From the NYRA Media Team:
Mrs. Orb will be reunited with jockey Dylan Davis when she attempts to defend her title in Sunday’s $100,000 Bay Ridge, a nine-furlong test for New York-bred fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained and co-owned by Mike Miceli with Ruggeri Stable, Richard Coburn, and Script R Farm, Mrs. Orb overcame a moderate early tempo in last year’s Bay Ridge to nose out returning rival Lucky Move in a furious finish.
Last out, with Eric Cancel up, the 5-year-old Orb mare finished a good second to well-regarded Royal Flag in the Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm traveling nine furlongs on the Big A main.
“It was a good effort and it enhanced her status to finish second in a Grade 3,” said Miceli. “She ran a good race and she was closing in. Maybe a better filly beat her on the day, but she put in a good performance.”
After four seconds in five starts this campaign, including closing efforts against state-breds in the Critical Eye in June, the Union Avenue in August and Empire Distaff to familiar foe Lucky Move at Belmont on October 24, Miceli said he is hopeful Mrs. Orb can go one better on Sunday.
“She’s come off a few good races this year and hopefully she can have a repeat performance in the Bay Ridge,” said Miceli. “She’s run well at Aqueduct, but she’s run well at Belmont and Saratoga, too. She’s a pretty genuine filly. She goes out there and tries her best whenever we run her. She’s doing good right now and hopefully we can get the job done.”
Mrs. Orb, bred by Rhapsody Farm, enjoyed a solid run of form with Davis up last fall posting a four-race win streak that launched in October 2019 at Belmont and continued through a trio of victories at the Big A culminating in her Bay Ridge score.
Davis, who missed Mrs. Orb’s last start to ride Second of July to an off-the-board effort in the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, returns to the saddle from post 6.
“Dylan has had the most success with her,” said Miceli. “He went away to the Breeders’ Cup the last time and Eric did a good job, but Dylan must have rode her eight or nine times and it was only fair to give him the mount back on her.”
Ten Strike Racing’s Lucky Move, a 6-year-old Lookin At Lucky bay trained by Juan Carlos Guerrero, became a multiple stakes winner this campaign with scores in the 1 1/16-mile Obeah against open company at Delaware Park in June and a last-out win in the 1 1/16-mile Empire Distaff against state-breds on October 24 when 1 3/4-lengths the better of Mrs. Orb.
Bred by Maltese Cross Stables and Stonegate Stables, Lucky Move boasts a record of 31-6-7-4 with purse earnings of $374,759.
The recently concluded Big A fall meet’s leading rider Kendrick Carmouche, aboard for the narrow nose loss in last year’s Bay Ridge, has the call from the inside post.
Mr. Amore Stable’s Firenze Freedom, a 3-year-old Istan homebred out of the Langfuhr mare My Every Wish, is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Firenze Fire.
She graduated at second asking when sprinting seven furlongs in a state-bred maiden special weight last September at Belmont. After joining the Kelly Breen barn earlier this year, Firenze Freedom broke through at the state-bred allowance level last out with a rallying half-length score over older company in a one-turn mile on October 10 at Belmont.
Jose Lezcano retains the mount from post 2.
Mark Hennig will saddle a pair of contenders in William Parsons Jr. and David S. Howe’s Singular Sensation and Windylea Farm’s Kilkea.
Singular Sensation, a 4-year-old Mineshaft homebred out of the Smart Strike mare Saratoga Summer, captured a nine-furlong state-bred allowance in July on the Saratoga main track. She enters from a stalking second under Lezcano in a state-bred optional-claiming mile on December 3 at the Big A.
Kilkea, a sophomore daughter of Blame out of the Mizzen Mast mare Miz Topgallant, made her first three starts on dirt for former trainer Bruce Brown. Bred by Eden Farm, Kilkea joined the Hennig barn in the summer and graduated in August on the Saratoga turf.
Following a pair of runner-up efforts in state-bred allowance events on the Belmont turf, Kilkea utilized a prominent approach last out under Lezcano to score a five-length win in a 1 1/16-mile state-bred allowance event on November 22 on the Aqueduct turf.
Manny Franco takes over aboard Singular Sensation from post 5, while Eric Cancel picks up the mount on Kilkea from post 4.
Rounding out the field is Sky Kitten, a sophomore daughter of Sky Mesa owned and trained by Randi Persaud. Bred by John T. Behrendt and Charles Marquis, Sky Kitten captured an open claiming event against older company in August at 1 1/16-miles on the Saratoga turf. She graduated at first asking in an off-the-turf sprint for state-breds in July 2019.
Claimed for $14,000 two starts back out of a third-place effort sprinting in the mud on November 12 at the Big A, Sky Kitten will be guided by Luis Rodriguez Castro from post 3.
The Bay Ridge is slated as Race 3 on Sunday’s nine-race program, which offers a first post of 12:20 p.m. Eastern.