Kaplan Fillies Target Dirt Stakes on Juvenile Showcase Program
Trainer Represented in Two of Three Filly Stakes at Gulfstream Park West
MIAMI GARDENS, FL â€“ Narrowly beaten in a pair of stakes earlier this year, Moment of Delight will get another chance to break through for trainer Bill Kaplan in the $75,000 Hut Hut on Saturday at Gulfstream Park West.
Contested at one mile over the main track, the Hut Hut is one of three $75,000 stakes for 2-year-old fillies on the Juvenile Showcase program that highlights the final weekend of Gulfstream Park West's inaugural Fall Turf Festival meet.
Kaplan will also send out Ekatiâ€™s Phaeton from the rail in the six-furlong House Party on dirt. Capping Saturdayâ€™s 10-race card is the Wait A While, scheduled for one mile on the turf.
Owned by Pinnacle Racing Stable and Norman Stables, Moment of Delight was an impressive debut winner on August 16 at Gulfstream Park, then rallied from mid-pack to come within a nose of multiple stakes winner Holywell in the second leg of the Florida Stallion Stakes series, the Susanâ€™s Girl, on September 6.
The bay daughter of A.P. Warrior was second as the favorite in her subsequent start, the 1 1/16-mile My Dear Girl Stakes, finishing 1 Â¼ lengths behind Holywell but nine lengths clear of the rest of the field. She returned to finish second in a one-mile optional claiming allowance on October 29, her debut at Gulfstream Park West.
â€œSheâ€™s a hard tryer and sheâ€™s got a lot of talent, especially going long,â€ Kaplan said. â€œAnd sheâ€™s got speed, too. She just got beat in the [Susanâ€™s Girl]. Sheâ€™s a nice filly.â€
In her most recent effort, Moment of Delight cut back to 6 Â½ furlongs in the $100,000 Juvenile Filly Sprint on November 8 at Gulfstream Park West. She put in a three-wide move to get in contention at the top of the stretch but wound up third, a length ahead of Holywell.
â€œSheâ€™s got a tremendous stride on her. Sheâ€™s a big, long, lanky filly thatâ€™s going to grow into a fantastic 3-year-old and 4-year-old,â€ Kaplan said. â€œSheâ€™s a little bit light because sheâ€™s growing so much and so long. She has a tremendous way of going and she has good cardiovascular. Sheâ€™s been there every time, and probably should have possibly won one or two of the sire stakes, anyway. She got beat a nose in one and in the other one, [Holywell] got an easy lead and we couldnâ€™t run her down. Sheâ€™s got a tremendous amount of talent.â€
Also returning in the Hut Hut is Holywell, who had her two-race win streak snapped in the Juvenile Filly Sprint. Owned by Tracy Pinchin and trained by her husband, Jose, the Florida homebred ran into traffic and had to be steadied at the top of the stretch by jockey Orlando Bocachica.
â€œShe got into a little trouble,â€ Jose Pinchin said. â€œShe tried to go with the pace and she probably should have sat off, but she ran all right. She gave them all weight. Sheâ€™s been doing great. Sheâ€™s a consistent, hard tryer. This will be a better race for her.â€
The Hut Hut is the first of six juvenile stakes on Saturdayâ€™s card, going off as the third race. Rounding out the field are two horses from trainer Gennadi Dorochenko, Artistic Touch and Yarmorka; Majesticmasquerade, Titanium Jo and Moneyâ€™soncharlotte, a recent maiden winner at Belmont Park.
Owned by Phaedrus Flights, Ekatiâ€™s Phaeton takes on stakes company for the second time in the House Party, carded as race 7. The daughter of multiple Grade 1 winner Tale of Ekati faded to sixth after racing near the leaders in the Our Dear Peggy, a one-mile turf stakes on October 4 at Gulfstream Park.
â€œIt was soft turf and I donâ€™t think she liked it, so thatâ€™s why weâ€™re going back to sprinting,â€ Kaplan said. â€œI really feel sheâ€™s got superstar talent.â€
Ekatiâ€™s Phaeton took the lead early in her August 9 unveiling at Gulfstream and held on for a nose victory after dueling throughout the six-furlong maiden special weight event. A month later, she went gate to wire to roll by 10 Â¼ lengths in an entry-level allowance, also at six furlongs.
â€œI thought she was going to win easy in her first race, to be honest with you,â€ Kaplan said. â€œI probably didnâ€™t have her tight enough. She was fit for her second race and she just galloped in that one. Sheâ€™s got a tremendous amount of talent. Sheâ€™s a big, gorgeous filly and has a good mind on her. And sheâ€™s fast.â€
Bred in Kentucky, Ekatiâ€™s Phaeton is one of six horses Kaplan trains for the owner. She shows a steady string of strong works, most recently going a half-mile in 47.33 seconds on Sunday, third-fastest of 64 horses at Gulfstream.
â€œWe thought highly of her right from the start,â€ Kaplan said. â€œWe have very high hopes for her. Sheâ€™s shown me sheâ€™s got a lot of talent. In this business, everythingâ€™s got to stay together. We havenâ€™t seen anywhere near the best of her.â€
Another strong House Party contender is Concealedwithakiss, trained by Eddie Plesa, Jr. and owned by his wife, Laurie, and Vincent Rizzuto. The Political Force filly cruised to a front-running 11 Â¼-length victory in her debut, a five-furlong maiden claiming sprint on August 2 at Monmouth Park, and returned 29 days later to capture the six-furlong Sorority by two lengths.
â€œNeedless to say we were pleased with both races,â€ Plesa said. â€œWhen she ran for a claiming tag there were four 2-year-old races that day and I had horses for each race. That seemed like the best shot for her. Then she came back in the stakes race and validated her effort. Sheâ€™s doing good.â€
Plesa brought Concealedwithakiss to Laurel Park for a try in the September 27 Selima Stakes, a 5 Â½-furlong turf sprint where she bore in at the start and steadily retreated to finish last of 13.
â€œShe didnâ€™t really care for the surface,â€ Plesa said. â€œWhen youâ€™re up there at that time of year thereâ€™s no spots for you, so itâ€™s either run or sit still. If you can run and learn something, Iâ€™m not against it. We ran, we learned something, and weâ€™re better for it. Sheâ€™s been freshened a little bit and weâ€™re ready to run.â€
Four other fillies who exited the Juvenile Filly Sprint at Gulfstream Park West will hook up again in the 10-horse House Party field: winner Leap Year Luck, runner-up Savingtime, and Jamieâ€™s Dancer and Sum Roar, who finished sixth and seventh, respectively. Blue Eyed Babe and Pinzyâ€™s Prize, maiden winners during the GPW meet, Frolic to the Wire and Ryabinka are also entered.
Another Pinchin homebred looking for stakes success on Saturday is Catfight Cowgirl in the Wait A While, which drew a full field of 12 horses along with three also-eligibles. A Cowtown Cat filly, Catfight Cowgirl has shown consistency, never worse than third in her four starts, breaking her maiden by two lengths going five furlongs over the Gulfstream grass on October 4.
Most recently, Catfight Cowgirl finished third, beaten 2 Â¼ lengths in the Juvenile Filly Turf on November 8 at Gulfstream Park West, just a head out of second. It was her first try at the one-mile distance after three sprints, one of which was moved off the turf to a sloppy main track.
â€œSheâ€™s been running well,â€ Pinchin said. â€œShe was coming off three five-furlong races so she should improve with that long race under her belt. I think the race is going to be a tough race, but sheâ€™s doing well. Sheâ€™s a hard-trying filly.â€
Trainer Chad Brown, who notched three turf wins over the two-day Breedersâ€™ Cup weekend at Santa Anita, will be represented by a pair of fillies in Fila Primera and Consumer Credit.
A daughter of War Front, Fila Primera was a 1 Â¼-length debut winner on September 7 at Belmont Park and hasnâ€™t raced finishing third in the Jessamine (G3) at Keeneland. Consumer Credit, a More Than Ready filly, was second in a one-mile off-the-turf race on October 4 before breaking her maiden going six furlongs 21 days later, both at Belmont Park.
Red Sashay, Like a Queen and Fearless Princess, who ran 1-2-3 separated by a half-length in the Our Dear Peggy, return in the Wait A While. The contentious field also includes Hangover Saturday, winner of Gulfstream Park Westâ€™s Juvenile Filly Turf on November 8; Kentucky Downs Juvenile Filly Stakes winner Nickyâ€™s Brown Miss, most recently last of 13 in the Breedersâ€™ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1); Grade 2-placed Skinner Box; recent Aqueduct maiden winners Arctic Ocean and Lismore; and Walking the Kitten.
Juvenile Showcase Program
Kaplan Fillies Target Dirt Stakes on Juvenile Showcase Program