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Undefeated Cross Traffic filly crushes foes in East View S.

March 24, 2023

Maple Leaf Mel was superb in her 2023 debut on Friday at Aqueduct, rolling to a 7 ¾-length victory in the $100,000 East View S. to run her record to a perfect 3-for-3.

The connections of the 3-year-old daughter of Cross Traffic have their sites set on bigger prizes after the gray filly’s commanding performance in the six-furlong race.

Though she had been away from the races for seven months, Maple Leaf Mel went right to the front as she did in her two starts at two. She got the first quarter in :23.15 and a half mile in :47.41 with no pressure whatsoever, then pulled away from the field with no urging at all from Joel Rosario. She was wrapped up late and galloped under the wire to get the six furlongs in 1:12.75 on a fast track.

“That was super,” said Jeremiah Englehart, who trains Maple Leaf Mel for Hall of Fame Football coach Bill Parcells. “Joel has worked her the last couple of times down in Florida and I was happy that he wanted to come up and ride her – that gave me a lot of confidence. It seems like she’s made the transition from 2 to 3 and hopefully she can continue to get better.”

“Coach wants to win a Grade 1 and my goal is to win a Grade 1 with her for him,” Englehart added.

Friday’s win upped her earnings to $213,400. Her pair of 2-year-old wins included a five-length maiden debut score and a 3 ½-length win in the Seeking the Ante S., both at Saratoga.

Maple Leaf Mel was bred by Joe Fafone and sold for $150,000 at the 2022 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old sale.

After getting 32 individual 2-year-old winners, second-most by any sire, last year from his strongest crop to date, Cross Traffic has tallied four stakes horses in 2023. He stands this year for $7,500 live foal.