02/04/2011 2:54PM

Super Espresso targets first stakes win in Aqueduct's Sky Beauty

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Super Espresso will be seeking her first stakes win in the Sky Beauty.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Super Espresso is more than just a hunch play on Super Bowl Sunday at Aqueduct.

After losing her first six starts, Super Espresso, a $1.1 million yearling purchase by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, has won her last two for trainer Todd Pletcher. On Sunday, Super Espresso will seek her first stakes victory when she takes on five fillies and mares in the $60,000 Sky Beauty Stakes at a mile over the inner track.

The Sky Beauty was brought back from Thursday, a card canceled due to effects from a winter storm. Only six of the eight originally in the race entered back. Purrfect Bluff and Five Diamonds were the two who did not return.

Super Espresso, a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, went winless in her first four starts when in the barn of trainer Steve Klesaris. She was transferred to Pletcher last summer and finished third and second in two maiden races before breaking through with an off-the-turf win at Belmont on Oct. 27. In her first start against winners, on Jan. 5, Super Espresso raced up on the pace, took the lead in upper stretch, and then turned back 3-5 favorite Indian Blossom to win by 1 1/2 lengths.

“She jumped up and surprised us with her grit in her last race,” said Jonathan Thomas, assistant to Pletcher. “Really pleased with her effort. She’s trained forwardly, with confidence since.”

Her last race was around two turns – as is this one – and Thomas feels Super Espresso benefits from that.

“I think the two turns gives her the ability to sit closer without exerting herself to do it,” Thomas said.

Super Espresso, who had post 3 on Thursday, will break from post 5 under Junior Alvarado on Sunday.

Mid-Atlantic shippers Vindy City and Diva’s Gold come out of second- and third-place finishes, respectively, behind New York shipper Harissa in the Sleigh Ride Stakes at Parx Racing on Jan. 4. Vindy City, who raced with blinkers on for the first time last out, moved from post 7 to the rail when this race was re-drawn. Diva’s Gold, has finished first or second in 12 of 16 dirt starts over fast surfaces.

Electric Gold, Lady Durlyn, and Kittylicious, the first three finishers out of a second-level allowance race Jan. 7, are in this spot. Kittylicious was making her first start off a 10-week layoff when beaten 1 1/2 lengths, and trainer Gary Sciacca believes with the right setup she could pull a surprise.

“If she gets a good pace in front of her, she’ll come running,” Sciacca said.