Grade I Winner Laragh Makes Season Debut

Laragh, who captured the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) in December, makes her 3-year-old debut in the $150,000 Comely Stakes (gr. II) at one mile on the Aqueduct main track April 11.

The lanky daughter of Tapit  will be making her first start on dirt. She heads a field of six in the Comely that also includes Don’t Forget Gil, a romping winner of the March 14 Florida Oaks (gr. III) at Tampa Bay Downs.

Laragh closed out her 2-year-old campaign on a high note with a front-running win in the Dec. 13 Hollywood Starlet, her third victory in six starts.

“She’s bigger, she’s stronger, and hopefully, she’s faster,” said John Terranova, who trains Laragh for IEAH Stable. “She had a nice break over the winter. We originally had planned on bring her back in March, but the extra time off did her a world of good. We went right up the to end of last year with her with a lot of traveling, and the transition from age two to age three is a real jump."

Laragh made her first three starts on turf and artificial surfaces in Canada before she was purchased by IEAH and joined Terranova’s barn in the fall. In her first start for her new connections, she won the Jessamine Stakes on the turf at Keeneland, earning a berth in the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita. She led to the final furlong before tiring and finished third, a length behind the victorious Maram.

The gray filly remained in Southern California for the Starlet, where she grabbed the lead for jockey Edgar Prado early and stayed in front en route to a one-length triumph over Wynning Ride on Hollywood Park's Cushion Track.

The Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) was under consideration for Laragh, but with IEAH also owning Stardom Bound, Terranova looked elsewhere. The Comely, at a mile, seemed the most promising place to start.

“We had a few options, including the Beaumont (gr. II), the Ashland (gr. I), or the Fantasy (gr. II), but figured, let’s just come here and try her on dirt,” he said. “A mile is great for her – when the gates open, she knows where she wants to be. In each of her races, she’s taken control.”

After spending the early part of the year at Palm Meadows in Florida, Laragh shipped to Terranova’s barn at Belmont Park last month. She has had  a pair of works, including a five-furlong move April 5 in 1:00.22, fastest of six on the main track at the distance.

“This will be her first start on dirt, but she has been training really well on it,” said Terranova. “She trained great on it at Palm Meadows, and also before she went to Keeneland. She’s just a class filly who’s done everything right so far.”

Laragh earned $512,000 as a 2-year-old. Ramon Dominguez will ride from post 4.

Don't Forget Gil, a dark bay or brown daughter of Kafwain who is coming off a four-length victory in the Florida Oaks, is trained by Mark Hennig for Alan Brodsky. Don’t Forget Gil began her career in New York, winning at first asking before finishing second in an allowance over a good track. She closed out her juvenile campaign with a win in the East View Stakes. She was third to Pumpkin Shell in the Busanda in her first start of 2009. A third in the Suncoast, also at Tampa Bay Downs, preceded her big win in the Florida Oaks.

Don't Forget Gil will be ridden by Rajiv Maragh from post 2.

Stewart Armstrong’s Dream Play was the beaten favorite in the Cicada (gr. III) after a slow start. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, the daughter of Hennessy won the Dearly Precious on Valentine’s Day by 8 1/4 lengths under Eddie Castro, who will return in the irons. Dream Play will leave from post 5.

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens sends out Edward P. Evans’ Subprime, who broke her maiden over Aqueduct’s main track in an off-the-turf event last October. She ran into a buzzsaw in her first two starts this year, finishing third to What a Pear in the Feb. 1 Wistful and second to that one Feb. 22 in the Busher. She will be ridden by Richard Migliore and break from post position 3.

R. Mary Zuckerman’s Platinum Girl brings a two-race winning streak into the Comely, having taken a one-mile optional claimer Feb. 21 at Laurel and posting a 12 1/4-length win in a claiming race Jan. 24 at Philadelphia Park. Trainer Todd Pletcher has named Mike Luzzi to ride from the rail.

Rounding out the field from the far outside is Karen S. Farrar’s Holdontoyourdream, who has won two of three starts at Philadelphia Park for trainer Anthony Dutrow. David Cohen will ride.

$150,000 Comely Stakes (gr. II, Race 9, 4:50 p.m.), 3-Year-Old Fillies, one mile
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Platinum Girl (KY), 116, Michael J. Luzzi
2. Don't Forget Gil (NY), 122, Rajiv Maragh
3. Subprime (VA), 116, Richard Migliore
4. Laragh (KY), 122, Ramon A. Dominguez
5. Dream Play (KY), 118, Eddie Castro
6. Holdontoyourdream (PA), 116, David Cohen