Las Vegas, NV - Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida will be the scene of the Grade 3 Suwannee River Stakes this Saturday, February 8. Fillies and mares four years old and upward will be featured as they take to Gulfstream's turf track and go 1 1/8 miles for a purse of $150,000.
A field of eight has been confirmed for the Suwannee River - race 10 on Gulfstream's Saturday card. Post time is 5:01 PM. Here is a brief glance into the past performances of all eight entries for this Grade 3 stakes.
Riposte - British bred filly makes her North American debut Saturday after six starts in Europe yielded two wins and a second place finish. Her biggest score to date came in the Grade 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, winning convincingly by 2 1/4 lengths which proves her class. Riposte's last three starts haven't been great however - a pair of fifths this summer were followed by a seventh last time out in the Grade 2 Qatar Prix de Royallieu at Longchamp October 5. Despite her lack of recent success, Riposte looks like the one to beat Saturday. Joel Rosario gets the call from the rail for this much anticipated North American debut.
Caroline Thomas - Barclay Tagg trained filly has 11 career starts with three wins, a second and three third place finishes. She had eight starts in 2013 - on OK third January 27 in the minor Sweetest Chant Stakes at Gulfstream and a pair of fifths in graded stakes action - in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride Stakes at Gulfstream March 2 and the Grade 2 Sands Point May 27. She had her best career performance August 18 however - an upset win in the Grade 2 Lake Placid over Watsdachances and Concise but fell back to seventh in the Grade 1 Garden City Stakes at Belmont Park September. Last time out was an OK third in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland October 12. Luis Saez will be in the saddle from post 7 as the 121 pound highweight.
Abaco - Shug McGaughey trained mare really came on toward the end of 2013 with a win in the Grade 3 Cardinal Handicap at Churchill Downs November 9 after a second in the Grade 3 Athenia Stakes October 12 and another second in the minor Lady Baltimore Stakes in September. Last time out was a bit of a stumble however - a fourth in the Grade 3 Marshua's River Stakes on this track January 4. Abaco also had a nice four race win streak (no stakes) at the end of 2012. She has five wins, seven seconds and two third place finishes in 19 career starts. Abaco is a dangerous entry for the Suwannee and will be ridden by Javier Castellano Saturday.
Parranda - won the Millions Filly and Mare Turf Preview Stakes here November 9 and also won the Florida Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Stakes January 18. She also had another win in the Our Dear Peggy Stakes also on this track in September. Her last graded stakes race resulted in an OK fourth in the Grade 3 My Charmer at Calder December 7. Parranda has won four of her last seven starts and has three straight wins on this track ahead of this weekend. She enters in excellent form and could surprise.
Nicki Starshine - is coming off a third in the Florida Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Stakes here January 18 after failing to place in her previous three minor stakes races. She did win two straight minor stakes races in 2012-2013 but hasn't been the same for trainer William White. She has three wins, two seconds and four third place finishes in 12 career starts but enters this weekend with a little optimism after her third last time out.
Ainsley - will make her graded stakes debut Saturday but enters having won three of her last four starts - two in a row including a Starter Optional Claiming January 17 and an Allowance Optional Claiming December 28 - both results at Calder. She has 24 career starts with six wins, two seconds and five third place finishes but Saturday marks an enormous step up in competition.
Malibu Yankee - stakes placed Niall Saville trained mare races in graded stakes company for the first time Saturday. She was second in a Starter Stakes in December 2012 and has recorded a pair of thirds in four starts since - both Allowance Optional Claiming races. Last time out was a fourth in the minor Trevita Stakes at Aqueduct November 6.
Abbey Street - finished eighth in her only stakes start - the Grade 3 Regret Stakes at Churchill Downs June 15. She has placed in just one of her last four starts since - a second two back in an Allowance at Churchill Downs November 14 and is coming off a fifth in an Allowance Optional Claiming on this track January 12.
Race 10 on Gulfstream Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:01 PM.
||C. McGaughey III