Venti Valentine flies the flag for New York-bred program

Monday, May 2nd, 2022

Busher winner Venti Valentine drew post 8 for Friday’s Kentucky Oaks and is 20-1 on the morning line. Chelsea Durand/NYRA Photo.

By Tom Law

NY Final Furlong Racing Stable’s and Parkland Thoroughbreds’ Venti Valentine drew one of the middle posts in an ultra-strong renewal of the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks as she attempts to become the latest New York-bred to shine on one of America’s signature programs.

Venti Valentine drew post eight of 14 in the Oaks field with Tyler Gaffalione named to ride and is listed at 20-1 on the morning line for the 9-furlong test.

“I’m very pleased,” trainer Jorge Abreu said. “We wanted to draw somewhere from the four to the eight and we got a place right in there. She likes to sit off the speed, to be forwardly placed. I don’t want her on the lead. Tyler knows this track really well. Now we just need the luck.”

The 3-year-old daughter of Firing Line will attempt to become the second New York-bred to win the Oaks and first since the Believe It filly Buryyourbelief scored an 8-1 upset for Hall of Fame trainer Laz Barrera in 1987.

Winner of the Busher Invitational Stakes two starts back and second to Oaks morning-line favorite Nest last time in the Grade 3 Gazelle Stakes, Venti Valentine comes into Friday’s headliner with more than just a puncher’s chance according to her connections.

“The owners want to take a chance and it’s not like she’s impossible,” Abreu said last week. “She faced one of the favorites already in Nest. There’s plenty of speed in that race and she’s always one that wants to be forwardly placed but not on the lead.”

Abreu said this week he’s been pleased with Venti Valentine’s progress in Louisville, where she breezed a half in :47.40 April 23 and 5 furlongs in 1:00.80 April 29.

“So far everything is good,” Abreu said. “The surface of the track seems to fit her.”

The Kentucky Oaks goes as the 11th of 13 races Friday at Churchill, with post time scheduled for 5:51 p.m. ET.

Bred by Final Furlong Racing Stable and Maspeth Stable and foaled at Schuylerville Thoroughbred Farm in Schuylerville, Venti Valentine is the second stakes winner produced by Glory Gold along with Espresso Shot. Venti Valentine’s connections also campaigned Espresso Shot, a multiple stakes winner of $516,625 who sold for $300,000 to Spendthrift Farm at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November mixed sale.

Final Furlong Racing purchased Espresso Shot for $69,000 at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale. A year later they bought Glory Gold, carrying Venti Valentine in utero, for $13,000 at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale. She’s produced four winners.

Venti Valentine flies the flag for the New York-bred program this weekend. She was expected to share that duty with Rebel Stakes winner Un Ojo until he was declared from Saturday’s Kentucky Derby with an injury.

Trainer Ricky Courville said the one-eyed New York-bred son of Laoban came out of his final Derby breeze with a bruised right foot. The decision to withdraw Un Ojo from consideration was made Monday when the gelding didn’t respond to treatment.

“It’s just bad timing,” Courville said. “It’s just a badly bruised foot. It’s deep in the laminae, so he’s pretty sore. We tried soaking his foot and that didn’t really help. It’s just very disappointing because he had been doing so well. He seemed to really like the track.”

The New York breeding program will be represented on Saturday’s Derby Day card with Coinage in the Grade 2 American Turf presented by BMW. Bred by Chester and Mary Broman and campaigned by the Bromans and Leonard Green’s D J Stable, Coinage comes into the $500,000 American Turf off a third in the Grade 3 Kentucky Utilities Transylvania Stakes on Keeneland’s Opening Day card April 8. The American Turf goes as the ninth of 14 races Saturday with post time set for 3:40 p.m.

The Transylvania field also includes the unbeaten Sy Dog, a 3-year-old son of New York-based sire Slumber. Sy Dog won the Transylvania by three quarters of a length and comes in 3-for-3 for trainer Graham Motion and owner and co-breeder Head of Plains Partners LLC. Madaket Stables also co-bred Sy Dog. Slumber, a Grade 1-winning 14-year-old son of Cacique out of the Woodmare mare Sound Asleep, stands at Rockridge Stud in Hudson.

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