The NY/NJ Report
THE NEW YORK/NEW JERSEY REPORT
Classic runners return in Pegasus
Preakness S. (G1) contenders JACKSON BEND (Hear No Evil) and SCHOOLYARD DREAMS (Stephen Got Even) return to competition on Saturday as part of a six-horse field in the $200,000 Pegasus S. (G3) at Monmouth Park. The pair took a slight break following the second jewel of the Triple Crown and will be looking to return to the winner's circle in this spot.
Of the two, Jackson Bend had the most success during the Triple Crown season. The Nick Zito charge posted back-to-back seconds in the Holy Bull S. (G3), Fountain of Youth S. (G2) and Wood Memorial S. (G1) prior to an off-the-board run in the Kentucky Derby (G1). He returned for the Preakness on May 15 and just missed second by a head when third on that day. The chestnut colt racked up a 5-1-0 line from six starts as a juvenile but is seeking his first win as a sophomore following a tough season so far. Jose Lezcano will take the reins for the first time.
Schoolyard Dreams threw his hat into the Triple Crown game when finishing second in the Sam F. Davis S. (G3) and then just missing by a nose in the Tampa Bay Derby (G3). He finished behind Jackson Bend in the Wood Memorial, filling the fourth spot, and then ran ninth in the Preakness last out. Eibar Coa was aboard for that classic and retains the mount here.
Other contenders in the 1 1/16-mile Pegasus include AFLEET AGAIN (Afleet Alex) and NACHO FRIEND (Friends Lake). The former brings a win in the Withers S. (G3) into this event and was a close third in the Spend a Buck S. last out. Nacho Friend ran third to Afleet Again's 10th-placing in the Gotham S. (G3) in early March, but could no better than fourth in the Spend a Buck.
Dwyer S. (G2) fourth SOARING EMPIRE (Empire Maker) and AFLEET EXPRESS (Afleet Alex), who is making his stakes bow here off a 7 3/4-length allowance triumph, round out the field.
Gozzip Girl gets back to work in New York
The slate is blank and a fresh start is available for GOZZIP GIRL (Dynaformer) in Saturday's $150,000 New York S. (G2) at Belmont Park. Advancing to the head of her three-year-old class on turf last season after summer victories in the Sands Point S. (G2) and American Oaks (G1), the Tom Albertrani pupil saw her grip on divisional leadership slip after escaping a near fall in the Garden City S. (G1) and running a distant third as the odds-on favorite in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1). Adding insult to injury, she was subsequently disqualified and placed last in that Keeneland fixture after testing positive for acepromazine, a tranquilizer.
The July 31 Diana H. (G1) at Saratoga is reportedly on Albertrani's radar for Gozzip Girl, but before she moves on she'll have to show something off an eight-month layoff over a demanding 1 1/4 miles on Belmont's inner turf. And there are no shortage of viable contenders standing in her way. Among these are a pair from the barn of Roger Attfield, AVE (GB) (Danehill Dancer) and LADY SHAKESPEARE (Theatrical [Ire]). Ave, a Group 3 winner in Ireland, made a strong late rally to just miss in the May 15 Gallorette H. (G3) at Pimlico, finished third by a half-length to former European champion Rainbow View (Dynaformer). Lady Shakespeare, meanwhile, overcame two photo-finish beats early in the season to notch the 1 1/2-mile Bewitch S. (G3) by 2 1/2 lengths last time at Keeneland.
DAVERON (Ger) (Black Sam Bellamy), a stakes winner in Germany, cruised by four lengths over Belmont's inner turf against allowance/optional claiming rivals on May 14. It was the first U.S. start for the five-year-old, who sports the green and red colors of Team Valor. CHANGING SKIES (Ire) (Sadler's Wells), heroine of The Very One S. (G3) two back, was the surprise early leader in the Bewitch but was eventually run down late and settled for second. Changing Skies has never finished worse than second in four appearances since her importation.
The New York field is rounded out by NEHANTIC KID (Tomorrows Cat), the New York-bred who was a distant second in the Sheepshead Bay S. (G2) most recently, and SWEET AND FLAWLESS (Unbridled's Song), an uneventful third in the Bewitch in her most recent turf attempt.
On the New York worktab
Stakes winner SOLITAIRE (Victory Gallop), readying for his 2010 debut, recorded six furlongs in 1:15 3/5 over the fast Oklahoma training track in Saratoga on Wednesday.
Three-year-old DEVON ROCK (Rock Hard Ten), an impressive 2 1/4-length turf maiden winner on the Belmont S. (G1) undercard, breezed a half-mile in :51 over the fast training track at Belmont Park.
On the New Jersey worktab
Grade 3 winner TALKIN ABOUT LOVE (Not for Love), fifth when making her six-year-old bow in the May 30 Monmouth Beach S., breezed five furlongs in 1:02 1/5 over the fast main track at Monmouth Park on Wednesday.
Stakes vixen IN THE ROUGH (Stormy Atlantic), a good second in the Little Silver S. last time, covered four furlongs in :49 2/5 on the firm turf.
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