Flora Dora blossoms in Busanda
Sent off the 5-2 favorite against seven rivals, Flora Dora broke on top but immediately settled into a stalking position as Lost Raven moved up to lead the way through splits of :24.55, :49.32 and 1:14.03.
Lost Raven was never left alone, first taken on by Dreams to Reality then Scatoosh as the field jockeyed for position behind her. Meanwhile, Flora Dora was patiently waiting to pounce while saving ground down on the inside.
Lost Raven and Scatoosh continued to skirmish rounding the turn, with the latter inching away upon hitting the lane. The New Year’s Day maiden winner appeared ready to add a stakes win to her resume when Flora Dora suddenly appeared in the screen, determinedly reeling her in to triumph in a final time of 1:45.40 for a mile and 70 yards on the fast inner dirt.
Flora Dora earned not only her second stakes win in the Busanda, but also 10 points toward a starting berth in the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (G1). The Busanda, which was rescheduled due to Winter Storm Jonas from last Saturday, is part of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series of points races and awarded 10-4-2-1 points to the top four finishers.
Scatoosh took home the four points for second, 2 1/4 lengths up on Lost Raven in third. Dreams to Reality finished another eight lengths back in fourth.
Arch or Nothing, who broke from the far outside, stumbled badly right out of the gate and tossed jockey Ruben Silvera at the start.
Flora Dora is now 5-2-1-0 in her career, having also captured the My Dear Girl division of the Florida Sire S. series. The chestnut daughter of First Dude followed that up with a half-length second in the Tempted S. (G3) and a fourth-placing in the Demoiselle S. (G2) on Aqueduct’s main track to close out her juvenile season in November.
That latter race saw Flora Dora debut on the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard with one point and the Busanda boosted her from the 35th spot to number six in the updated standings. She’ll likely start next in the $125,000 Busher S. going 1 1/16 miles at Aqueduct on February 27, with the Kentucky Oaks the main goal.
Flora Dora is trained by Marialice Coffey for Gerry O’Meara’s Coffeepot Stables, who purchased the filly for $87,000 at Fasig-Tipton’s 2014 Saratoga Selected Yearling Sale. The Florida-bred miss, who has banked $415,332 in lifetime earnings, is out of the Dixieland Band mare Aidan and comes from a female family responsible for numerous Chilean champions.
Earlier on the card, Gabrielle Farm’s homebred Frosty Margarita just held off her furiously rallying stablemate Katniss the Victor to take the $100,000 Maddie May S. by a nose.
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. guided the Rudy Rodriguez-trained Frosty Margarita as she completed the mile-and-70-yard inner track contest in 1:44.91.
Frosty Margarita was sent off the 3-5 favorite in the New York-bred contest and paid $3.40 to her supporters for earning her third straight state-bred stakes. Previously, the Frost Giant filly scored in the Key Cents S. and Fifth Avenue division of the New York Stallion S. series. The dark bay miss currently boasts a 7-4-3-0, $345,800, career record.
Jose Ortiz (rider, Flora Dora): "She was very kind. She listened really well. When I was getting a position in the first turn, she helped me out and she relaxed really well. When I asked her to go at the three-eighths pole, I had to whip her a few times, she's a little lazy. Once I got her going, she was there for me. She has a really good stride and I think she can go a little longer too."
Marialice Coffey (trainer, Flora Dora): "She's always been a very patient filly and she closes very well. I feel that she also has technical speed and that she can put herself in the mix and today she did.
“I think added distance in the future will help her. The longer the better, we're absolutely targeting the longer distances. She's easy to train, she's easy on herself, and very professional. From the time we started her as a two-year-old at Saratoga she never got nervous about anything she just does everything we ask her to do."
MADDIE MAY QUOTES
Irad Ortiz Jr. (rider, Frosty Margarita): "She's a nice filly. We won last time sprinting and today she put in a mile. It's a little hard to ride her but, thank God, we get along good. She doesn't like it if you fight with her, you've got to keep the stick away from her, but she gave me everything she had."
Rudy Rodriguez (trainer, Frosty Margarita and Katniss the Victor): "She (Frosty Margarita) ran very good. She stole the race in the very beginning, we thought the other horse (Absatootly) was going to go with her from the start but once she didn't it made it more easy for Frosty Margarita and Irad knows the horse very well and not to hit her. The other filly (Katniss the Victor) ran good was well. We're proud of both performances."
Flora Dora photo courtesy of NYRA/Susie Raisher/Adam Coglianese Photography