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OZONE PARK, NY – Trainer Chad Brown packs a solid 1-2 punch for Saturday’s $250,000 Gazelle Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct with stakes-winning stablemates Search Results and The Grass Is Blue as he seeks to saddle the race winner for the third time.
The Gazelle is a 1 1/8-mile restricted to 3-year-old fillies that offers 100-40-20-10 Kentucky Oaks (G1) points to the top four finishers. This year’s edition is the ninth event on an 11-race card that includes the Wood Memorial (G2) – a major prep for the Kentucky Derby (G1) – and has a local post time of 5:20 PM.
Risk Taking, Search Results Top Fields For Wood Memorial, Gazelle
Here’s a look at the full field for the Gazelle:
1. Hybrid Eclipse 10/1 – She’s won 2 straight since Linda Rice took over her training duties at the end of 2020, first breaking her maiden in a local 7-furlong sprint before romping by 6 lengths in a 1 1/16-mile route against Laurel Park optional claimers. She attracts the riding services of Jose Ortiz for the first time but hasn’t yet proven that she can win without receiving race-day Lasix (which is the case here).
2. Maracuja 15/1 – She steps up to face winners for the first time while also making her debut in a two-turn event 1 start after breaking her maiden at third asking in a 6 1/2-furlong sprint over a local main track rated good. The Rob Atras trainee won’t receive the same race-day Lasix that she did in her past 2 starts, but she missed by just a neck without it in her debut. Kendrick Carmouche retains the mount.
“She acts like two turns shouldn’t be an issue, but it’s a big ask going from 6 1/2 furlongs to a mile and 1/8 and stepping up to a big race like this,” Atras said. “She’s continued to train forwardly.”
3. Mia Martina 6/1 – She gives dirt a try for the first time after running 3 times on grass, winning the first 2 (both routes) before finishing a late-running fourth in the Florida Oaks (G3). Trainer Graham Motion connects at a healthy 20% with runners making similar surface swaps, her Beyer Speed Figures have improved with each start, and sire Not This Time has produced 17% dirt route winners so far.
“We talked about it and thought this will be a good time to find out how she handles the dirt,” Motion said. “She has a dirt pedigree. She’s a very straight-forward filly who looks like the further she goes, the better, so we thought the mile and 1/8 might suit her.”
4. Army Wife 6/1 – She returned from a 3 1/2-month break to gamely defeat optional claimers by a nose while going a one-turn mile at Gulfstream Park on March 13. Though she started her career on turf, her dirt record is 3-2-1-0 and trainer Mike Maker repeats at 23% with last-out winners. She finished third as the 2/1 favorite in her lone route attempt, a 1 1/16-mile turf event at Saratoga last September.
Fantasy Preview: Sun Path Still Seeking Stakes Score
5. The Grass Is Blue 4/1 – She won 2 straight to start her career before finishing sixth in the Songbird Stakes on the Breeders’ Cup Future Stars Friday undercard at Keeneland last November. She won the Busanda Stakes over this course and distance in January and finished third in the local Busher Invitational Stakes last time out, though the one-turn mile configuration was likely not her ideal setup.
6. Alwayz Late 8/1 – She rides a 2-race win streak in turf routes as she makes her dirt debut for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, who wins just 4% with runners making similar surface swaps. However, her sire Animal Kingdom won the 2011 Kentucky Derby, damsire Mineshaft won 6 Grade 1 dirt routes, and dam The Sense Angel was a 6-time dirt winner, so her breeding could overcome her barn’s shortcoming.
7. Song of Innocence 30/1 – She’s another giving dirt a try for the first time here, though she seems to have a much tougher task than her rivals facing the same situation. Her lone victory came going a two-turn mile on the Turfway Park synthetic course 2 starts back and was recently third over the same course and distance against optional claimers. She hasn’t run a 60 Beyer Speed Figure; that’s not good.
8. Search Results 1/1 – Brown’s undefeated second entry broke her maiden on debut while going 6 furlongs at Gulfstream Park in early January, then shipped here for the Busher and won by a hard-fought 1/2-length despite facing winners off of just 1 start. Her only remaining question mark seems to be whether or not she can handle two turns, but her breeding should be enough to get the job done.
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