Tyler Gaffalione pilots Miss J McKay to a second consecutive victory in the Abundantia
The plan for Miss J McKay going into Saturday’s $100,000 Abundantia at Gulfstream Park: Give the multiple stakes-winning mare an opportunity to defend her title in the five-furlong turf sprint for fillies and mares during a winter campaign before sending her off to the breeding shed.
“The original plan was to run her this winter and put her in foal, but after the way she won today, I think everything is up in the air,” said Miguel Clement, trainer and part-owner Christophe Clement’s son and assistant trainer. “I’m sure my father and his partners will think about that afterwards.”
Purchased at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale for $335,000, Miss J McKay was in peak form Saturday, surging from off the pace in the stretch and drawing away to a convincing 1 ¼-length victory under Tyler Gaffalione. The 5-year-old daughter of Hangover Kid’s fourth stakes success was her first start for Oakwood Stables, Cheyenne Stable LLC and Clement, who had previously trained the Maryland-bred mare for another partnership.
“Her ‘A’ races are pretty spectacular to watch. She’s been a little unlucky in some of her races the past year,” Miguel Clement said. “My father always loved this filly. I don’t know if you noticed but he’s part-owner of this filly. He’s always loved her. He’s very happy to be a part of the filly. When she went to the ring, he decided he had to put another partnership together to keep her in the stable.”
Miss J McKay recovered from a slight bump at the start to settle off the early pace set by multiple-stakes winner Miss Auramet, who was under intense pressure from the start from Imagery and Stony Point to her outside. Miss J McKay started a three-wide rally leaving the backstretch before swinging five-wide into the stretch and launching her impressive winning drive.
Miss J McKay ($9.80) ran five furlongs over a turf course rated as good in :56.68. Imagery finished second, a neck ahead of Stony Point.
The Abundantia co-headlined the Christmas Eve program with the $100,000 Janus, a five-furlong turf dash for 3-year-olds and up won by Peace Sign Stable’s Belgrano ($23.40).
The Frank Russo-trained 8-year-old son of War Front took advantage of a hotly contested early pace to rally late to score a narrow decision over pacesetter Nothing Better. Paco Lopez rode Belgrano, who ran five furlongs in :55.94.
The Sunshine Meet’s leading trainer was Saffie Joseph Jr., and the leading jockey Miguel Vasquez.