Godolphin Racing's regally bred Anjaz will make her 5-year-old season debut in the $100,000 The Very One Stakes on Feb. 15 at Gulfstream Park.
The daughter of Street Cry out of group I winner Playful Act will return to racing in the 1 ⅜-mile turf race for older fillies and mares for the first time since finishing second to Quschi in the 1 ½-mile Waya Stakes Aug. 5 at Saratoga Race Course. Circumstances have forced her connections to change plans several times.
"You talk about having bad luck. Every time she was supposed to run, something happened," said her trainer Tom Albertrani. "At Saratoga, the Glens Falls [Stakes on Sept. 2] came off the grass and we scratched her. She was supposed to run at Belmont, but the week before she bruised her foot, so we didn't get to run her in that race. And then she was supposed to run in the La Prevoyante [at Calder Casino and Race Course in December] and they decided to not even card the race. So between the weather and races that didn't go, she hasn't run in a while."
Anjaz, who started her career in Europe, is still looking for her first stakes win. She finished fourth in last year's Orchid Handicap at Gulfstream in her first start for Albertrani. She was second in the Sheepshead Bay Stakes at Belmont Park in May, and rallied for the runner-up spot in the Waya.
The 5-year-old has been breezing steadily at Palm Meadows since mid-November. Her dam, Playful Act, established a record when she sold to Sheikh Mohammed for $10.5 million at Keeneland November breeding stock sale in 2007, and Albertrani is optimistic Anjaz can live up to her pedigree in 2014.
"She's training really well and we are looking forward to getting her back on track," Albertrani said. "She's run some really good races in the past. We're trying to get a graded win for her, so hopefully she has a good season ahead of her this year. We're going to target all of the long races with her."
Anjaz will have Jose Lezcano in the irons when she breaks from post seven in The Very One.
Drawn outside in the eight-horse field is Viva Rafaela, a Brazilian homebred for Stud TNT who is stretching back out in distance for trainer Todd Pletcher. The 5-year-old captured the Grande Premio Diana over a mile and a quarter in her Brazilian finale, but has been competing in shorter contests in four starts, including one win, in this country.
"We are hoping for improvement in a three-turn race," Pletcher said. "She's been training well."