Word Puzzle, sixth in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride in her first start of the year, is being pointed toward Friday's $52,000-added Via Borghese Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at a mile and a sixteenth on the grass.
The overnight stakes is written under conditions similar to the grade III Herecomesthebride, which was taken off the grass on January 21 due to inclement weather in previous days. The daughter of Ghazi out of Macroe Lady won Keeneland's Green River Stakes last October. Macroe Lady was named in honor of the late Myrtle Broughton, who was co-owner Sarah K. Ramsey's mother. Mrs. Broughton was from Macroe Branch in the Appalachian hills of eastern Kentucky. In her later years, she enjoyed working crossword puzzles, inspiring the name of Word Puzzle.Free the Magic, a winner of her last two in a row on grass but a distant seventh in the grade III Herecomesthebride when that race was taken off the turf, is also pointing to Friday's Via Borghese Stakes."She'll probably run, but it looks like it's coming up pretty tough," said trainer Ralph Ziadie of the Via Borghese, restricted to 3-year-old fillies. Free the Magic, owned by Buckram Oak Farm, is a daughter of Cryptoclearance.Gaviola, one of the top turf fillies in the country, continues to train well for her return to the racing scene. The 4-year-old gray filly was clocked in :49 breezing in her latest trial here Wednesday morning and according to her Billy Turner, she is right on schedule.
"I sent her to the farm in early October," Turner said, "and didn't put her into training until mid-December. I really don't want to rush her. My main objective with her is the Orchid Handicap (grade II, $200,000 Handicap on March 19). I'll probably run her one time before that. Most likely in the Suwannee River in mid-February." The latter is a $100,000 1 1/8 miles grade III test on Feb. 17.
Gaviola began her 2000 season by finishing third in the Sweetest Chant Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream on Jan. 17 and won her next two races here including the Herecomesthebride Stakes (gr. III) on March 1.
Gaviola followed with four straight victories, including scores in the Sands Point Stakes (gr. III), Lake Placid Handicap (gr. II), and Garden City Breeders' Cup Handicap (G1), all in New York. She then finished sixth as the 4-5 favorite in the Queen Elizabeth Cup (G1) at Keeneland on Oct. 8 in her 2000 finale.
"I shouldn't have run her in that race at Keeneland," Turner said. "She wasn't training right and I shipped her down from New York. She was a short horse and the only reason I ran her was because it was the last stakes race that fit her. I hadn't planned on running her in the Breeders' Cup because I don't believe in pushing a 3-year-old filly that hard."