03/23/2011 4:21PM

Aqueduct: State Treasure looks for black type in Ladies Handicap


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – It has taken longer than her connections had probably hoped, but State Treasure is starting to live up to her royal pedigree. If she continues to progress as she has, State Treasure could be a factor in Saturday’s $100,000 Ladies Handicap at Aqueduct.

A field of six was entered for the Ladies, led by three-time stakes winner Quiet Giant, who is a half-sister to 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam, by Giant’s Causeway. But State Treasure has equally as strong a pedigree being by 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft out of the mare Private Treasure, making her a half-sister to 2000 Kentucky Oaks and Mother Goose winner Secret Status.

That pedigree is probably one reason owners/breeders Will Farish, James Elkins, and W. Temple Webber have persevered with the mare who was away from the races for 19 months with what her former trainer Mike Zwiesler called “nagging little problems.”

Zwiesler had the mare from the winter of 2008 through November 2010, when she won a six-furlong maiden race by a nose at Parx Racing at odds of 21-1 off the lengthy layoff.

Zwiesler was going to spend the winter at Tampa Bay Downs, and the decision was made to leave State Treasure in the Northeast with trainer John Servis, who is based at Parx Racing in Philadelphia. In her first start for Servis, State Treasure finished second after making the lead with a half-mile to run and opening up a sizeable advantage in midstretch, only to get run down in the final strides by L.A. Girl.

Since then, State Treasure has won two straight races in two weeks. On Feb. 22, in a 1 1/16-mile first-level allowance race at Penn National, State Treasure won by 4 1/2 lengths while racing on the lead. On March 8, in a one-mile second-level allowance race, State Treasure stalked another horse from the inside before taking over on the turn and drawing off to win by 12 1/2 lengths. She earned an 85 Beyer Speed Figure in both races.

Servis said he was not initially planning to run State Treasure in that March 8 race, but “when I found out the race was going to go, I thought if I didn’t run in there it might be another two months before I get to run her.”

Given her pedigree, State Treasure could enhance her value as a broodmare with a win or a top-three placing in Saturday’s Ladies, run at 1 1/8 miles over the inner track.

“She deserves a shot,” Servis said. “It’s a short field. She certainly got a nice enough pedigree to take a shot and get that black type. And, she’s good right now.”

Angel Arroyo, aboard for State Treasure’s last two wins, has the call again Saturday from post 5. State Treasure will carry 115 pounds, seven less than Quiet Giant, who is assigned 122 pounds. Others entered include Potosina, R Betty Graybull, Cody Samora, and Speightful Affair.

Stormandaprayer tops feature

On a day when closers ruled, the speedy Stormandaprayer was at a huge disadvantage when she finished third in a second-level allowance race over the inner track on Feb. 17. That she managed to hold on for third, beaten just a head, may have been as impressive as her 3 1/2-length victory one month prior.

On Friday, Stormandaprayer will once again be the horse to catch and beat in a second-level allowance that serves as the feature on Aqueduct’s nine-race card.

Stormandaprayer, owned by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, raced uncontested through fractions of 22.73 seconds and 45.66 in that Feb. 17 race but was caught in the final strides by Kissa Melissa and Honor Hymn, who were separated by a nose at the finish. Kissa Melissa came back to finish second before running second in a starter allowance last week.

“She’s run well the last two times,” trainer Todd Pletcher said Wednesday in his Belmont Park barn office. “From what we can see, it wasn’t a particularly speed-favoring track last time she ran. She’s going to leave there running and play catch me if you can.”

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. sends out Purrfect Bluff and Does It Every Time, two of Stormandaprayer’s four opponents. Does It Every Time, who won a first-level allowance race Feb. 9, looks to be the one in the field with the most early speed.

Annual Appeal won a first-level allowance race last out. In her previous two starts, she ran second to Stormandaprayer and second to Does It Every Time.

Dubai World Cup wagering offered

The New York Racing Association will offer advance as well as same-day wagering on the seven stakes races offered on Saturday’s Dubai World Cup card from Meydan. Advance wagering will be available beginning Friday through telebet and ontrack mutuel windows.

Also, Aqueduct and the Belmont Café at Belmont Park will open at 8:45 a.m. Saturday to take wagers beginning with the Al Quoz Sprint, scheduled to go off at 9:15 a.m, Eastern. The Dubai World Cup, featuring multiple Eclipse Award winner Gio Ponti, is slated for 1:35 p.m.