OZONE PARK, N.Y. – With only two weeks remaining at Aqueduct and a favorable forecast for later in the week, New York Racing Association officials are looking to get some use out of the turf course, carding four grass races for both Thursday and Friday.
The main turf event Thursday is a second-level allowance/optional-claiming race for New York-bred fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles. Trainer David Donk sends out the uncoupled entry of Lady Bling and Jc’s Shooting Star among the six horses expected to run on turf. Two other horses were entered to run on the main track.
Lady Bling, 4, is 2 for 2 on turf against New York-bred company. In August 2014, she won her career debut at Saratoga by 3 1/2 lengths. Last spring, Lady Bling won a first-level statebred allowance by a nose.
With limited options, she had to twice face open company and was soundly beaten in an allowance race by the likes of subsequent graded stakes winner Sentiero Italia.
ady Bling makes her first start in 295 days.
“She’s more mature than she was last year,” Donk said. “She missed part of the summer, and then we turned her out. She’s strictly grass. She’s done well. I would expect a good effort.”
Jc’s Shooting Star was talented enough to win the $200,000 Fleet Indian Stakes on dirt as a maiden last August at Saratoga. She followed that up with a first-level allowance win on turf in September. That was her last race on turf, as she competed in six consecutive dirt races over the fall and winter.
“I think she’ll move forward a little bit on the grass,” Donk said. “She just stayed even on the dirt.”
There isn’t a lot of speed in this field, which could make Take It Inside a bit dangerous. The daughter of Disco Rico is making her 7-year-old debut and will be ridden by Kendrick Carmouche, who has no problems putting a horse on the lead if the circumstances dictate.
Summersault, Bi Light of Day, and Beating Heart Baby complete the field for turf.
There are only eight races carded for Thursday, with first post at 1:20 p.m. Eastern.
Lady Bling, by Pioneerofthenile
Last 3 Beyers: 66-77-71
She has fired fresh, having won her debut off works and a first-level allowance off a 182-day layoff.
“She’s ready,” Donk said. “I think she’s probably got to contend with my other one.”
Jc’s Shooting Star, by Miracle Man
Last 3 Beyers: 74-79-68
Appears to have more speed than Lady Bling, which may give her an edge in a race seemingly void of speed.
Summersault, by Rock Hard Ten
Last 3 Beyers: 74-78-60
Put together back-to-back wins over very firm ground at Saratoga last summer.
Was third in her lone start at Aqueduct in a race similar to this last Nov. 19.