Renewals of the $100,000 Marshua’s River for fillies and
mares, the $100,000 Dania Beach for 3-year-olds and the $100,000 Sweetest Chant
for 3-year-old fillies on Sunday will offer an all turf stakes weekend
triple-header, Jan. 16-17, at Gulfstream
The Marshua’s River at 1 1/16 miles is the fillies and mares
companion test to this Sunday’s $100,000 Fort Lauderdale Stakes (G3) and
prominent on the roster of 30 nominees are Paul Pompa, Jr.’s Grade 1-winning
5-year-old mare Backseat Rhythm. Also on the list are Karen Woods and Khaled
bin Saud’s 2008 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Maram and Ronchalon
Stable’s 5-year-old Irish-bred mare Belle Allure.
Backseat Rhythm is now in the care of trainer Rick Dutrow and
has posted a string of strong workouts over the main track in preparation for
her return. The daughter of El Corredor was among the leaders of her 3-year-old
crop on turf in 2007 when she won the Garden City Stakes (G1) at Belmont
and finished second in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland
for trainer Patrick Reynolds.
Last year, Backseat Rhythm began the season with a
third-place finish behind Criticism in The Very One Stakes (G3) and victory in
the Hillsborough Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs. She made three more starts
after being transferred to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, finishing fifth last out
in the ‘off the turf’ New York Stakes (G3) at Belmont on June 20 behind
emerging star Icon Project.
Maram is a 4-year-old daughter of Sahm with four victories in
just six career starts for trainer Chad Brown, beginning with her first three
as a 2-year-old, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita.
She was last seen finishing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf
(G1) at Santa Anita on Nov. 6, beaten 3 ½ lengths by English raider
Belle Allure is among the most recent successful European
converts in trainer Christophe Clement’s arsenal of turf talent wintering at Payson Park as she
prepares for her first start since capturing the Athenia Stakes (G3) at Belmont
on Oct. 27. The daughter of Numerous showed promise in French group competition
earlier in her career and hit the board in all four New York
starts last year for Clement.
attracted nominations for 40 3-year-olds, including several 2009 Breeders’ Cup
veterans and owner-trainer Wesley Ward and partners’ Strike the Tiger, who made
international racing news last spring winning the Windsor Castle Stakes at the
Royal Ascot meet in June.
Ward also is the co-breeder of Strike the Tiger, by Tiger
Ridge, and went into the Ascot
race as a 33-to-1 longshot after a winning career debut at Churchill Downs in
late April. He returned from England and looked good winning the Chenery Stakes
at Colonial Downs in Virginia in late July by 3 ¼ lengths. In one start since,
Strike the Tiger finished seventh as the favorite after the Cradle Stakes at
River Downs on Sept. 7 run over a track rated ‘good’ after the 1 1/16 miles
test was forced off turf. He has posted a string of fast works at Gulfstream
over the last six weeks in preparation for his return.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s homebred Dean’s Kitten finished sixth
in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G2) at Santa Anita on Nov. 7, but was
beaten only 2 ¾ lengths. Dean’s Kitten is a son of the Ramseys’ Eclipse
champion turf star Kitten’s Joy and had won the Vision Stakes over ‘soft’ turf
in his previous start.
Leading the list of 31 3-year-old fillies named for the
Sweetest Chant are Frank L. Jones, Jr.’s Tapitsfly and Paul Pompa, Jr.s’ Rose
Catherine, one-two in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita on
Nov. 6, separated by a half-length. Tapitsfly is a roan/gray daughter of Tapit
trained by Dale Romans and is stabled at Gulfstream for the season.
Another accomplished prospect for the Sweetest Chant is J.W.
Singer’s The Mailet, winner of the Miesque Stakes (G3) at Hollywood
on Nov. 29. She ships in from New
York for trainer Bruce
Levine. The daughter of Rock Hard Ten had won her only previous start on turf
after two dull tries on dirt.