03/22/2012 4:02PM

Aqueduct: Risky Rachel faces challenge from Big Brownie in Broadway

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Risky Rachel, Javier Castellano up, wins the Iroquois on New York Showcase Day at Belmont.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Saturday’s $75,000 Broadway Stakes at Aqueduct will be the first start for one trainer and the last start for one horse.

Juan Coronel, who has served as an assistant to several trainers on this circuit, will send out his first starter in Risky Rachel, the morning-line favorite in the Broadway for New York-bred fillies and mares at six furlongs over the main track.

One of Risky Rachel’s biggest rivals will be Big Brownie, a 6-year-old mare who is likely making the final start of her career before being bred to Quality Road. Risky Rachel and Big Brownie are two of seven horses entered in a highly contentious renewal of the Broadway.

Risky Rachel, a 5-year-old daughter of Limehouse, returned from a 13-month layoff last year and won 3 of 5 starts. She took the $125,000 Iroquois Stakes for New York-breds on New York Showcast Day at Belmont Park. She ended her season by finishing fifth in the Grade 2 Go for Wand at one mile, a distance perhaps beyond her best.

As an assistant for trainer James Bond last year, Coronel worked with Risky Rachel. He said Sanford Bacon, the owner and breeder of Risky Rachel, called him about a month ago to ask if he wanted to train the horse.

Coronel said he was a bit concerned with how fit Risky Rachel would be after spending months on the farm, but was pleasantly surprised with what he saw when she arrived in late February.

“The people on the farm did an amazing job with her,” said Coronel, 35, who previously worked for Frank Martin Sr. and Angel Penna Jr.

Coronel expressed some concern with Risky Rachel having the rail, but noted that the filly has good early speed.

“I think if she breaks good the way we think, then Cornelio Velasquez can do whatever he thinks is best for her,” Coronel said.

Leah Gyaramti, the trainer of Big Brownie, would like to see a contested pace for her mare, who came off a nine-month layoff to win an overnight stakes for New York-breds over the inner track. Big Brownie, who had a history of bleeding in her career, won a division of the New York Stallion Stakes in Nov. 2010 over the main track, albeit at seven furlongs.

“Seven-eighths is probably better for her because it gives her a little more chance to get there,” Gyarmati said. “But the way this is setting up and her being on the outside she should be okay. She ran well last time, she’ll have to run a little better this time.”

Devilish Spirit makes her first start since June when she finished last in an open company third-level allowance race. Trainer Bruce Brown said the horse just got sour and needed a break.

Twice in her career Devilish Spirit has come off lengthy layoffs to win. Though she has shown speed in the past, Brown said he would prefer Devilish Spirit stalk the pace on Saturday.

Lady Gracenote, Saltamontes, Victoryat Last and Nicole’s Miss El complete the competitive group.