Tiny Field Faces Galactic Cat in Valley Stream

(from Aqueduct report)
Kentucky-based trainer Rebecca "Becky" Maker saddles her first starter at Aqueduct when she send Galactic Cat to the post Sunday in the $100,000-added Valley Stream (gr. III) for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs.

Galactic Cat, who has yet to finish worse than third in four career starts, takes on four rivals.

This winter, the 34-year-old Maker intends on having an eight-horse string in the Big Apple.

"I've had a lot of interest from my clients on racing in New York," said Maker, who worked for D. Wayne Lukas and leading New York trainer Todd Pletcher before going out on her own in the summer of 2002. "The purse structure is very good and the bigger outfits go to Florida. We'll see how things go. If they go the way I'm hoping, I'd like to have a string (in New York) through the summer."

Galactic Cat, a daughter of Forest Wildcat, is 2-1-1 from four starts. She won her career debut at Arlington in July, ran second in the Prairie Meadows Debutante in early September, went on to win a $50,000 optional claimer at Hawthorne on Oct. 10. Most recently, she finished third in the Meadowlands' Holly. The winner of the Holly, More Moonlight, was also entered in the Valley Stream.

"I'm hoping for a better trip than the one we had in the Holly," Maker said. "She was the only horse that night that closed. I think Aaron (Gryder) riding her back is a positive. He'll know her a little better this time."

Gryder is excited about her potential.

"She's not a very big horse, but she's very solid," Gryder said. "She's very easy and generous to ride. The race doesn't have to set up for her."

After demolishing the competition while easily winning her first two starts, Alfonsina will go off a deserving favorite for trainer Nick Zito. The Grand Slam filly, Alfonsina won her career debut impressively at Saratoga in August, defeating next-out maiden winner Hanging Chads.

Although she did not race at Belmont over the fall, Alfonsina returned to the races on Nov. 4 at Aqueduct to take an entry-level allowance by five lengths under a vigorous hand ride.

Trainer Steve Asmussen, edging close to Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg's single-year record of 496 wins set in 1976, will have a a pair of fillies in the Valley Stream, Megascape and More Moonlight. The fillies, who will be saddled by New York assistant Toby Sheets, are not coupled in the wagering.

More Moonlight, a filly by More Than Ready , came to life with wins in her last two starts in laughably easy fashion. Her latest score was a three-length tally over Galactic Cat in the Holly. Jockey Stewart Elliott has the mount.

Megascape, the lone New York-bred in the line-up, turns back from the one-mile Maid of the Mist on New York Showcase Day. Megascape set the pace through the first five furlongs of the Maid of the Mist, but stopped badly and finished sixth.

Winsome ran well against better fillies over the summer such as Balletto and Should Be Royalty and could improve in her second start over the Aqueduct course. She finished fourth in her local debut, the Nov. 2 Tempted (gr. III).

$100,000-added Valley Stream Stakes (gr. III), 2-year-old fillies, 6 furlongs
1. Megascape, Steve Asmussen, John Velazquez, 122
2. Winsome, Allen Jerkens, Jose Santos, 116
3. Galactic Cat, Rebecca Maker, Aaron Gryder, 118
4. Alfonsina, Nick Zito, Cornelio Velasquez, 118
5. More Moonlight, Steve Asmussen, Stewart Elliott, 118