The eyes of the horse racing world are likely to zero in on two races in particular this weekend: a one mile allowance race featuring two undefeated three-year old colts at Gulfstream Park and the mile and a sixteenth New Orleans Ladies at Fair Grounds featuring the reigning Horse of the Year. While both of those races have their draw, it is the G2 Inside Information Stakes that most intrigues me. The seven furlong sprint drew a deep field that includes Musical Romance, Her Smile, Persuading, R Holiday Mood, Groupie Doll, and Belle of the Hall, and that is just half the field!
In her last race, champion Musical Romance pulled a Mucho Macho Man, but instead of the shoe coming completely off, hers ended up turned around backwards, fighting her every step of the way. With her shoes firmly in place, we may just see a different mare in tomorrow’s race. However, history is not on her side. In seven starts at Gulfstream, she has won only once, that also being the only she has ever hit the board at the track. She like the seven furlong distance of the Inside Information, but I do not know if that will be enough to overcome her obvious dislike of the track.
Two fillies that do like the Gulfstream surface are R Holiday Mood and Groupie Doll. R Holiday Mood, trained by Todd Pletcher, is a perfect two for two over the Gulfstream main track but has never raced at the seven furlong distance. Groupie Doll, on the other hand, is 1-1-1 in 3 starts at Gulfstream but has never finished worse than second at 7 furlongs. Trained by William Bradley, the Bowman’s Band filly has had a tough last couple of races. Earlier in the meet, she faced Boys At Tosconova in a field of males and ran a very game second. Last out, she faced Awesome Maria and Royal Delta, running third behind the two stars. She looks to have an easier outing at a distance more to her liking in the Inside Information.
Her Smile and Persuading, though good fillies in their own right, neither like the track nor the distance. Neither filly has a win in either of those two categories. Belle of the Hall, however, is 2 for 4 at Gulfstream and has only finished off the board at 7 furlongs once. Also entered are Catch A Thief, Funny Sunny, Much Rejoicing, Hot Summer, and Magical Feeling. Catch A Thief, Funny Sunny, and Much Rejoicing all have an affinity for the track, also.
I have spent a lot of time looking at which fillies and mares run well at Gulfstream because this track is one in which a horse either does or does not run well, something I have emphasized time and again. With the track favoring speed, front runners obviously have the advantage over closers. Musical Romance had a rough last outing over the GP main surface, something I would normally be very willing to forgive. However, even if that race was thrown out, her record at the track speaks for itself. Despite being a reigning champion, I do not think this is the race for her, something the oddsmakers obviously agree with. She is listed as the 6-1 co-fourth choice, and Her Smile and Funny Sunny are the top two choices at 3-1 and 4-1 respectively. Personally, I like R Holiday Mood and Groupie Doll for this race. R Holiday Mood is being sent out by the leading trainer at Gulfstream Park and will have the meet’s second leading jockey, John Velazquez, on board. Plus she is coming in off a sharp last out effort in the Hurricane Bertie, a race in which she beat three of the fillies and mares she will face tomorrow. Groupie Doll is coming off two races in which she faced tough competition, and I believe that will set her up for a nice effort in tomorrow’s race.