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My Pal Chrisy Likely Choice in Ocala Stakes Sunday
Tony's Investments LLC’s 4-year-old filly My Pal Chrisy turned in a career-best effort winning the $150,000 Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap last out at Calder on Nov. 10 by 7 ¼ lengths. It's a performance expected to send her into Sunday’s $100,000 Ocala Stakes at Gulfstream Park as the favorite.
Jockey Luca Panici retains the mount for owner-trainer Padarath ’Tony’ Lutchman in the one-mile feature that drew a field of six Florida-bred fillies and mares.
"She’s a lot better than she was earlier in her career, more mature,” said Lutchman who purchased her privately as a 2-year-old in Ocala. “She’s definitely better since she started running in longer races”
The daughter of Afleet Alex began her career with modest expectations, breaking her maiden for a $25,000 claiming tag and no takers in her fourth start at Calder in late October of 2010. Third in the Azalea Stakes (G3) at Calder sprinting as a 3-year-old in 2011, she took her game new a new level winning the Stage Door Betty Stakes and Elmer Heubeck Distaff for the first time that fall going two turns.
One caution for My Pal Chrisy may be that she failed to hit the board in three starts over the Gulfstream track last winter, although she was competing in races won by, in succession, Groupie Doll, Awesome Feather and Awesome Maria.
My Pal Chrisy carries highweight of 123 pounds, conceding from four eight pounds to her rivals.
Live Oak Plantation’s 5-year-old homebred mare Successful Song has been a solid stakes-class performer for trainer Eddie Plesa, Jr. over the last several seasons and likely closes out her racing career as plans call for her to begin a new life as a broodmare early next year. “It’s possible she could run one more time, but she will be bred in the spring,” said Plesa.
Jockey Joel Rosario rides Successful Song in the one-mile test as she takes a career record of 25-6-5-5 for earnings of $357,528 into her finale. The daughter of Successful Appeal finished a well-beat third last out as the favorite behind My Pal Chrisy in the Elmer Heubeck on Nov. 10 after a good summer campaign at Monmouth Park.
Successful Song won three stakes during her career and was twice Graded stakes-placed when second at 25-to-1 to Awesome Maria in the Rampart Stakes (G3) here in 2011 with Unrivaled Belle third and second in the Molly Pitcher Handicap (G2) at Monmouth late July.
Trainer Marty Wolfson has entered a pair in the Ocala with Miller Racing LLC’s 6-year-old mares Golden Mystery and Speak Easy Gal and jockeys Luis Saez and Javier Castellano named to ride, respectively.
A chestnut daughter of Awesome Again, Golden Mystery finished a sharp second last out in the six-furlong Sugar Swirl Stakes (G3) here on Dec. 8, a race won by Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) runner-up Dust and Diamonds. Golden Mystery finished third in the 2011 edition of the Ocala.
Completing the field for Sunday’s race are Gary Aiken’s Callmethesqueeze with jockey Elvis Trujillo to ride for trainer Manny Azpurua and Hardacre Farm’s Tale of Peace and John Velazquez aboard for owner-trainer-breeder Amy Tarrant.