A little over a year ago, Stardom Bound dominated the field in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) for her third consecutive grade I victory.
In the five months following that win, Stardom Bound was purchased by IEAH Stables for $5.7 million, was named champion 2-year-old filly, and extended her grade I winning streak to five.
Her stock was so high during the spring that she was the 12-1 co-third choice on the morning line for the first Kentucky Derby future wager. On the morning line for the Kentucky Oaks futures, Stardom Bound was the 5-1 favorite; Rachel Alexandra was 6-1.
But a third-place finish as the odds-on choice in the Ashland (gr. I) at Keeneland this spring halted any plans of running beneath the Twin Spires, and Stardom Bound has not been out since.
That is, until Nov. 28, when the flashy gray/roan 3-year-old daughter of Tapit returns to action in the $300,000 Gazelle (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles at Aqueduct.
“We knew she was going south on us when we got her in the spring, but we were really hoping to get her to the Kentucky Oaks,” said Mike Iavarone, president of IEAH. “She was just not sending us the right signals. Sometimes horses just don’t progress physically from age two to three. She’s really grown up in her time off, especially physically.”
Despite not having raced in seven months, Iavarone says Stardom Bound is “better than ever” and he’s looking forward to seeing her back on the track.
Mike Smith, who has been aboard for all eight of Stardom Bound’s career starts, will fly in from California for the mount aboard the 9-5 morning-line favorite.
For Godolphin Stable’s Flashing, a 3-year-old daughter of A.P. Indy trained by Saeed bin Suroor, the Gazelle will be the final start of her career.
So far in 2009, Flashing has won the Nassua County (gr. III) at Aqueduct and the Test (gr. I) at Saratoga. She exits an uncharacteristically dull 12th-place finish in the Raven Run (gr. II) over the Keeneland Polytrack.
Competing at distances ranging from six furlongs to 1 1/4 miles, C. E. C. Farms’ Milwaukee Appeal has yet to finish off the board in 2009. In June, the Milwaukee Brew filly won the $503,000 Woodbine Oaks (Can-IR), and two months later finished second behind runaway winner Careless Jewel in the Alabama Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga.
Peter Vegso’s Unrivaled Belle didn’t make her career debut until April of this year, when she finished second at Keeneland. But the daughter of Unbridled's Song has grown up quickly, winning her next three starts including the Real Prize Stakes last out at Belmont Park.
Completing the field for the Gazelle are Kaleem Shah’s Me Love, Timothy F. Ritchey’s Bon Jovi Girl, Homewrecker Racing’s Multipass, and Robert H. Zoellner’s Peach Brew.
$300,000 Gazelle (gr. I, Race 8, 3:10), 3YO Fillies, 1 1/8 Miles (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Me Love (KY), R A Dominguez, 115, D Capuano
2. Flashing (KY), R Migliore, 115, S bin Suroor
3. Milwaukee Appeal (ON), J R Velazquez, 115, S H Fairlie
4. Unrivaled Belle (KY), K J Desormeaux, 115, W I Mott
5. Bon Jovi Girl (KY), E S Prado, 115, T F Ritchey
6. Multipass (KY), R Maragh, 115, E Kenneally
7. Peach Brew (OK), Q Hamilton, 117, D K Von Hemel
8. Stardom Bound (KY), M E Smith, 122, J Rodriguez