BUSANDA STAKES | PURSE: $100,000 | 3-YEAR-OLD FILLIES | 1 MILE & 70 YARDS
King of Prussia Stable's Princess of Sylmar bided her time while saving ground on the rail in Saturday's $100,000 Busanda at Aqueduct before squeezing between fellow three-year-old fillies and drawing off for a 7 1/2-length victory under jockey Chris DeCarlo. Sent off the heavy 4-5 favorite against her five rivals, the Majestic Warrior filly paid $3.90, $2.50 and $2.10.
Kiss the Lady, who entered the Busanda off a two-length maiden win at Aqueduct in mid-November, grabbed command of the mile-and-70-yard event soon after the start, setting fractions of :24, :48 3/5 and 1:13. Ruby Lips was latched on to her outside, while Asiya took up running in tandem with Princess of Sylmar down the backstretch.
Kiss the Lady showed signs of tiring nearing the turn, something Ruby Lips and Asiya were quick to take advantage of by drawing even. Princess of Sylmar and DeCarlo patiently waited for a seam to open as those three raced in tandem into the lane, and found it when Kiss the Lady began backing up. Slipping through, Princess of Sylmar grabbed the advantage and merely extended her margin from there while stopping the clock in 1:41 1/5 over the fast inner dirt.
"She felt great. She broke, she put me in a really good position, and I bided my time all the way to the quarter-pole," DeCarlo explained. "I knew once the hole opened up she would go right on through. When I called on her, she just took off. I was sitting inside, just waiting for the pocket to open up.
"She kind of idled a little bit when she made the lead. She was looking around, but I'm sure if someone came to her she would have taken off again."
Ruby Lips finished second on the wire but was disqualified to third after coming over twice on third-place runner Asiya. The first time happened not soon after the pair entered the stretch and seemed to push Asiya out a bit, but the second almost caused the Daaher filly to clip heels. Dual stakes-placed Coconut Shrimp filled the fourth spot while By Golly Molly and Kiss the Lady completed the order of finish.
Princess of Sylmar dropped her first start, a 5 1/2-furlong maiden at Penn National last October, but has been unbeatable ever since closing fast to be fourth in that contest. She returned a month later at that track and stretched out to a mile, pulling off for a 19-length triumph for trainer Todd Pletcher. The chestnut miss rounded out her juvenile campaign with a 5 1/4-length score in an optional claimer going the Busanda distance on Aqueduct's inner, and now boasts a 4-3-0-0 mark to go along with $128,220 in career earnings.
"This is a nice filly," assistant trainer Mike McCarthy said. "We've always had high hopes for her. She tipped her hand a little bit over the summer [at Penn National]. Obviously you're surprised when they break their maiden by 19 lengths, but she had trained like a nice filly. I am hoping she'll stay here [in New York]."
Bred in Pennsylvania by Ed Stanco, Princess of Sylmar is the first registered foal out of the stakes-placed Catienus mare Storm Dixie, who is a half-sister to Group 3 victor Rhythm Band and Grade 3-placed Musical.