11/28/2012 2:36PM

Aqueduct: Conditions ripe for Ode to Sami in allowance feature


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – A drop in class, the likelihood of a fast pace, and the presence of Javier Castellano all combine to make Ode to Sami an attractive play in Friday’s featured $69,000 second-level allowance race at Aqueduct.

Ode to Sami, a 3-year-old daughter of Lion Heart, is coming off a third-place finish behind Morrow Cove and Wildcat’s Smile in the $75,000 Raging Fever Stakes here on Nov. 2. That race was six furlongs, this one is at one mile.

“Last time we were way too close to that 22-and-3, 45-and-3 pace,” said Gary Contessa, the trainer of Ode to Sami. “Her style is to sit and make one run. She’s training great, looking good. She’s certainly one of the ones.”

Ode to Sami is winless in her last six starts. Her last victory came sprinting over Aqueduct’s main track on March 30, when she rallied from 10 lengths back to win a first-level optional $75,000 claimer. That day, Ode to Sami was offered for the optional claiming tag of $75,000. Friday, she is not being offered for the optional claiming tag of $25,000.

Since finishing third last out, Ode to Sami came back with a bullet five-furlong work in 59.16 seconds on Nov. 21.

Castellano replaces Pablo Morales aboard Ode to Sami.

Sage d’Oro is the wild card in this field. A 3-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, Sage d’Oro makes her first start in 265 days and first for trainer Richard Dutrow Jr.

Sage d’Oro, trained in California by Mike Mitchell, last raced in a first-level allowance race March 9 at Santa Anita, where she was beaten a nose by Jemima’s Pearl, who ran sixth in last Saturday’s Grade 1 Gazelle here.

In February, Sage d’Oro finished second to Princess Arabella in a seven-furlong first-level allowance race after contesting the early pace. Princess Arabella came out of that race to win the Sunland Park Oaks by eight lengths, her third win in as many career starts.

Dutrow said Sage d’Oro has been training well for him, but he’s a little leery of the mile distance first time off the nine-month layoff.

“She might get a little tired, but I’d rather start her off on the outer track and go from there,” Dutrow said. “I’m happy to run her in this spot.”

Dutrow said if Sage d’Oro breaks well she will likely be forwardly placed. There does appear to be other speed in the field in E Z Passer, who breaks from post 4, and Glorietta Bay, who breaks from the outside.

Island School, second to R Heat Lighting in the Gulfstream Park Oaks in April, returns to dirt after making her last seven starts on turf.