Isabel Peter Hoblyn’s 5-year-old Irish-bred mare Chokurei rallied
from 12th of 13 after a half-mile to finish second by a neck behind
favorite Romacaca in the $100,000 South Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park
last out on Dec. 9.
Chokurei will get another chance to score her first victory in North
America in Saturday’s $100,000 Marshua’s River Stakes (G3). “We’ll be
hoping there is a good pace up front,” said trainer Mark Frostad.
“She’ll have the additional distance and hopefully less traffic.”
The South Beach went with a field of 13 at 7 ½ furlongs on turf
while the Marshua’s River will be contested at 1 1/16 miles and a field
Chokurei won four of eight starts in England as a 3-year-old in
2011. “She was sent over to run for better purses. She doesn’t have any
(allowance) conditions, so if she didn’t turn out to be a stakes filly
then she would probably have had to run in claiming races. Fortunately,
it looks like she is going to be a stakes filly, and winning or placing
in a Graded stakes would add to her value.”
A daughter of Bertolini, Chokurei ran three times at Woodbine last year before the South Beach.
She made her North American debut finishing a close-up sixth (beaten
three lengths) in the Belle Mahone Stakes on Polytrack in August,
finished second on turf in the Avowal Stakes in late September, and then
checked in third, beaten a half-length for it all in the ‘of the turf’
River Memories Stakes in late October.
Leading Astray Could Give Block Milestone Victory
Trainer Chris Block will send out Team Block’s 4-year-old Illinois
homebred filly Leading Astray as one of the favorites in Saturday’s
$100,000 Marshua’s River Stakes (G3) and she could deliver a
particularly notable victory for her trainer as his 1,000th career
Block has had a long history of success as a Chicago-based horseman
and more recently become familiar to Gulfstream fans with a small but
very select string of allowance and stakes runners. His major victories
here came with Giant Oak in the 2011 Donn Handicap (G1) and other stakes
scored by filly and mare turf stakes stars Askbut Iwon’ttell and Never
Another horseman based at Gulfstream this winter on a milestone
watch is jockey Joe Rocco, Jr., who goes into Saturday’s card with 992
victories and named on six mounts for the afternoon.