Alto Belle tries to show she’s no fluke in Bu­sanda

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - Front Page - By David Gren­ing

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Seventy-two days af­ter win­ning a maiden race by 18 1/2 lengths, Alto Belle gets a chance to val­i­date the per­for­mance when she heads a field of nine 3-year-old fil­lies set to run in the $100,000 Bu­sanda Stakes at Aqueduct.

The Bu­sanda was orig­i­nally sched­uled for Jan. 23, but was post­poned when that card was can­celed due to a snow­storm. Drawn with seven that day, the race went with nine for Sun­day. The Bu­sanda, which of­fers qual­i­fy­ing points to the Ken­tucky Oaks to the top four fin­ish­ers (10- 4-2-1), is the co-fea­ture on the 10-race progam along with the $100,000 Maddie May Stakes for New York-bred 3-year-old fil­lies. Both races are con­tested at a mile and 70 yards.

Trainer Todd Pletcher was not plan­ning to wait two months to run Alto Belle, but a firstlevel al­lowance race failed to fill in late De­cem­ber. Pletcher, who has won the last three run­nings of the Bu­sanda – and four of the last five – doesn’t think the 10 weeks will be a fac­tor.

“She’s not a real big filly, doesn’t carry a lot of weight,” Pletcher said. “She trains en­thu­si­as­ti­cally enough that I think fit­ness should not be an is­sue.”

Pletcher be­lieves the two-turn con­fig­u­ra­tion of the Bu­sanda “is go­ing to be good for her.”

With the week de­lay, Pletcher has also en­tered Lost Raven, who fin­ished se­cond in the six-fur­long Marshua Stakes at Lau­rel on Jan 16. Also new to the field is In­vite, who has not run since fin­ish­ing sixth in the Grade 2 De­moi­selle at Aqueduct on Nov. 28.

In the Maddie May, Frosty Mar­garita, a two-time sprint stakes win­ner, will at­tempt two turns for the first time in a 10-horse field which in­cludes Ab­satootly and Back­wood Bay, noses part when fin­ish­ing one-two in the East View here on Dec. 27.

BU­SANDA (RACE 9)

KEY CON­TENDERS

Alto Belle, by Trappe Shot (Last 3 Bey­ers: 74-62-61)

◗ She showed good early speed in rolling to an open-length maiden score go­ing a one-turn mile in the mud on Nov. 20. She could be the pri­mary speed again from post 5 un­der Irad Or­tiz Jr. on Sun­day.

“I think she’ll be prom­i­nent early, that’s her na­ture,” Pletcher said.

Flora Dora, by First Dude (Last 3 Bey­ers: 66-75-61)

◗ She was held in re­serve be­hind a slow pace yet fin­ished with in­ter­est to be beaten only three lengths in the De­moi­selle on Nov. 28.

“I don’t think pace is go­ing to be a fac­tor be­cause I thought she should have been part of the pace a lit­tle bit more than she was last time,” said Mar­i­al­ice Cof­fey, who trains Flora Dora.

◗ Jose Or­tiz re­places Ken­drick Car­mouche in the sad­dle.

Sca­toosh, by Scat Daddy (Last 3 Bey­ers: 66-72-70)

◗ She ended a streak of three straight se­cond-place fin­ishes with a 4 1/2-length maiden score go­ing 1 1/16 miles over the in­ner track on New Year’s Day.

MADDIE MAY (RACE 6)

KEY CON­TENDERS

Frosty Mar­garita, by Frost Gi­ant (Last 3 Bey­ers: 76-72-66)

◗ She has never fin­ished worse than se­cond in six starts, in­clud­ing a pair of re­stricted sprint stakes.

◗ She de­feated heav­ily fa­vored Behrnik’s Bank in a six-fur­long race over the in­ner track.

◗ Her pedi­gree sug­gests she could han­dle the stretch-out, and her last two Beyer Speed Fig­ures are higher than the high­est recorded by any of her nine ri­vals.

Back­wood Bay, by Giro­lamo (Last 3 Bey­ers: 54-65-23)

◗ In a pair of two-turn races at this dis­tance, she was beaten a nose by Ab­satootly in the East View and won a first-level al­lowance by a head.

◗ Both races came since trainer Linda Rice re­moved blink­ers.

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