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HRN Original Blog:
Florida Filly

R Free Roll ready to roll in Sugar Swirl

Gulfstream Park 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Spotswire
 
This year’s rendition of the G3 Sugar Swirl might not have drawn the big names of previous years, but the field it did draw contains a filly that I feel is on the cusp of a big breakout. Three-year-old R Free Roll has been lightly raced in her short career, making just 5 starts as a juvenile and just 5 starts in 2013, her sophomore season. In that short span, she has raced outside of Florida just once, finishing second to My Happy Face in the Charles Town Oaks back in September. Earlier in the year, she decisively beat a field of colts at Calder in the G3 Carry Back prep but could not get the job done in the Grade 3 event itself a month later.
 
 
In ten career starts, the daughter of Rockport Harbor has only finished worse than third twice. She has earnings of $228,490. R Free Roll has beaten the boys and ran second to a nationally recognized filly, but she has yet to truly make a name for herself. The Sugar Swirl might not end up being her big break out performance, but it should be a good start. She faces just 5 other fillies in the 6 furlong race at Gulfstream Park and receives a break in weight due to allowances for age.
 
 
Crazy About Me—This Lawyer Ron filly ships in from the Mid-Atlantic region where she had recently been on a tear in the lower levels. She pieced together a 5 race winning streak in which her smallest margin of victory was 4 ¾ lengths. That win streak was snapped when the bay filly was moved up from an $32,000 NW2X to a listed stake. She finished third as the favorite. She steps another level here but will likely appreciate the cutback in distance as she is undefeated at 6 furlongs. She hasn’t fared well at Gulfstream in the past, but that doesn’t mean that she has no shot here.
 
 
Twice Told Tale—I find that there just isn’t much to like here besides pedigree. A half to multiple graded stakes winner Dance to Bristol, this gray daughter of Tale of the Cat has a knack for finding trouble. Her best recent finish was a second in a $25,000 NW2X over this very track, but other than that, her form has been off lately.
 
 
Heart Stealer—Trained by Martin Wolfson, it is hard to ignore the Peachtree Stable entry. Since being moved from Bob Baffert’s barn to Wolfson’s, Heart Stealer has won an optional claimer by 10 ½ lengths and most recently finished second to R Free Roll in the Bold World Handicap across town at Calder Race Course. She is in with a chance and may have an edge at Gulfstream that she didn’t have at Calder. The biggest question here is where will she run? Heart Stealer is cross-entered against the boys in the Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap at Calder.
 
 
Munnings Sister—In terms of class, this is a step down for the full sister to multiple graded stakes winner Munnings. She faced some of the nation’s top sprinters in her last two starts and will certainly benefit from the class break. A multiple stakes winner in her own right, she has been getting acclimated to the warmer weather at nearby Palm Meadows. She most recently worked 5F in 1.03:75, nothing stellar but enough to get her on her toes.
 
 
R Free Roll—This will be the Florida-bred filly’s second attempt at the graded stakes level, and she looks better able to succeed in this spot than she did in her first graded stakes outing. In that event, the G3 Carryback, she faced the boys. After starting slow and then getting involved with in brutal speed duel, R Free Roll faded and finished fifth, beaten 8 lengths by the winner. She bounced right back with a second and most recently a first and appears to be none the worse for the wear. Her last four published works have earned bullet status, and while she doesn’t work often, she gets a lot out of what few works she does have.
 
 
Classic Point—A daughter of Flatter, Classic Point can be sneaky good at times. She faced three solid graded stakes fields back during the summer, and her second in the G2 Honorable Miss was her best placing in those three races. However, for as many good races as she has had, she has probably had just as many bad ones. In terms of class, she has faced tougher rivals this summer, but she has also lost to fillies that she probably should have beaten. I like her in this spot and on the cutback in distance.
 
 
The oddsmakers clearly found this race to be as well matched as I did. The spread between the favorite, R Free Roll at 2-1, and the longshot, Twice Told Tale at 8-1, speaks for itself. The pace setup is going to be interesting. Crazy About Me, Heart Stealer, R Free Roll, and Classic Point all do their best running on or very close to the pace. Munnings Sister’s best finishes have also come when she has been on or near the lead, but she isn’t always quick enough to get her ideal spot. Crazy About Me obviously has the advantage as she breaks from the rail, but one of two things could happen. Either a speed duel will develop in the early stages setting things up for possibly Munnings Sister or Twice Told Tale, or not all the front-running types will try for the early lead, allowing for a more reasonable pace to unfold.
 
 
My top pick here is R Free Roll, but if you’re playing multiple race wagers, this would be a good spot to press the ALL button. 

 

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Meet Ashley Tamulonis
  
 

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, and it was her love of reading and horses that led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few short years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and get to personally meet and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

 

Before joining Horse Racing Nation, Ashley created her own blog Wired with Ashley Paige. The idea to venture into the world of blogging came to her when she realized that she had much to say about horse racing and no one to say it to at the time. Since joining Horse Racing Nation as a contributing blogger, Ashley writes as frequently as possible as the Florida Filly. Though she mainly covers racing in South Florida, Ashley also blogs about nationwide racing, industry issues, and from time to time offers her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry as a whole. Most recently, Ashley was selected to participate in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

 

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband Chris and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.