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Calder: Angelica Zapata fresh, fit for Stage Door Betty
By Mike Welsch
MIAMI – Angelica Zapata was the clear-cut leader of the local filly and mare handicap division around two turns when given a breather by trainer Ron Pellegrini after her one-sided victory in the Nancy’s Glitter Handicap in mid-July. And the multiple stakes winner will be expected to pick right up where she left off when returning to action as the starting highweight and solid favorite in Saturday’s $75,000 Stage Door Betty Handicap at Calder.
Angelica Zapata culminated her climb to the top of her class by posting her most impressive victory yet in the Nancy’s Glitter. Previously, the 4-year-old Angelica Zapata had won both the Sara’s Success and Emergency Nurse overnight stakes for her owner-breeder Herman Van Den Broeck. Angelica Zapata’s only defeat in four local starts came on the grass when beaten a length under optional claiming conditions returning from a six-month vacation April 27.
“We had a plan when we came down here with the hopes of still having a fresh horse in the fall, and that’s what we’ve done so far,” Pellegrini said. “She’s put on some weight since her last start in July. She’s happy, and we’re happy with what we’ve accomplished with her here so far.”
Angelica Zapata tuned up for the Stage Door Betty by working five furlongs in 58.92 seconds last Saturday.
“It might have been a little faster than we wanted, but I thought she did it in hand and cooled out well afterwards,” Pellegrini said. “She’s a lot faster than people think. She worked in 59 as a 2-year-old and won a 6 1/2-furlong stakes at 3. Even though she came from well behind in a couple of her earlier stakes wins, I’m planning on having her stay close to the lead on Saturday.”
Pellegrini also is looking forward to putting Angelica Zapata back on the turf later this season.
“We’ll keep our options open after Saturday, but I’ll probably try her on grass again next time,” Pellegrini said. “I always thought she was better on the turf than dirt. She hasn’t won yet on grass, but she got bad rides in a couple of those races.”
Angelica Zapata will have a new jockey Saturday, with Luis Saez replacing Jose Ferrer, who was aboard for each of her three local stakes wins.
“I can’t complain one bit about the job Jose did, but he’s in New Jersey now and I wanted a rider for her who is stabled here all the time,” Pellegrini said.
The Stage Door Betty lured a field of seven fillies and mares, with Beloveda and the 3-year-old Frolic’s Revenge among the competition.
Beloveda has won three of her last four starts in rather easy fashion for trainer Marty Wolfson, with those victories coming at distances ranging from six to 6 1/2 furlongs. Beloveda’s lone setback during that streak came in the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap. Beloveda, who is graded stakes placed around two turns, finished third, beaten eight lengths by Angelica Zapata, in the Emergency Nurse.
Frolic’s Revenge wheels back on short rest and tries older horses for the first time after finishing a troubled fifth over a soggy turf course in last Saturday’s Judy’s Red Shoes.
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