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.
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
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
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
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.