Espresso Shot impresses in East View

Saturday, December 29th, 2018

Coglianese Photos

By Sarah Mace

NY Final Furlong Racing Stable and Maspeth Stable’s Espresso Shot dispatched a full, competitive field of New York-bred juvenile fillies to win Saturday’s co-featured $100,000 East View at Aqueduct Racetrack in impressive fashion.

Strongly supported by bettors as the 2-1 co-favorite of 11 fillies, Espresso Shot got out of the gate cleanly from post seven and settled into stride mid-pack. Meanwhile, the speedy multiple stakes winner Sassy Agnes and Shelley Ann, who was fresh off a December 8 maiden special weight romp on December 8, vied for the lead. Shelly Anne, hugging the rail from her inside post, took command along the backstretch and opened up a one-length advantage.

Espresso Shot, six-deep along the backstretch, steadily advanced from sixth to fourth position by the early part of the far turn, while maneuvering further toward the fence. Moving well in the bend, Espresso Shot drew even with the pacesetters, and the trio lined up across the track: Shelley Ann at the rail, Sassy Agnes between fillies and Espresso Shot three-wide.

Grabbing the lead, and fully in command by the quarter pole, Espresso Shot ultimately galloped off unchallenged to a 3 1/4-length victory.

Shelley Ann, far outrunning her 16-1 odds, stayed on well to preserve the place, fending off a strong closing bid from Elegant Zip (9-1) who finished a head back in third. After a half-mile in 48.10 and six furlongs in 1:14.16, the final time for the one-turn mile was 1:40.73 over a drying-out muddy (harrowed) track.

Completing the order of finish were: Forever Changed, Awesome Alana, Lem Me Have It, Three Birds, Sassy Agnes, Take Me to Hardoon and Little Song. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Winning jockey Eric Cancel said, “I had a wonderful trip. The filly was just dragging me all the way. I just tried to keep her in the clear, trying to get the best spot in the race for her, and that’s how it worked out. We were in the clear all the way and as soon as I asked her and let her go, she opened up on the field.”

The pilot added, “I think she appreciates going a mile. I can place her a little bit better without having to do too much. She likes to be up close going long, and that’s why I let her be where she wanted to be, and it worked out well.”

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

Abreu, for whom this was a first career stakes victory as a trainer since striking out on his own after serving as an assistant to Chad Brown for nine years, was feeling optimistic about his charge’s chances from the time the race was drawn, especially given her 5-furlong work on December 23, best of 34 at the distance that day at Belmont.

“She’s been training very well,” said Abreu that day. “We skipped the [the Fifth Avenue division of the New York Stallion Series Stakes on December 15] because I think three-quarters is too short for her. I think she wants to go a mile or a mile and a sixteenth. She had a really nice breeze today and a nice gallop out. She’s doing really well.”

Reylu Gutierrez, the jockey aboard runner-up Shelley Ann, was full of praise for his filly’s outstanding effort. “[Shelley Ann] is so game. She showed tremendous heart. [Espresso Shot] passed me a couple of lines wide, but when [Elegant Zip] tried to pass me for place, she pinned her ears and gave it one more try. She’s all heart.”

Espresso Shot’s first career stakes victory in the East View was nicely foreshadowed by her strong performance last out, also under Cancel, when she rallied from well out of it to claim second in the Key Cents Stakes behind Sassy Agnes on November 23 while posting a 75 Beyer Speed Figure, the best last-out figure in the East View field.

Overall, in five starts the Mission Impazible filly has only had one sub-par outing. Third on debut at Saratoga on August 16 in a turf sprint, Expresso Shot came back on September 14 to break her maiden going 1 1/16 miles in an off-the-turf event. Next out, reflecting the high regard in which she is held by her connections, she tried the Grade 2 Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland, where she finished last after being steadied in the first turn. The Key Cents was her next assignment. From two wins, a second and a third the filly has earned $118,600.

Bred by Twin Creeks Farm and sired by leading New York-based third-crop sire Mission Impazible (Sequel Stallions), Expresso Shot is out of Glory Gold, a winning daughter of Medaglia d’Oro bred in New York by Dr. Lance G. Bell. Glory Gold was purchased by Twin Creeks Farm for $125,000 at the 2013 Keeneland November sale and has since changed hands twice, most recently when snapped up by Final Furlong Racing for $13,000 at this year’s renewal of the same sale.

Espresso Shot, Glory Gold’s first foal to earn black type originally sold as a short yearling at the 2017 Keeneland January Sale for $22,000, before being purchased later that year by Final Furlong Racing for $69,000 at the Fasig-Tipton preferred New York-bred yearling sale in Saratoga.

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