HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Saturday’s $100,000 Ginger Brew Stakes at Gulfstream Park drew a field of 10 fillies, and the 7 1/2-furlong affair will provide a class test for Auntie Joy.
Bred and owned by Sanford Robertson, the daughter of Uncle Mo put forth a professional display when unveiled in a turf route at Churchill Downs on November 13. Auntie Joy settled in midpack, threaded her way into to contention, and outfinished her rivals in the stretch. Trainer Brendan Walsh has high regard for Auntie Joy, who is a half-sister to the talented grass horse Divine Oath.
“We really liked her and always thought she was pretty talented,” Walsh said. “We weren’t expecting her to win first time, but it certainly wasn’t a surprise. She’s got a lot of talent, and hopefully we’ll see some more of that on Saturday.”
Since shipping to South Florida, Auntie Joy has recorded three drills on the turf course at Palm Meadows. She may be shorter on experience than some of her rivals, but Walsh believes she will give a good account of herself.
“She’s been doing really well since she got down here,” Walsh added. “She’s been training great. We’re looking forward to Saturday, she’s a really nice filly. I wouldn’t have put her in [the Ginger Brew] if I didn’t think she was capable of being competitive. I think she has a good chance in there.”
Auntie Joy will break from post six with Julien Leparoux in the irons.
Mathis Stable’s Lira will attempt to carry her perfect form from Gulfstream Park West to the Ginger Brew. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the daughter of Giant’s Causeway scored at first asking on October 11 and followed that with a victory in the Wait a While Stakes on November 28. Lira, drawn in post three, will have the services of leading jockey Javier Castellano.
Recognition, who doubled up on wins in Illinois earlier in the autumn, made the running in the Wait a While before being edged late by Lira. The Florida-bred daughter of Leroidesanimaux is trained by James DiVito, who co-owns her along with Jock Racing and Lee Battaglia. Recognition, drawn in the fifth position, will be ridden by Paco Lopez.
Pricedtoperfection, a $230,000 purchase last April by Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence, was a promising third in her debut at Saratoga on August 23. She duly earned her diploma as the 4-5 favorite at Belmont on October 17 for trainer Chad Brown, but encountered trouble in her most recent start when ninth in the $1-million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Keeneland on October 30. Drawn on the outside in post 10, she will be ridden by Joel Rosario.
Also in the Ginger Brew field are Melody Croon, Miss Otis, Andreya’s Reward, Pancake, Washington’s Song, and Module. Disco Rose was entered as main-track only.
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