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NYSSS Park Avenue 2024 | Aqueduct Picks
Aqueduct (NYRA)

NYSSS Park Avenue 2024 | Aqueduct Picks

Mitre Box Stable, Clear Stars Stable and Eighth Note Stable’s impressive maiden winner Sunday Girl will look to make a successful stakes debut in Sunday’s $200,000 Park Avenue division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The NYSSS Park Avenue is slated as Race 8 on Sunday’s nine-race card which also features the $200,000 NYSSS Time Square in Race 5 and the Listed $150,000 Top Flight in Race 3. First post is 1:20 p.m. Eastern.

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Trained by David Duggan with returning pilot Katie Davis aboard, the New York-bred Central Banker chestnut enters the 6 1/2-furlong sprint for eligible New York-sired sophomore fillies from a 7 1/4-length maiden score on February 10 here at Aqueduct.

Sunday Girl exited post 7-of-10 in her six-furlong debut against fellow state-breds, pressing the early pace of Dolce Veloce through a 23.04 second opening quarter mile over the fast main track. She made a four-wide move through the turn to take command at the quarter-pole and drew away to a confident score in a final time of 1:12.91. The effort garnered a co-field high 66 Beyer Speed Figure.

“She’d always shown her hand that she was a respectable maiden, but it remained to be seen if she would show up on race day or not,” Duggan said. “She worked very well and was very professional and showed that on race day.

“She’s got a high-cruising speed,” Duggan added. “The reason I put Katie Davis on is the filly has a little fire in the engine and she needed a kinder hand, so I think they’re a good combination together. Katie’s a good fit for her.”

Sunday Girl, bred in the Empire State by McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds and Spruce Lane Farm, has breezed steadily over the Belmont Park dirt training track for her return, including a half-mile in 50 flat Tuesday.

“We call them ‘head works’ – just keeping her head on an even keel,” Duggan said. “We know she can go fast, there’s no reason to be putting the foot on the gas.”

Duggan said Sunday Girl has flourished ahead of her second start.

“Sometimes, you run them back too quicky and it doesn’t do them any good mentally,” Duggan said. “She’s on the engine and has a little fire in there, so we felt it was the right thing to do to give her that time.”

Duggan noted the added distance should be beneficial when Sunday Girl exits the outermost post 8.

“She’s not one dimensional. She showed in her race that she can rate if needed,” Duggan said. “She’s precocious but they have to be battle tested too to start taking the next step forward.”

A $100,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale where she breezed an eighth of a mile in 10.2, Sunday Girl’s second dam is stakes-winner Littlebitabling, who is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes-winner Too Much Bling as well as multiple stakes-winners Ready for Roses and Barnsy.

Shea D Boy’s Stable’s My Shea D Lady [post 7, Javier Castellano] will carry a field-high 122 pounds – four pounds more than each of her seven rivals – after capturing the lucrative $500,000 NYSSS Fifth Avenue to close out a successful juvenile campaign for trainer Carlos David.

The Solomini dark bay, bred in New York by McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds, graduated on debut in July at Gulfstream Park before trying a trio of state-bred stakes when third in the Seeking the Ante at Saratoga Race Course and fourth at Aqueduct in both the Joseph A. Gimma and Key Cents.

With Hall of Famer Javier Castellano up for the first time in the seven-furlong NYSSS Fifth Avenue, My Shea D Lady saved ground from post 2-of-12 and bided her time for racing room as stakes-winner Soloshot set splits of 22.99 seconds and 46.91 over the fast Aqueduct main track.

My Shea D Lady surged impressively up the rail when daylight appeared as the field straightened away and stayed on strong under urging from Castellano to score by 2 1/2-lengths. A claim of foul by Rudy Rodriguez, trainer of fourth-place Sun and Wind, against My Shea D Lady for interference at the furlong marker was dismissed.

David said Castellano’s prominent trip worked wonders after My Shea D Lady’s difficult late run to finish fourth in the Key Cents with Jose Ortiz aboard.

“I think it was really key to put her in the race,” David said. “The time before that when she got dirt in her face, she backed out of it and Jose let her back out and when she tried to come back it was too late. Shortening up to 6 1/2 [furlongs], I think you definitely want to be sharper and in the mix of things. She’s rateable, you just have to keep her encouraged.”

My Shea D Lady enjoyed a freshening after her Fifth Avenue score and returned to the work tab on March 9 for the first of four breezes at Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach, Florida.

“It made sense to give her time off and let her refresh. I brought her to Florida and got her ready that whole month. Knock on wood she has been perfect and right on schedule,” David said.

Castellano, who rode at Keeneland on Sunday, flew home to New York to pilot My Shea D Lady through a sharp solo half-mile breeze in 47.40 Monday over the Belmont dirt training track.

“I wanted him to get a feeling of her again, so that we’re all on the same page,” David said. “It was a really good work. She did that by herself in 47 and change and galloped out [five-eighths] in 59 and 4. The track was a little fast that morning, but it was a good breeze.”

David said he would prefer his filly not to be waiting inside for racing room on Sunday.

“I don’t know what would have happened if the rail didn’t open up that day – it might have cost her the race,” David said of the Fifth Avenue score. “But she’s a lot better now and seems more grown up. Hopefully, she gets a good spot – I’d hate to be on the rail because I don’t want to get stuck again.”

My Shea D Lady, a $100,000 OBS Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training purchase, is out of the Teuflesberg mare Ladyberg, who is a half-sister to multiple stakes-winner Hoosick Falls and stakes-placed Manor Prospect.

Gregory Hoffman, Rosemore Racing, Schwing Thoroughbreds and Elements Racing’s Sohana [post 6, Manny Franco] boasts a perfect in-the-money record of 3-1-2-0 for trainer Brad Cox.

The Solomini dark bay, bred in New York by Torie D. Gladwell, utilized a prominent trip to score a nose victory on debut sprinting six furlongs against fellow state-breds on New Year’s Eve at Aqueduct.

The $200,000 OBS March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training purchase followed with a pair of runner-up efforts in state-bred optional-claiming sprints here at Aqueduct, including last out on March 3 when she set the pace but could not hold off the charge of next-out East View-winner Sweet Brown Sugar.

Rounding out the field are maiden winners Baroness Bourbon [post 1, Trevor McCarthy] for trainer James Bentley Begg, Bustin Time [post 2, Luis Rivera, Jr.] for conditioner Robbie Davis, Handle On You [post 3, Romero Maragh] for conditioner Rudy Rodriguez, Fast and Frisky [post 4, Jose Lezcano] for trainer Jorge Abreu, and the Oscar Barrera, III-trained Jay’s Love [post 5, Jose Gomez].