'Valentine's' Day at the Big A?

Venti Valentine | Sarah Andrew

Venti Valentine (Firing Line), a dominating seven-length winner with a flashy 92 Beyer in the Busher Invitational S. Mar. 5, will be favored over seven rivals to punch her ticket to the GI Kentucky Oaks via Saturday's GIII Gazelle S. at Aqueduct.

The New York-bred fell just a neck short of Nest (Curlin) two back in last December's GII Demoiselle S. over track and trip, the only blemish in her four career starts.

“We knew she had talent early on, and turning from two to three, you could see the right change on her,” trainer Jorge Abreu said of Venti Valentine's development. “She got stronger, she was more focused and she showed that in her last race.”

Nostalgic (Medaglia d'Oro), fourth at second asking in the Demoiselle, failed to take to turf as the 4-1 favorite in her sophomore unveiling at Gulfstream Feb. 5. The Godolphin homebred rebounded in style, however, with a visually impressive optional claiming tally back on dirt in Hallandale Mar. 3.

'TDN Rising Star' Classy Edition (Classic Empire), a winner of her first three versus fellow New York-breds, including a pair of stakes, held her own in her first try against open company finishing second behind the talented Kathleen O. (Upstart) in the one-turn mile GII Davona Dale S. Mar. 5.

The Gazelle offers 100-40-20-10 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points to the top-four finishers.

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