Stewart Armstrong’s favored Dream Play cruised to an early lead over a sloppy track at Aqueduct was never seriously challenged as she romped to a 5 ¼-length victory in Saturday’s $147,000 Comely (Grade III).
The race marked Dream Play’s first try at a distance beyond six furlongs and her initial run over a wet racing surface, but the daughter of Hennessy passed both tests beautifully as she covered the mile distance in 1:39.51 under jockey Eddie Castro. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee won for the third time in five races and pushed her career earnings to $186,406.
“My opinion was to go onto the lead,” said Castro. “She’s run good on the lead, but not so good when she’s not in front. I was able to get up pretty easily and when I asked her, she kicked in.”
Don’t Forget Gil, an easy winner of the Florida Oaks (GIII) at Tampa Bay Downs last time out, finished second and Holdontoyourdream was third.
The Comely result was a major disappointment for IEAH Stable’s Laragh, winner of the Hollywood Starlet (GI) and third to champion Stardom Bound in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. The John Terranova-trained daughter of Tapit was making her 3-year-old debut in the Comely and a strong effort could have landed her a start in the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks (GI) at Churchill Downs on May 1. Laragh chased Dream Play early, but faded in the stretch and finished last in the field of five 3-year-old fillies.
Despite her impressive Comely win, Dream Play is not a candidate for the Kentucky Oaks. She could make her next start in the $150,000 Nassau County at a mile at Belmont Park on Kentucky Derby Day, May 2. The Grade I Acorn at a mile on June 6 will also be considered.
KENTUCKY/JUSTWHISTLEDIXIE WORKS TOWARD KENTUCKY OAKS AT KEENELAND – West Point Thoroughbreds’ streaking Justwhistledixie continued her preparation for the Kentucky Oaks with a four-furlong work on Friday, April 10 over the Polytrack surface at Keeneland.
The winner of five consecutive races worked a half-mile in :50.40. The daughter of Dixie Union, who is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, won the Bonnie Miss (GII) and Davona Dale (GII), both at Gulfstream Park, in her most recent outings.
Justwhistledixie was the favorite over champion Stardom Bound and Fantasy (GII) winner Rachel Alexandra in the Kentucky Oaks Future Wage In March.
Stardom Bound Back On Track – Stardom Bound, America’s reigning 2-year-old filly champion, jogged Sunday at Keeneland in her first trip to the track since her upset loss in the $400,000 Ashland (GI) over the Lexington track on April 7.
Her third-place finish behind 24-1 shot Hooh Why in the 1 1/16-mile Ashland snapped a string of five consecutive Grade I stakes victories for the Rick Dutrow Jr.-trained Stardom Bound.