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In Step Gets Class Test in Cicada

In Step, a promising filly owned by Darley Stable, will get a class test Saturday afternoon at Aqueduct Racetrack when she faces six other 3-year-old fillies in the 19th running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Cicada at six furlongs over the inner track.


Purchased for $1 million at the 2009 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, In Step has made one start to date, showing good speed to break her maiden by a half-length at Gulfstream Park on February 20.


“It was a really tough maiden race,” said In Step’s trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin. “I asked Todd [Pletcher] if he liked his filly [runner-up Savvy Supreme], and he said, ‘She’s a nice filly,’ and we knew we had a nice filly as well. And Tom Albertrani was third with another Darley filly [Enrichment].”


McLaughlin said he’d usually run a recent maiden winner back in an allowance race, but opted to stray from his customary procedure with In Step, a half-sister to Vindication, the undefeated 2002 Champion Two-Year-Old Colt.


“Graded black type is very important, and the allowance races here are tough as the ones at Saratoga,” said McLaughlin. “This is not the normal next step we’d take, but even if she ends up finishing third it will do a lot to enhance her value.”


Eddie Castro will ride In Step, the 3-1 morning-line favorite, from the rail.


Another filly who will face stakes competition for the first time is Dream, an easy winner of two starts in the Mid-Atlantic region.


Dream, a 4 ¾-length debut winner at Delaware Park in July, enters the Cicada off a six-length optional claiming score at Laurel Park on February 18.


“She had a little chip after her debut race,” said Rodney Jenkins, who trains Dream for Dark Hollow Racing Partnership. “She was never lame, but she is 16.2 hands and built like a colt, so we decided to take it out. She was about 80 percent ready for her return effort, but she still ran a good race. We thought about coming back in Wide Country [at Laurel on March 5], but that was probably a little quick back as it was two weeks later. The Cicada’s timing suited us better.”


David Cohen has the call aboard Dream, who drew post position 4 and was tabbed at 5-1 on the morning line.


Angle Smart’s Quantum Miss, a 16-length heroine of the Blue Mountain Stakes at Penn National on November 24, looks to make amends after finishing fifth as the 7-5 favorite in the Grade 3 Old Hat at Gulfstream on January 5.


“She had a very good 2-year-old year and came around very strongly at the end, as her form suggests,” said trainer Tony Dutrow, who won the 2010 Cicada with Liam’s Dream. “It led us to try her in the race at Gulfstream. As you can see, she ran very poorly that day, and I don’t know why. We decided days after that race to take her to the Cicada so we’d have a chance to freshen her.”


Quantum Miss, 7-2 on the morning line, will break from post 5 under Cornelio Velasquez.


Coax Liberty, owned by Copper Penny Stables, has proven herself over the Cicada’s course and distance, having come from just off the pace to win the Dearly Precious by two lengths at Aqueduct on February 12.


“I was happy to see her take back and make one run,” said trainer James Lawrence, II of Coax Liberty’s Dearly Precious performance. “I think that’s how she wants to run.”


Lawrence is hopeful Coax Liberty has found her niche in sprints, having finished second in the six-furlong Brandywine at Parx Racing on December 21 following a 2 ¾-length allowance triumph going 6 ½ furlongs at that venue on November 12.


“Every time she has gone this distance she has finished in the money,” said Lawrence. “I don’t think a Grade 3 is out of her range, according to the Beyer figures.”


Eurico Rosa da Silva has the assignment aboard Coax Liberty, 4-1 on the morning line, from post 7.


The Cicada field also Full Moon Blues and Wild About Sonny, respectively third and fifth in the Dearly Precious, and Roman Treasure, who graduated by three lengths at Aqueduct on February 27 in her second start.


The field for the Grade 3, $100,000 Cicada:








In Step (KY)

E Castro


K P McLaughlin



Full Moon Blues (KY)

M Franklin


T J Tullock, Jr.



Roman Treasure (KY)

C Hill


M E Hushion



Dream (MD)

D Cohen


R Jenkins



Quantum Miss (PA)

C H Velasquez


A W Dutrow



Wild About Sonny (KY)

J Valdivia, Jr.


K J Breen



Coax Liberty (KY)

E R Da Silva


J L Lawrence, II





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