Breeder Will be Rooting for Cathryn Sophia in Davona Dale Awesome Speed Looking to Continue Streak in Fountain of Youth
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - A filly bred by prominent Maryland breeder Robert Manfuso was sold for $30,000 at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Fall Yearling Sale at Timonium.
The Maryland-bred daughter of Street Boss, out of the unraced mare Sheave, would be become known as Cathryn Sophia and go on to become an undefeated multiple-stakes winner after only three starts.
Although Cathryn Sophia has already proven to be a steal for Chuck Zacney’s Cash is King LLC, Manfuso will be enthusiastically rooting for the John Servis-trained 3-year-old filly in Saturday’s $200,000 Davona Dale (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
Manfuso may not own Cathryn Sophia, but he is still in possession of the broodmare that produced the filly who caught the attention of the Thoroughbred world with her handy 4 ¼-length romp in the $150,000 Forward Gal (G2) at Gulfstream last time out. Sheave, a daughter of Grade 2 stakes winner Belterra, has become a much more valuable broodmare through her daughter’s high-profile success.
"I still have the mare, and what can I say? It's a huge deal. [Cathryn Sophia] could be one of the top 3-year-olds in the country, one of the top 3-year-old fillies in the country,” Manfuso said. “And, that performance (in the Forward Gal), I thought, was some kind of impressive. As of matter of fact, even John Servis who trains the filly, thought it was more impressive than her first two wins, which were big deals.”
Unlike her first two starts, a maiden race at Parx and the Gin Talking Stakes at Laurel Park, which she won in front-running fashion by a combined 29 lengths, Cathryn Sophia rated off the pace after breaking slowly from the starting gate and closed with a rush to win the seven-furlong Forward Gal going away.
"I think she showed a couple of things. One, that she can come from off the pace, and two, that she can probably – and time will tell –get two turns," Manfuso said.
Cathryn Sophia will face six 3-year-old in the one-turn, one-mile Davona Dale, the major prep for the 1 1/16-mile, two-turn Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) April 2.
Manfuso reported that he’s received inquiries from parties interested in buying Sheave, but he isn’t selling.
“We still have the mare and she is booked back to Street Boss this year after she foals and has another Maryland-bred,” Manfuso said. “So, that will be a full sibling to Cathryn Sophia."
Awesome Speed Looking to Continue Streak in Fountain of Youth
Since finishing off the board in his debut last summer, Colts Neck Stables’ Awesome Speed has done nothing wrong while rattling off three straight victories. He can continue the streak when he steps up to graded stakes company for the first time in Saturday’s $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2).
A sophomore son of Awesome Again out of the Aptitude mare Speedy Escape, Awesome Speed opened the year winning the one-mile Mucho Macho Man Stakes Jan. 2 at Gulfstream in his longest trip to date. The 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth will be his first try around two turns.
“He won at a mile so it’s not that much further. It should be easier for him,” trainer Alan Goldberg said. “His bottom half, she was a sprinter but I don’t think he’ll have any problem going a little further. It won’t be a problem until it’s a problem. We’ve got to find out at some point.”
Awesome Speed broke his maiden and captured the James F. Lewis III Stakes a month apart a month apart last fall at Laurel Park, both at six furlongs. A graduate of Fasig-Tipton’s Florida sale last winter, he got time off by design after the Mucho Macho Man.
“That was the plan all along, run in the Macho Man and then run in the Fountain of Youth. I didn’t want to run a lot of times down there. There’s the Fountain of Youth, obviously, but then the Florida Derby [G1 April 2]. We purchased him at Fasig-Tipton so we’d get a $1 million bonus if we won that race, so that was our deal,” Goldberg said. “I don’t think he was tops for the Macho Man. He had some skin disease and he wasn’t 100 percent. Right now he’s 100 percent so we’ll see how he runs.”
Along with Awesome Banner, a front-running winner of his only three starts, the last two in graded stakes at Gulfstream, Awesome Speed figures to be prominently placed from post four under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., who replaces the injured Joel Rosario. Undefeated Mohaymen, regarded as the top 3-year-old prospect on the East Coast, is the program favorite.
“I think we’ll be sitting second or third off of Awesome Banner. I think he’s got to go to the front,” Goldberg said. “This horse will rate. You don’t have to send him. He gets himself into the race. He’s very ratable. I think he’ll be fine.”
Back on Dirt, Ready for Rye Tackles X Y Jet in Gulfstream Park Sprint
In addition to being one of four graded stakes winners in Saturday’s $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint (G2), Chalk Racing’s Ready for Rye has the distinction of being the last horse to beat likely overwhelming race favorite X Y Jet.
The two horses met in the seven-furlong Swale (G2) last March, where X Y Jet stumbled out of the gate and was eased down the stretch to finish last, more than 32 lengths behind Ready for Rye, who sprang a mild upset at 6-1 in his fourth career start.
Since then, X Y Jet has reeled off four consecutive victories, the last two coming in the Mr. Prospector (G3) and Sunshine Millions Sprint, flirting with Gulfstream’s six-furlong track record both times. Ready for Rye has not started since finishing seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) Oct. 31.
They will break side-by-side from the middle of an eight-horse field assembled for the 38th running of the 6 ½-furlong GP Sprint, carded fourth on a 13-race Fountain of Youth program that features eight stakes, six of them graded.
“It just looked like a good place to start him back. We liked the distance for him first time coming back,” trainer Tom Albertrani said. “He ran well over Gulfstream last year so it’s just a good way to get him started back again and see how he does.”
Ready for Rye was second in his only other Gulfstream start, the six-furlong Spectacular Bid to open his 3-year-old season last January, two months prior to the Swale. He ran twice more on dirt, finishing third in the Bay Shore (G3) and Woody Stephens (G2), before being switched to the grass last summer.
“It was something we tried and he actually did very well. He won every start except for the Breeders’ Cup that we ran him over the turf and he seemed to handle it just fine,” Albertrani said. “It’s just something we’re always going to have in the back of our mind. We know he’s pretty versatile and we may want to try to see him back on the grass again sometime later this season.”
Ready for Rye debuted on grass with an optional claiming allowance win at Belmont Park, then captured the Quick Call and Allied Forces stakes entering the Breeders’ Cup, where he led through a half-mile before tiring.
He shows a string of steady works for Albertrani at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County.
“He’s doing super. We gave him a little freshening since the Breeders’ Cup and he’s really come around the last few weeks,” he said. “We feel he’s ready to make a start and we’ll see how we’ll do this weekend and make a plan. Eventually he may end up back on the grass again but we’re just going to keep our options open.”
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Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN), the exclusive radio partner of Gulfstream's Saturday stakes, will broadcast live Saturday between 4:30-6:30 p.m. on Sirius 145/XM 203 and be streamed live at http://www.horseracingradio.net.
HRRN will also be live Friday from 3-6 p.m. with their weekly Xpressbet Radio show and their Xpressbet Weekend Stakes Preview from 6=7 p.m. Mike Penna and Jude Feld will be joined Saturday by former jockey Herb McCauley.