Trainer John Parisella claimed Sunny Desert after her third start, in which she finished fourth over a sloppy track.
Since then, she’s gradually grown into a competitive racehorse and now boasts a six-race win streak. The New York-bred daughter of Wild Desert will try graded stakes company in the Grade 2 Top Flight Handicap Saturday at Aqueduct.
Parisella released the secret behind the filly’s winning ways.
“When I claimed her she was in the back of her stall,” said Parisella. “With fillies, outside of maintenance, it’s mental to get them in the game. I ordered a case of peppermints. It changed her around. She hears my voice. If I’m walking, she’ll stop and wait. I don’t know, but I’m not going to stop giving peppermints.”
Her most recent win, on Jan. 6 in the Cat Cay Stakes, was her first try around two turns and beyond one mile.
“I always felt she could go long,” said Parisella. “A couple of races back she was totally relaxed. When I put her in the race going long, the open stakes, she didn’t break sharply because she was so relaxed. The geniuses trainers are, I thought with her speed she’d go wire-to-wire, but she didn’t break and came from off the pace. She really made me feel confident in her, to be two-dimensional.”
“You hope you can improve her enough where she can compete in New York-bred stakes, but I never thought – and I’m pretty conservative – that I’d be running in a Grade 2 and really thought I had a legitimate chance. The only thing going against her is that she has won six in a row; I hate streaks.”
Sources: NYRA notes, Equibase