Dill or No Dill is one of three runners in the Cicada (gr. III) trained by Gary Contessa.

Dill or No Dill is one of three runners in the Cicada (gr. III) trained by Gary Contessa.

Rick Samuels

Contessa Sends Out Half of Cicada Field

Six 3-year-old fillies will battle in the six-furlong sprint at Aqueduct.

Veteran trainer Gary Contessa had the perfect answer when asked what he thought of his chances in the $100,000 Cicada Stakes (gr. III) March 15 at Aqueduct. Contessa was reminded that he was entering a trio of 3-year-old fillies in the six-furlong dirt sprint, or half of the field of six.

“We’re hoping for three scratches and then we couldn’t lose,” Contessa joked. “If we can’t win legitimately, we’ll win by default.”

Contessa’s entries are True Intentions and Ready for Fortune, who will be coupled for owner Dennis Narlinger, and Dill Or No Dill, who won a six-furlong event at Aqueduct in her sophomore debut. Aside from being well-stacked in numbers, Contessa said all three fillies complement each other perfectly.

“Dill Or No Dill will go straight to the lead,” Contessa said emphatically. “She is outside of (Kiaran) McLaughlin’s filly (Carolyn’s Cat), so we’re going to take no mercy on her and go straight to the front. True Intentions likes to stay a length or two off the lead, and Ready for Fortune is a left field closer. So they all augment each other very well.

So which one has the best chance of winning, Contessa was asked?

“I like all three to be honest with you,” Contessa said. “Dill Or No Dill is rock solid, Ready for Fortune is training beautifully, and True Intentions is a coming along nicely. I feel confident with all of them.”

Ready for Fortune is the only one of the three coming off a win. The More Than Ready filly took the six-furlong Dearly Precious Stakes by a neck Feb. 17 at Aqueduct. Bred in Kentucky, she is 2-0-0 from four starts. Out of the Fortunate Prospect mare Fortunate Card, Contessa said Ready for Fortune will likely be a turf sprinter as she gets older.

True Intentions was third in the Dearly Precious after tiring in the stretch. But it was only her second lifetime start, and her first effort since breaking her maiden in May of last year. The Officer filly was bred in New Jersey by JMJ Racing Stables. Eddie Castro will ride.

Dill Or No Dill won the Ruthless Stakes by 5 ½ lengths over Carolyn’s Cat in January, but was trumped by her rival a little more than three weeks later in the T Storm Stakes, also at Aqueduct. In that one, Carolyn’s Cat jumped to the lead and went wire-to-wire for a five-length score.

Dill Or No Dill is owned by Winning Move Stable and partners. The daughter of Evansville Slew is 3-2-1 from seven starts and has captured a pair of stakes. Ramon Dominguez will be in the irons.

The other two starters are Zayat Stables’ Throbbin’ Heart and Bad Boys Stable’s Psycho D J. Throbbin’ Heart is coming off a 1 ¾-length victory in the Marshua Stakes at Laurel Park Feb. 9. The Steve Asmussen trainee also scored in the six-furlong Xtra Heat Stakes last December at Aqueduct, beating Dill Or No Dill by three lengths.

$100,000 Cicada Stakes (gr. III, Race 3, 1:56 p.m.), Three-Year-Old Fillies, Six Furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. True Intentions (NJ), 118, Eddie Castro
2. Ready for Fortune (KY), 118, Mario G. Pino
3. Throbbin' Heart (KY), 120, Stewart Elliott
4. Psycho D J (KY), 118, Michael J. Luzzi
5. Carolyn's Cat (KY), 118, Alan Garcia
6. Dill Or No Dill (KY), 120, Ramon A. Dominguez