COMELY STAKES | PURSE: $400,000 | 3-YEAR-OLD FILLIES | Grade 2 | 1 1/8 MILES
Godolphin Racing's Wedding Toast took charge at the start and held on for a head victory over hard-charging longshot Toasting in the $400,000 Comely Stakes Nov. 30 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Wedding Toasted drifted out a bit in the final furlong as Toasting rallied on the outside to engage the 3-5 favorite. But the Street Sense filly had energy to spare and knuckled down under Javier Castellano to prevail narrowly in her graded stakes debut.
Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Wedding Toast notched a fourth successive victory in the 3-year-old filly test while covering 1 ⅛ miles in 1:49.92 on a fast track.
Wedding Toast came into the race with a 3 ¼-length tally in an overnight event, the Belle Cherie Stakes, Oct. 25 at Belmont Park after a stunning 14 ½-length triumph in a one-mile optional claimer Sept. 11 that earned her a gaudy 105 Beyer figure. Prior to that, she shed her maiden status in July at Saratoga Race Course, going 1 ⅛ miles following a runner-up finish in her career debut at 6 ½ furlongs in June at Belmont after what McLaughlin said was a terrible start.
"She sometimes doesn't break so well," McLaughlin said after the Comely, "but today she broke well and (Castellano) put her on the lead.
"She was very game. It looked like the other filly [Toasting] was going to go right by her, but she dug in and showed a lot of gameness. We won a tough photo. She's a very nice filly. We'll discuss plans for her."
In the Comely, Wedding Toast broke from post 2 and immediately took to the inside path, putting down a solid tempo as My Happy Face stalked about a length back. Toasting relaxed in eighth about three wide in the nine-horse field for six furlongs before launching her bid.
Wedding Toast entered the stretch full of run and gamely fought off a determined Toasting, who was at her throat latch at the sixteenth pole after hanging about four wide coming off the far turn. The pair pulled clear of the field to battle in closing stages as Wedding Toast held on.
"She fought the whole way," trainer Tom Albertrani said of 32-1 shot Toasting. "We got hung a little wide and that might have made a difference, but the winner ran gamely and kept trying to fight us off."
Teen Pauline, who stalked from third and fourth, finished 5 ¼ lengths back in third.
Wedding Toast, who has earned $411,200, returned mutuels of $3.40, $2.70, and $2.30. Toasting paid $17.80 and $9.20. Teen Pauline was $6.90 to show. The 2-9 exacta paid $59.
Second choice My Happy Face was fourth, followed by Galloping Giraffe, Flash Forward, Sky Girl, Sheer Drama, and Marathon Lady. Street Girl scratched.
Bred in Kentucky by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum's Darley operation, Wedding Toast is out of the Coronado's Quest mare Golden Sheba, who is a half sister to five-time Grade 1 winner Congaree and stakes winner Sangaree, who is Grade 1-placed.
Wedding Toast, now 4-for-5 in her career, has banked $411,200.