Five fillies and mares
will be shopping for a graded stakes victory Friday at Aqueduct Racetrack when
they go postward in the Grade 2, $200,000 Go for Wand Handicap.
New York-bred Willet will make her first foray into graded
stakes company in the one-mile race. A
rousing 9 ¼-length winner of the Iroquois at Belmont Park
on New York Showcase Day, the 4-year-old Jump Start filly has been no worse
than third in seven lifetime starts, including a pair of victories at the Big A
last year for trainer and co-owner Jimmy Iselin.
“She really ran great,” Iselin
said of the Iroquois. “Every once in awhile, things happen on schedule. We
wanted to run her once in Saratoga and twice at Belmont and even though
we had a few bumps in the road, we were able to do that. So, this will be the fourth race of that
cycle. She’s fit, so we just want her to be happy and healthy. I think she’ll
be well-suited to the distance.”
With Rajiv Maragh aboard, Willet will leave from the rail as
the 5-2 second choice on the morning line.
Trainer Rick Dutrow, Jr. will send out the 7-5 morning-line
favorite in IEAH Stables’ Fantasy of Flight. A 4-year-old daughter of Tiznow,
Fantasy of Flight romped by 9 ¾-lengths in an optional claimer on October 18 at
first start for Dutrow. Previously trained by John Terranova, she owns a 3-3-1
record from eight starts, including a runner-up finish in last year’s Grade 3
Dogwood Stakes at Churchill Downs.
leading rider Ramon Dominguez has the call aboard Fantasy of Flight from post
position 3. Dutrow will also saddle Vincent Scuderi’s Hard Life, who gets the
services of Joel Rosario as she returns to the main track after a sixth-place
finish on the turf at Belmont.
Trainer Todd Pletcher will be represented by E. Paul Robsham
Stables’ R Gypsy Gold, fifth as the favorite in the Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm
Handicap on October 27 at Belmont.
The 4-year-old Bernardini filly will be making her first start at a flat mile
posting a 4 ¾-length allowance win at the distance last
“On occasion she’s run well enough to be competitive in a race
like this, and it’s a small field,” said Pletcher of R Gypsy Gold, whose most
recent victory was in the Endear overnight stakes on July 4 at Belmont. “She breezed well yesterday. She’s
puzzled me the last couple of races because she’s breezed very well and not run
as well as she’s breezed. I’m hoping that she’s touting us properly this time.”
R Gypsy Gold, 7-2 on the morning line, drew post position 4 with
Hall of Famer John Velazquez aboard.
Also returning from the Turnback the Alarm is third-place finisher
Nefertini, whose only off-the-board outing in six starts this year was a fourth
in the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher at Monmouth
Park. The Empire Maker
filly has made one appearance at Aqueduct, defeating Fantasy of Flight by a
half-length in an optional claimer over the inner track in March.
Alan Garcia will ride Nefertini, 4-1 on the morning line,
from post position 2.