Zonk has never won in New York, but that could change in Saturday's oversubscribed grade III Affectionately Handicap for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles at Aqueduct.
Her first New York test cam in the grade I Mother Goose at Belmont followed by her 10th place finish on the turf in the Garden City. Settling in a good position most recently in the Top Flight while facing elders for the first time on Thanksgiving weekend, Zonk made an inside bid at the top of the stretch, fought for the lead and stayed on well to be a close fourth.
In all her New York starts, Zonk is yet to go two turns on the dirt, which seems her preferred trip. The biggest win of her career, the Delaware Oaks, came around two turns as did Monmouth's Revidere.
As suited as Zonk seems for the race, Strolling Belle will be returning to a distance where she has never been worse than third.
A two-time winner of the Ladies Handicap, the daughter of Strolling Along was third in the 2001 Ladies and will add blinkers this time out. Strolling Belle was defeated as the favorite in the Long Look at the Meadowlands and Aqueduct's Turnback the Alarm, beaten by two rivals she will again face on Saturday, People's Princess and Rochelle's Terms.
The field for Saturday's grade III Affectionately Handicap: Tugger (Jose Velez Jr., 118); Miss Splash (Lorenzo Lezcano, 109); Zonk (Richard Migliore, 116); Double Trick (Shaun Bridgmohan, 112); Search Party (Javier Castellano, 114); Strolling Belle (Heberto Castillo Jr., 117); Rochelle's Terms (Robbie Davis, 114); Weekend Kaper (Jean-Luc Samyn); People's Princess (Aaron Gryder, 115); Poiver (C.C. Lopez, 114); A.O.L. Hayes (Mike Luzzi, 114); A.P. Andie (Julian Pimentel, 113); and also entered Tsuyu (Filiberto Leon, 109).