Yorkiepoo Princess tops Ruthless field
OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Trainer Rudy Rodriguez will send New York-bred Royal Posse as the one to beat in the third running of the $125,000 Jazil for 4-year-olds and up at a mile and seventy yards Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Closing out the year on a four-stakes win streak, Royal Posse finished second or better in nine starts in 2016 - a year which saw him pick up his first triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure with a 1 ¼-length victory in the Alydar, turn the tables on Empire Dreams to win his first Empire Classic in October, as well as earn millionaire status while capturing his second straight Claiming Crown Jewel at Gulfstream Park in December.
Second in last year's Jazil, the 6-year-old gelding by Posse, owned by Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Partners and Gary Aisquith, has drawn post 3 with Irad Ortiz, Jr. named to ride.
Royal Posse will be joined by Doyouknowsomething, who earned a 102 Beyer Speed Figure for his front-running optional claiming win last time out over the Big A's inner track on December 9. Rajiv Maragh will ride the 5-year-old Awesome Again gelding from the outside post.
Godolphin Racing's Bay of Plenty will look to rebound from his lackluster performance in the Queens County on December 17 for the Kiaran McLaughlin barn. Still on the return from a yearlong hiatus following a sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 Woodward, the 6-year-old son of Medaglia d'Oro collected a pair of runner-up finishes on the turf this fall before returning to the inner track last time out. Bay of Plenty will be ridden by Antonio Gallardo from post 4.
Rounding out the field are 2015 Grade 3 Withers winner Sunny Ridge, recently third in the Queens County for owner-breeder Dennis Drazin and trainer Jason Servis; Michael Jester's homebred Grasshoppin, a three-quarter-length allowance winner on December 20 at Parx and second in the Swatara at Penn National in November; and Someday Farm's Pennsylvania-bred Res Judicata for trainer John Servis.
Also on Saturday, Danny Chen's Yorkiepoo Princess will look for her second stakes win in the redrawn $100,000 Ruthless for 3-year-olds at six furlongs, rescheduled following Sunday's live racing cancellation. The Florida-bred Kantharos filly rebounded from a 10th-place finish on the turf in the Chelsey Flower in October with a 2 ¾-length win last time out of the six-furlong Furlough on November 24.
With a pair of wins from five lifetime starts, the Eddie Barker trainee will be ridden by Ortiz, Jr. from post 5.
Banty's Girl will make her first stakes start for trainer and co-owner Robert Masiello. By Shackleford, Banty's Girl broke through in her fifth start with a 1 ¼-length maiden special weight victory on the muddy and sealed inner track December 18. Alan Garcia will ride from the inside post.
Looking to get into the mix are a pair of debut winners, Bride Street and Waves of Blue. Bride Street, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin for Stonestreet Stables, registered a half-length maiden victory on the Aqueduct main track November 27. Maragh will be aboard the chestnut daughter of Street Cry, set to break from post 2.
Waves of Blue will venture north from her Gulfstream Park base for owner Niall Brennan and trainer David Fawkes. A $210,000 2-year-old-in-training purchase, the Quality Road filly held on for a 1 ½-length debut win on a sloppy and sealed track on December 11. Franco will ride from post 4.
Completing the field are recent allowance winner Tiz Rae Anna, claimed for $50,000 by owner Bran Jam Stable and trainer John Toscano, Jr. in her 3 ¼-length maiden-breaking score in October; Treatherlikestar, a head debut winner on a muddy and sealed inner track December 7; and first-out maiden winner Kissin Cassie for the same connections as Yorkiepoo Princess.