With just one month left in 2017, Saturday’s $250,000 Demoiselle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct is the penultimate chance for two-year-old fillies to pick up points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks before kicking off their sophomore campaigns.
The final race, the $300,000 Starlet Stakes (G1), is set for December 9 at Los Alamitos and, like the Demoiselle, will award 10-4-2-1 points toward a starting berth in next year’s Kentucky Oaks (G1).
The Demoiselle is unique in that it is one of only two races on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks schedule of points races actually run at the Kentucky Oaks distance of 1 1/8 miles. The other is the Gazelle Stakes (G2), which also takes place at Aqueduct. One other race on the schedule, the U.A.E. Oaks (UAE-G3) on March 1 in Dubai, is conducted at a slight longer distance of 1 3/16 miles.
A field of eight was entered in the 2017 Demoiselle, including Wonder Gadot and unbeaten Daisy.
Wonder Gadot is exiting a sixth-place run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) on November 4 at Del Mar during which she made her dirt debut in the 8 1/2-furlong affair. The Mark Casse-trained daughter of Medaglia d’Oro romped by six lengths over Woodbine’s synthetic Tapeta in the Mazarine Stakes (Can-G3) one race before, and gets John Velazquez aboard for the first Saturday.
Daisy is two-for-two and seeking a second straight graded victory after taking the one-mile Tempted Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct on November 3. Conditioned by John Servis, the Blame filly broke her maiden by eight lengths at first-asking on October 9 at Parx Racing, and retains the services of jockey Kendrick Carmouche for the Demoiselle.
Stablemate Maurer Power is also unbeaten in two starts, but will be making her stakes bow in this spot. The Violence filly broke her maiden at Delaware Park in July, and wasn’t seen again in competition until Servis sent her out to take an allowance at Parx Racing in October. Irad Ortiz Jr. has the call.
Held Accountable is the only other stakes winner in this field, capturing the Joseph A. Gimma Stakes in September at Belmont Park. The Exchange Rate miss exits a runner-up effort in the Maid of the Mist Stakes, and keeps regular rider Luis Saez in the saddle.
Rounding out the Demoiselle field are last-out maiden winners Vindictive Ways and Indy Union, allowance/optional claiming scorer Layla Noor, and maiden-claiming victress Stakes On a Plane.