Trainer Abreu's NY-Bred Venti Valentine Training Forwardly For KY Oaks - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Trainer Abreu’s NY-Bred Venti Valentine Training Forwardly For KY Oaks

Venti Valentine winning the Busher Invitational by seven lengths at Aqueduct

Trainer Jorge Abreu will celebrate a milestone in his training career when he sends out multiple graded stakes-placed New York-bred Venti Valentine as his first starter in the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 6 at Churchill Downs.

“It feels great,” said Abreu, with a laugh. “It's a great experience and it's very exciting. Having a horse with a shot helps even more. We'll see.”

Owned by NY Final Furlong Racing Stable and Parkland Thoroughbreds, Venti Valentine has compiled a resume that has placed her in seventh on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard with 94 points. The chestnut filly began her journey to the Kentucky Oaks with a close runner-up effort to subsequent Grade 1 Ashland winner Nest in the Grade 2 Demoiselle on December 4 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Venti Valentine returned triumphantly with a seven-length romp in the Busher Invitational three months later at the Big A, providing a mild upset after stalking the pace under Manny Franco. With her spot in the Oaks already secured, Venti Valentine made her final prep in the Grade 3 Gazelle on April 9 at the Ozone Park oval, setting the pace before losing her advantage at the sixteenth pole and finishing 1 1/4 lengths behind Nostalgic.

Following the Gazelle, the Firing Line filly's potential next start was between the Kentucky Oaks and the Grade 1 Acorn on June 11 at Belmont Park. Her owners decided the trip to Churchill Downs was too promising to pass up.

“The owners want to take a chance and it's not like she's impossible,” Abreu said. “She faced one of the favorites already in Nest. There's plenty of speed in that race and she's always one that wants to be forwardly placed but not on the lead.”

Abreu said Venti Valentine continues to train forwardly at Churchill Downs and will have a work with jockey Tyler Gaffalione sometime next week.

“She's doing well,” said Abreu. “I'm hoping to get two breezes into her and next week, Gaffalione will breeze her. He's going to ride her in the Oaks.”

Abreu, who was a longtime assistant to four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown, ventured out on his own in 2016 and saddled his first winner that summer at Saratoga Race Course. Since then, the 47-year-old conditioner has trained seven individual stakes winners and sent out Stellar Agent to earn a Grade 1 placing in the 2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf behind multiple graded stakes winner Newspaperofrecord.

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