02/01/2012 1:56PM

Aqueduct: Big Brownie in sweet spot for return

Barbara D. Livingston
Big Brownie bled through Lasix in two consecutive races.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – The distance may be a little short, but the competition in Friday’s $75,000 Holly Springs Stakes at Aqueduct looks ideal for Big Brownie to return against in her first start off a nine-month layoff.

A multiple stakes winner against restricted company, Big Brownie faces five fellow statebred fillies and mares in the Holly Springs at six furlongs. It will be Big Brownie’s first start since she won the Cupids Way Stakes at seven furlongs at Belmont last May 4.

Big Brownie, trained and partly owned by Leah Gyarmati, won the Cupids Way despite bleeding through Lasix. The same thing happened when she finished second to Lots of Stones in the Ruby Rubles once race before.

Under New York’s rules of racing, Big Brownie would not have been permitted to run for 30 days following back-to-back bleeding episodes. Gyarmati turned the mare out for a while and brought her back into training in the fall. Big Brownie shows eight breezes for her return, including a bullet five-furlong move in 1:00.43 over Belmont’s training track on Jan. 23. Gyarmati said endoscopic examinations after Big Brownie’s last two breezes did not reveal any bleeding.

“We just gave her the time to get everything healed, treated her before every breeze, spaced her works,” said Gyarmati, who has had a solid winter with a 5-4-4 record from 25 starters. “Hopefully, we’ve overcome that.”

Gyarmati said she would have preferred to run Big Brownie at seven furlongs, but the mare does have two seconds and a third in three starts sprinting.

“She tries hard. She’s got a running style where she’s not going to be pressured to do something you don’t want to do,” Gyarmati said.

Big Brownie figures to be stalking the pace from post 3 under Irad Ortiz Jr.

Saltamontes, drawn one slot inside of Big Brownie, and Nicole’s Miss El, drawn in post 5, look like the primary speed of the race.

Saltamontes has won her last two six-furlong races in front-running fashion, including an open second-level allowance here on Jan. 2. Cornelio Velasquez rides.

Nicole’s Miss El comes off a second-place finish in the Tate Stakes against next-out winner Reds Round Table last Dec. 16. She shows two bullet works at Belmont since then.

Guyana Princess and Lady Gracenote complete the field.

The Holly Springs goes as race 3 and thus is not part of the late pick four, which will have a guaranteed pool of $150,000 on Fridays in February. Though the late pick four pool last Friday was $144,998, the average pool for the wager on Friday’s in January was $165,358.

The pick four sequence begins with race 6 and has two 10-horse and two eight-horse fields.