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Hard Not To Like Seeks More GP Turf Glory

Hard Not To Like Seeks More GP Turf Glory

After returning victoriously from an eight-month layoff last month, Hard Not to Like will seek her second turf stakes victory of the Gulfstream Park meeting in Saturday’s $150,000 Suwannee River (G3).

Unraced since finishing off the board in her only dirt start in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) last May, the 4-year-old daughter of Hard Spun registered a half-length victory in the Marshua’s River (G3) over the Gulfstream turf course on Jan. 5.    

"She came out of the race well and she’s trained well since that race,” said trainer Michael Matz, who took over the training of Hard Not to Like after she underwent surgery to remove a knee chip discovered after the Oaks.

Being a stakes winner who had been Grade 1 stakes-placed, Hard Not to Like’s victory was hardly a shock, but Matz was nevertheless pleased with her effort off the layoff.

“She had quite a good record when I got her, and she’d won quite a few of her races. But you never know about the first time after that long of a layoff,” Matz said. “She’s a pretty gutsy little thing.”

Matz hopes he’ll have as much success saddling Ramona Bass’ Applauding for the first time for Sunday’s $150,000 Hurricane Bertie (G3), a 6 ½ - furlong stakes for fillies and mares on the main track.

The Florida-bred 4-year-old filly won all three of her starts while trained by Al Stall Jr. before being sent to Matz’s Palm Meadows Training Center barn three weeks ago.

“We haven’t had her long. She seems to be doing well and she came here in good shape,” Matz said.

Applauding won her debut by nine lengths over Keeneland’s synthetic surface in October 2011 and came right back to win an entry-level allowance at Fair Grounds by six lengths six weeks later. On the shelf for nearly a year, the daughter of Congrats posted a front-running victory by 1 ¼ lengths at Churchill Downs in November. All three of her races were run at six-furlongs, but her new trainer expects her to be better suited to longer distances than she’ll run on Sunday.

"She wants to go longer than three-quarters or seven-eighths,” Matz said. “The way she acts, she’ll be better as a two-turn horse, but we have to start somewhere.”



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Older Comments about Hard Not To Like Seeks More GP Turf Glory...

Leading Astray scratched. Adding Romacaca . Is this her last race?
Kya One, Hard Not To Like, Leading Astray, Channel Lady.

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