ELMONT, N.Y. – Seven-time stakes winner Lady Shipman will look to build on her impressive resume as the Ranlo Investments LLC’s filly will headline a field of seven in the $100,000 License Fee for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up on the Widener turf course Sunday at Belmont Park.
A 4-year-old daughter of Midshipman, Lady Shipman has posted nine wins in 14 career starts and has finished in the money in all but one career race, which came last time out with a seventh-place showing at the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint on March 26 as part of the undercard of the Dubai World Cup at the Meydan Racecourse.
The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Lady Shipman drew post position 7 and is the 3-5 favorite in the six-furlong race. She has worked out twice at Belmont this month, including a four-furlong breeze on the dirt track in 49.11 seconds on April 24.
“She’s done very well since she came back from Dubai and has gotten better and better as far as conditioning and fitness since she’s been here,” said Joe Lee, assistant to McLaughlin. “She’s experienced and now, having raced at a few different tracks, I don’t think it matters too much to her [where she races]. There’s a big change fitness-wise from when she got here. She’s blossomed from her first breeze here.”
Shrinking Violet will be making her second start of the year after a second-place showing in the Grade 2 Monrovia Stakes at Santa Anita on January 3 for trainer Wesley Ward. Ward has prepared the 6-year-old mare with eight workouts since the start of March, including the last three on turf at Keeneland, to mount a strong challenge to Lady Shipman, who he called one of the best turf sprinters in the country.
Shrinking Violet, the 5-1 program choice, will depart from post position 3 and will be ridden by Joel Rosario, who teamed with Shrinking Violent for a third-place showing in The Very One Stakes at Pimlico last May.
“She’s been training super at Keeneland and looks ready for the race,” Ward said. “She needed a little bit of a freshening up from her last summer of racing. She’s coming off a good race at Santa Anita and we’re taking on perhaps the best turf sprinter now in the country in this spot. If you do take her on, you’d probably want to do so at this time right now with her coming back from Dubai so we’ll see how it goes.”
Zindaya, 4-1 on the morning line, will be making her 2016 debut at a venue that has been kind to her. Three of her four career victories have come at Belmont Park, including a win in the seven-furlong Intercontinental on the turf on June 4. The dark bay filly will leave from the rail under jockey Javier Castellano.
Trainer Chad Brown sent Zindaya out for three works at Belmont this month, including a four-furlong breeze on dirt in 49.28 on April 24. The 5-year-old mare has won two of her last three races, and has finished out of the money just twice in 10 career starts.
Vicki’s Dancer will be making her 13th straight start on a NYRA track. The 7-year-old mare posted her first victory since 2014 with a strong showing in an allowance optional claiming race on March 31 at Aqueduct when she bested a seven-horse field in a six-furlong race on the main track.
The two-time New York Stallion Series winner will be reunited with jockey Jose Ortiz on Sunday. Trainer Gary Gullo saw his mare assigned to post position 5 at odds of 15-1 on the morning line.
Monster Sleeping, who drew post position 6 at 15-1, won her last stakes race when she paced an eight-horse field in the Maryland Million Ladies Stakes. Trainer Dale Capuano will have two entries in the race with Monster Sleeping and Disco Barbie, who drew post position 4 under Hall of Famer John Velazquez at 15-1 odds.
Manuel Franco has the mount on Momameamaria, 20-1, on the morning line. The pair will leave from post position 2.