HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Trainer Joe Orseno was on hand at Gulfstream Park last April when Lil Red Cozette sped to a three-length maiden victory while representing Red Bullet Racing in the Stronach Group’s Horse Racing League.
“I happened to be sitting there when she won. That was a very tough field that day,” Orseno said. “I also trained horses for the League. After she won, I said, ‘Wow, this is a League horse. Why didn’t they send me this one?’”
Lil Red Cozette was trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, but when the League season concluded and the horses were entered in a dispersal sale, Orseno jumped at a chance to bring the daughter of Henny Hughes into his stable.
a winning bid of $95,000, and Lil Red Cozette has continued her winning ways at Gulfstream Park, where she is set to make her stakes debut in Saturday’s $75,000 Hollywood Beach, a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares.
“The Stronachs protect their horses so much, that’s why I went to that sale. I bought seven horses out of that sale,” Orseno said. “There were some really nice horses in that sale. They were stopped on when they needed to be stopped on. They got time when they needed time. They were all taken care of – that’s why I was very confident buying horses out of that sale.”
Lil Red Cozette debuted for Orseno and D J Stable on Jan. 5, capturing a seven-furlong entry-level allowance by a half-length after pressing the pace.
“I expected her to win first time out. She was training fantastic. We loved everything about her. The only concern I had was the distance, because I hadn’t trained her hard to run more than six furlongs. She handled it fine,” Orseno said.
Out of a Kris S. mare, Lil Red Cozette had a pedigree that left open the possibility that she might even be better on the grass, but a subsequent eighth-place finish in a 7 ½ turf race clearly determined that her future would be on dirt.
“She didn’t run a step that day. She didn’t try. She didn’t run at all,” Orseno said. “I gave her some time to get over that, and when I ran her the other day, that was a tough, tough race. She stepped up and beat some nice horses that day. I think there were four horses that were coming out of stakes, and she beat them pretty handily. There were some nice fillies in there. I think that allowance race may have been as tough as this stake.”
Lil Red Cozette rebounded from her turf dud on March 7 with a 1 ¼-length triumph over Grade 1 stakes-placed Jamaican Smoke, running 6 ½ furlongs in 1:15 4/5 in a second-level allowance.
“We’re very happy with the purchase, but we really believe that we haven’t seen the best of her yet,” Orseno said. “She ran a big sheet number the other day. Off what she did, I gave her enough time to get over it. If she repeats that effort – she ran as fast as top stakes-winning fillies run – she should be OK.”
Orseno had entertained the thought of sending his 4-year-old filly to Aqueduct for last Sunday’s $100,000 Cat Cay Stakes before deciding on the Hollywood Beach.
“I’m glad we stayed out of it. It came up with the surprise entry of Princess of Sylmar,” said Orseno, referring to the multiple Grade 1 stakes winner who captured the Cat Cay by 3 ½ lengths in her 2014 debut. “I would have hated to run against her.”
Lil Red Cozette, who’ll be ridden by Ramsey Zimmerman, is slated to face nine rivals in the six-furlong Hollywood Beach, including R Free Roll, a multiple-stakes winner who showed the way before faltering late in a seven-furlong allowance last time out; Classic Point, the Honorable Miss (G2) runner-up at Saratoga last summer who has been freshened by Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens since a troubled fifth-place finish in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint on Jan. 18; and Salamera, a Grade 2 stakes-placed filly who finished third in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint.
GULFSTREAM PARK is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, and is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world's largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; XpressBet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets.The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horseracing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America's premier supplier of virtual online horseracing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry. For more information contact David Joseph at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 954.457.6451.