Friday, February 25, 2011 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, Ky., Feb. 25, 2011 – Angelica Zapata returns to Turfway Saturday for the $50,000 Valdale Stakes, trying two turns for the first time and hoping for back-to-back wins in the track's stakes series for three-year-old fillies.
Trained by Ron Pellegrini, Angelica Zapata was third as a two-year-old in the Gowell Stakes sprint in December. She followed that with a dominating 5 1/2-length score in the Cincinnati Trophy in January, also at sprint distance. While she led most of the way in the Cincinnati Trophy, she can come from off the pace, which should help her as she stretches out to two turns for the first time in the one-mile Valdale. James Lopez is aboard for the first time.
Ben Creed, the meet's leading rider, was aboard for Angelica Zapata's win in the Cincinnati Trophy but for the Valdale has elected to ride Jelly Cable for trainer Eric Reed. Jelly Cable comes into the Valdale off an impressive debut, an off-the-pace maiden special weight win at Turfway at the Valdale's mile distance, and the Creed-Reed combination has been successful this meet.
Trainer Steve Margolis ships in Maegans Princesses from Fair Grounds, where she broke her maiden late last month in her second career start. She's training very well, posting a best-of-24 five furlongs last Friday at Fair Grounds, but not only makes her all-weather debut in the Valdale but also tries route distance for the first time. Rodney Prescott rides.
The Valdale will be the first start for Harlan's Ruby since she finished eighth in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies in November, but she earned hefty credentials before that: a maiden special win on the turf at Saratoga last summer and a runner-up finish in the Grade 1 Alcibiades on the Polytrack at Keeneland in October. Ken McPeek has been getting her ready at Palm Meadows for her return to racing. Perry Ouzts will ride.
Also entered for the Valdale are Kitten's Dancer, who closed from way back to win her debut in December at Turfway (jockey Irwin Rosendo); Princess de Oro (Greta Kuntzweiler); Golden Phoenix, second in both the Gowell and the Cincinnati Trophy (Rafael Mojica Jr.); City Run (Thomas Pompell); and Touch Screen, winner last out at a mile at Turfway (John McKee).
The Valdale is the 11th of 12 races on Turfway's Saturday evening card. First post is 5:30 p.m.
The race is the final prep for the Bourbonette Oaks (G3), scheduled to run on the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes undercard on March 26.