07/05/2010 11:00PM

Gozzip Girl stays home for tune-up

Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Tom Albertrani is trying to get Gozzip Girl to the Grade 1 Diana at Saratoga in late July.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Getting Gozzip Girl to the Grade 1 Diana at the end of the month is proving a much more difficult task than trainer Tom Albertrani imagined.

After Gozzip Girl stumbled and unseated rider Ramon Dominguez at the start of the New York Stakes on June 19, Albertrani needed to revert to plan B. His options included stakes races at Monmouth Park and Philadelphia Park or an allowance race at Belmont Park. Albertrani entered Gozzip Girl - unraced since the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II at Keeneland last Oct. 17 - in last Sunday's Miss Liberty at Monmouth in case the allowance race failed to fill, which, initially, it did.

Brought back for Wednesday, the 1 1/16-mile allowance did fill at Belmont Park, enabling Albertrani to scratch Gozzip Girl from the Miss Liberty and run here. While the allowance looks the ideal spot to get Gozzip Girl's 4-year-old campaign started, the new problem could be Mother Nature, who is turning up the heat to the mid- to upper 90s this week.

Albertrani's concern about the heat in part made him want to run the Grade 1-winning Gozzip Girl here rather than ship her to Monmouth.

"I think it's less stress put on her by not traveling," Albertrani said. "She might come out of the race a little better than if she has to ship and run in a stakes at Monmouth."

Albertrani loved how well Gozzip Girl was training leading into the New York. But two strides out of the gate, she stepped on herself, causing her to trip and unseating Dominguez. Gozzip Girl galloped around the track, but only suffered a few scrapes on her pastern. She was back on the work tab four days later and has breezed twice coming into this.

"She's been on the muscle. She looks like she's ready to step out," Albertrani said.

Miss Catalyst won three of her last four starts, including the Pebbles Stakes last year. She went through the auction ring in January, where she was purchased for $325,000 by Steve Davidson and Randy Gullatt's Twin Creeks Farm. She was given back to trainer Todd Pletcher, who had her last year.

"I thought her last couple of races were really good," Pletcher said. "Maybe a mile is her best distance. She's eligible to an easier spot, but this race could put us in position for a stakes at Saratoga.''

Tottie is 3 for 4 this year for Chad Brown, including a victory in the Grade 3 Suwannee River at Gulfstream. She won a third-level allowance race over this course three weeks ago.