by Ryan Martin
Madaket Stables’ L Street Lady doubled up on stakes scores, utilizing her newfound late-closing tactics to spring a 12-1 upset in Sunday’s $150,000 Jersey Girl for sophomore fillies going six furlongs at Belmont Park.
L Street Lady, by Munnings, won her stakes debut in the January 21 Xtra Heat at Laurel Park three starts back, displaying tactical speed en route to a 2 1/4-length score for trainer Brittany Russell. She made her first venture outside of Maryland a triumphant one, sweeping past Unified Alliance in the last sixteenth of a mile to win by one length.
L Street Lady broke from post 3 under Manny Franco and settled at the rear of the compact field, while 26-1 longshot Wildhawk set the tempo through an opening quarter-mile in 22.52 seconds over the fast main track with Aunt Becca just to her outside in second. Grade 1 winner Chocolate Gelato, the 4-5 post time favorite, was in search of racing room around the far turn while racing in fourth position under Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Unified Alliance inched her way up to even terms with the pacesetter through a half-mile in 45.98 seconds with Franco taking L Street Lady in the clear and four wide around the far turn. Unified Alliance put a head in front past the three-sixteenths as Chocolate Gelato checked when attempting to swing wide with L Street Lady right to her outside. Inside the sixteenth pole, L Street Lady was in clear command and completed the six furlongs in 1:11.10.
Unified Alliance finished 2 1/2 lengths ahead of third-place finisher Wildhawk, followed by Chocolate Gelato and Aunt Becca.
L Street Lady entered the Jersey Girl off a third-place finish in her graded stakes debut in the Grade 3 Miss Preakness on May 19 at Pimlico Race Course, where she was 48-1 odds finishing five lengths behind impressive victress Maple Leaf Mel.
Franco, who piloted L Street Lady for the first time, said Russell’s instructions were to keep her comfortable down the backstretch.
“She told me not to rush her off her feet and if she’s in the back, that’s fine,” Franco said. “Just make one run with her, and that’s what I did. I stayed out there waiting and I got a good setup in front of me, too. They came back and my filly ran them down. I was comfortable as soon as I was wide and in the clear. She got it done.”
Chocolate Gelato was making her first start since a distant 12th in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in November at Keeneland in her first start going two turns.
Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher, who conditioned the race’s multiple Grade 1-winning namesake, said he will potentially look to stretch the daughter of Practical Joke out in her next start.
“I thought she ran OK,” Pletcher said. “Last year, she didn’t run quite as well on her debut as we thought she would and then she improved a lot in her second start. I think we kind of saw similar today and the race under her belt will be in her favor. I think we’d like to stretch her out.”
L Street Lady, who returned $26.20, now boasts a record of 6-3-0-2 for $194,900 in lifetime earnings.
Bred by T and G Farm of Kentucky, L Street Lady is out of the Scat Daddy mare Lady Gayle. She was bought for $125,000 at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Select Yearling Sale.
Live racing returns Thursday with a nine-race card. First post is 3:05 p.m. Eastern.
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