days after her successful introduction to racing in the continental 48
states, Puerto Rican star My Wandy’s Girl will attempt to win the
biggest race of her career Saturday in the 117th running of the Grade
1, $350,000 Gazelle at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Kentucky bred but raced exclusively at Camarero Race Track in Puerto
Rico, My Wandy’s Girl made her U.S. debut on November 15 at Aqueduct
for trainer Michael Hushion, easily winning the $75,000 Pentelis Stakes
for her ninth victory in a row.
In that race, the daughter of Flower Alley ran 6 ½ furlongs in
1:17.15 under jockey Ramon Dominguez. She will attempt to stretch out 1
1/8 miles in the Gazelle but has already won twice at the distance,
both times by more than 12 lengths.
A $15,000 purchase from a consignment at the 2011 OBS March Sale, My
Wandy’s Girl has won 14 of 18 lifetime starts, including two Grade 1’s
in Puerto Rico.
“Mostly what you see from her you see in her form – she can run at
any distance,” Hushion said of My Wandy’s Girl, given odds of 7-2 for
the Gazelle morning line. “A friend recommended me [to owner Guillermo
Berrios], and I got a phone call. She’s been here awhile, 2 ½, three
Hushion believes the Pentelis victory set up My Wandy’s Girl well for the Gazelle.
“She showed a lot last time; she ran very fast; she ate dirt,” he
said. “The way I read her form, a mile and an eighth might be her best
My Wandy’s Girl will break from the outside post position 7 under
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez. Her jockey for the Pentelis, Ramon
Dominguez, will be aboard one of her principal rivals, Dance Card, for
trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
Dance Card, a $750,000 daughter of Tapit, has won three of four
career starts, most recently a 7 ½-length score in the Belle Cherie
Stakes on September 23 at Belmont Park.
“She’s run four times and she won an overnight stake at Belmont, and
we wanted to point toward this because it’s a Grade 1, and it’s very
important to get a Grade 1 placing or win,” said McLaughlin, who trains
Dance Card for Godolphin Racing. “We’ve been pointing to this since
the summer. We had Questing for the same owners going in different
directions, so we had Dance Card going in this direction.
“Last time, she drifted out through the lane pretty good,”
McLaughlin said, “but Ramon said she’s fine, don’t worry about it. We
schooled her at the gate several times. She’ll be forwardly placed in
the race at a mile and an eighth. She’s a great mover, one of our
The 9-5 favorite, Dance Card’s only defeat came in her debut when
Book Review beat her by 4 ¾ lengths in a seven-furlong sprint. That
filly, trained by Chad Brown for owners-breeders Gary and Mary West,
won three of her next four starts, including the $400,000 Charles Town
Oaks and, last time out, the Imperial Gesture Stakes on October 24 at
The Gazelle will mark only the second time Book Review has raced around two turns.
“The race at Charles Town was two turns, but it’s only seven-eighths
[of a mile], so it’s fair trade, and it wasn’t a true two-turn test,”
Brown said. “Why [try a two-turn route] now? You get to run against
straight 3-year-old fillies for the last time, she ran a mile and a
sixteenth well and looks like she has another sixteenth in her. And
she’s a trier.”
Book Review’s only loss in her past four starts came when she
suffered a poor break and finished seventh in the Grade 1 Test at
Saratoga Race Course.
Brown’s multiple stakes-winning filly Kid Kate was defeated in the
Pentelis by My Wandy’s Girl, but the trainer said he is not overly
concerned heading into the Gazelle.
“It’s not like I don’t respect this horse, but I don’t pay attention
to the competition,” he said. “Maybe that’s my bad, but that’s how I
am. Maybe there are a handful of horses in the world I will look out for
and try to avoid; otherwise I just try to find the right distance and
right surface and condition for my horses and run them.”
Book Review is 2-1 on the morning line.
Lady Cohiba (10-1), second to Book Review in the Imperial Gesture,
will run for trainer Christophe Clement. Jemima’s Pearl (8-1), twice
graded stakes-placed this year and most recently second in the
Remington Park Oaks, is entered for trainer Bret William Calhoun.
Wildcat Smile (15-1) and Sea Island (15-1) complete the field.
The Gazelle has been won by many illustrious fillies across the
years including Silverbulletday, Serena’s Song, Pearl Necklace, Gallant
Bloom, Beldame and Geisha.