OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Repole Stables' homebred Clipthecouponannie kept her undefeated record intact as she gamely held off Frosty Margarita to pass the first serious test of her young career with flying colors, taking the $125,000 Franklin Square for 3-year-old New York-bred fillies from gate to wire on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Under Irad Ortiz Jr., Clipthecouponannie leapt to the front of the four-horse field, edging away from Wonderment to cover the opening quarter-mile in 22.94 seconds and the half in 46 flat. Multiple stakes winner Frosty Margarita, ridden by Jose Ortiz, mounted her challenge at the top of the stretch after the frontrunner led five-eighths in 58.15.
Clipthecouponannie refused to shy from the confrontation, however, as she matched her rival stride-for-stride down the stretch. The Todd Pletcher-trained Uncle Mo filly pulled away under the wire to post a half-length victory.
"I left the No. 4 horse [Wonderment] by the turn, and after that I didn't want to move too early," said Ortiz Jr., who has been the regular rider of both Clipthecouponannie and Frosty Margarita. "I waited for Frosty Margarita because I rode her and I know her well. I met her at the top of the stretch and knowing that filly and that she hangs a little bit and it's a little hard to make her finish compared to Clipthecouponannie who I know can finish strong so I waited for her and made my run at the end."
Favored at 1-2 in her stakes debut, Clipthecouponannie completed the six-furlong sprint in 1:11.15 to return $3.10 for a $2 win wager.
Clipthecouponannie broke her maiden at first asking against state-breds on the inner track in December before successfully tackling winners for the first time in her sophomore debut on January 28
"It's the first time she was in a fight. [It's different than] when you win by three, four, or five lengths, and you do it easy in a maiden and [allowance]," said Mike Repole. "This Frosty Margarita is a really, really good horse; I think she's got eight starts now, with five wins and three seconds. At the eighth pole, the best horse was going to win. Irad said he had plenty of horse and thought he had it measured out and she went pretty impressively."
With all three of her victories coming at six furlongs or less, Repole indicated a stretch-out will likely be in order shortly, stepping into the graded ranks in the Grade 2, $300,000 Gazelle on April 9 at the Big A.
"We're going to find out in about four, five weeks because I think we're going to try her in the Gazelle and give it a shot, said Repole, who also campaigned Clipthecouponannie's sire and dam, Lights Off Annie "She's three-for-three now; she's a nice 3-year-old and I think we'll try to extend her long."
Wonderment and Red Atlantic completed the order of finish. Stones of Navarone and Absatootly were scratched.
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