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Aaron previews the 2022 Frizette Stakes (G1) at Belmont at the Big A, then gives his top picks and longshots from this “Win & You’re In” for the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). After winning the 2022 Spinaway Stakes (G1) at Saratoga, Leave No Trace goes for her 3rd win from as many career starts, but can she find similar success away from The Spa? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
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WellSpring Stables’ Leave No Trace will vie for her second consecutive Grade 1 score when she takes on six rivals in Sunday’s Grade 1, $400,000 Frizette for juvenile fillies traveling a one-turn mile at the Belmont at the Big A fall meet.
The Frizette is one of three graded stakes on Sunday’s card and offers the winner a berth into the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on November 4 at Keeneland as part of the “Win And You’re In” qualifying series. Also featured on the card are the Grade 2, $200,000 Pilgrim, a 1 1/16-mile “Win And You’re In” qualifier for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf; and the Grade 3, $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Waya for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up going 1 3/8 miles over the turf.
Trained by Phil Serpe, Leave No Trace was last seen scoring a game victory in the Grade 1 Spinaway on September 4 at Saratoga Race Course, tracking one length off the pace under Jose Lezcano and taking command at the top of the stretch. The daughter of Outwork powered home to a 1 1/2-length victory to upset the field of 10 at odds of 14-1 to give Serpe his first Grade 1 victory since the 1993 Vosburgh with Birdonthewire.
“It was really good. It’s been a long time since we won a Grade 1 and it’s always great to win at Saratoga,” said Serpe. “The people that own her are just great people, so we are happy for everybody.”
The Spinaway improved Leave No Trace’s record to a perfect 2-for-2, adding to a debut score sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs on July 20 at the Spa. She stalked in fourth-of-9 under Irad Ortiz, Jr. and went nearly five-wide in the turn, but showed a strong turn of foot at the top of the lane to coast home and cross the wire first by 2 3/4 lengths.
Leave No Trace has posted two works since her Spinaway victory, most recently breezing five furlongs in a sharp 58.69 seconds over Belmont Park’s dirt training track on Sunday.
“Everything is good with her. She had a nice work and all systems go,” said Serpe. “She did it pretty easy. I was surprised looking at the watch how fast she was going. The 58 and change was a work where you’re like, ‘Wow, this filly is really fast.’ Everything is just kind of moving along.”
Serpe said Leave No Trace, who was purchased for $40,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern Fall Yearling Sale, has made all the right steps forward.
“Physically, she had gone through a growth spirt in the spring here at Belmont before we had ever shipped up for the Saratoga meet,” Serpe said. “She is a really nice-looking filly; well-balanced and has a nice hip on her. As far as her developing with her workout pattern, that just keeps getting better and better.
“You don’t really know when they first come in, but once we got her up to her half-mile works, she started to show that she had some talent,” Serpe added. “Things progressed the way you’d want them to.”
Lezcano has the call again from post 1.
Repole Stable’s impressive maiden winner Chocolate Gelato will make her stakes debut and first start against winners for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher. A dark bay Practical Joke filly, Chocolate Gelato was an eye-catching 8 1/2-length winner of a six-furlong maiden on August 14 at the Spa, leading at every point of call and widening her margins down the stretch under Ortiz, Jr. The effort garnered a field-best 92 Beyer Speed Figure.
Pletcher said he was pleased with the victory that came on the heels of a close third-place finish in her July 14 debut at Saratoga.
“She was impressive. Her debut, the track was very demanding and tough for a first-time starter,” Pletcher said. “She got a little tired late in the race. The second start was more of what we were expecting from her.”
Chocolate Gelato was a $475,000 purchase earlier this year at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale where she posted a one-furlong work in 10 seconds flat. Hailing from the family of breed-shaping broodmare La Troienne, her third dam is multiple graded stakes-winner Daydreaming, who produced multiple graded stakes-winning millionaire and sire Imagining.
Chocolate Gelato will emerge from post 4 with Ortiz, Jr. aboard.
Trainer Cherie DeVaux will saddle debut maiden winner The Great Maybe on the heels of an eight-length romp on August 28 at the Spa under Hall of Fame rider Javier Castellano. The daughter of Upstart, owned by Lael Stables, briefly battled for the lead I’m a Country Girl for the first quarter-mile of the six-furlong sprint before coming away with the advantage at the half-mile call and never looking back.
The Great Maybe breezed a bullet half-mile in 47 flat on Saturday over the main track at Keeneland.
“She trained well out of that [race] so we’re taking the chance with the one turn mile with her,” said DeVaux.
Castellano retains the mount from post 6.
Swilcan Stable’s Vedareo enters the Frizette as the only horse in the field to have raced at a mile, scoring a strong six-length victory in the Sorority on August 21 at Monmouth Park. Trained by Butch Reid, Jr., Vedareo won on debut sprinting 4 1/2 furlongs in June at Parx Racing before finishing off-the-board in the Grade 3 Schuylerville at the Spa two starts back.
Vedareo is a half-sister to 2020 Champion 2-Year-Old Filly Vequist, who ran second in that year’s running of the Frizette for Reid, Jr.
The dark bay Daredevil filly will exit post 5 in rein to Jose Ortiz.
Completing the field are American Rockette [post 2, Junior Alvarado] for Hall of Famer Bill Mott; Raging Sea [post 3, Flavien Prat] for conditioner Chad Brown; and You’re My Girl [post 7, Joel Rosario] for trainer John Terranova.
The Frizette is slated as Race 8 on Sunday’s 10-race program. First post is 1 p.m. Eastern.
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