Grade 1 Ladies: Lady Kate, Paris Lights Return In Friday’s Distaff At Aqueduct

Anderson Stables’ Lady Kate looks to make the grade in Friday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Distaff, a seven-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares at Aqueduct Racetrack.

The Distaff is the first stakes race of the 11-day Big A spring meet, which will run Thursday, April 1 through Sunday, April 18.

Trained by Eddie Kenneally, the Grade 1-placed Lady Kate will make her seasonal debut following an off-the-board effort in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff won by eventual Champion Older Dirt Female Monomoy Girl in November at Keeneland.

The 5-year-old Bernardini mare, who finished second to Monomoy Girl in the Grade 1 La Troienne in September at Churchill Downs, enjoyed a four-win campaign in 2020, including a score in the one-mile Groupie Doll in August at Ellis Park.

“She had a very strong campaign last year,” said Kenneally. “She won four races and traveled around a little bit. She had a busy year.”

Lady Kate, out of the graded stakes-winning Street Cry mare Princess Haya, enjoyed a freshening before returning to the work tab in February at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida.

“She wintered really well,” said Kenneally. “We sent her to Eddie Woods in Ocala and turned her out for a couple of months and brought her back in January at Palm Meadows. She hasn’t missed a beat since she came back in. She’s benefitted from her vacation time and I think she’s come back really good.”

Lady Kate battled with Monomoy Girl on three occasions last year and Kenneally said the La Troienne effort was the highlight of a strong campaign.

“That was a deep field and she beat some quality horses that day,” said Kenneally. “She didn’t get beat too far by Monomoy Girl, so I think that was probably her best race.”

Kenneally said Lady Kate’s natural speed allows her success over a variety of trips.

“She’s versatile. She’s won at 6 1/2-furlongs, a one-turn mile, the Groupie Doll was a mile around two turns and the La Troienne was a mile and a sixteenth around two turns,” said Kenneally. “I think seven-eighths on the comeback is a good distance to start back at, but we’ll be planning on stretching her out after that.”

Lady Kate, who was supplemented to the Distaff after an allowance race at Gulfstream Park did not fill, will exit post 2 under Trevor McCarthy.

WinStar Stablemates Racing’s Paris Lights bested Crystal Ball by a head in the nine-furlong Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks last out in July at Saratoga Race Course. The 4-year-old Curlin bay, unraced as a juvenile, won 3-of-4 starts in her sophomore season.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Paris Lights has prepared for her seasonal debut at Payson Park in Florida, breezing three-eighths in 38.40 seconds on March 21.

Paris Lights will exit post 4 under Junior Alvarado.

Ten Strike Racing’s Portal Creek, a 5-year-old Shanghai Bobby mare trained by Juan Guerrero, has enjoyed a productive winter at the Big A despite not having her picture taken.

Portal Creek finished second, beaten a neck by Sharp Starr, in the Grade 3 Go for Wand, a one-turn mile over a sloppy and sealed Aqueduct main track in December. She followed with a fourth in the seven-furlong Interborough in January and was a prominent second to Lake Avenue last out in the one-mile Heavenly Prize Invitational on March 6.

Kendrick Carmouche, aboard for the Go for Wand and Interborough efforts, has the call from post 5.

Saul Kupferberg’s Honor Way enters from wins in the seven-furlong Pumpkin Pie in November at Belmont and the six-furlong Garland of Roses in December at the Big A.

The 7-year-old Caleb’s Posse mare, trained by Charlton Baker, boasts a record of 41-13-8-7 with purse earnings of $688,892 and will be piloted by Jose Ortiz from the inside post.

Perrine Time Thoroughbreds’ Kansas Kis has come close to stakes success at Aqueduct on two occasions for trainer Ray Handal. The 4-year-old Constitution bay missed by a nose to Water White in the 2020 Busher Invitational, traveling a one-turn mile. Last out, Kansas Kis tracked from third in the six-furlong Correction and completed the trifecta just 1 1/2-lengths back of the victorious Sadie Lady.

Kansas Kis will exit post 3 under Pablo Morales.

The Distaff is slated as Race 7 on Friday’s eight-race card. First post is 1:20 p.m. Eastern.

NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Aqueduct Racetrack, and the best way to bet every race of the winter meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at

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