Dragic back with fe­males in Ste­wart Manor

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - Front Page - By By­ron King

Dragic moved later than usual in the Oct. 7 Fu­tu­rity at Bel­mont Park, though not late enough for her trainer, Wes­ley Ward. Fifth down the back­stretch while chas­ing a hot pace over a tir­ing course, she ad­vanced into third on the turn and into first in mid­stretch, only to be out­fin­ished by Un­cle Benny and Back­to­his­roots.

“They got the bet­ter part of the race, sit­ting far­ther back than us,” Ward said of her third-place fin­ish.

She also lost to two quality colts, led by vic­to­ri­ous Un­cle Benny, who re­turned to fin­ish sec­ond in the Breed­ers’ Cup Ju­ve­nile Turf.

Sun­day in the $100,000 Ste­wart Manor at Aqueduct, Dragic does not have to deal with those ri­vals or any male horses for that mat­ter. She is back with fe­males, again sprint­ing six fur­longs on grass, just as she did in the Fu­tu­rity.

Even so, she does not tower over the op­po­si­tion. Two ri­vals, Re­gal Glory and In­tro­duced, have run Beyer Speed Fig­ures on turf com­pa­ra­ble to the 76 posted by Dragic in the Fu­tu­rity. Oth­ers act classy, no­tably French stakes win­ner Monette, who ral­lied to be a close sec­ond in the Grade 3 Ma­tron on Oct. 8 at Bel­mont in her first race in North Amer­ica.

“It’s a com­pet­i­tive bunch of fil­lies,” Ward said.

Dragic, a 2-year-old daugh­ter of Bro­ken Vow owned by Steven Bell, is now twice stakes-placed on grass, hav­ing also run third in the Ken­tucky Downs Ju­ve­nile on Sept. 1. That race fol­lowed a fourth on dirt be­hind two-time Grade 1 win­ner Bel­la­fina in the Del Mar’s Sor­rento and a firstout maiden win at Keeneland in April. Hall of Famer John Ve­lazquez rides Dragic, the 5-2 morn­ing-line fa­vorite.

Sec­ond choice at 3-1 is Re­gal Glory, a Chad Brown-trained filly by An­i­mal King­dom who ral­lied from ninth to regis­ter a 5 1/2-length vic­tory when de­but­ing Oct. 6 at Bel­mont. A half-sis­ter to two-time Grade 3 win­ner Night Prowler, she re­tains the ser­vices of Jose Or­tiz, who was up for her maiden vic­tory.

An­other con­tender, the speedy In­tro­duced, won her maiden on dirt when a sched­uled turf race came off the grass Sept. 28 at Lau­rel Park. Pre­vi­ously, she had been sec­ond to Con­crete Rose, sub­se­quent win­ner of the Jes­samine Stakes at Keeneland, in a 5 1/2-fur­long turf race at Saratoga.

Al­though rain is in the fore­cast late Fri­day af­ter­noon and evening, sunny skies and windy con­di­tions are ex­pected over the week­end in New York, po­ten­tially leav­ing a dry­ing-out turf course Sun­day.

Also Sun­day at Aqueduct is the Staten Is­land Divi­sion of the New York Stal­lion Stakes Se­ries, a seven-fur­long, $125,000 race for fil­lies and mares that goes as the day’s fi­nale. In that spot, mil­lion­aire High­way Star is eas­ily the most ac­com­plished and fastest en­trant.

She also is rac­ing on the short­est rest. Af­ter fin­ish­ing eighth in the Nov. 3 Breed­ers’ Cup Filly And Mare Sprint, she re­turns eight days later, with her con­nec­tions seek­ing to pounce on the op­por­tu­nity to face re­stricted stakes com­pany.

“I don’t usu­ally run horses back this quickly, but she’s shown that she’s come back well from Churchill,” trainer Ro­drigo Ubillo said. “We know that she likes to run in New York, and this is cer­tainly an eas­ier spot for her.”

A 5-year-old New York­bred daugh­ter of Giro­lamo, graded win­ner High­way Star was tabbed as the 8-5 fa­vorite. She brings a 3-for-5 record on the Aqueduct main track into Sun­day’s race and a 3-for-7 mark at seven fur­longs. Irad Or­tiz Jr. rides.

Of her 10 ad­ver­saries, the next rich­est are the un­cou­pled Rudy Ro­driguez-trained pair of Frosty Mar­garita, with earn­ings of $584,676, and Frostie Anne, a win­ner of $440,498. Both are stakes win­ners this year who went un­placed in their most re­cent out­ings.

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