Multiple graded stakes winner Gozzip Girl heads a contentious field of seven fillies and mares in the $150,000 New York Stakes (gr. IIT), run at 1 1/4 miles on the Belmont Park turf.
Owned by Farnsworth Stables and trained by Tom Albertrani, Gozzip Girl broke her maiden at second-asking on turf at Aqueduct in November of her 2-year-old season and rapidly evolved into a sophomore turf standout, winning the Coconut Grove Stakes and Herecomesthebride (gr. IIIT) on the grass at Gulfstream Park last winter. In her first grade I start, the Ashland run over Keeneland’s Polytrack in April 2009, the late-running Dynaformer filly missed by just a neck.
Returning to the turf in the Sands Point (gr. IIT) at Belmont last May, Gozzip Girl led from gate to wire to win by 1 1/2 lengths, then shipped to California where she drew clear in the lane to capture the American Oaks (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park in July.
Gozzip Girl will make her 4-year-old debut after returning from a lengthy layoff. She was last seen crossing the wire third in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. I) at Keeneland in October but was later disqualified and placed seventh. Albertrani hopes the New York will be a stepping-stone to Saratoga success later in the summer.
“The goal would be the Diana (gr. IT, July 31), and after that we’ll leave our options open,” Albertrani said. “There’s a possibility we would try her on dirt; maybe in the Personal Ensign (gr. I, Aug. 29). She always works well over it, and she ran well over the Polytrack. She only ran once on it, her first time, and I’d like to see if she really didn’t like it, or if she was just green in her initial outing.”
While future plans are fluid, Albertrani is confident that Gozzip Girl is coming into Saturday’s race in fine shape.
“She’s doing very well,” Albertrani continued. “The timing of this race set up better, and she looks fit and ready to go.”
With a record of 5-1-0 from 10 starts and earnings of nearly $800,000, Gozzip Girl is out of the Kingmambo mare Temperence Gift. She was bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings. New York’s leading jockey, Ramon Dominguez, will ride Gozzip Girl for the first time, breaking from post 7.
Stepping up to challenge her is Changing Skies, an Irish-bred daughter of Sadler’s Wells who has put together four consistent efforts since her arrival in trainer Bill Mott’s barn last fall.
A winner in her U.S. debut, a 1 1/8-mile turf allowance at Belmont Park on Sept. 30, she was then second in an October allowance at Keeneland, and won the The Very One (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream on Feb. 27. She most recently finished second after setting a slow pace in the grade III Bewitch at Keeneland in April.
Changing Skies breezed a bullet five furlongs over the Belmont turf last weekend, covering the distance in 1:00.67.
“She worked well and finished up the last three furlongs very well,” said Mott, who trains the mare for Swettanham Stud. “It looks like she’s ready.”
Channing Hill gets the call, and the pair will break from post 2.
Lady Shakespeare, who tracked Changing Skies in the Bewitch and caught her in the stretch to win by 2 1/2 lengths, is one of two entrants for trainer Roger Attfield, who will also saddle Ave.
A 4-year-old daughter of Theatrical, Lady Shakespeare earned her first graded stakes victory in the Bewitch. She is 6-2-1 from 11 lifetime starts and has finished worse than fifth only once. Owned by her breeder, Charles E. Fipke, Lady Shakespeare will be ridden by John Velazquez from post 6.
Attfield will also saddle Three Chimneys Racing’s Ave, a British-bred daughter of Danehill Dancerwho will make her second U.S. start. A group II winner in Ireland, Ave earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 99 for her third-place finish in the Gallorette Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Preakness undercard May 15 at Pimlico.
With Mike Luzzi in the irons, Ave will break from the rail.
$150,000 New York Stakes (Race 9, 5:17 p.m. EST p.m.), Fillies and Mares, 1 1/4 Miles (Turf) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Ave (GB), M J Luzzi, 116, R L Attfield
2. Changing Skies (IRE), C Hill, 120, W I Mott
3. Sweet and Flawless (KY), L R Goncalves, 116, E R Reed
4. Nehantic Kat (NY), D Cohen, 116, B Tagg
5. Daveron (GER), R Maragh, 116, C Clement
6. Lady Shakespeare (KY), J R Velazquez, 120, R L Attfield
7. Gozzip Girl (KY), R A Dominguez, 118, T Albertrani