Angelica Zapata, Daring Kathy Seeking First Graded Win in My Charmer

December 10, 2019

Multiple Stakes Winners Square Off in Saturday’s $100,000 Turf Sweepstakes

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – Among her 11 lifetime victories in a 30-race career that has spanned five seasons, Angelica Zapata owns 10 stakes wins. As yet none have come in graded company, though she came within a length and a half of two Grade 3 wins over the winter.

Herman Van Den Broeck’s 6-year-old mare goes after her elusive first graded stakes victory again in Saturday’s $100,000 My Charmer (G3) over a 1 1/8-mile turf course for fillies and mares at Gulfstream Park West.

Trained by Ron Pellegrini, Angelica Zapata was never far from the front before falling a half-length shy of Valiant Girl in last year’s My Charmer. She was third in her subsequent start, the Marshua's River (G3) in January at Gulfstream Park, beaten a length by Naples Bay.

“We came off the hedge and the horse that won it, Naples Bay, went right through the hole that we could have gone through,” Pellegrini said. “Those were two Grade 3’s where we thought after the races that we should have won both, but racing luc is a different story.”

Angelica Zapata was a distant fourth in the Sabin (G2) in February before getting a break, coming back to win the Nancy’s Glitter and Soaring Softly overnight stakes in successive starts. Most recently, she was a troubled second by a half-length as the favorite in the September 27 Wasted Tears at Gulfstream Park.

“She had a horrible trip that day, but what can you do,” Pellegrini said. “We planned on running her in this race, so we’ve just been getting ready for it. I think she’s coming into it great. I couldn’t ask her for any more. I think she’s going to run a big race.”

In her career, Angelica Zapata shows seven wins, two seconds and a third from 11 races at Gulfstream Park West. She has won three of her last four starts over the surface, all in stakes, including back-to-back editions of the Nancy’s Glitter. Her only other try at the distance came in last year’s My Charmer.

“She’s just a nice horse to begin with,” Pellegrini said. “I’m lucky my owner has let me pretty much have free rein with her. We limit her races every year. At the end of her 2-year-old season and then at the end of her 3-year-old season, we had to stop on her for four or five months. We’ve been lucky she’s always come back and done well. She’s just a competitive racehorse and loves racing.”

Meet-leading rider Edgard Zayas will be aboard Angelica Zapata from post 4 at top weight of 119 pounds.

Also seeking her first graded win in the My Charmer is Daring Kathy, a 3-year-old daughter of Grade 1 winner Wildcat Heir trained by David Fawkes for owner-breeders John Eaton and Steve Laymon.

Daring Kathy will be trying older horses and 1 1/8 miles for the first time in her first start since a front-running 3 ¼-length victory in the Cellars Shiraz Stakes on October 18 at Gulfstream Park West.

Unraced at 2, Daring Kathy is 5-for-8 this year with four wins and two seconds in six starts since being moved to the turf by Fawkes in March. She is unbeaten on the grass in her native Florida, including victories in the Honey Ryder and Starfish Bay stakes this spring.

“Naturally you always wonder about the distance, but she’s handled everything so far that we’ve given her,” Fawkes said. “We thought, ‘Let’s try to stretch her out and see what happens.’ ”

The only blemishes on Daring Kathy’s record came this summer in back-to-back third-place finishes in the Lake George (G2) at Saratoga Race Course and Ontario Colleen (G3) at Woodbine.

“If you look at her numbers, if she gets any break early at all she’s very strong at the finish,” Fawkes said. “She still finishes well even when she gets pressed. She still has that late kick. I’m sure this is a step forward, so you just have to hope that the race works out for her.”

Clearbrook spent last winter in South Florida and returns for trainer Chad Brown in the My Charmer. Third in the 1 ½-mile Orchid (G3) on March 29 on the Florida Derby (G1) undercard, she most recently snapped a four-race losing streak with a one-length victory in a 1 ¼-mile optional claiming allowance on October 8 at Belmont Park.

Trained by Marty Wolfson, 4-year-old Lilbourne Eliza rallied between horses to beat Angelica Zapata in the Wasted Tears in her last start, avenging her loss in the Soaring Softly. A 4-year-old daughter of Galileo, Magic of Reality came from off the pace to finish third by a half-length in her North American debut, a second-level allowance at one mile on October 23 at Keeneland for trainer Graham Motion.

Rounding out the field are the David Kassen-trained Merilore, who returned to South Florida to win a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance on October 17 at Gulfstream Park West; Cushion, fourth in the Athenia (G3) last time out; Grade 3-placed Triple Arch from meet-leading trainer Marcus Vitali; and Shy’s Aly and The Blonde Peque, each making their graded stakes debut. Oasis At Midnight and U. S. S. O’Brien were entered for main track only.

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