‘Win and You’re In’ Race to Co-Headline June 29 Summit of Speed Proforma Prominent among $250,000 Smile Sprint (G3) Nominees
Stormy Embrace most recently came off a four-month freshening to win the May 18 Musical Romance Stakes, scoring by 10 ½ lengths over Lady’s Island, who came back to dominate the Nicole’s Dream Stakes by nine lengths. Stormy Embrace ran seven furlongs in a dazzling 1:21.51.
Last year, the Kathleen O’Connell-trained 5-year-old mare won the Musical Romance on her way to capturing the Princess Rooney by six lengths to earn a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs. After finishing off-the-board at Churchill, the Matalona Thoroughbreds LLC’s homebred mare returned to finish behind multiple-stakes winner Dream Pauline twice during the Championship Meet, losing a photo finish in the Dec. 15 Sugar Swirl (G3) and checking in third in the Hurricane Bertie (G3).
Blue Devils Racing Stable’s Come Dancing most recently finished second behind Midnight Bisou in the Ogden Phipps (G1) at Belmont Park June 8. The Carlos Martin-trained 5-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon had previously won the Distaff Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct and the Ruffian (G2) at Belmont in her first two starts of 2019.
Honey Bunny is riding a five-race winning streak that includes a 1 ½-length triumph in the Winning Colors (G2) at Churchill Downs May 25. Trained by John Ortiz for Hooties Racing LLC, WSS Racing LLC and 4G Racing LLC, the 5-year-old daughter of Tapizar has won 14 of 31 career starts.
Stonestreet Stables LLC’s Dawn the Destroyer, who won the Interborough Stakes at Aqueduct before finishing third behind Come Dancing in the Distaff, has been nominated to the Princess Rooney by trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
Dennis Smith, Span Investments, Inc. and George Benedicty’s Trenchtown Cat and trainer Patrick Biancone’s Razorback Lady, 1-2 in the May 25 Ana T. Stakes at Gulfstream, respectively, are both nominated to the Princess Rooney.
The Rohan Crichton-trained Trenchtown Cat, who had won two of four starts on turf, won her dirt debut in the Ana T. by 3 ¾ lengths over Razorback Lady, who had previously finished second behind America’s Tale in the Inside Information (G2) during the Championship Meet.
Averill Racing LLC and Matties Racing Stable LLC’s Lady’s Island is expected to seek her fifth victory in six starts this year, her only loss coming against Stormy Embrace in the Musical Romance.
DAARs Inc.’s Proforma is prominent among the 16 nominations for the Smile Sprint, a six-furlong dash for 3-year-olds and up. Trained by Michael Stidham, the son of Munnings most recently finished second in the Maryland Sprint (G3) on the Preakness (G1) undercard at Pimlico May 18, The 5-year-old gelding has made 12 consecutive stakes starts on dirt and turf since breaking his maiden in his second career race, collecting three victories, including the Kentucky Turf Sprint (G3) at Kentucky Downs.
Three Diamonds Farm’s Do Share and Thoroughbred Champions Training Center LLC’s Gladiator King are among others with graded-stakes credentials on the noms list for the Smile Sprint. Trained by Michael Matz, Do Share most recently finished a troubled fourth in the Churchill Downs (G1) on the Kentucky Derby (G1) undercard after capturing the Top Fool (G3) at Belmont in his previous start. Gladiator King won the Hutcheson (G3) during the Championship Meet for trainer Jaime Mejia.
Jacks or Better Farm’s Garter and Tie’s Smile credentials include multiple stakes victories over the Gulfstream Park main track. The Ralph Nicks-trained son of Brooks ‘n Down, who won the $200,000 FSS Affirmed last year, most recently captured the Ocala Stakes going away by 10 ½ lengths.
Paradise Farms Corp. and Walder Racing’s Fast Past, who captured the Opening Lead stakes; Commonwealth Stable’s Jalen Journey, who ran a mile in 1:34.47 while winning an optional claiming allowance; Granpollo Stable’s King Humor, who won his fourth straight race without defeat June 14; and Imaginary Stables an Glenn Ellis’ Royal Squeeze, who is riding a four-race winning streak, are among the nominees in sharp form leading up to the Smile.
The Princess Rooney and the Smile Sprint will be supported by the $75,000 Carry Back, a seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds, the $75,000 Azalea, a seven-furlong dash for 3-year-old fillies and the $75,000 Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint, a five-furlong turf sprint.
Stonehedge LLC’s Well Defined, the $400,000 FSS In Reality winner last year, tops a list of 19 nominations on the strength of a 2 ¾-length triumph in the Sam Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs. The Kathleen O’Connell-trained son of With Distinction has been unraced since finishing fourth behind Belmont Stakes (G1) runner-up Tacitus in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) March 9.
Garter and Tie and Gladiator King are nominated for the Carry Back as well as the Smile Sprint. Trenchtown Cat is also nominated to the Azalea.
Laurie Plesa’s Itsmyluckycharm is also among the most prominent nominees for the Azalea. The Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained daughter of Itsmyluckyday has finished first in six of her last seven starts, including a victory in the Portofino Bay Stakes last time out.
Averill Racing LLC and Matties Racing Stable LLC’s Pay Any Price, the world record-holder for five furlongs on turf, is the leading nominee for the Umphrey Turf Sprint, which he won the past two years.