post 2.

DONK RUNNERS READY FOR RETURN

Empire Equines’ stakes-winning New York homebred Water’s Edge, who has not raced since winning the $100,000 Haynesfield last March at Aqueduct Racetrack, returned to the work tab on Tuesday for trainer David Donk, recording his first breeze since April. The son of Candy Ride, who was gelded during the respite, breezed an easy three furlongs in 38 seconds flat over Belmont Park’s dirt training track.

“He’s come back and had a real slow breeze,” said Donk. “We two-minute licked last week and then did the easy three-eighths this week, so he’s good. It will be fun to get him back.”

Donk said the now 5-year-old Water’s Edge lost a step in his training after an illness last year, but has returned this year with better energy and more focus.

“He got really sick early last summer and then when he went back to training, he just wasn’t doing as well and wasn’t happy, so he got a lot of time off,” Donk said. “He’s gelded now because he needed to be gelded to be turned out. The last few weeks, he’s really jumped back to where he was before.”

The consistent Water’s Edge has posted four wins and four runner-up efforts through eight lifetime starts, capped by a dominant pacesetting victory in the aforementioned Haynesfield where he drew off with ease down the lane to defeat stakes-winner Chestertown by 4 1/4 lengths.

Donk said he is content to take his time with Water’s Edge.

“When he’s ready, he’s ready. It will be a little while,” said Donk. “He doesn’t have much in conditions, so he’ll have to be ready because he’ll be in with some pretty good company. Hopefully, it all goes well.”

Donk is also hopeful that the Empire Equines’ Ormstown, a half-brother to Water’s Edge, will show similar talent and class to his sibling. The sophomore son of Bernardini is steadily making his way towards the races, most recently breezing a half-mile in 50 seconds flat on Tuesday.

“Ormstown is a lot like him,” said Donk. “He’s a ways away from running, but it’s interesting to have the family.”

Last month, Donk took over training duties for a string of horses from recently retired trainer Rick Schosberg, including Shinfull, owned and co-bred by Vivien Malloy’s Edition Farm. The 4-year-old daughter of A Shin Forward made her first start for Donk a winning one when scoring a determined head victory in a 6 1/2-furlong first-level state-bred allowance on January 13 at the Big A.

Ridden to victory by Kendrick Carmouche, Shinfull pounced from off the pace to duel with Backed by Gold through the turn and down the stretch before narrowly defeating her foe in a final time of 1:19.50. The effort garnered a 65 Beyer Speed Figure.

“She’s a really scopey, rangy filly with a really lovely walk,” said Donk. “She ran well and I think she kind of did what she had to do. I think there was more left in the tank, but she got the job done. We’ll probably try to stretch her out because of her scope, and she’ll probably come back at a mile. It was a fun win and I appreciate Rick and Vivien giving me the opportunity.”

Donk will look to score another Big A victory this weekend with Alifyfe Racing and Scott Mawaka’s well-bred Fast Boat to Skye, who finished second at second asking in a six-furlong maiden on December 16 here. The grey son of Cairo Prince boasts a strong female family with his dam, the winning Creative Cause mare Cause She’s Fast, being a half-sister to multiple graded stakes-winner and 2012 Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can.

Fast Boat to Skye is entered in Saturday’s ninth race, a one-mile maiden special weight that drew 10 entrants. Donk said a stretch out in distance may be the key for Fast Boat to Skye, whose other start was a seven-furlong sprint where he finished a distant seventh. He posted the bullet for 26 works on Tuesday at Belmont, covering a half-mile in 48.85 seconds.

“He’s really nice. His pedigree probably says he wants to stretch out,” said Donk. “It’s not going to be an easy race. It might be January, but these maiden races are pretty stiff. It’s a big field. He ran well last time off of being gelded. He acted horribly his first time out and he’s made a huge transformation as a gelding. It’s really helped him and it’s as big a change as I’ve seen in a horse in a long time. I’d be curious if he’s a grass horse one day – the dam’s side doesn’t really say that, but a lot of Cairo Princes run on the grass. I know he has ability.”

Jorge Vargas, Jr., who Donk teamed up with to win two races on the January 12 card here, will ride Fast Boat to Skye from post 9.

Another promising maiden for Donk is Robert Spiegel’s Register, who finished a closing second on debut in a six-furlong maiden sprint over a sloppy and sealed Big A on January 6. The 3-year-old Super Saver ridgling breezed back on Tuesday, covering a half-mile in 49.95 over the Belmont training track.  

“He didn’t get the cleanest of trips and was second,” said Donk. “He’ll come back next Saturday and I’m looking forward to running him. He’s real classy and a good work horse.” 

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