OZONE PARK, NY – Allen Stables’ Mrs. Danvers surged to the front out the gate and closed even stronger, drawing away for a 6 1/4-length victory for her first career stakes score in Friday’s 71st running of the $100,000 Comely (G3) for 3-year-old fillies at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Stretching out to 1 1/8 miles for the first time, the trainee of Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey broke sharp from post 6, with jockey Jose Lezcano keeping his charge at the front of the eight-horse field with the opening 1/4-mile in 24.30 on the main track rated fast.
Project Whiskey, off at 15/1, challenged Mrs. Danvers along the backstretch, with the duo separated by a head as the 1/2-mile went in 48.69. But Lezcano kept Mrs. Danvers pressed heading around the final turn, where she stayed near the rail while expanding her lead when straightened for home, powering to the wire in a final time of 1:50.09.
Making just her second stakes appearance, and first since running fifth in the Test (G1) on August 8, Runhappy Travers Day, at Saratoga Race Course, Mrs. Danvers won for the second straight outing, building on her victory by a neck against older allowance company in a 1-turn mile on October 25 at Belmont Park.
“We were anxious to get her stretched out. It’s just been kind of difficult to do so,” McGaughey said. “This is what we felt like she wanted to do. Watching some of her allowance races, I wasn’t sure I was running her right. It looked like she was going to win and then she wouldn’t win.
“I think this is naturally what she wants to do is run this far,” he added. “Being on the lead today definitely helped. I don’t think it’s something she needs, but going down the line she’ll be forwardly placed.”
McGaughey added blinkers to the Tapit filly before her last start and has seen the Kentucky homebred improve to 2-for-2 since the equipment change. Mrs. Danvers’ dam, Gracie Square, is a half-sister to graded stakes winners War Front, Teammate, North Dakota, and Ecclesiastic. All are out of the stakes-winning and multiple graded stakes-placed Rubiano mare Starry Dreamer.
“Anytime you can get a win with a filly with a pedigree like that, especially for the breeder (Joseph Allen), it means a lot. He believed in this filly.”
Off at 7/2, Mrs. Danvers returned $9.50 on a $2 win wager. She improved her career record to 3-3-1 in 8 career starts, increasing her bankroll to $211,800.
“She’s a nice filly,” Lezcano said. “Today, I let her break and run for the first quarter and she came back to me very nice. She was galloping along the whole way around. When I asked her to run, she jumped up in the bridle and took off.”
Ice Princess notched runner-up status for the second straight stakes appearance, building on her effort in the Fleet Indian against fellow New York-breds last month for trainer Danny Gargan. Returning to open company, Ice Princess was 4 lengths the best of Thankful for second.
“A couple horses made moves on the backside,” said Ice Princess jockey Junior Alvarado. “It was a strange move at that point of the race when everybody had their position, but I stayed with my plan. Turning for home, I moved out and picked up the pieces. We were second-best today.”
Toned Up, 2/1 favorite Gale, Miss Marissa, Project Whiskey, and My Sweet Wife completed the order of finish. Makingcents and Pure Rhythm scratched