04/01/2011 3:39PM

Aqueduct's Love Is Eternal headed by Pletcher fillies


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Although five of the six 3-year-old New York-bred fillies in Sunday’s $60,000 Love Is Eternal overnight stakes are eligible for first-level allowance conditions, they’ve shown ability from top to bottom, having won or placed in 16 of 19 collective sprints.

Midnight Visit and Gambling Geraldine, uncoupled Todd Pletcher-trained fillies that appear loaded with potential, are likely to vie for favoritism in the six-furlong stakes.

Midnight Visit was purchased as a 2-year-old for $275,000 by Thoroughbred Futures Racing and won each of her first two starts by better than four lengths. After a front-running debut closing day of Aqueduct’s fall meet, she overcame adversity to win an allowance on the inner track, in which she stumbled at the start and bulled her way through a narrow opening turning for home. Stretched out to a mile and 70 yards in the Proud Puppy overnight stakes last time out, she pressed Ava K. throughout and lost the place in the final strides. Ava K. improved to 3 for 3.

“We’re happy to get her back to six furlongs,” assistant trainer Jonathan Thomas said. “I don’t think she ran a poor race by any means, she just ran into a real nice filly in Ava K. She has trained well since then.”

Gambling Geraldine, a $100,000 yearling buy for Repole Stable, was a poorly kept secret when she won her debut by better than a dozen lengths at 2-5 last July despite racing greenly in the lane.

“Talent-wise we think she’s as good as any New York-bred filly,” Thomas said. “We’ve always thought very highly of her and just gave her a little time to grow up.”

Returned from a layoff at 1-2 in a first-level allowance on the inner track, she swerved in while moving past the leader in upper stretch and swerved out late as well to wind up second-best.

“She had trouble switching leads and was actually on her wrong lead the whole way,” Thomas said. “In her last breeze [Monday] she went really well and switched leads right on cue.”

The pace figures to be contested by Those Lion Eyes, a Flying Zee homebred trained by the red-hot Carlos Martin, who was also second to Ava K. recently; and Funky Munky Mama, who led to deep stretch in two stakes last fall and raced wide when third off a five-month layoff recently for Gary Gullo.

Good Habits and Jackie Mo, second-out maiden winners in their last starts for trainers John Hertler and Bruce Brown, complete the lineup.