Crazy Beautiful Looking for Kentucky Oak Points
Trainer Kenny McPeek will be on a quest to win back-to-back runnings of the $200,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) when he saddles Crazy Beautiful for the 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-old fillies on Saturday, March 27.
Last year, McPeek saddled Swiss Skydiver for a 9-1 upset victory in the Gulfstream Park Oaks that would set the tone for an Eclipse Award-winning campaign that included a victory in the Alabama (G1) at Saratoga and a photo-finish victory over Authentic in the Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico.
The 51st running of the Gulfstream Park Oaks will be among 10 stakes on Saturday's program that will be headlined by the $750,000 Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill `n' Dale Farm at Xalapa.
Saturday's 14-race card will also be highlighted by as mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 pool, which is expected to swell into the multi-millions should the popular multi-race wager go unsolved through Friday. There will also be guaranteed pools of $750,000 for the Late Pick 5 and Late Pick 4.
The Gulfstream Park Oaks will offer 170 qualifying points for the April 30 Kentucky Oaks (G1) on a 100-40-20-10 basis.
||Irad Ortiz, Jr.
||Bow Bow Girl
||Len Lo Lady
Phoenix Thoroughbred III's Crazy Beautiful is coming off a second-place finish in the Feb. 27 Davona Dale (G2) at Gulfstream. The daughter of Liam's Map rallied from well off the pace in her 2021 debut to finish a distant second to going-away winner Wholebodemeister. She was making her first start since finishing off the board in the Nov. 6 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Keeneland.
"She ran great here. I think that she's training well enough that we should go right now," McPeek said.
Crazy Beautiful launched her career last summer with back-to-back wins at Ellis Park, including the Debutante Stakes before finishing second in the Pocahontas (G3) at Churchill Downs. The Kentucky-bred filly was favored to win the Alcibiades (G1) at Keeneland but was no match for stablemate Simply Ravishing while finishing second.
Jose Ortiz has the mount aboard Crazy Beautiful, who was rated as the 5-2 morning-line favorite.
Trainer Todd Pletcher is scheduled to saddle Con Lima for a return to dirt in the Oaks. Multiple graded stakes-placed on turf in her two most recent starts, the daughter of Commissioner is hardly heading to foreign territory. The Texas-bred filly, who is owned in a partnership by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, graduated over Gulfstream's main track July 31 after finishing a close second to Wholebodemeister in her debut over a sloppy track three weeks earlier.
"It's something we've been thinking about for a while. Being a graded-stakes and all - and she seems to like Gulfstream - we decided to give it a try," Pletcher said.
After finishing second behind Simply Ravishing in the off-the-turf P. G. Johnson, Con Lima returned to Gulfstream to finish second in the off-the-turf Our Dear Peggy. Sent around two turns on turf for her next two starts, Con Lima romped to front-running optional claiming allowance victories by open lengths. She showed the way before fading to second in the Jan. 30 Sweetest Chant (G3) and came back to overcome trouble leaving the starting gate to close from far back and finish second in the Herecomesthebride (G3) Feb. 27.
"Her races on the turf have been very good, but she's been consistent on both surfaces," Pletcher said. "It seemed like the right trip to try it."
Irad Ortiz Jr. has the return mount on Con Lima, who is rated second at 3-1 in the morning line.
Competitive Speed, a sprint-stakes winner owned by John Minchello, is scheduled to make her first start around two turns Saturday. The daughter of Competitive Edge is coming off a third-place finish in the one-turn mile Davona Dale, in which she made a wide middle move to challenge front-running Wholebodemeister on the turn into the homestretch before weakening to finish third, 1 ½ lengths behind Crazy Beautiful.
Competitive Speed broke her maiden at Gulfstream Park West last July in her second career start while racing for a $25,000 claiming tag. She came back to win an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream by 4 ½ lengths going away.
"After she won that race, I said, `Oh, I think we've got something," trainer Javier Gonzalez said.
Competitive Speed came back to win the 6 ½-furlong Glitter Woman by three lengths before finishing a troubled sixth in the Forward Gal and third in the Davona Dale.
"She's one of those horses that never make you look bad," Gonzalez said. "She has a big heart in a small package."
Gonzalez is confident that Competitive Speed will handle two turns.
"I don't think two turns will be a problem for her," Gonzalez said. "She's been working very good and finishing up strong."
Leonel Reyes has the return mount aboard Competitive Speed.
Juddmonte Farms Inc.'s Millefeuille will seek to rebound from a seventh-place finish in the Davona Dale Saturday. The Bill Mott-trained daughter of Curlin had previously finished second at Aqueduct in the Dec. 6 Demoiselle, in which she set the pace before falling a half-length short of holding off undefeated Malathaat.
Tyler Gaffalione is scheduled to ride the homebred filly for the first time Saturday.
Trainer Dale Romans, who has saddled the winners of three Gulfstream Park Oaks, is scheduled to saddle Calumet Farm's Bow Bow Girl and Robert Baron's Len Lo Lady for this year's running.
Bow Bow Girl is coming off an impressive maiden score at Gulfstream Park in her third career start. The homebred daughter of Oxbow set a pressured pace before drawing off to win the 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight race by 4 ½ lengths.
Len Lo Lady broke her maiden by more than 10 lengths in a $50,000 claiming race prior to finishing third in a mile optional claiming allowance.
Corey Lanerie has the return call on Bow Bow Girl, while Hall of Famer John Velazquez is scheduled to ride Len Lo Lady for the first time.
Dennis Smith and Daniel Walters' Pens Street will seek to improve on a a distant fourth in the Davona Dale last time out.
The Rohan Crichton-trained daughter of Street Sense, who finished first and second in her first two career starts, will be ridden by Miguel Vasquez.
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Simply Ravishing Heads 21 Noms for 50th Gulfstream Park Oaks
Grade 1 winner Simply Ravishing and a trio of graded-stakes winners from trainer Todd Pletcher - Con Lima, Malathaat and Zaajel - are among 21 3-year-old fillies nominated to the $200,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) Saturday, March 27 at Gulfstream Park.
The 1 1/16-mile Oaks tops nine supporting stakes, five graded, worth $1.1 million in purses on the undercard of the $750,000 Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill `n' Dale at Xalapa, which has produced the winners of 60 Triple Crown races in 69 previous runnings.
A total of 170 Kentucky Oaks (G1) qualifying points will be up for grabs in the 50th Gulfstream Park Oaks on a 100-40-20-10 basis. The 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Oaks is April 30 at Churchill Downs.
Last year's Gulfstream Park Oaks winner, Swiss Skydiver, went on to become only the sixth filly ever to beat males - including Kentucky Derby (G1) and Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) winner and eventual Horse of the Year Authentic - in the Preakness Stakes (G1) and was named the 3-year-old filly champion.
Like Swiss Skydiver, Harold Lerner, Magdalena Racing and Nehoc Stablels' Simply Ravishing is trained by Kenny McPeek. The bay daughter of Laoban has yet to make her 3-year-old debut, having run fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) and Golden Rod (G2) to cap her juvenile campaign.
Simply Ravishing won each of her first three career starts, a maiden special weight on grass and an off-the-turf P.G. Johnson, both at Saratoga, before her front-running triumph in the 1 1/16-mile Alcibiades last October at Keeneland. She has been working steadily at Gulfstream Park for her return, including a bullet half-mile in 46.53 seconds March 6, fastest of 94 horses.
Pletcher, the Championship Meet's record 16-time leading trainer, is nominated for induction to the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame in 2021. He is a four-time winner of the Gulfstream Park Oaks, with Devil May Care (2010), R Heat Lightning (2011), Dreaming of Julia (2013) and In Tune (2014).
Shadwell Stables homebreds Malathaat and Zaajel are both undefeated in their young careers. Malathaat, by Hall of Famer Curlin, is a perfect 3-0 including wins in the Tempted and Demoiselle (G2) and has yet to race in 2021. Zaajel, a daughter of Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, broke her maiden Dec. 20 at Gulfstream and returned to capture the Forward Gal (G3) Jan. 30 in her only two starts.
Con Lima was second to Simply Ravishing in the P.G. Johnson and has raced exclusively on turf in her last four starts including wins in the Ginger Brew and Feb. 27 Herecomesthebride (G3), the latter by disqualification of first-place finisher Spanish Loveaffair.
Sabana Farm's Wholebodemeister, trained by Juan Carlos Avila, upset the one-mile Davona Dale Feb. 27 at Gulfstream at odds of 52-1. She was third, beaten less than two lengths by Zaajel, in the Forward Gal.
Oaks nominees also include Glitter Woman winner Competitive Speed, third in the Davona Dale; Demoiselle runner-up Millefeuille, a troubled seventh in the Davona Dale, and Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott stablemate Obligatory, a Gulfstream maiden special weight winner Feb. 7; and last-out Gulfstream winners Army Wife, Bow Bow Girl, Mona Stella, Pass the Champagne and Slumber Party.
Bow Bow Girl and Len Lo Lady, a runaway maiden claiming winner at Gulfstream that ran third to Army Wife last time out, are trained by three-time Gulfstream Park Oaks winner Dale Romans. His victories came with Birdatthewire (2015), Go Maggie Go (2016) and Coach Rocks (2018).
The richest of six turf stakes on the Florida Derby undercard is the $200,000 Pan American Stakes (G2) presented by Rood and Riddle for 4-year-olds and up going 1 ½ miles, whose 22 nominees include defending champion Bemma's Boy and 2017 winner Sadler's Joy, along with Colonel Liam and Cross Border, respectively first and third in the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) Jan. 23; Feb. 27 Mac Diarmida (G2) winner Phantom Currency and W.L. McKnight (G3) winner Tale of the Sea, second in the Mac Diarmida.
Two other graded-stakes are also scheduled for the turf - the $100,000 Kitten's Joy Appleton (G3) for 4-year-olds and up going one mile, and $100,000 Orchid for fillies and mares 4 and older at 1 3/8 miles. The Appleton attracted 28 nominees including Colonel Liam and graded-stakes winners Field Pass, Get Smokin and Somelikeithotbrown.
Repole Stable's Always Shopping, a head shy of four consecutive victories with back-to-back Gulfstream stakes scores including the Jan. 23 La Prevoyante (G3), tops 15 Orchid nominees. Among others are La Prevoyante runner-up Delta's Kingdom, 2020 Ginger Punch winner Kelsey's Cross and 2020 Valley View (G3) winner Stunning Sky.
The $100,000 Ghostzapper (G3), formerly the Hal's Hope, rounds out the graded-stakes portion of the undercard. Nominees for the 1 1/8-mile test for 4-year-olds and up include Gulfstream Park Mile (G2) winner Fearless and runner-up Avant Garde; Eye of the Jedi, second in the Harlan's Holiday (G3) and Fred Hooper (G3) this winter; March 6 Challenger (G3) winner Last Judgment and Mike Maker-trained stablemate Attachment Rate, a Gulfstream allowance winner Feb. 27 that ran 14th in the 2020 Kentucky Derby; 2020 Risen Star (G2) winner Modernist and War Stopper, respectively 2-3 in the Challenger.
Grade 1 winners Basin and Mind Control and Grade 1-placed Lexitonian and Ny Traffic are among nominees to the $100,000 Sir Shackleton for 4-year-olds and up sprinting seven furlongs. Last year's Sir Shackleton winner, Vekoma, went on to take the Carter (G1) and Met Mile (G1) and was among the three finalists for champion sprinter honors, won by Whitmore.
The $100,000 Sand Springs for fillies and mares 4 and up going 1 1/16 miles on turf drew 21 nominees led by Grade 1 winners Abscond and Paris Lights. Sophomores will go one mile on the grass in the $100,000 Sanibel Island presented by US Foods for fillies and $100,000 Cutler Bay, which attracted a total of 48 nominations.