OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Fresh off a solid third-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, multiple graded stakes winner Taris returns to New York for the first since her maiden victory as she faces a field of six other fillies and mares in Friday's Grade 3, $300,000 Go For Wand Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The one-mile Go For Wand will be joined on the Black Friday card by the $150,000 King's Swan, in which the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Sallisaw will face four others in the six-furlong race for 2-year-olds. First race post time is 11:50 a.m.
Taris, a 4-year-old daughter of Flatter, will be making her fourth start of 2015, having won the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo Handicap and finishing third in the Grade 3 L.A. Woman, both at Santa Anita Park. At 3, she set the track record for seven furlongs on dirt at Keeneland, winning the Grade 2 Raven Run in 1:21.32, and then closed out 2014 with a narrow second in the Grade 1 La Brea in her first start for trainer Simon Callaghan.
"She came out of the Breeders' Cup really well," said Callaghan of Taris, who broke her maiden on the inner track at the Big A in December 2013 while in the care of trainer Todd Beattie. "She's had a pretty light campaign this year, and we felt this race was a good opportunity to stretch her out. She's been relaxing really well in her training, and her pedigree suggests she should stretch out."
Hall of Famer Gary Stevens will ride Taris, who will be making her first start beyond seven furlongs since a sixth-place finish in the 1 1/16-mile Honeybee in March 2014 at Oaklawn Park. The pair will depart from post position 4 under high weight of 121 pounds.
Making her first appearance in New York is the Brad Cox-trained Spelling Again, an emphatic 4 ½-length winner of the Grade 2 Chilukki last time out at Churchill Downs. The 4-year-old daughter of Awesome Again has been worse than third only once in fiveappearances since being transferred to Cox, that being a fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America in October at Keeneland.
Luis Saez will ride Spelling Again, who will tote 120 pounds, from post position 3.
Making her seventh straight graded stakes start is celebrity chef Bobby Flay's America, who in her most recent appearance scored a front-running victory in the Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm Handicap at Belmont Park. Last season at the Big A, the A. P. Indy filly won three straight, including the Affectionately, before embarking on a rigorous campaign that included four Grade 1 races.
Chris DeCarlo will ride from post position 2.
The 7-year-old mare Willet will be making her fourth stab at the Go For Wand, having finished second in 2012, fourth in 2013 and seventh in last year's edition. Trained by Jimmy Iselin, Willet has enjoyed success elsewhere at Aqueduct , having won the 2013 Touch of Love and the 2015 Interborough in addition to a pair of allowance races.
Jose Ortiz will ride from the rail.
Rounding out the field are the Todd Pletcher-trained Mei Ling, no worse than third in four of five starts this year; Kiss to Remember, ninth in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint last time out; and Playful Love, most recently winner of an allowance at Penn National for trainer H. Graham Motion.
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