When Mike Repole’s highly regarded filly Stopshoppingmaria last appeared on the
racetrack on November 4, she was leading the field into deep stretch in the
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Churchill Downs before being passed right
near the wire by the winner. On Saturday she’ll make her 2012 debut for trainer
Todd Pletcher in the $60,000 Crank It Up Stakes for three-year-old fillies to be
run on the turf at five and a half furlongs.
The dark bay daughter of More Than Ready has
turned in a steady series of works at Belmont Park and in four lifetime starts she has
never finished out of the money.
Stopshoppingmaria drew considerable
attention when she broke her maiden at second asking by almost 10 lengths last
August at Saratoga. In her next start, she finished
second to eventual Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old filly My Miss Aurelia in the
Grade 1 Frizette run at one mile on Belmont’s main
“She’s a really nice filly and I expect her
to show up in the race. She always does,” said Anthony Sciametta, Pletcher’s
Repole said that he named the filly, whom he
purchased for $100,000 at the Ocala Breeders Sales of two-year-olds-in-training
in March 11, for his wife, Maria.
Judy the Beauty will also make the first
start of her sophomore campaign. After winning her first three races, including
stakes in France and
Canada, she tired in the lane
in the Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga last September for the only blemish on
She is scheduled to arrive
on the grounds on Friday as part of a contingent of horses being sent here from
trainer Wesley Ward. The daughter of Ghostzapper has been training well over
the Churchill Downs turf and on Keeneland’s Polytrack and Ward, who also owns
her, will take her blinkers off for the race.