Gozzip Girl, freshened since her smashing win in the American Oaks (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park more than two months ago, returns to Belmont Park Sept. 12 as the filly to beat in the $300,000 Garden City Stakes (gr. IT).
Farnsworth Stables' daughter of Dynaformer, seeking her fifth consecutive turf win, is the 122-pound high weight in a field of nine 3-year-old fillies entered for the 1 1/8-mile inner turf event. A strong lineup for the Garden City includes the undefeated Maram, set to make her second start of the year.
The versatile Gozzip Girl won the Sands Point (gr. IIT) at the distance over the Belmont inner course in front-running fashion May 30 when the ground was yielding. She then rolled to a 3 1/4-length triumph at Hollywood July 5, coming from well off the pace to win the 10-furlong American Oaks on firm going. The dark bay filly is 3-for-4 in graded company this year with her lone defeat a neck loss in Keeneland's Ashland (gr. I) to Hooh Why over the Polytrack.
“We decided to give her some time between races,” said trainer Tom Albertrani. “It looked like she lightened up a little from her trip to California. She looks well now and she’s training aggressively, which we like to see. She’s coming into the race nice and fresh, and she runs well when fresh.”
Albertrani is confident that no matter the course condition -- showers are expected -- Gozzip Girl will give a good showing.
"Soft, firm – it makes no difference whatsoever to her,” he said.
Maram, undefeated in four lifetime starts, including a win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf last year, continues a comeback that started with a win in the John Hettinger Stakes Aug. 8 at Saratoga. Owned by Karen Woods and trained by Chad Brown, she was off more than nine months following her Breeders' Cup win.
Brown said he had the Garden City in mind all along.
“I kind of worked backwards and used the Hettinger to get here,” he said. “That’s worked out, but unfortunately she had some foot issues last week and I had to put aluminum pads on her. I think she likes soft turf, but I’m worried about her being able to get the same traction as the other horses (with the pads on). She’s certainly bred for [the distance], and I think given the trip she gets, that she can get it.”
Maram, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Sahm--American Dreamer, by Quest for Fame, won Belmont's seven-furlong Miss Grillo by a neck on a yielding outer course prior to the Breeders' Cup.
Grade III winner Don't Forget Gil, runner-up in the Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) on the Belmont main track July 25, is making her turf debut.
“We always considered that we wanted to try her on grass at some point,” said Mark Hennig, who trains the Kafwain filly for Alan Brodsky. “She’s got a little turf pedigree and obviously it would open up a lot more options. We looked at this race because the timing was good, it’s a grade I, and it’s straight three-year-old fillies.”
Also entered in the Garden City are the first three finishers in Saratoga's Lake Placid Stakes (gr. IIT) Aug. 21 -- Shared Account, Keertana, and Katara, respectively. All three face grade I company for the first time.
Shared Account, trained by Graham Motion, posted her first stakes win as the lukewarm choice in the Lake Placid, which was contested on soft ground at 1 1/8 miles. She defeated Keertana, winner of the Regret (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs June 13, by one length, with Katara another length back in third.
Many Kisses arrives from Calder Race Course, where she comes off a fourth-place finish in the Runaway Marcie Stakes on the dirt July 12. Miss World makes her stakes debut after winning a first-level allowance at Saratoga Aug. 19 on a "good" course. Pull Dancer scored a 2 1/2-length win in allowance company over "yielding" ground Aug. 3 at the Spa.
$300,000 Garden City Stakes (gr. IT, Race 8, 4:43 p.m.), 3YO Fillies, 1 1/8 Miles (Inner Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Gozzip Girl (KY), K J Desormeaux, 122, T Albertrani
2. Katara (KY), J Castellano, 116, M R Matz
3. Don't Forget Gil (NY), J R Leparoux, 118, M A Hennig
4. Miss World (KY), G K Gomez, 116, C Clement
5. Many Kisses (FL), M J Luzzi, 116, S Everett
6. Shared Account (KY), R A Dominguez, 120, H G Motion
7. Pull Dancer (KY), A Garcia, 116, K P McLaughlin
8. Maram (KY), J Lezcano, 118, C C Brown
9. Keertana (KY), E Coa, 118, T F Proctor