March 28, 2023

Harvey’s Lil Goil early favorite in Busanda

Harvey’s Lil Goil and Persisto, daughters of Kentucky Derby (G1) winners American Pharoah and Orb, respectively, both figure to get backing in Sunday’s $100,000 Busanda at Aqueduct, 1 1/8-mile Road to the Kentucky Oaks prep.

The morning line favorite at 2-1, Harvey’s Lil Goil was a non-threatening fourth in her debut on the turf in November, but put it all together on Dec. 12 going a mile on the Aqueduct main track, dominating by six lengths with Persisto second.

Not only does Harvey’s Lil Goil have a Derby influence on the sire side, but she’s also out of a Tapit half-sister to 2012 Derby winner I’ll Have Another (G1).

Persisto, who had previously missed to Fiftyshays Ofgreen and Water White before bowing to Harvey’s Lil Goil, finally earned her belated diploma in a Jan. 10 maiden, also over a maiden. A descendant of Broodmare of the Year Glowing Tribute, Persisto was bred by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider.

“It’s a much easier pace going two turns but she should be up and on the pace,” trainer Kelly Breen said. “I’ve really been relishing the opportunity to bring her back around two turns. She has a tendency to look around, but I thought she ran a very professional race last time.”

The aforementioned Water White ran fifth to Lake Avenue in her lone previous stakes attempt, the Dec. 7 Demoiselle (G2) over the track and distance, while Fiftyshays Ofgreen has not raced since her Oct. 13 maiden-breaking score at Monmouth Park. The Bernardini filly is out of a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Composure, and is based at Parx with John Servis.

Others of note in the field of seven include Truth Hurts, who’s won both starts, and the the multiple stakes-placed Quality Heat, third to Truth Hurts in a one-mile allowance on Jan. 5.

The Busanda offers Oaks qualifying points of 10-4-2-1 to the top four finishers.