03/14/2013 3:26PM

Aqueduct: Pletcher has a speedy one for Cicada

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Courtney Heeney
Highestmaintenance is a daughter of Macho Uno

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Trainer Todd Pletcher’s bevy of talented 3-year-olds isn’t restricted to the male division.

Already loaded with stakes-winning 3-year-old fillies Dreaming of Julia, Unlimited Budget, and Kauai Katie, Pletcher may have another fleet filly in Highestmaintenance, who makes her stakes debut in Saturday’s $100,000 Cicada at Aqueduct.

The Cicada, a six-furlong race which lost its Grade 3 status from a year ago, drew a field of seven, though trainer Tony Dutrow said Thursday that Disco Barbie is unlikely to run after having developed an abscess under her chin.

The race drew the top three finishers from the Dearly Precious – Elghayoor, Railtown Girl, and Kiss the Lady – as well as Sense of Reality, and I’m Mom’s Favorite.

Despite its listed status and six-furlong distance, the Cicada offers 85 qualifying points – 50 to the winner – for the Kentucky Oaks, a 1 1/8-mile race run at Churchill Downs on May 3.

The connections of Highestmaintenance – owner Mike Repole and trainer Todd Pletcher – already have an Oaks contender in the undefeated Unlimited Budget. Perhaps the speedy Highestmaintenance can earn a spot in the gate as a “rabbit.”

Highestmaintenance is a daughter of Macho Uno who was purchased by Repole last March at the Ocala Breeders’ Sale auction for $240,000. She didn’t debut until December at Gulfstream, when she roared out of the gate and galloped to a 6 3/4-length victory, running six furlongs in 1:09.94.

She attempted to stretch out to a mile in a first-level allowance race on Jan. 25, but after setting the pace, she was passed in deep stretch by Private Ensign and had to settle for second.

“She’s actually a very relaxed filly to train,” Pletcher said. “I don’t think she was rank last time – she’s naturally pretty fast. She’s very good away from the gate, so we were a little disappointed she didn’t see out the mile. We’re hoping backing her up will take care of it.”

Highestmaintenance will break from post 6 and looms the primary speed under Rajiv Maragh.

Elghayoor and Railtown Girl comprised a one-two finish for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin in the slowly run Dearly Precious. Art Magnuson, the assistant to McLaughlin, believes both fillies have moved forward since that race.

Magnuson said Elghayoor has “put on a couple of pounds since the run, really happy with her,” he said before adding that Railtown Girl “is always improving. They both handled the time between the runs very well.”

While Dutrow won’t run Disco Barbie, he still likes his chances with I’m Mom’s Favorite, who overcame trouble to win a maiden race here on Feb. 1 in her second career start.

“We’re feeling really good about her, she’s been training very well, we’re excited to run her,” Dutrow said. “I think she fits in there.”

Kiss the Lady, third in the Dearly Precious, will likely be chasing Highestmaintenance early under Cornelio Velasquez.

Michael Castellano More than 1 year ago
Good Luck Mike!
Chris Lowe More than 1 year ago
A listed sprint awarding qualifying points for a Grade 1 route? Huh?
Alex More than 1 year ago
Great, another Pletcher favorite yawwnnnnn
Gunner More than 1 year ago
I was thinking the same about another "Alex comment". I knew there was a reason to keep my gun and bullets separate.