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Breeders' Cup 2017

Quiet Giant Strong Ladies Choice

Though her name may suggest otherwise, there has been nothing understated about Quiet Giant’s performances this winter at Aqueduct Racetrack, where the filly has won three consecutive stakes by a combined margin of 20 ¾ lengths. Saturday she puts that record on the line as the 122-pound highweight and 3-5 morning-line favorite in the 140th renewal of the $100,000 Ladies Handicap for older fillies and mares, run at 1 1/8 miles over Aqueduct’s inner track.


The 4-year-old daughter of Giant’s Causeway broke her maiden going a mile at Parx Racing on July 2, her second start. She then trounced allowance foes by 10 ¼ lengths at Delaware Park on August 9 before running fifth and second in overnight stakes at Belmont Park and Delaware, respectively. Her first inner track triumph came in a sloppy edition of the Cheap Seats overnight stakes, which she won by 8 ¼ widening lengths, and she captured a second overnight stakes in January. Most recently, Quiet Giant led at every call as she cruised to a nine-length victory under Ramon Dominguez in the 1 1/8-mile Rare Treat at Aqueduct on February 20.


“That was a pretty easy race on her and Ramon took good care of her the last part,” said Todd Pletcher, who trains Quiet Giant for the estate of her late owner and breeder, Edward P. Evans. “She came out of it well, and we hope she can continue to run the way she’s been running. There are a lot of black-type opportunities in the winter at Aqueduct, especially for a filly with her breeding, and from a figure standpoint, some of her races have been quite good.”


With Dominguez riding in Dubai on Saturday, Quiet Giant will get the services of David Cohen from the rail.


Also carrying a stakes streak into the race is the Maryland-based Potosina, who came from off the pace to upset the Nellie Morse Stakes at Laurel Park on January 22, then led every step of the way to hold on by three-quarters of a length in the 1 1/8-mile Maryland Racing Media Stakes on February 12. Owned by Pozo de Luna, Inc., the versatile 4-year-old filly has always impressed her connections despite some troubles earlier in her career.


“She had a lot of bad luck,” said trainer Mark Shuman. “She stumbled, she had a hind foot bruise, she was disqualified twice. We’ve always liked her, but for awhile she never put it all together. She used to be very manageable in the morning, and would always want to run off in the afternoon, but now she’s difficult in the morning and has become very controllable in the afternoon. She acts like she’ll run all day long and it looks like there’s a lot of speed in this race, hopefully that gives her a chance to relax a little.”


Potosina, 8-1 co-fourth choice on the morning line, will carry 117 pounds, including jockey Abel Castellano, Jr., as she breaks from post position 3.


Turtle Bird Stable’s Speightful Affair, an Ontario-bred who exits a second-place overnight stakes effort at Aqueduct on March 4, joins the field as a supplemental entry. The filly closed out her 3-year-old campaign on December 12 with an impressive 6 ¾-length first-level allowance victory going one mile and 70 yards and has never been worse than third at the Big A, where she broke her maiden over the inner track last January. She has hit the board in four Aqueduct Stakes, including last year’s Grade 3 Comely, run at one mile over the main track..


Like Turtle Bird’s Grade 1 winner Haynesfield, Speightful Affair is a daughter of 2004 Sprint Champion Speightstown, and the two horses also share the same dam sire, Tejabo.  


“She’s doing well,” said Toby Sheets, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen. “She needed her last race and we’re looking forward to running her. She has the same pedigree cross as Haynesfield and he gets a mile and an eighth, so hopefully it works for her, too.”


Assigned 114 pounds and 8-1 morning-line odds, Cornelio Velasquez will ride Speightful Affair from post 2.


R Betty Graybull, a stakes winner at distances ranging from six furlongs to one mile, will attempt 1 1/8 miles for the first time in her career. Trained by Linda White for Fantasy Lane Stable and Stronach Stable, the New York-bred daughter of Holy Bull exits a disappointing sixth-place finish in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie at Laurel. Two races back she won the one-mile Leecoo Stakes over the inner track. Eddie Castro, aboard for the Leecoo, will ride the 6-1 third choice from post 6 at 116 pounds.


The front-running Cody Samora, who broke her maiden going 1 1/16 miles, but has since enjoyed success between seven furlongs and one mile, will also try nine furlongs for the first time in the Ladies. State Treasure, an allowance winner at Parx and Penn National in her two most recent starts, completes the field.


The field for the $100,000 Ladies Handicap:








Quiet Giant (VA)

D Cohen


T A Pletcher



Speightful Affair (ON)

C H Velasquez


S M Asmussen



Potosina (KY)

A Castellano, Jr.


M Shuman



Cody Samora (NY)

C C Lopez


J Morrison



State Treasure (KY)

A S Arroyo


J C Servis



R Betty Graybull (NY)

E Castro


L A White








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