Madaket Stables LLC, Wonder Stables, Tony Weintraub and Brandon M. Dalinka’s Miss J McKay picked up her first win of the season at Belmont Park with an impressive stretch run in the $100,000 License Fee Stakes, for fillies and mares, 4 & up, on Sunday, May 1.
Returning to New York after three starts at Gulfstream Park, Miss J McKay stalked early leader Igloo through an opening quarter-mile in :22.30. Irad Ortiz Jr. urged the Christophe Clement trainee on as they rounded the far turn, catching Igloo at the eighth pole and pulling ahead to hit the wire three and a quarter lengths ahead of Miss Majorette, with Igloo three-quarters of a length back in third in the six-horse field. Final time was 1:07.94 for the six furlongs on the inner turf course, earning her a career best 96 Beyer speed figure.
“I told Irad just to be comfortable wherever he was,” Clement said. “We knew there was only one speed on paper and just to be comfortable. She really exploded in the stretch today. It was a very good time.”
The 5-year-old mare returned to six furlongs after making her three previous starts going five furlongs, including a one and a half-length victory in the Abundantia Stakes in December, a fourth in the Ladies’ Turf Sprint Stakes in February and a third in the Captiva Island Stakes in March, the latter originally scheduled for the turf but washed off to the all-weather track.
“She ran well in Florida and was very unlucky in her last two starts,” Clement said. “In one, she stumbled really badly and last time they took it off the grass and put it on the Poly. She’s much better on the turf, but she ran well that day.”
The now three-time stakes winner has improved her overall record to five wins, four seconds and three thirds from 15 career starts while increasing her earnings to $385,373.
Bred by Linda Oliff Rohleder, Miss J McKay is from the first crop of former Maryland stallion Hangover Kid and sold for $1,500 as a weanling to D R Investments out of the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December Mixed Sale. Pinhooked to the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern Fall Yearling Sale, she made a substantial return on investment when Maxis Stable purchased her for $55,000. In 2019, she was an $85,000 RNA at the Ocala Breeders’ Sale’s Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training.
Originally campaigned by Maxis Stable and trainer Cal Lynch, Miss J McKay impressed in her career debut at 2, scoring by five and a quarter lengths going five and a half furlongs on the main track at Laurel Park in July 2019 to become her sire’s first winner. She was even more impressive in the Colleen Stakes next out at Monmouth Park, crossing the wire first but wound up disqualified to third after bumping rivals at the eighth pole. Redeeming herself in her third start, she scored by five length in Laurel’s Anne Arundel County Stakes for Maxis Stable with new partners Madaket Stables LLC and Wonder Stables.
Miss J McKay closed out her 2-year-old season with back-to-back second-place finishes in the Stewart Manor Stakes at Aqueduct, just a half-length behind winner Fly So Pretty, and the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship, on the dirt at Laurel, to Hello Beautiful.
After a nearly seven-month break, Miss J McKay kicked off her 3-year-old season in June. Sticking to the turf, she finished third in the Lady Shipman Stakes at Belmont Park, followed by consecutive runner-up finishes in the Coronation Cup Stakes at Saratoga (by a half-length) and Music City Stakes at Kentucky Downs. In her fourth and final start of 2020, she made her graded stakes debut in the Sands Point-G2 at Belmont in October, where she finished seventh in a field of eight after prompting the early pace.
Consigned to the 2020 Keeneland November Breeding Stock sale, she sold for $300,000 to Jackson Farms and returned to the races last September for owners Madaket Stables and Wonder Stables, along with new partners Tony Weintraub and Brandon M. Dalinka, and trainer Christophe Clement. Miss J McKay finished sixth in a six-furlong allowance on the turf at Belmont before returning in late November to redeem herself with a half-length victory in an allowance at Aqueduct, going six furlongs on the turf in 1:09.16.
Miss J McKay is the first foal for her dam Ballykiss, a Maryland-bred daughter of Street Boss who has since produced the placed runners Mr. J. McKay (2018 gelding by Hangover Kid) and Imaginthekiss (2019 filly by Imagining). Ballykiss descends from one of the best families developed by famed breeder Allaire duPont at her Woodstock Farm, that of Thirty Years, Miss J McKay’s graded stakes-winning fifth dam.
After producing Miss J McKay in March 2017, Ballykiss was sold at the same Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December Mixed as her daughter, bringing $2,000 while in foal to Hangover Kid. Last year, Ballykiss was consigned to the Keeneland January Horses of All Ages sale and sold, in foal to Constitution, for $180,000 to WinStar Farm. She has since produced fillies by Constitution and Speightstown.