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LC Racing, Cash is King and Gary Barber’s Grade 1-placed Morning Matcha will strive for her third career stakes victory in Sunday’s $125,000 Staten Island division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series, a seven-furlong sprint for eligible state-sired fillies and mares 3-years-old and up, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The NYSSS Staten Island is slated as Race 7 on Sunday’s nine-race card, which co-features the NYSSS Thunder Rumble in Race 8. First post is 12:20 p.m. Eastern.
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Trained by Butch Reid, Jr., Morning Matcha, a Pennsylvania-bred 4-year-old daughter of Central Banker, benefits from a pair of lucrative programs, and is eligible to participate in both races restricted to Pennsylvania-breds in the Keystone State, as well as the New York Stallion Stakes Series in New York.
Reid, Jr. spoke volumes of the filly’s smart breeding.
“There’s some nice spots for her all year round as long as we pick our spots and she stays happy and healthy like she is now,” said Reid, Jr. “It’s been a real godsend.”
Morning Matcha arrives off a third-place finish in the open-company nine-furlong Turnback the Alarm on November 3 here, landing four lengths back of the top pair of the winning Interstatedaydream and Tizzy in the Sky, the latter of which is entered in Saturday’s Grade 3 Go for Wand here.
The effort garnered an 85 Beyer Speed Figure and was her fifth stakes placing this year, bringing her 2023 record to 6-1-2-2 with her only off-the-board effort coming on turf in August.
Last year, Morning Matcha enjoyed a productive campaign that included a win in the Main Line at Parx Racing and placings in the Grade 3 Delaware Oaks [third] at Delaware Park, the Grade 1 Cotillion [second] at Parx and the Grade 3 Comely [third] here.
She returned in April to take the state-bred Unique Bella at Parx, her latest trip to the winner’s circle when taking the seven-furlong sprint by two lengths.
An $18,000 purchase at the 2020 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern Fall Yearling Sale, Morning Matcha has banked $830,990 in total purses through a consistent lifetime record of 23-5-7-7.
Mychel Sanchez has the call from post 7.
Jan Durrschmidt’s New York homebred Little Linzee [post 2, Katie Davis] has hit the board in three divisions of the New York Stallion Stakes Series, including the Park Avenue in April when crossing the wire a nose ahead of Les Bon Temp before being demoted to second for interference in the stretch.
Trained by Domenick Schettino, the sophomore daughter of Honorable Dillon, who adds blinkers, graduated on debut last July at Saratoga Race Course sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf before closing out her campaign with a third-place effort in the NYSSS Fifth Avenue won by Les Bon Temps.
This year, she made her seasonal bow with a runner-up effort to Stonewall Star in the Franklin Square two starts before her Park Avenue effort. She was last seen finishing ninth in a first-level allowance sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf in August at the Spa.
Sunrise Stables’ New York homebred Easy Play [post 5, Eric Cancel] has been a model of consistency since transferring to the barn of Ralph D’Alessandro this spring.
The 4-year-old Big Brown dark bay has hit the board in 7-of-8 starts for her current connections, with all but one of those outings occurring at Finger Lakes Racetrack.
Her lone venture outside of the Farmington oval during that stretch came with a productive trip to Saratoga that saw her finish a game third in a state-bred first-level allowance traveling six furlongs in August. There, she was headed out of place by next-out winner Majestic Return and nabbed show honors by a nose over Athena Beach, who entered that race undefeated in four starts.
Easy Play makes her stakes debut with lifetime record of 23-5-3-5 and total purse earnings of $134,360. Her dam, the unraced Frost Giant mare Sweet Frost, is a full-sister to the multiple stakes-winning New York-bred Loki’s Vengeance.
WellSpring Stables’ stakes-winning New York-bred Bank On Anna [post 6, Manny Franco] is in search of her first win since taking last year’s Union Avenue Handicap at Saratoga.
Trained by Phil Serpe and bred by Lou Corrente, the 4-year-old daughter of Central Banker has placed in 2-of-6 starts since, both in restricted stakes, with her best effort coming with a third-place finish to Grannys Connection when vying to defend her Union Avenue title on August 11.
She was last seen finishing a distant seventh in the Iroquois on October 29 here.
Completing the field are the stakes-placed Sweetie [post 8, Romero Ramsay Maragh] for trainer Gary Sciacca; and allowance winners Vallelujah [post 3, Jackie Davis] for conditioner Robbie Davis, Bustin Bay [post 4, Kendrick Carmouche] for trainer Linda Rice and Lisa’s Vision [post 1, Javier Castellano] for trainer Jorge Abreu.
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