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OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Trainer Lolita Shivmangal delivered an early Father’s Day present on Friday by earning the first stakes victory of her career when Soloshot captured the $150,000 Cupecoy’s Joy Division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series, a six-furlong outer turf sprint for eligible New York-sired sophomore fillies, at Belmont at the Big A.

Shivmangal said growing up around horses helped her to gain the knowledge to start her own training stable, and credited her father, trainer Doodnauth Shivmangal, with fostering her appreciation for the sport.

“I’ve never worked in another barn, it was always my dad,” said Shivmangal. “I’ve been around horses all my life, and without him, I wouldn’t do what I’m doing, and I wouldn’t love it so much. I learned everything from him.”

Owned by Travis and Eddie Racing Stable, Soloshot rated off the pace under Irad Ortiz, Jr. and pounced late find a narrow seam between Being Betty and the pacesetting Geopolitics inside the final sixteenth to score by a nose in a final time of 1:09.03. The effort was awarded a 69 Beyer Speed Figure.

“Oh my God, it was a huge effort,” said Shivmangal. “Even after the race when we went back to the barn at Aqueduct, it’s like she didn’t even run. She was just happy. I was so nervous going into it, and I’m nervous every race, but this one, I was just on edge. But I have a great team of people that works with me, and my barn is family oriented. My family is very much involved.”

Shivmangal, who began training in 2018, is a third-generation horsewoman, following in the footsteps of her grandfather, Bulla, and father, into the horse racing industry. The Guyanese family was a competitive outfit in their native country and brought their business to the United States in the 1980s.

Doodnauth, who trained Guyana Star to an astounding 52 wins in his native country according to the Guyana Graphic, went on to start horses at the highest level in America, including the Preakness, Belmont Stakes, and Breeders’ Cup.

Shivmangal fondly recalled the memory of her father’s first American racehorse purchase, Miss Guyana, who was bought for $8,000 at the 1989 Fasig-Tipton Horses of Racing Age Sale at Belmont Park.

“My grandfather was a trainer in my country, and when he passed away, my dad picked it up. We had a horse named Guyana Star and he won 52 races there,” Shivmangal said. “Then, my dad came to America, and he bought a horse at auction. He came home and he said, ‘Get in the car! We just got our first racehorse in America!’ We all got in the car and went to Belmont and were so excited. He built it from there, and at one time he had 25 horses. Still, my silks for the horses I own are my grandfather’s silks that have been in racing since the 1950s, from my country to here.”

The love and support of her family helped Shivmangal reach her milestone first stakes victory Friday, which was celebrated by a host of her relatives and friends in the winner’s circle. The win came to fruition just three months after Soloshot was claimed for $32,000 out of a runner-up finish on March 3 here. Shivmangal wheeled the filly back in the state-bred East View on March 17 where she finished off the board before turning her focus to turf, a move that has yielded three strong efforts since.

“She had back class and is a 3-year-old New York-bred, so I know being in New York there’s lots of benefits there,” said Shivmangal. “It’s great money, and I like claiming horses. My dad is more of a 2-year-old guy, but I love claiming horses because I love the transformation.”

Shivmangal noted that the daughter of Solomini had a particularly noticeable transformation since entering her barn, and that a strong hands-on approach has helped the filly to blossom.

“She was a finnicky eater when I got her, and she’s become a better eater,” said Shivmangal. “I focused on strengthening her back end, and she is more defined. She’s grown a little, too, and was nervous when she first came in, but we love our horses and kiss them and hug them, and she’s spoiled. We have an owner who comes with cookies and carrots all the time. The horses aren’t a number in my barn.”

The next New York Stallion Stakes Series division is the Statue of Liberty at one mile on July 17 at Saratoga Race Course, a race Shivmangal said could be in play for the talented chestnut. For now though, Shivmangal is content to savor Friday’s victory in the company of her family.

“I said to my dad, ‘We are really blessed, because God is bringing good, humble people to me,’” Shivmangal said. “These owners put their trust in me, and I so appreciate that. I’ve had uncles who were jockeys, and everyone just loves racing. Since I started training, my entire family from all over – in Guyana, Canada, Florida, wherever – are all glued to the TV to watch. My phone was ringing off the hook and everyone was so happy. Racing is in our blood, and there’s a lot of ups and downs, but we come together and get to have a moment like this. It’s why we do it.”

***

Complexion, half-sister to Jack Christopher, keeps ball rolling for trainer Danny Gargan; Updates on G1 Belmont Stakes-winner Dornoch, G3-winner Society Man

While Mentee, a full-brother to last year’s Champion 2-Year-Old Colt Fierceness, generated the majority of the headlines with a five-furlong track-record in his debut score Saturday at Belmont at the Big A, Friday saw another promising juvenile in Complexion, a half-sister to multiple Grade 1-winner Jack Christopher.

Trained by Danny Gargan, the Complexity chestnut, who is out of the Half Ours mare Rushin No Blushin, bobbled at the break from the outermost post 9, but recovered to clear the field under Hall of Famer John Velazquez and lead the way through fractions of 23.20 seconds and 46.41 over the fast footing.

By the stretch call, the promising filly had three-lengths of insurance on the rest of the field and drew off for a 6 1/2 length debut score for owners Arnmore Thoroughbreds, Carl Pascarella, and Yurie Pascarella. Her final time of 58.20 going the five furlongs earned a 77 Beyer Speed Figure.

“Johnny came back and said she’s so impressive. She stumbled at the start really bad and she just picked herself up and cleared the field pretty easily,” said Gargan. “That’s hard to do. If she didn’t stumble, she would’ve been five or six lengths ahead in a minute. She’s really talented.”

Gargan said he will point Complexion to the Listed $175,000 Schuylerville, a six-furlong sprint for juvenile fillies on Thursday, June 11 Opening Day of Saratoga Race Course, with the seven-furlong Grade 1, $300,000 Spinaway on August 31 as a long-term goal.

“The stake is coming up at Saratoga, we will train her like we are going there,” Gargan said. “Hopefully everything goes well, and we make it there. She’s a talented filly, we will see how she’s doing and then the Spinaway would be the ultimate goal.”

The conditioner said Complexion, a chestnut with a distinct white blaze, boasts physical similarities to Jack Christopher and was pleased to see Friday’s performance resemble his ability well.

“Their faces are so much alike. Their legs even. She definitely resembles him a ton and she’s got talent like him,” Gargan said. “Knock on wood, I’m blessed, I trained a full-brother to a Derby-winner and won the Belmont, and now I have Jack Christopher’s half-sister and she looks talented. A lot of people say you can’t get siblings that can run, but we’ve been blessed lately.”

Gargan said that Dornoch, full-brother to last year’s Grade 1 Kentucky Derby-winner Mage, is doing well following his victory in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets on June 8 at Saratoga for owners West Paces Racing, R. A. Hill Stable, Belmar Racing and Breeding, Two Eight Racing and Pine Racing Stables.

The Good Magic bay will be pointed towards the Grade 2, $500,000 Jim Dandy Presented by Mohegan Sun on July 27 at Saratoga or the Grade 1, $1 million NYRA Bets Haskell on July 20 at Monmouth Park, with the long-term goal of the Grade 1, $1.25 million DraftKings Travers on August 24 at the Spa.

Gargan has also considered training him up to the Travers, but said as of right now he is leaning towards getting another race in.

“I don’t know for sure what we are doing. He’ll train like he is going to run them. We’ll train like he’s going to run in one of those races and we’ll figure out which one,” Gargan explained. “Obviously, we have to see who is running and it could be real hot [temperature-wise] at Monmouth. I don’t want to take him somewhere and drain him, because the big goal is the Travers.”

The Belmont Stakes effort was awarded a career-best 101 Beyer Speed Figure, much improved off his previous 75 when a troubled tenth from the inside post in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 4 at Churchill Downs. The win added to Grade 2 scores in Aqueduct’s Remsen in December and Gulfstream Park’s Fountain of Youth in March.

The Sunday after the Belmont, Gargan saw graded-stakes placed Society Man score a rallying 2 1/2-length victory in the Grade 3 Matt Winn at Churchill. The Good Magic gelding sprung a mild 6-1 upset after previously running a troubled sixteenth in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby.

“He’s a nice horse. He’s a gelding so he is going to be around a long time. He’s going to be a lot of fun to have around, he’s a really cool horse” Gargan said regarding the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino runner-up at odds of 106-1.

Gargan said the Grade 3 West Virginia Derby on August 4 at Mountaineer Racetrack is next, but will also nominate to the Grade 2 Jim Dandy at the Spa.

“I’ll nominate him to it [the Jim Dandy] and see what it is coming up like, but I’m leaning towards the West Virginia Derby with him. I’ll keep Dornoch probably in New York, who could run in the Haskell or Jim Dandy,” Gargan said.

Owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, West Paces Racing, GMP Stables, Carl Pascarella, Carl and Yurie Pascarella, Society Man was a $85,000 purchase at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

***

G3-winner Gala Brand nears return in $150K Wild Applause, Timeout registers 95 BSF

Arnmore Thoroughbreds and Even Keel Thoroughbreds’ Grade 3-winner Gala Brand is probable to return from an over seven-month layoff in Saturday’s Listed $150,000 Wild Applause, a one-mile turf test for sophomore fillies, at Belmont at the Big A.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the Violence chestnut was quite promising during her juvenile season, coming from 14 lengths back in a 5 1/2-furlong sprint to win on debut ahead of a rallying score against colts in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3 With Anticipation, both in August at Saratoga Race Course.

Gala Brand’s fall did not feature quite the same success, finishing off-the-board in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 2 Miss Grillo in October at Belmont at the Big A and the one-mile Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in November at Santa Anita Park.

She returned to the tab on April 19 at Payson Park Training Center in Florida and has recorded weekly works since, most recently breezing a half-mile in 51.25 seconds over Saratoga’s Oklahoma dirt training track on June 10.

“This [Wild Applause] is the plan,” said Mott. “She’s been back and had several good works. We just feel this is the time to start back up.”

A $30,000 purchase at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Gala Brand is out of the multiple graded/group stakes-winning Lord of England mare Olorda and is a half-sister to the stakes-placed James Aloysius.

Mott captured the Wild Applause in June 2015 at Belmont Park with multiple graded stakes winner Celestine, who went on to win the Grade 1 Just a Game there one year later.

A Mott-runner that will see a step up in class is Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Kentucky homebred Timeout, who closed strongly to graduate by a neck Saturday here in a nine-furlong maiden tilt in a final time of 1:49.08.

The third-out performance with the addition of blinkers earned an impressive 95 Beyer Speed Figure, improving upon a 78 when third going one-mile on May 4 at Churchill Downs following a 76 for second on debut sprinting seven furlongs in April at Keeneland.

On Saturday, the Curlin bay came from two lengths back in fourth position to best a field of six that included third-place stablemate Reynolds Channel finishing behind a salty rival in runner-up Military Road, whose place-honors marked his fourth consecutive second for trainer Christophe Clement.

“We think both colts have some potential. Particularly the winner,” said Mott. “We have liked him all along. Third start, he finally showed up.”

Around this time last year, Mott enjoyed success with Scotland, who debuted as a sophomore and made three outings before winning the Curlin in July at Saratoga. He exited to attempt the Grade 1 Travers in August at the Spa and finished off-the-board.

Mott said that Timeout, who now has a similar three races under his belt as the Saratoga-meet approaches, may come under consideration for the $135,000 Curlin on July 19, restricted for 3-year-olds which have not won a graded sweepstakes at a mile or over in 2024.

“Yes, I guess so. We’ll have to take a look,” Mott said.

Out of the multiple graded stakes-winning War Front mare Lull, Timeout is now 3-1-1-1 with $79,750 in earnings.

Mark T. Anderson’s multiple graded-stakes placed New York-bred Sterling Silver is under strong consideration to make her debut for Mott in the local state-bred $125,000 Dancin Renee, a six-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares on Sunday.

Mott said that the 5-year-old Cupid gray, who made her first 21 starts for the now-retired Tom Albertrani with a last-out fifth in the Grade 1 Derby City Distaff in her lone start for Lance Rutledge on May 4 at Churchill, is ready to run again and should fare well in that spot.

“It should help her,” said Mott regarding facing fellow state-breds. “I know there are actually a couple of pretty nice New York bred fillies running.”

Bred in the Empire State by Mallory Mort and Karen Mort, Sterling Silver, out of the Distorted Humor mare Sheet Humor, was a $13,000 purchase at the 2020 Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearlings Showcase. She boasts an incredible return on investment with $745,551 in purse earnings through a 22-7-3-3 record, including state-bred scores last year in the local Iroquois and as a sophomore in Belmont Park’s Bouwerie and the Big A’s Franklin Square.

***

Mentee registers 88 BSF in track-record setting debut

Repole Stable’s Mentee, a full-brother to Champion 2-Year-Old Colt Fierceness, made an auspicious debut Saturday at Belmont at the Big A with a frontrunning nose score under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez in a five-furlong maiden special weight.

Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, the 2-year-old City of Light bay broke alertly from the outermost post 7 and established command through splits of 22.37 seconds and 44.80 over the fast main track.

Mentee opened up by a seemingly insurmountable five lengths at the stretch call but was asked for more in the late stages when Colloquial – a debuting son of Vekoma – kicked into gear to bridge the gap and create a thrilling photo finish. Mentee held on by the slimmest of margins in a final time of 56.97 and garnered an 88 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort. The final time eclipsed the previous course record of 57 flat set by Bazaar on June 6, 1963.

“We knew it was going to be fast, that’s for sure. Bad post, and I had to clear everybody out of there,” Velazquez said after the race. “He ran a little green, I probably should’ve gotten after him down the lane, make sure he keeps his mind on the business, but he still held on.”

Velazquez said he rode with confidence.

“He came back [to the field] a little bit. He was a little tired. Also, being green,” Velazquez said. “I never really got after him. I kind of just showed him the crop, I didn’t want to overdo it, but he held on.”

The Hall of Fame rider guided Fierceness to Grade 1 wins in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November at Santa Anita and the Florida Derby in March at Gulfstream Park ahead of an off-the-board effort as the mutuel favorite in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby in May at Churchill Downs.

Velazquez said that Mentee definitely reminds him of Fierceness.

“Yes, very much so,” Velazquez said.

Mentee is out of the winning Stay Thirsty mare Nonna Bella, who produced the dual Grade 1-winner Fierceness.

Owner Mike Repole indicated on the social media platform X that Mentee would point to the Grade 3, $175,000 Sanford, a six-furlong sprint on July 13 at Saratoga Race Course.

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