A field of nine sophomore fillies has been entered to go the Kentucky Oaks (G1) distance of nine furlongs on Saturday in the $300,000 Gazelle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct.
The Gazelle is part of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series of points races, and offers up a total of 170 points to the top four finishers. Two of the fillies entered bring impressive win streaks into the contest and will be vying for the winner’s share of 100 points toward a starting berth in the May 5 Kentucky Oaks.
Of that pair, Yorkiepoo Princess is riding a three-race win streak that began with a 2 3/4-length victory over Aqueduct’s main track in the Furlough Stakes. That closed out the Edward Barker trainee’s juvenile season and she returned to romp by 7 1/2 lengths in the January 14 Ruthless Stakes on the inner track. The Kantharos filly stretched out to 1 1/16 miles last out in the Busher Stakes and posted another easy victory by 1 3/4 lengths on February 25.
Irad Ortiz Jr. has been aboard Yorkiepoo Princess since she began her winning run, and actually is four-for-four with the Florida-bred after also guiding her to a 12-length wire job in her maiden at Belmont Park last year. He stays in the saddle for the Gazelle.
Miss Sky Warrior is unbeaten since breaking her maiden by seven lengths last October at Parx Racing. The Kelly Breen trainee closed out her juvenile campaign with close scores in the Tempted Stakes (G3) and Demoiselle Stakes (G2), the latter of which came at the Gazelle distance of 1 1/8 miles. She then made her sophomore debut in the Davona Dale Stakes (G2), with regular rider Paco Lopez guiding her to a half-length win on March 4. The First Samurai filly is two-for-two at Aqueduct and will attempt to remain perfect over the main track.
Lockdown will do her best to upset the top two while returning off a three-month break. The Bill Mott-trained daughter of First Defence broke her maiden on December 17 over Aqueduct’s inner then returned January 15 to score by 2 1/2 lengths in the Busanda Stakes over the same surface. Kendrick Carmouche held the reins for that stakes win and retains the mount here.
Full House ran second to Yorkiepoo Princess in the Busher in her first start after wiring her maiden by 13 lengths and will attempt to upset that one in the Gazelle with Rajiv Maragh back in the saddle. Tiz Rae Anna also has faced Yorkiepoo Princess, finishing second in the Ruthless and third in the Busher, before filling the show spot in the Cicada Stakes most recently on March 25. Rosario Montanez has the return call.
Completing the Gazelle field are Aspen Hilltop, who stumbled over a rival and didn’t finish the Davona Dale; Rimanisempreforte, an 11-length maiden winner and 1 1/4-length allowance/optional claiming scorer in her past two; and last-out maiden winners North End and Stay Fond.