Andina Del Sur will kick off her 5-year-old campaign Saturday at Gulfstream Park, where the daughter of Giant's Causeway will seek her third victory in four starts in the $150,000 Marshua's River Stakes (G3).
The Marshua's River, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for older fillies and mares, will be co-featured on Saturday's program with the $100,000 Tropical Turf (G3), a mile turf stakes for 4-year-olds and up.
Andina Del Sur was a first-time-out winner at 2 and a graded-stakes at 3, but the veteran stakes mare may well be reaching her peak.
"Especially going into her last race, she really put in a big effort," trainer Tom Albertrani said. "So, maybe there's a little bit to say about her getting better with age."
||Piece by Peace
||Irad Ortiz, Jr.
||Sweet Bye and Bye
||Andina Del Sur
After winning the Florida Oaks (G3) early during her 3-year-old season, Andina Del Sur raced 12 times without making the winner's circle while accumulating several stakes placings. The homebred mare broke through with a victory in the Sept. 28 Violet Stakes at Monmouth Park, overcoming an extremely wide trip from her outside post position. Following a third-place finish in the Athenia (G3) at Belmont Park, in which she raced closer to the pace than usual and lacked her customary late kick, Andina Del Sur rallied from off the pace to win the Nov. 29 Forever Together Stakes at Aqueduct.
"I think her best races I've seen is where she's a little bit off the lead and not so close to it, where she has a little better kick at the end," Albertrani said. "I saw that same effort at Tampa when she won her first stake. She seems to favor that running style a little better."
Since debuting with a two-length triumph at Belmont on Sept. 28 2017, Andina Del Sur has won three stakes and more than $440,000 in earnings.
"She always showed a lot of promise, even early on before she ran her first start, so we always had good expectations of her," Albertrani said. "She's been a good race mare. She always puts herself in a good place in all of her starts and she's just a nice horse to have in the barn. Those are the kind you like to have around."
Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano has the return mount.
Don Alberto Stable's colors will also be worn by Irad Ortiz Jr., who has been named to ride Chad Brown-trained Magic Star, who was a first out winner at Saratoga in August before finishing sixth in an Oct. 26 optional claiming allowance at Belmont last time out.
Joseph Imbesi's Sweet Bye Bye finished third behind Andina Del Sur, beaten 1 ½ lengths, in the Forever Together, will also return in the Marshua's River. The Steve Klesaris trainee had previously finished second, a half-length ahead of Andina Del Sur, in the Athenia (G3).
Luis Saez is scheduled to ride the 5-year-old daughter of Sky Mesa for the first time Saturday.
Christophe Clement's Munchkin Money, a two-time optional claiming allowance winner during the 2018-2019 Championship Meet at Gulfstream, will run in the Marshua's River off a third-place finish in the Dec. 14 My Charmer at Gulfstream.
Tyler Gaffalione has the mount aboard the 7-year-old daughter of Freud, who is owned by Sweet Home Stables, Brian Martin, Steven Bouchey and Tony Weintraub.
Manganaro Bloodstock and West Coast Thoroughbreds' Maroubra, a stakes winner in France, will seek her first U.S. victory Saturday. Trainer Cherie DeVaux named Paco Lopez to ride the 5-year-old daughter of Lawman.
Trainer Laura Cazares' Malkia, who captured an optional claiming allowance in her most recent start, will make her graded-stakes debut under Rajiv Maragh.
Jeff Drown's Piece by Peace, a recent maiden winner at Tampa Bay Downs for trainer Rodolphe Brisset will also make her graded-staked debut under John Velazquez.