J'ray Aimed Toward La Prevoyante
Lawrence Goichman’s J’ray, who has raced well over the Calder Race Course turf throughout her career, will try to earn her third graded stakes victory of the season as she takes on 10 rivals Dec. 13 in the $150,000 La Prevoyante Handicap (gr. IIT).
A 1 1/2-mile event for older fillies and mares, the La Prevoyante drew some accomplished older mares, including graded stakes winners Communique, The Niagara Queen and Palmilla. Herboriste, who has been graded stakes-placed four times this season and enters off a victory in the Dowager Stakes at Keeneland last out, also has a legitimate chance.
The La Prevoyante is the second of four graded stakes events on Calder’s Grand Slam program, which has purses totaling $500,000. The seven-furlong Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap (gr. III) for 3-year-olds and up kicks off the graded stakes action.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, J’ray has produced a 2-3-0 record from nine starts this season. The 5-year-old Distant View mare scored the Matchmaker Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth Park in August and came right back to take the Canadian Stakes (Can-IIT) on Woodbine’s yielding turf one month later. Last out, J’ray was runner-up by a length in the 12-furlong Long Island Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Aqueduct.
In her career, in which she has earned $941,643, J’ray is 2-2-0 from four starts at Calder. She won the Tropical Park Oaks in 2006 and took the My Charmer Handicap (gr. IIIT) the following year. Joe Bravo gets the mount on J’ray, who is out of the Darshaan mare Bubbling Heights. She will carry top weight of 121 pounds.
G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s Communique is also in good form. The 4-year-old Smart Strike filly has only been off the board in one of seven starts this season, and has three wins to show for her efforts. Two of the wins came in graded stakes action, as she took the Bewitch Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland this spring and the Modesty Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Arlington in July.
Trained by Rusty Arnold, Communique stepped up to grade I company in her last two and turned in good performances. She was runner-up to Mauralakana in the Beverly D. at Arlington in August and third in the Flower Bowl Invitational last out at Belmont. Javier Castellano gets the call.
Also with big chances are Elite Racing’s Woodbine shipper The Niagara Queen, who won the Dance Smartly Stakes (Can-IIT) two starts back for trainer Steve Asmussen; Augustine Stable’s Palmilla, winner of the Robert Dick Memorial Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Delaware Park this summer; and Northern Bloodstock’s Herboriste, who defeated Palmilla by 1 1/2 lengths in the Dowager last out.
Win Streak on the Line
In the Kenny Noe, Trilogy Stables’ impressive 4-year-old Yesbyjimminy goes for his sixth consecutive win and seeks his first graded stakes score. He will face as many as seven rivals, all of them local products.
Yesbyjimminy is trained by Eddie Plesa Jr., who leads all trainers in wins at the current meet. The son of Yes It's True began his win streak in allowance company July 11 and won three black-type sprints during the span. His most recent effort was a three-quarters length victory in the state-restricted Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap Nov. 8, as he defeated current entrant Hypocrite by three parts of length in the six-furlong contest. Elvis Trujillo will get the mount for only the second time on the probable favorite, who will carry top weight of 121 pounds.
Hypocrite, a 3-year-old son of Outofthebox, has won three of six starts at Calder this year for trainer Emanuel Tortora. The dark bay turned in bullet work of 1:01.40 for five furlongs Dec. 6. Regular rider Pedro Monterrey has the assignment.
Also to consider is How’s Your Halo, a 5-year-old horse who won Calder's Radar Love Stakes Nov. 22 by 3 1/4 lengths. Owned and trained by Brian Prichard, How’s Your Halo was third in last year’s Kenny Noe.
$100,000 Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap (gr. III), Race 7, 3:03. p.m.) 3 & Up, seven furlongs (Dirt)
$150,000 La Prevoyante Handicap (gr. IIT, Race 10, 4:27 p.m), 3 & Up, fillies and mares, 1 1/2 Miles (Turf)
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