03/02/2017 3:30PM

Genre brings plenty of class to Heavenly Prize

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Aubrey Therkelsen/Equi-Photo
The last time Genre ran 1 1/16 miles, she won Monmouth's Molly Pitcher Stakes last July.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Todd Pletcher shipped Genre from Florida to New York for Saturday’s $150,000 Heavenly Prize Invitational at Aqueduct seeking easier company and a cleaner trip. She got the former, and if she gets the latter, Genre should be tough to beat in the 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares.

Genre, a multiple stakes winner last year at 4, figures as a strong favorite against six opponents in the Heavenly Prize, which is race 3 on a nine-race card topped by the Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham Stakes.

Genre started twice at Gulfstream Park this winter. On Dec. 17, in the Grade 3 Rampart, she got hooked with Curlin’s Approval in a speed duel, which set things up for Genre’s stablemate Eskenformoney. Genre finished third, 2 1/4 lengths back.

On Jan. 28, in the Hurricane Bertie, Genre bobbled at the start and found herself farther back than is her custom. She managed to rally for second behind Curlin’s Approval, who then came back and won the Grade 2 Royal Delta on Feb. 18.

“She’s been the victim of bad starts,” Pletcher said of Genre. “She stumbled at the start and ran on well. She seems to be in good form, and timing-wise, this seemed like a good opportunity.”

The last time Genre raced at 1 1/16 miles, she won the Grade 3 Molly Pitcher at Monmouth Park from a forward position. She could be the controlling speed in this spot.

Trevor McCarthy, aboard Genre for a victory in the Lady Jacqueline Stakes at Thistledown last August, is reunited with the 5-year-old mare on Saturday.

Among Genre’s opponents is Isabelle, who won the Bay Ridge Stakes for New York-breds on Dec. 11 with a powerful off-the-pace move. She came back Feb. 5 in the Biogio’s Rose and found herself on the lead before getting beat by Super Surprise.

“The other speed didn’t break, and he didn’t have a choice,” Leana Willaford, assistant to trainer Bill Mott, said, referring to jockey Kendrick Carmouche. “Kendrick felt like she ran better covered up.”

Willaford also gave jockey Jose Ortiz credit for his ride on Super Surprise, keeping Isabelle in tight.

Highway Star completed a three-race winning streak with a nose victory in the Grade 3 Go for Wand Stakes over the Aqueduct main track on Dec. 3. She defeated High Ridge Road and Wonder Gal that day. High Ridge Road came back to win two stakes, including the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie at Laurel. Wonder Gal won the Ladies Handicap at Aqueduct by 13 1/2 lengths, with Highway Star fourth.

Oasis At Midnight, Chorus Line, Familyofroses, and Annie Rocks complete the field.