Most horsemen racing at Gulfstream Park in the winter are aware that
there are few easy spots in allowance races, even ‘a other than’ events
such as Saturday’s ninth race for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on
turf with a wide-open field 11.
Among the likely choices will be Overbrook Farm and Andrew Farm’s
3-year-old Cheimon making her first start since finishing a respectable
fourth in the Boiling Springs Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park on June 23.
“I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy spot, but it's time to get
her going,” said trainer Liz Gray of the chestnut daughter of
Corinthian. “She’s very difficult and tough to saddle. She’ll be
schooling at the third race today (Thursday). We tried to run her one
more time after her last race, but I had to scratch her because she was
so bad in the paddock. We just had to stop and give her time, hopefully
Cheimon (pronounced K-Mon) broke her maiden over the Gulfstream
course in late January while making her third career start. She was
beaten less than four lengths for it all in the Boiling Springs
following another good try when fourth in the Little Silver Stakes.
Jockey Joe Rocco, Jr. has the mount Saturday.
One of Cheimon’s chief rivals in the race will be Frank Jones, Jr.’s
3-year-old Kentucky homebred filly Marlin Mission, trained by Dale
Romans, a mentor for Gray as his longtime assistant. A daughter of
Strategic Mission, Marlin Mission is a half-sister to Tapitsfly, a
multiple Grade 1 winner of nearly $1.5 million for the same connections
before being retired after capturing the First Lady Stakes (G1) at
Keeneland on Oct. 6.
A roan/gray daughter of Tapit, Tapitsfly won the $1 million
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita in 2009. Tapitsfly
won two of five starts at Gulfstream, including the Honey Fox Stakes
(G2) in March following a tough loss when third in the Marshua’s River
Stakes (G3) in January, beaten a head for it all.
Marlin Mission may rule the favorite in Saturday’s $54,500 allowance
test after finishing a close-up second in each of her last two starts
at Keeneland in October and Churchill Downs in November. In three starts
here last winter she finished fourth, third and second in maiden
special turf tests before breaking her maiden at Churchill in late June
with all of her seven career starts going two turns on turn.
Popular Giveaways Sunday and New Year's Day
Gulfstream offers its guests two popular giveaways this coming week. On
Sunday, Dec. 30, Gulfstream will give out key chains or money clips to
anyone with the purchase of a program. On New Year's Day, Gulfstream
will hold one of its most popular giveaways - a bottle opener that plays
the call to post - with the purchase of a program.