Impressive maiden winner Alto Belle was the highlight in Aqueduct’s $100,000 Busanda S. when it was scheduled for January 23 and keeps that status in the redrawn version after the original race was postponed to Sunday due to Winter Storm Jonas.
This time around the mile-and-70-yard contest features nine sophomore fillies instead of seven. All those entered in the January 23 contest return for the stakes, which is part of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series of point races.
The Busanda offers points on a 10-4-2-1 basis to the respective top four toward a starting berth in the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (G1). Alto Belle will attempt to join the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard with a win in the Busanda.
The Todd Pletcher trainee took three tries to break her maiden, with her first outing resulting in a neck second last September in an off-the-turf affair on Belmont Park’s muddy, sealed main track. One month later the bay daughter of Trappe Shot got her Belmont grass race but wound up sixth after being bumped at the start and weakening late.
Alto Belle returned to the main track next out, this time at Aqueduct, and proceeded to romp by 18 lengths on November 20. That marked the end of her juvenile campaign but the Kentucky-bred lass has continued to work up a storm over Belmont’s training track.
Flora Dora was an original entrant in the Busanda, and at that time was the only filly in the field with prior stakes experience. The chestnut miss actually broke her maiden second out in the My Dear Girl division of the Florida Sire S. series on October 3 and proceeded to New York for a half-length second in the Tempted S. (G3) and a fourth in the Demoiselle S. (G2), both in November at Aqueduct.
The two newcomers, Lost Raven and Invite, also took part in the Demoiselle, with the former finishing fifth and the latter running sixth in her stakes bow. Lost Raven brought two wins into the Demoiselle, including victory in the Smart Halo S. at Laurel Park, and was last seen back at that venue finishing second in the Marshua S.
Invite will be getting first-time Lasix in the Busanda following her Demoiselle effort. The Bill Mott pupil took her initial score at Belmont in late October and keeps regular rider Junior Alvarado aboard.
Dreams to Reality and Kentucky Road each earned romping wins at Aqueduct in December. Dreams to Reality got the job done by 7 3/4 lengths in a $75,000 maiden claimer on December 3 that came off the turf and was run at a mile on the muddy main track.
Kentucky Road prevailed by 6 3/4 lengths in a $40,000 maiden claimer on Aqueduct’s inner dirt sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs. The bay filly followed that up with a second in a starter allowance going six furlongs on the inner surface while making her sophomore bow.
Completing the Busanda field are last out maiden winners Scatoosh and Arch or Nothing, who each earned their first victories over Aqueduct’s inner dirt, as well as maiden She’s So Fine.