OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Top-caliber fillies and mares were the hallmark of the Phipps family’s breeding and racing operation. Perhaps Carrumba can follow in a longstanding tradition of Grade 1 winners.
Carrumba makes her 4-year-old debut in Sunday’s Grade 3 Top Flight Invitational at Aqueduct, making her the first New York stakes runner the Phipps Stable has had since the death of Ogden Mills “Dinny” Phipps on Wednesday.
The Top Flight was originally scheduled for last Sunday, but was postponed when that entire card was canceled due to high winds. The race originally drew seven but had scratched down to four before it was postponed. It is likely to be run Sunday with four horses – Carrumba, America, Mei Ling, and Noble and a Beauty. Saythreehailmary’s was entered, but trainer John Morrison said Friday the filly is “unlikely” to run due to a physical issue.
Carrumba is a 4-year-old daughter of Bernardini. The female side of the family has produced Phipps homebred Grade 1-winning mares Heavenly Prize, Oh What a Windfall, and Furlough
Carrumba has not run since Nov. 28, finishing second by a head to Forever Unbridled in the Grade 3 Comely which, like the Top Flight, was run over the main track at 1 1/8 miles. In her only start since the Comely, Forever Unbridled won the Grade 3 Houston Ladies Classic in January.
Carrumba spent the winter at Payson Park in south Florida, where she breezed five times before shipping to New York. On Tuesday, she worked a half-mile in 50.47 seconds over the Belmont Park training track.
“She was ready last week,” said Robbie Medina, assistant to trainer Shug McGaughey. “I’m sure she’ll be ready for Sunday.”
Carrumba, who breaks from the outside post under Jose Ortiz, will likely be stalking Mei Ling, who comes off a 3 1/4-length victory in the Heavenly Prize with blinkers added.
The Top Flight will go as race 3 on the nine-race card that also includes the $100,000 Danger’s Hour for older horses on the turf.
Carrumba, by Bernardini
Last 3 Beyers: 94-84-99
Won three straight races before falling a head short in the Comely. Her winning streak included a maiden win at Saratoga at 1 1/8 miles.
Mei Ling, by Empire Maker
Last 3 Beyers: 94-79-88
Took advantage of an inside-speed-favoring track to win the Heavenly Prize on March 5.
John Velazquez is back aboard her for the first time since a nine-furlong allowance win at Saratoga last summer.