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Delightful Quality Seeks First Stakes Victory

Trainer Tom Albertrani

Delightful Quality will be seeking her first stakes victory on New Year's Day at Aqueduct Racetrack, as she takes on some familiar faces in the $100,000 Interborough, run at six furlongs for fillies and mares.

Never off the board in 11 career starts, the Elusive Quality mare has been a model of consistency. Through six starts in 2013 she has one win, four seconds, and a third to her credit, with her lone victory coming in an optional claiming race on May 24 at Belmont Park. Following that performance, she placed third in the Grade 3 Bed o' Roses Handicap, run on June 15 at Belmont, then rattled off two consecutive runner-up finishes at Saratoga Race Course, despite encountering trouble in both starts. In her most recent outing, she finished second to Ullapool in the Garland of Roses, run over a muddy Aqueduct main track, besting Interborough entrants Baby J and Miss Mischief by three-quarters of a length and 4 ½ lengths, respectively. Her trainer, Tom Albertrani, believes the Interborough may finally be her breakthrough race.

"She's been very consistent all year for us," said Albertrani, who won the 2009 Interborough with Zada Belle. "She ran a really good race in the Garland of Roses so we're hoping that she'll be even better this time around."

As with Centring, entered earlier on the card in the Affectionately, Albertrani indicated that Delightful Quality's career may be coming to a close.

"She'll probably be retired early next year," said the trainer, "so hopefully we can get a black-type win with her before she leaves."

Owned by Darley Stable and to be ridden by Jose Ortiz, Delightful Quality drew post position 5 and is the 2-1 favorite on the morning line.

Dropping in class and turning back in distance is the Todd Pletcher-trained Fantasy of Flight, who is coming off of a sixth-place finish in the Grade 2, one-mile Go For Wand Handicap on November 29 at the Big A, and a third place finish in the Grade 3, 1 1/16-mile Turnback the Alarm Handicap on October 26 at Belmont. Assistant trainer Byron Hughes hopes a return to sprinting will be enough to get Fantasy of Flight back to the winner's circle, as she is without victory in 2013.

"She has a high cruising speed so it seems like she'll be better off at six [furlongs]," said Hughes. "She's run well at the distance before and is coming into the race in great shape."

Irad Ortiz, Jr. will ride the Tiznow mare, who is 7-2 on the morning line, for owner Sanford Robbins. The pair will leave from post position 4.

Lion D N A has proven to be a shrewd claim for trainer Rudy Rodriguez and owners Michael Dubb and Bethlehem Stable. Haltered for $35,000 in late August, the bay daughter of Lion Heart has rewarded her new connections with three seconds and a first through four starts. Though the Interborough represents a significant bump in class, her versatility may help to offset the stiffer competition, as she has run well both on and off the pace, and on tracks labeled fast, good, and muddy.

The 5-year-old mare will be ridden from post position 2 by C.C. Lopez and sits at 6-1 on the morning line.

Rounding out the field are PJ's Superego, winner of an optional claiming race on December 19 at Aqueduct for trainer Joe Orseno; Baby J, most recently third in the Garland of Roses; and Miss Mischief, who is also exiting the Garland of Roses after finishing fourth.

Five Star Momma was entered but will not run, according to trainer Jena Antonucci.



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