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OZONE PARK, NY – Still hot after winning the Go For Wand Handicap (G3), Barry Schwartz’s Sharp Starr goes for the treble in Sunday’s $100,000 La Verdad Stakes at Aqueduct.
The La Verdad is a 7-furlong dirt sprint restricted to New York-bred fillies and mares ages 4 and up. This year’s edition is the penultimate event on a 9-race card and has a local post time of 3:50 PM.
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Here’s a look at the full field for the La Verdad:
1. Timely Tradition 6/1 – She’s put together a 7-4-0-1 record since trainer Ray Handal claimed her for $25k last January and came within 3/4 of a length of winning the Iroquois Stakes against her fellow New York-breds. She also won a first-level allowance going 7 furlongs at Saratoga against open company rivals in that stretch and still looks strong at age 7.
2. Sadie Lady 5/1 – She steps back up to the state-bred stakes ranks hoping to finish much higher than fifth, her previous best at this level. The speedy Rob Atras trainee adds plenty of early pace to this race and will have aggressive gate jockey Kendrick Carmouche aboard for the sixth straight start. Atras and Carmouche connect at 22% together since 2019.
3. Espresso Shot 8/1 – She won the NYSSS Staten Island Stakes by 2 lengths over this course and distance last time out for her third stakes score and first since the Busher in March 2019. She was much more prominent early that day, as opposed to her fifth-place effort behind some of these rivals in the Iroquois, and jockey Manny Franco will likely try to keep her close here.
4. Prairie Fire 8/1 – She finished second in both the Staten Island and the Iroquois against several of these runners in her only prior stakes tries, then defeated open company allowance rivals going 6 furlongs over this course last out. Trainer Linda Rice and jockey Jose Lezcano are frequent winners together: they succeed at 23% overall and 27% at Aqueduct since 2019.
5. Mrs. Orb 4/1 – She cuts way back in distance after finishing second by a 1/2-length in the local 1 1/8-mile Bay Ridge Stakes as the even-money favorite. The Michael Miceli trainee has finished second a remarkable 5 straight times, all at the stakes level, but has never won going shorter than 1 mile. Miceli and jockey Dylan Davis have teamed up to win 25% since 2019.
6. Sharp Starr 4/5 – She trounced state-bred allowance rivals by over 15 lengths in a local one-turn mile over this course in early November, then stepped up to the graded ranks and necked out a score in a sloppy edition of the Go For Wand. The Beyer Speed Figures she earned (101 and 96, respectively) are much better than anyone else in this field’s career best.
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