Weekend Watch: Chocolate Martini makes her season debut

Weekend Watch: Chocolate Martini makes her season debut
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Each weekend, Horse Racing Nation previews the top races to tune into coast to coast and runs down the main contenders. All times are Eastern.

Saturday


Gulfstream Park, Race 5: 1:58 p.m.

Champion Princess of Sylmar’s half-brother, 
Biblical, will face former Kentucky Derby runner and Grade 3 winner J Boys Echo in allowance optional claiming company at Gulfstream Park. Both have prior starts for the year, but neither managed to hit the board. Favored
Brasstown is also looking for his first win of 2019.

Gulfstream Park, Race 9: 3:58 p.m.

Three-year old fillies will sprint five furlongs on the lawn in the
Melody of Colors Stakes. Favorite
Just Ain’t Right is undefeated but lacking seasoning by comparison to some of her rivals.

Gulfstream Park, Race 11: 4:58 p.m

Breaking Lucky
will try to do one better than his Jan. 26 Fred W. Hooper (G3) finish in the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope Stakes. Trainer Rodolphe Brisset scratched
Quip out of last week’s Mineshaft Handicap (G3) at Fair Grounds to run here. Last year’s Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner will be making his first start since the Preakness. Once highly regarded, Copper Town will be seeking his first graded victory after two prior poor performances, including a seventh place in the aforementioned Fred W. Hooper.

Gulfstream Park, Race 12: 5:28 p.m.

The counterpart to the Melody of Colors, the
Texas Glitter Stakes, features 3-year colts and geldings sprinting five furlongs on the turf. Maiden winner Yes I Am Free is slightly favored over the colt he beat in that race, Standup. Seemingly always a threat around one turn, trainer Jorge Navarro will also saddle Never Have I Ever in this spot off a maiden win.

Santa Anita Park, Race 8: 7:20 p.m.

Claimer-turned-Grade 1 winner
Vasilika is looking to put together another impressive win streak akin to what she did last year for the Jerry Hollendorfer barn. She already has the Megahertz (G3) to her name this season over the Santa Anita turf and will try to add the Grade 2 Buena Vista Stakes to her resumé as a heavy favorite.

Sunday

Oaklawn Park, Race 7: 5:14 p.m.

Last year’s Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) winner
Chocolate Martini gets back to work in an optional claimer. She drops into this spot out of three consecutive Grade 1 events and should win.

Sunland Park, Race 7: 5:26 p.m.

Last year’s Sunland Derby (G3) winner
Runaway Ghost continues his comeback in the 1 1/16-mile Curribot Handicap. Given he already won off the shelf last time, a victory here should springboard him back into graded company.

Sunland Park, Race 8: 5:52 p.m.

Winchell Thoroughbreds’
Backflash will be looking to make it 2-for-2 in 2019 with a victory in the Island Fashion Stakes, a local prep for the Sunland Park Oaks. Class alone should see her prevail.

Sunland Park, Race 9: 6:18 p.m.

Wicked Indeed
drops in out of the Lecomte (G3) for a confidence booster in the Mine That Bird Derby. If he wins here, does Asmussen ship elsewhere, or stay for Kentucky Derby points in the March 24 Sunland Derby?



Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, which led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation covering racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues and, from time to time, offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry. A move North to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the From Coast to Coast blog for HRN. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband, Chris, and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.

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