01/31/2016 6:34PM

Rider switch helps Flora Dora get job done in Busanda

Joe Labozzetta/NYRA
Flora Dora, ridden for the first time by Jose Ortiz, takes the Busanda for 3-year-old fillies.

Trainer Marialice Coffey was disappointed with the trip Flora Dora got in the Grade 2 Demoiselle last November when the filly lingered near the back of the pack behind a slow pace before ultimately finishing fourth, beaten just three lengths.

She made a rider change for Sunday’s $100,000 Busanda Stakes at Aqueduct, and wanted her filly kept closer to the pace. Those tactics paid off nicely as Flora Dora, under Jose Ortiz, persevered in the stretch to run down Scatoosh and win the Busanda by one length.

It was 2 1/4 lengths back to the pacesetting Lost Raven in third. She was followed, in order, by Dreams to Reality, She’s So Fine, Alto Belle, and Invite. Arch or Nothing stumbled at the start, unseating jockey Ruben Silvera. Neither rider nor horse was injured.

It was the second win from five starts for Flora Dora, who won the $500,000 My Dear Girl Stakes as a maiden going 1 1/16 miles at Gulfstream Park last October.

“She’s always been a very patient filly. She closes very well but I also feel she has tactical speed and she can put herself in the mix and today she did,” Coffey said.

Breaking from the rail, Flora Dora actually was first out of the gate. Ortiz kept his inside, ground-saving position as Lost Raven cleared the field entering the first turn. Flora Dora was never further back than 2 1/2 lengths.

Lost Raven had Scatoosh right alongside from early on down the backside until midstretch when Scatoosh began to edge clear. But Flora Dora, angled into the four path by Ortiz, kept coming and caught and passed Flora Dora with about 20 yards to go.

Flora Dora, a daughter of First Dude owned by the Coffeepot Stables, covered the mile and 70 yards in 1:45.40 and returned $7.40 as the favorite.

“When I was getting a position in the first turn, she helped me out and she relaxed really well,” Ortiz said. “When I asked her to go at the three-eighths pole, I had to whip her a few times. She's a little lazy. Once I got her going, she was there for me. She has a really good stride and I think she can go a little longer too."

Flora Dora earned 10 qualifying points to the Kentucky Oaks, a race Coffey is pointing the filly towards.

Flora Dora will likely race next in the $125,000 Busher Stakes here on Feb. 27 and then the Grade 2 $300,000 Gazelle over Aqueduct’s main track on April 9.

While Jose Ortiz won the Busanda, the rest of the day was dominated by his brother Irad, who won five races on the card, including the $100,000 Maddie May Stakes for New York-bred 3-year-old fillies aboard heavily favored Frosty Margarita.

Ortiz opened up a sizeable advantage with Frosty Margarita, who just held off Katniss the Victor, ridden by Jose Ortiz, by a nose. It was 17 lengths back to third-place finisher Mecke’s Madalyn.

Frosty Margarita, a daughter of Frost Giant owned by Gabrielle Farm, covered the mile and 70 yards in 1:44.91 and returned $3.40 to win.

Frosty Margarita’s victory capped a series of four consecutive wins for Irad Ortiz that included Vincento ($3.40) in the third, Gambler’s Ghost ($10.60) in the fourth, and My Man Sam ($13.20) in the fifth. Ortiz also won the last on Lead Us to the Bar ($3.40).

It was the seventh time in his career that the 23-year-old Ortiz won five races on a card. He last accomplished the feat on Aug. 16 at Saratoga.

“My agent does a great job and I got the right horses,” Ortiz said. “It’s easy when you got horse.”

Frosty Margarita, Vincento, and Lead Us to the Bar are trained by Rudy Rodriguez, who for the second straight day won three races on an Aqueduct card.

Since Jan. 22, Rodriguez has won 10 of the last 15 races he has participated in. He has run 20 horses in those 15 races.