Seven Maiden Winners Face Off in Demoiselle Stakes
Looking for a wide-open race to handicap this weekend? Well, considering that none of the seven entrants in Saturday’s $250,000 Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct have won more than a maiden race, it could take a bit of skill to determine which of these lightly-raced fillies is most likely to prevail.And it’s important to get a feel for these fillies as soon as possible since the Demoiselle Stakes is a “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” prep race offering 10 qualification points to the winner, and we’re bound to see at least one or two of these runners on the Kentucky Oaks trail this winter.
Actually, #1 Enliven has already thrown in name in the ring for Oaks consideration after finishing second in the one-mile Tempted Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct last month. A Godolphin homebred trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Enliven had previously won an 8.5-furlong maiden special weight at Belmont Park with a sharp run from just off the pace, and considering her pedigree (she’s by Ghostzapper out of a Mineshaft mare), the nine-furlong distance of the Demoiselle shouldn’t be an obstacle.
The bigger “obstacle” could be #3 Filly Joel, who ran well enough in her first two starts sprinting before stretching out to 8.5 furlongs in a maiden race at Belmont and cruising to an eye-catching 6 ¼-length triumph. Hailing from the barn of Rudy Rodriguez, the daughter of Dialed In is clearly on the rise and is another who shouldn’t encounter any difficulties negotiating the extended distance of the Demoiselle.
#7 Molto Bella can’t be counted out either based off her gutsy runner-up effort in the one-mile Rags to Riches Stakes at Churchill Downs, in which she was beaten just 1 ¾ lengths by the Grade 1-placed Mother Mother. The four-time Eclipse Award-winning rider Javier Castellano will be in the saddle for trainer Ian Wilkes.
#4 Positive Spin and #6 Afleet Destiny, triumphant in recent maiden races at Churchill Downs and Parx Racing, will face winners for the first time on Saturday, while #5 Jennifer’s Dream ships in from Laurel Park after falling just a half-length short of victory in a one-mile allowance race. Completing the field is #2 Girl of Tosconova, the 8 ¼-length winner of a $50,000 maiden claiming race at Belmont Park. Claimed out of that victory by trainer Charlton Baker, Girl of Tosconova came back to finish second in a one-mile starter allowance race at Aqueduct and thus joins Enliven as one of just two fillies in the Demoiselle field with previous experience at Aqueduct.
The Demoiselle Stakes is the fourth race on the card, with a post time of 1:02 p.m. Eastern.