La Verdad Stakes headlines Big A card

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By Bob Ehalt

A new year for New York racing gets rolling this weekend with a nine-race card at Aqueduct featuring a interesting sprint stakes for New York State-bred fillies.

The $100,000 La Verdad Stakes drew a field of 10 and should offer a lively battle between the two favorites, Satisfy (5-2 morning line) and Pauseforthecause (7-2).

Satisfy has won five of her seven career starts for trainer Bill Mott with a pair of seconds in her other two starts.

Her last effort was a 1 ¾-length victory in open allowance company, which came on the heels of a neck loss in the $150,000 Iroquois Stakes for state-breds on Oct. 20 at Belmont Park.

Prior to the Iroquois, the daughter of Candy Ride had reeled off three straight wins.

Pauseforthecause was third two starts back in the Iroquois, faltering in the final furlong as she relinquished the lead and faded to third.

In her most recent start, the 4-year-old filly captured an open allowance on Dec. 8 for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

“She’s trained well out of that race and worked very well here this morning, just a little easy three-eighths, but she’s doing very well,” McLaughlin said on Monday. “We had a bit of a wind issue that we took care of, not a big surgery, but we took care of a wind issue and it has helped her a lot. It was taken care of before she started winning, and she didn’t miss any time. We also got her back on the dirt going shorter. We thought because of her pedigree she’d be turf, but she’s better on the dirt. She’s doing really well right now and we think she belongs in this race and has a very good chance.”

Among the other threats are Byself, who was second behind Pauseforthecause in the Dec. 8 allowance race. That race for Byself was her first for Michelle Nevin, who took over her training after the death of Rick Violette in the fall.

Chad Brown, New York’s leading trainer in 2018, will send out an uncoupled duo of Kathryn the Wise (9-2) and Sunset Ridge (6-1).

The rest of the field includes Out of Orbit (20-1), Starlite Mission (12-1), Silly Sister (20-1), Playinwiththeboys (15-1) and Palladian Bridge (12-1).