OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Sassy Agnes used her speed to record a front-running victory over 11 rivals in the $100,000 Key Cents Stakes here on Nov. 23. Saturday, Sassy Agnes will likely employ those same tactics to try and win her fourth consecutive stakes in the $150,000 Fifth Avenue division of the New York Stallion Stakes series for juvenile fillies at Aqueduct.
Though Sassy Agnes will meet only five opponents in the Fifth Avenue, many of them possess a running style similar to hers. That doesn’t seem to concern Linda Rice, the trainer of Sassy Agnes.
“The last time there was a lot of speed in the race, and she hung in there with a 21-and-4 [first quarter] under pressure and kept going,” Rice said. “I was impressed with that effort.”
Sassy Agnes has been impressive in her last three starts. On Sept. 8 at Finger Lakes, she scored a three-quarter-length victory in the Lady Finger Stakes. On Oct. 22, she again dueled on the front end and drew clear to a 3 1/2-length victory in the Shesastonecoldfox Stakes, also at Finger Lakes. Then she took early heat from a 59-1 shot in the Key Cents before drawing off to win.
Among those who are likely to tackle Sassy Agnes up front early is Forgotten Hero, who won her debut here on Nov. 4 in near gate-to-wire fashion. While her fractions and final time don’t match up to those of Sassy Agnes from her last race, the Aqueduct main track was deep and a bit tiring early in the meet when Forgotten Hero won.
“My filly is pretty quick at the end of the day,” said trainer and part-owner John Toscano Jr. “She beat nothing first time out. We’ll pick up the tempo and see where we’re at.”
Jeremiah Englehart entered three of the six runners in this field, including stakes winners Cartwheelin Lulu and Party Like Grandma. Both are coming off near two-month layoffs, with Englehart opting to skip the Key Cents Stakes last month.
“They definitely needed that little freshening and benefitted from skipping that race,” Englehart said.
Though Englehart entered Cartwheelin Lulu back in Sunday’s $150,000 Great White Way division of the NYSS, she is more likely to run here, as that race drew a field of 12. Cartwheelin Lulu drew post 6 Saturday and that could give Manny Franco options on how to ride the race.
Party Like Grandma, who breaks from the rail under Dylan Davis, was dull when she finished third to Sassy Agnes in the Shesastonecoldfox in October, Englehart said.
- A. Page won a maiden $50,000 claimer from off the pace on Sept. 14 before finishing eighth in the Maid of the Mist. She did not leave the gate well in either start.
She’s So Shea D completes the field.
On a nine-race card where five races have 11 horses or more, the Fifth Avenue, with only six runners, is carded as the third.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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