01/24/2013 3:19PM

Aqueduct: R Gypsy Gold holds class edge in Affectionately

Tom Keyser
R Gypsy Gold has had to wait for racing room in her most recent start, the Ladies Handicap.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Though a cut below being graded stakes material to this point in her career, R Gypsy Gold looks to be a cut above the competition she meets in Saturday’s $75,000 Affectionately Stakes at Aqueduct.

R Gypsy Gold is winless in six graded stakes tries, but she has two wins and two narrow losses in listed stakes. The Affectionately lost its graded status beginning with the 2005 running.

R Gypsy Gold’s two losses in listed stakes came to Arena Elvira, who it was announced Wednesday has been retired. The second of those losses came by a neck in the Ladies Handicap on New Year’s Day. In the Ladies, Arena Elvira had a clear trip while R Gypsy Gold had to wait for running room along the rail.

“Arena Elvira got the jump on us; it looked like [R Gypsy Gold] had a chance to get up in the last jump or two, but it wasn’t meant to be,” said Michael McCarthy, the New York-based assistant to R Gypsy Gold’s trainer, Todd Pletcher. “If the tables were turned and we’re on the outside, we might have gotten the better of her.”

In the Affectionately, R Gypsy Gold will be cutting back to 1 1/16 miles from 1 1/8 miles, which might be to her advantage.

“I don’t think it’s going to hurt her cause,” McCarthy said. “She’s had some success at a mile and a sixteenth.”

Irad Ortiz Jr. will ride R Gypsy Gold from post 4.

Withgreatpleasure is the only other stakes winner in the field. She is cross-entered at Laurel in Saturday’s Nellie Morse Stakes, which drew an overflow field of 12. David Nunn, trainer of Withgreatpleasure, said he is planning to run in New York.

Withgreatpleasure is the perennial bridesmaid, having finished second in 10 of 26 career starts, eight times in stakes.

“She always seems to hit the one mare that she can’t get by,” said Nunn, who is based at the Overbrook training center near Monmouth Park. “Now, we’re in against R Gypsy Gold.”

Withgreatpleasure is coming off three straight runner-up finishes in one-turn mile races at Parx Racing and Laurel. She has won three times around two turns.

“I like her better at a flat mile, but coming off a one-turn race going into a two-turn race I like,” Nunn said. “She has been two turns on the inner track at Aqueduct, and it seemed to suit her.”

Nunn said Travis Dunkelberger would be in from Maryland to ride Withgreatpleasure from post 2.

In December 2011, Withgreatpleasure finished second behind Tiz the Argument in a two-turn stakes over the inner track.

Twice the Lady and Stephanie Jayne both showed speed before tiring to second and third, respectively, behind Score Boyera, in an allowance race here Dec. 27. Smart Cash makes her stakes debut off a two-turn allowance win at Laurel last out.