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Toasting 9-5 Choice in Sunshine Millions Distaff

Gulfstream Park 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Spotswire
Toasting is expected to have a new look when she runs in Saturday’s $300,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff at Gulfstream Park, where six stakes for Florida-bred horses will be run for a total of $1.3 million in purses.“

To me, she looks a little stronger this season. Last year, she didn’t look as strappy,” trainer Tom Albertrani said. “She just seems to be a lot strong, looking at her. I think she’s going to improve this year.”

Toasting, the 9-5 morning-line favorite, may be a more physically imposing filly than she was last year, but she’s likely to keep a lower profile than usual during the early going of the 1 1/8-mile stakes for fillies and mares. The 4-year-old daughter of Congrats has showed good early speed in her most of her races before winning from well off the pace in the seven-furlong Dream Rush Stakes and then finishing a sharp off-the-pace second in the 1 1/8-mile Comely (G3) last fall in New York.           

“We noticed that in her races, she was showing early speed and she came up short. She was getting caught up in some pretty fast paces,” Albertrani said. “When we ran her short at seven-eighths, she came from way back that day. So in her next race, we decided to do the same thing.”           

Toasting had come up just a little short against some top company, finishing third in the Black-Eyed Susan (G2), fourth in the Mother Goose (G1) while employing her old style of running. It wasn’t until she trailed the field during the early and middle stages of the Dream Rush at Belmont that she became a stakes winner with a late surge to score by 2 ½ lengths. Back in graded company in the Comely at Aqueduct, she again dropped far off the early pace before making a strong late run that was barely turned back by Wedding Toast, the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained filly who had won her three previous starts.           

Jose Ortiz, the New York-based rider who was on Toasting for her two most recent starts, is scheduled to have the return mount aboard the West Point Thoroughbreds’ runner.           

“He hasn’t done anything wrong on her. He was real patient on her the first time he rode her. The last time, we were really excited with her race, she just got beat by a really nice filly that day,” Albertrani said. “He fits her well.”           

Albertrani said Toasting has been training well for her 2014 debut.           

“She’s been doing really well since she’s come down, and I’m looking forward to getting her back. She’s coming off a couple of nice races,” he said. “I think she should be on the improve, so I’m looking forward to this weekend.”           

Toasting was one of seven fillies and mares entered Wednesday in the Distaff, including Sweet N Discreet, Dreamlicious, Devil’s Cave, Sky Skier, My Pal Chrisy and Burning Truth. My Pal Chrisy was crossed entered in the Distaff and the Sprint by trainer Marty Wolfson, who also entered Devil’s Cave. Sweet N Discreet is also crossed entered in the Distaff and Sprint.    

Devil’s Cave is coming off a convincing two-length victory over Sweet N Discreet in the $100,000 Ocala Stakes at Gulfstream on Dec. 29. The 4-year-old daughter of Put It Back is scheduled to stretch out around two turns for the first time.           

In the one-turn Ocala, Devil’s Cave was pressed throughout the mile while setting the pace on the rail before drawing away late under jockey Joel Rosario, who has the return mount.           

The Todd Pletcher-trained Sweet N Discreet had won back-to-back six-furlong allowance races at Gulfstream before stretching out to finish second in the Ocala.


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