When INTRODUCED failed to live up to expectations in her first three starts of the year trainer Jorge Duarte, Jr. went searching for answers. What he came to realize was this: His talented 5-year-old mare can lose the race before it is even run because of how nervous she gets pre-race.
A change in routine followed, as did an upset victory at Monmouth Park against allowance company on July 23 in her next start.
Now Duarte is eager to see if his adjustments can pay dividends in a stakes race as well.
INTRODUCED, who has won stakes races on the main track but not yet on the grass, is among nine fillies and mares entered for Saturday's $100,000 Incredible Revenge Stakes at 5½ furlongs on the turf at Monmouth Park.
Once again, the Kathleen O'Connell-trained MISS AURAMET, beaten a nose by INTRODUCED in that Monmouth allowance race after defeating her by 8½ lengths two starts prior, looms as the horse to beat. O'Connell is adding blinkers to MISS AURAMET in an effort to get the classy 5-year-old mare back to her winning ways.
But INTRODUCED may have something to say in the race if Duarte can keep her calm before it goes off.
"At the beginning of the season she had a couple of races where she was getting a little too nervous before the race," said Duarte, who has won with seven of his 18 starters at the Monmouth Park meet. "We changed a couple of things before her last race, like bringing her in with the pony and saddling her outside.
"We tried to keep her as calm as we could pre-race. It seemed like it worked."
The 86 Beyer speed figure for her last race, a five-furlong turf dash, equaled a career-best on any surface. INTRODUCED, a Maryland-bred daughter of El Padrino, has won 7-of-18 starts in her career with earnings of $324,801.
She also sports a 4-3-1 line from 14 career grass starts – but lacks a stakes victory on the turf. She did win the Smart N Fancy Stakes at Saratoga last year over a muddy track and captured the state-bred Miss Disco Stakes at Laurel on the dirt in 2019.
"I think she's good enough to win a stakes race on the grass," said Duarte. "We always thought she would like Monmouth Park but her last race was the first time she put it all together here. We're going to try the same thing pre-race as we did last time and see how it works.
"She's just a high-energy, nervous mare. It seems like if you keep her calm pre-race she will fire."
Albin Jimenez has the mount on the Colts Neck Stable-owned INTRODUCED, who was 10-1 when she upset 3-10 MISS AURAMET last time out.
"There are some nice fillies and mares in this race," said Duarte. "I trained MISS AURAMET last year. I know how good she is. She is very consistent. I don't think she got the best trip last time. My horse kind of got an advantage that day. MISS AURAMET was stuck inside and had to wait and seemed to check a little and then had to some around us. So we had the first jump.
"But my filly has some confidence. We'll see if keeping her calm again helps as much as it did last time."
MISS AURAMET enters the race with a 9-8-3 line from 24 career starts and earnings of $444,090. She has hit the board in 12 of her 15 career grass starts, though her last stakes win was in the Politely at Monmouth Park in the slop on May 30.
Paco Lopez has the mount.
The field also includes Love and Peace, a California shipper from trainer Neil Drysdale. She has not raced since March 6 at Santa Anita.