HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Jacks or Better Farm’s Dogwood Trail is geared up for Saturday’s $100,000 Sugar Swirl Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park, where she will seek to run her record to 2-for-2 in graded-stakes competition.
“She’s doing good. She’s right where I want her to be,” trainer Stanley Gold said.
The 3-year-old daughter of Awesome of Course captured her graded-stakes debut July 5 at Gulfstream Park while posting a front-running 1 ½-length score in the Azalea (G3) on Summit of Speed Day.
“It means a lot to Jacks or Better as a breeder. Certainly a graded stakes makes a whole lot of difference. It also raises expectations. Graded stakes don’t come easy, so you’ve got to make the best of them. This is one of them. It’s not going to be an easy one,” Gold said. “When you put the 1, 2 and 3 after a stake, everyone looks at them because that’s where the value is for a broodmare. It’ll be tough, but she’ll be able to run with whoever is in there.”
The Sugar Swirl, a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares, drew a seven-horse field that includes Stonetastic, a Grade 2 stakes winner who finished eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) at Keeneland.
Dogwood Trail followed up her Azalea score with a 2 ½-length romp in the Florida Sire Stakes Three Ring Stakes in which she stalked the early pace before drawing away. She finished fourth in the Uanme Stakes, in which she was taken back before making a middle move. Stretched out around two turns for the first time, Dogwood Trail set a pressured pace into the stretch before settling for second in the FSS Meadow Star Oct. 3.
“I was disappointed. Things just didn’t work out. Sometimes that happens. I didn’t think two turns was going to be a problem. I can’t make any excuses. She got beat fair and square,” said Gold, who named Jeffrey Sanchez to ride Dogwood Trail. “She’s probably going one turn and she’s probably better going the six (furlongs) than the seven.”
Stoneway Farm’s Stonetastic, who captured the 2014 Prioress (G2) at Saratoga, chased the early pace into the stretch run of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint before weakening to eighth, beaten by less than six lengths.
“She came out of the Breeders’ Cup good and fresh. That’s why we’re running,” said trainer Kelly Breen. “It’s just a matter of timing to see where we’re at. Turning back from seven to six furlongs looks like a good distance for her.”
Paco Lopez has the mount aboard the 4-year-old daughter of Mizzen Mast.
Miller Racing’s Best Behavior, who came off a four-month layoff to finish second behind Cali Star in the one-mile Rampart Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Dec.12, is set for a quick return to action in the Sugar Swirl.
“I planned on this race first. I hadn’t planned on running a mile, but Mr. Miller just wanted to try it fresh off the bench,” trainer Marty Wolfson said. “She ran her heart out, but she’s better going shorter.”
Wolfson saddled Cali Star for an impressive victory in the Rampart but was equally impressed with Best Behavior’s effort off a long layoff.
“Best Behavior has a huge heart,” said Wolfson, who is pointing Cali Star to the $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic (G3) at Sam Houston Park Jan. 30. “She ran a great race. She hadn’t run since July and I only worked her four times.”
Hall of Famer John Velazquez has the return mount aboard the 5-year-old daughter of Into Mischief.
Richard Perkins and Hinsley Racing Stable’s You Bought Her, who finished second in the Inside Information (G2) at Gulfstream in March; and Fager Stable’s Miss Melinda, who finished third in the Dream Supreme Stakes at Churchill Downs last time out; also bring strong credentials into the Sugar Swirl.
Stakes winner Naval Command and Sky Gold, the winner of two of three starts over the Gulfstream track, round out the field.
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