The $125,000 Busher S. on Saturday at Aqueduct doesn’t hold any graded status but it does offer up a total of 85 points toward a starting berth in the Kentucky Oaks (G1).
That was enough to attract a field of seven sophomore fillies for the 1 1/16-mile contest. Vying for favoritism will be Katniss the Victor, who is listed at 2-1 on the morning-line, and Flora Dora, who will open at 5-2.
Katniss the Victor began her career with a 2 1/4-length debut score over Aqueduct’s inner dirt going the Busher distance on December 16. The Rudy Rodriguez-trained daughter of Midnight Lute only earned a 75 BRIS Speed rating for that effort, but bumped it up drastically last out when just missing by a nose in the January 31 Maddie May S. on the inner.
That resulted in a 90 BRIS Speed rating, and Katniss the Victor has since recorded a pair of moves to ready for the Busher. Aaron Gryder will be aboard for the first time Saturday.
Flora Dora is looking to continue her nice run at Aqueduct that began with a half-length second in the Tempted S. (G3) last fall. The First Dude filly followed up with a rallying fourth in the Demoiselle S. (G2) to close out her juvenile campaign, and opened 2016 with a one-length victory in the Busanda S. on January 31 in her first try over the inner dirt.
Trained by Marialice Coffey, Flora Dora currently sits in eighth on the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard thanks to her Busanda win and Demoiselle fourth. The chestnut miss would take over the top spot if she can make it two in a row in the Busher with Cornelio Velasquez holding the reins.
Lost Raven and Dreams to Reality also competed in the Busanda, finishing third and fourth, respectively, and will attempt to turn the tables on Flora Dora Saturday.
Lost Raven broke her maiden last October at Belmont Park by 4 3/4 lengths and then captured the Smart Halo S. by three lengths at Laurel Park. The Todd Pletcher pupil shipped to Aqueduct for the Demoiselle, where she ended up 1 1/4 lengths behind Flora Dora in fifth. The Uncle Mo filly made her sophomore bow a runner-up finish in the Marshua S. on January 16 and turned around two weeks later for the Busanda last out. Manuel Franco has the call.
Dreams to Reality took two tries to break her maiden, getting the job done against maiden claimers by 7 3/4 lengths, before running a well-beaten fourth in her Busanda stakes debut. Kendrick Carmouche will be in the saddle for the first time on Saturday.
Arch or Nothing entered the gate for the Busanda but dropped her jockey when stumbling out of the stalls. The Archarcharch lass will get a second shot with regular rider Ruben Silvera getting right back on.
Mo d’Amour, an easy allowance/optional claiming winner last out, and recent romping maiden victress Whistling Straits complete the field.