Bickersons heads a field of seven 3-year-old fillies in the $100,000 Cicada Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct, the first graded stakes of the year in New York for females.
The Cicada, which will be run as the ninth of 10 races, was rescheduled from March 13 due to a weather-related cancellation. The field of 3-year-old fillies remains the same except for the addition of Southern Truth.
Bickersons was dominant in the seven-furlong Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park two starts back Jan. 31, winning by seven lengths and defeating 2009 2-year-old filly champion She Be Wild, who finished fifth. The daughter of Silver Deputy earned a career best Beyer Speed Figure of 97 in the Forward Gal.
Attempting a mile in her last outing, the Davona Dale (gr. II) Feb. 27 over the same oval, Bickersons set the pace and tired to finish fourth as the favorite.
“She didn’t run well at a mile, but she came out of the race in good order and we think she’s good to go,” said Kelly Breen, who trains the filly for George and Lori Hall. “There’s plenty of gas in there; if not on the lead, I think she’ll be up close. She doesn’t necessarily have to go to the front.”
While unproven at the Cicada distance of six furlongs, Bickersons ran in fine company as a juvenile and has shown versatility on both artificial surfaces and dirt at distances ranging from five furlongs to 1 1/16 miles. Installed as the 7-5 morning line favorite, she will break from post 4 with jockey Joe Bravo in the irons.
Fuzzy Britches, breaking from post 5 under Mike Luzzi, is 2-for-2 over the Big A oval at the Cicada distance and exits a half-length victory in the Dearly Precious Stakes on Valentine’s Day.
Indian Burn, fourth in the Dearly Precious and winner of the six-furlong Ruthless Jan. 10 in New York, will also step up to challenge Bickersons in her first foray into graded stakes company.
“It’s a tough race, but she’s doing well and we hope she rises to the occasion,” said trainer John Hertler. “There’s a lot of speed in there, and that works to our advantage.”
The Indian Charlie filly owns a 2-0-1 record from four starts and again gets the services of Richard Migliore, who has been aboard for her past two starts.
Returning to New York after a winter in Florida is Female Drama, twice a front-running winner at Belmont Park last fall, breaking her maiden at first asking and then drawing away to win an overnight stakes Oct. 25.
Female Drama has made just one start this year, in the Old Hat (gr. III) in the slop at Gulfstream Jan. 9. She was bumped and had to steady at the start, never reaching contention while tenth.
“She’s shown us a lot of ability and came up in good shape,” said Jonathan Thomas, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. “While she set the pace in her first two starts, I think she has the ability to sit off of it if need be.”
Also recently arrived from Florida are Liam's Dream and Romantic Hideaway. Liam’s Dream captured maiden and allowance contests at Philadelphia Park as a juvenile before finishing third behind Bickersons in the Forward Gal. Romantic Hideaway was fourth in the Forward Gal in her last outing, and prior to that had won two straight at Philadelphia Park.
Southern Truth, who set the pace and faded to finish sixth in the Suncoast Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in her last outing Feb. 13, completes the field as a supplemental nomination for Jason Servis.
$100,000 Cicada Stakes (gr. III, Race 9, 4:50 p.m. EST), 3YO Fillies, 6 Furlongs (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Southern Truth (KY), A Serpa, 118, J C Servis
2. Liam's Dream (PA), A R Napravnik, 118, A W Dutrow
3. Indian Burn (KY), R Migliore, 118, J O Hertler
4. Bickersons (ON), J Bravo, 122, K J Breen
5. Fuzzy Britches (KY), M J Luzzi, 120, R E Dutrow Jr.
6. Female Drama (KY), D Cohen, 118, T A Pletcher
7. Romantic Hideaway (KY), M G Pino, 120, G D Sacco