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Aqueduct Replay | Busanda Stakes 2024 [Kentucky Oaks]
Gin Gin (Sue Kawczynski/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM)

Aqueduct Replay | Busanda Stakes 2024 [Kentucky Oaks]

The Brad Cox-trained Gin Gin won the 2024 Busanda Stakes at Aqueduct, a prep race for the Kentucky Oaks (G1).

Watch the replay & get the Racing Dudes’ expert analysis, then tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!

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Watch the race replay here:

The press release:

Calumet Farm’s Kentucky homebred Gin Gin made her first step on the road to the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks with an off-the-pace score in Saturday’s $100,000 Busanda, a nine-furlong test for sophomore fillies, at Aqueduct Racetrack.

For her victory, Gin Gin earned the maximum allotment of 20-10-6-4-2 qualifying points to the top five finishers, respectively, towards the Kentucky Oaks on the first Friday in May at Churchill Downs.

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Trained by two-time Eclipse Award-winner Brad Cox and expertly piloted to victory by Trevor McCarthy, the daughter of Hightail rebounded from an even fifth-place finish in the Grade 2 Golden Rod in November at Churchill Downs to earn her first victory against winners in style, pouncing from 2 1/2 lengths off the pace to take command late and cruise home to a one-length victory.

“I thought she ran great. Trevor gave her a great trip,” said Cox. “She sat behind the leader and when he tipped her out turning for home, she responded well. Once she cleared off, she was kind of looking around a little bit, but overall I’m proud of the effort.”

Gin Gin emerged from the inside post in good order as the Dylan Davis-piloted Princess Mayfair broke outward from the outermost post 5. The Steven Chircop-trained Princess Mayfair quickly cleared the field to assume inside position in the first turn and mark an opening quarter-mile in 24.01 seconds over the muddy and sealed footing.

A sharp-starting Most of All kept watch from second down the backstretch while post-time favorite Shimmering Allure, who won the one-mile Tempted in November and entered from a runner-up effort in the Grade 2 Demoiselle, battled for third with Gin Gin and Class Act. Princess Mayfair maintained her advantage through a half-mile in 47.93 three-quarters in 1:12.19 before Gin Gin game under coaxing and Shimmering Allure went widest of all in pursuit of the lead.

McCarthy angled Gin Gin off the rail to make an outside run at Princess Mayfair rounding the turn and glided past an all-out Most of All with ease to take dead aim at the pacesetter. Shimmering Allure tried in vain to make up ground down the center of the course and inched closer to Most of All, but the top pair began to draw well clear of the field down the lane.

A resolute Princess Mayfair dug in gamely in deep stretch, but there was no denying the momentum of Gin Gin, who kicked clear of her rival near the sixteenth marker and crossed the wire first in a final time of 1:53.31.

Shimmering Allure finished nine lengths back of Princess Mayfair to claim show honors by 3 1/4 lengths over Most of All. Class Act completed the order of finish.

McCarthy, aboard Gin Gin for the first time in the afternoon, said he expected the talented bay to handle the track conditions after she posted a runner-up effort two starts back in the 1 1/16-mile Rags to Riches over sloppy and sealed going in October at Churchill Downs.

“She ran one good race going two turns on a wet track at Churchill and I thought if I could work out a really good trip we could win today,” said McCarthy. “We worked out a perfect trip and she gave me a great effort.

“She [Princess Mayfair] looked pretty good out there, but I checked up on mine at the five-sixteenths pole when I asked her to get through and I knew my horse was traveling well and would have plenty in the tank to finish with,” McCarthy added.

Cox said he was pleased to see Gin Gin handle nine furlongs in her first attempt at the distance.

“I was a touch concerned if she would want to go a mile and an eighth and she put my doubts to rest today with her performance,” said Cox. “She’s a very good looking filly and has always trained well in the mornings. I’m glad she was able to add a stakes win to her resume. It’s a big update for her and Calumet.”

Cox added Gin Gin will likely point to the nine-furlong Grade 3 Gazelle in early April at the Big A next.

“I think so. I’ll talk it over with Mr. Kelley and Eddie Kane from Calumet and come up with a game plan, but I don’t see why we would ship her anywhere right now with her settling in and training well at Belmont,” said Cox.

Gin Gin adds to a resume that includes a second-out maiden victory in a seven-furlong maiden tilt in September at Churchill. She banked $55,000 in victory and improved her lifetime record to 5-2-2-0 while returning $7.60 on a $2 win ticket.

Runner-up Princess Mayfair entered from a similar pacesetting runner-up effort against males in a 1 1/16-mile Woodbine allowance over Tapeta in December, just two weeks after a second-out maiden score sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs.

Chircop said he was proud of the effort from the daughter of West Coast and that she could also target the Gazelle next.

“We’ll definitely have a look at that,” Chircop said of the Gazelle. “We’ll probably run her one more time before that. We’ll see how she comes out of it. I’m sure this trip is going to take a lot out of her, but I really don’t think we’ve seen the best of this horse yet.

“I couldn’t have asked for her to go into this race any better,” Chircop added. “She ran a hell of a race, but it doesn’t surprise me. We weren’t coming here just to participate.”

Chircop noted that Princess Mayfair encountered issues shipping to New York this morning from Penn National when the van she was traveling on broke down more than an hour into the journey. The filly returned to Penn National as Chircop swiftly made other arrangements to ship the filly to the Big A for her dirt debut.