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McLaughlin Has Powerful Combo in Ruthless

alg aqueduct
Photo: New York Daily News
Mamdooha, one of two entrants for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, will attempt to double her stakes tally when she competes in the $100,000 Ruthless on Sunday at Aqueduct Racetrack.


The six-furlong Ruthless is restricted to 3-year-old fillies.


After finishing second in her debut, Mamdooha won two straight, including the Gin Talking Stakes at Laurel Park in her most recent outing.


In her first start, Mamdooha raced in sixth early and in the stretch chased home Puddifoot, who took the Monmouth Park maiden event by 4 ¾ lengths in September. Puddifoot returned to win the Juvenile Filly Sprint Stakes at Gulfstream Park, with the third-place finisher from that maiden race, Coral Way, coming back to score at Gulfstream in her subsequent start.


Mamdooha made her second start at Aqueduct in November, recovering from a hard bump at the start by coming from off the pace to post a four-length maiden victory. She then took on stakes competition, making a three-wide run to take the Gin Talking by 4 ½ lengths when traveling seven furlongs in the mud on December 7 at Laurel.


"The first time out she was green," said Art Magnuson, assistant to McLaughlin. "Second time out she got bumped hard and it just sort of worked out that way. In Maryland, it was a cleaner trip and she sat a little closer. I think she's pretty versatile. If they go slower, she'll be closer. If they go fast, she'll be way back."


McLaughlin and owner Shadwell Stable considered running Mamdooha in the one mile, 70-yard Busanda last Saturday before deciding to keep the daughter of Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap winner Daaher in sprints for now.


"We looked at the Busanda; we always felt like she could stretch out, but there's a time for that in the future," said Magnuson. "For now, we're going to stay one turn, going shorter, and it just seems like a better spot for her right now."


Eddie Castro, aboard Mamdooha in the Gin Talking, has the riding assignment again in the Ruthless. Mamdooha, the 9-5 morning-line favorite, will depart from post 5.


McLaughlin also will be represented by Mill House's Summertime Friend. A 4 ½-length debut winner in October at Belmont, Summertime Friend enters Sunday's race off a third in a seven-furlong, entry-level optional claimer on December 5 at Aqueduct.


In that race, Summertime Friend stumbled at the start, set a contested pace from the inside, and led to the sixteenth pole before yielding to Alpaca Fina, another Ruthless entrant, and Winekeeper. Summertime Friend finished 2 ½ lengths behind the winner.


Summertime Friend will run on Lasix for the first time in the Ruthless.


"She might have come up just a tad short with the schedule for her," said Magnuson. "We missed a work going into that race. We're backing her up to six furlongs, and she's training extremely well for this one. With the way she ran, it sure looked like they weren't going to catch her going 6 ½ furlongs that day."


Summertime Friend, the 2-1 second choice, will leave from post 4 with Jose Ortiz aboard.


The December 5 race was the second straight victory for Alpaca Fina, who also took an Aqueduct starter allowance/optional claimer by 6 ¼ lengths in November. She'll be making an eight-day turnaround and cutting back in distance in the Ruthless, having finished fifth in the Busanda last Saturday.


Cornelio Velasquez will ride Alpaca Fina, 3-1, from post 2. David Jacobson trains Alpaca Fina, claimed for $50,000 in September, for Drawing Away Stable.


Vero Amore, like Mamdooha, brings a two-race winning streak into the Ruthless. After finishing fourth in her debut at Saratoga Race Course in August, she won two straight at Parx Racing, airing by 7 ¼ lengths in a September maiden race and out-battling Disco Chick to take a November 1 entry-level allowance by a nose.


Irad Ortiz, Jr. has the call aboard Vero Amore, who was installed at 7-2 on the morning line and drew post 1.


Keep in Mind, who won a $20,000 maiden claiming race on January 4 at Aqueduct, completes the field.



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