OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Following a 2015 campaign that included a pair of graded stakes placings, Treadway Racing Stable's Wonder Girl will make her 2016 debut on Sunday at Aqueduct Racetrack headlining a field of six in the $100,000 Ladies Handicap.
Trained by Leah Gyarmati, the 4-year-old daughter of Tiz Wonderful last out raced four-wide most of the way to finish third in the Grade 3 Comely on at Aqueduct. Gyarmati is confident Wonder Gal is set to run a good race in her first start over the inner track even with the remote chance of inclement weather on the horizon for Sunday.
"She's doing great," said Gyarmati. "She had some little hitches there this year in the spring and summer, but things are good now. We think she'll perform well. I'm not sure what the track will be like on Sunday with the warm weather and the rain, it'll probably be a little messy."
The 8-5 morning-line favorite, Wonder Gal will depart from post position 3 with Irad Ortiz, Jr. in the irons.
After finishing an encouraging second in the Grade 3 Go for Wand on November 27 at Aqueduct, Mei Ling will go for a second stakes win for trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Barry K. Schwartz. The 5-year-old Empire Maker mare has two wins from six starts since joining the Pletcher barn, including her first career allowance victory this past summer at Saratoga Race Course on August 13 and her first career stakes win in the Lighthouse stakes on September 7 at Monmouth Park.
Drawing just outside of Wonder Gal in post 4, Mei Ling, the 2-1 morning-line second choice, will be ridden by Jose Ortiz.
Already a winner this year over the Big A's inner track, Very Un Stable's Saythreehailmary's will look to pick up her second consecutive victory following a 1 ¼ - length win in the Bay Ridge Stakes on December 12. Trained by John Morrison, the 5-year-old mare, 8-1 on the morning line, will leave from the rail with Manuel Franco in the irons.
Rounding out the field are 5-year old Sheriffa, for owner Antonino Miuccio and trainer Linda Rice, who most recently finished second to Saythreehailmary's in the Bay Ridge; Sustainable for Cheyenne Stables and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who last out won a optional-claimer at Aqueduct on December 4; and Stroke Play for trainer Ramon Preciado and trainer Barbara Hopkins.
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