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Jody's Pride Returns Victorious in Busher Stakes

Super Chow wins second consecutive grade 3 to start 2024.

Jody's Pride overcomes wet conditions to win the Busher Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack

Jody's Pride overcomes wet conditions to win the Busher Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack

Coglianese Photos/Susie Raisher

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) runner-up Jody's Pride made a winning 3-year-old debut in the $200,000 Busher Stakes on a sloppy, rainy day at Aqueduct Racetrack March 2.

The 50 points Jody's Pride earned in the Busher combined with the 15 points she secured last year should be enough to put the American Pharoah  filly in the starting gate for the Kentucky Oaks (G1).

Bred in Kentucky by Steve Weston and named after his sister Jody, Jody's Pride is owned by Weston's Parkland Thoroughbreds and Sportsmen Stable. Jody's Pride is out of the Scat Daddy mare Jody's Song, who was undefeated in two career starts.

Jody's Pride is just shy of being undefeated herself in four starts. Her only loss came when her late rally fell a neck short of eventual champion Just F Y I in the Breeders' Cup.

In the Busher, Jody's Pride and rider Jose Lezcano stalked the pace from third early. She moved into second as the leader—Pennsylvania-bred multiple stakes winner Carmelina—ran the opening half mile in :46.81. Carmelina and rider Mychel Sanchez put up a good fight, floating Jody's Pride out to the six path as they turned into the stretch. But Jody's Pride gradually gained the advantage over the game pacesetter to win by 2 1/4 lengths. Final time for the mile was 1:38.49.

Jody's Pride improved her career earnings to $590,250. Winning trainer Jorge Abreu said the April 6 Gazelle Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct and the May 3 Kentucky Oaks could be ahead for Jody's Pride.

"She ran two turns already and my concern was if she was going to perform as well as she did as a 2-year-old. She did, and I think she wants to go longer than that even," Abreu said.

This was the third win in the Busher for Weston, who won it with Espresso Shot in 2019 and her half sister Venti Valentine in 2022.

"We made it (to the Kentucky Oaks) once before with Venti Valentine," said the winning breeder/co-owner. "I'm not saying we have the best horse for the Oaks of the 14, but at least we have a chance." 

Carmelina, a 3-year-old daughter of Maximus Mischief , finished second. Trainer Butch Reid Jr. was encouraged by the performance and the 25 Kentucky Oaks points Carmelina earned.

"Valiant effort from my filly. First time off of a bit of a break and I thought she ran great. She didn't give up, she is certainly a tough little filly," Reid said. "We will get her back and reevaluate, but she certainly didn't do anything to change my mind (about the Oaks trail.)"

Calumet Farm's Busanda Stakes winner Gin Gin finished third. 

Video: Busher S. (BT)

Super Chow Splashes Home in Tom Fool

Lea Farms' Super Chow confirmed a return to the form that carried him to early success as he proved best in the $175,000 Tom Fool Handicap (G3) over a sloppy (sealed) track that looked more like a river than a racetrack.

Super Chow wins the 2024 Tom Fool Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack
Photo: Coglianese Photos/Joe Labozzetta
Super Chow wins the Tom Fool Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack

Winning four stakes in five starts from October 2022 to March 2023, Super Chow's only loss was a second by a length in the 2023 Swale Stakes (G3). But following a win in Gulfstream Park's Hutcheson Stakes March 18, the son of Lord Nelson would embark on a seven-race losing streak to complete the year, although he would place in six of those races, five of which were stakes.

A new year showed a new Super Chow as he has started his 4-year-old season with two grade 3 victories in as many starts. The change in age and rider to Madison Olver has given his career a rebirth.

Allowed to run as he pleased by Olver, Super Chow battled multiple stakes winner Rotknee through fractions of :22.74 and :46.06. Cutting the corner off the turn, he flicked favored Rotknee away like a pesky fly. Manny Wah began a rally after being fanned wide into the stretch, and Olver allowed Super Chow to drift toward better footing.

"The track outside was very good," Olver said. "I was like 'Listen, if you want to go out there, go for it.'"

Manny Wah diverted his attack toward the inside, but the result was never in doubt as Super Chow splashed to the wire 1 1/4 lengths ahead in 1:10.86. Manny Wah settled for second as he did in their Toboggan Stakes (G3) meeting Feb. 3. Stage Left closed to finish third.

"He has (drifted out) pretty much every time he has won," trainer Jorge Delgado said. "If he is comfortable with going for his goal that is to win on the lead, just let it be."

Paying $7.60 as the second choice, Super Chow improved his record to 8-4-4 in 17 starts for earnings of $686,900.

Video: Tom Fool H. (G3)