02/13/2012 3:25PM

Aqueduct: Strong group at top of N.Y.-bred handicap division

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Stormy’s Majesty scores a front-running victory in Sunday’s Mr. G.J.G. Stakes for statebreds at Aqueduct.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – It appears as if there will be plenty of depth in the New York-bred handicap division this year.

Stormy’s Majesty ended a 10-month drought – absent for most of it due to foot issues – with a front-running victory over favored Inherit the Gold in Sunday’s Mr. G.J.G. Stakes at Aqueduct.

Sent to the front by C.C. Lopez, Stormy’s Majesty led every step of the way and held off Inherit the Gold by a half-length. Inherit the Gold, wide throughout under Eddie Castro, was coming off a 6 1/2-length victory in the Haynesfield Stakes – one of his best performances – three weeks earlier.

Stormy’s Majesty hadn’t won since taking the Noble Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct last April. He lost the Evan Shipman by a nose to Icabad Crane in July at Saratoga and came out of that race with a foot injury. He returned in the Alex Robb on Dec. 31, stumbled coming out of the gate, and finished fifth. He lost a shoe in the race and injured part of his foot.

Trainer Dominic Galluscio gave Stormy’s Majesty ample time to recover and loved the way he was training entering Sunday’s race.

“He was really working very well, I felt pretty good about it,” Galluscio said. “I thought he was severely compromised in the Alex Robb.”

Stormy’s Majesty, who won the Grade 3 Discovery and the Albany Handicap as a 3-year-old, earned a 95 Beyer Speed Figure for the Mr. G.J.G.

Galluscio said Stormy’s Majesty could run next in either the $75,000 King’s Point for New York-breds on March 3 or the Grade 3, $150,000 Excelsior against open company March 17.

Jim Hooper, trainer of Inherit the Gold, has previously said the Excelsior is a race he would like to make with Inherit the Gold, who won last year’s Exclesior.

Also at this meet, New York-breds Lunar Victory and Yawanna Twist have run big races going long. Lunar Victory, trained by Bill Mott for Juddmonte Farms, has won a pair of statebred allowance races, each by six lengths, and could be headed to a stakes sometime soon.

Yawanna Twist, trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., came off a seven-month layoff to win a second-level allowance race by 6 3/4 lengths, earning a 97 Beyer. He is nominated to next Monday’s General George at Laurel Park.

In Florida, Friend Or Foe, winner of the 2010 Empire Classic, returned to the work tab Saturday, going three furlongs in 37.56 seconds at Palm Meadows. Friend Or Foe has not run since finishing fourth to Tizway in the Whitney last August at Saratoga.

◗ Ryan Curatolo will not ride this week as he serves a seven-day careless riding suspension for an incident Dec. 29.