The Gals are Moving Forward

Saturday’s Forward Gal Stakes features a diverse field of six fillies at Gulfstream Park, headlined by three-time graded stakes winner and brilliant sprinter Kauai Katie. The Malibu Moon filly will be making her second start of the month when she enters the gate in the Grade 2 event, having already impressively captured the Grade 3 Old Hat Stakes at Gulfstream on January 1st by 8 lengths in an excellent time of 1:09.66 for the 6 furlongs. In 2012 Kauai Katie won her first three starts by more than 22 combined lengths before finishing a credible 4th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (Gr.1). She enters the Forward Gal off two consecutive 4 furlong works and will once again be ridden by John Velasquez as the solid favorite.
My Happy Face is one of the most intriguing runners in the Forward Gal field. The Tiz Wonderful filly finished a well beaten 2nd to Teen Pauline in her debut on July 25th at Saratoga and then returned one month later on August 31st to post one of the most impressive maiden victories of 2012, bar none. In that 5 ½ furlong contest, My Happy Face bolted from the gate and immediately grabbed a 3 length lead, setting brisk fractions on the front end of :22.34 for the opening quarter and :45.15 for the half. Around the far turn she extended her lead to about 5 lengths before exploding down the stretch with any urging whatsoever,  to win by 21 ¼ lengths for fun under the confident guidance of Ramon Dominguez. In her next start My Happy Face gave Dreaming of Julia the race of her life in the Grade 1 Frizette, racing neck and neck with Dreaming of Julia from the opening quarter mile all the way down to the wire, just missing the win by a head. In her next start My Happy Face once again showed her grit and determination in the Grade 3 Tempted Stakes, taking the lead at the break and running nose and nose all the way to the wire with Cue the Moon to nab the victory after posting blazing fractions of :22.48 and :44.87 for the opening quarter and half. This is a filly that has the talent to match her heart and natural speed and she’s my pick to win.

Ashlee’s Princess is owned and trained by Steven Dwoskin and has raced exclusively at Calder, winning 2 of her 6 lifetime starts.  After finishing 3rd in a 6 ½ furlong Maiden on September 16th in which she took back off the pace, Ashlee’s Princess next out won a 5 ½ furlong Maiden at Calder by 2 lengths just 13 days later. She returned October 13th in the Florida Stallion My Dear Girl Stakes where she finished a strong second in the 1 1/16 mile test. She showed a new dimension in the My Dear Girl, coming from dead last on the far turn to finish 6 lengths ahead of the third place finisher. One month later the Put It Back filly made a strong last-to-first rally, easily winning a 5 ½ furlong allowance at Calder by more than 2 lengths. More than likely she will be taking up the rear of the field in the 7 furlong Forward Gal before launching one sustained rally coming into the homestretch. Facing fillies of the caliber or Kauai Katie and My Happy Face will be a major step up in class for Ashlee’s Princess. She breaks from post position number 1 on Saturday.
Fusaichiswonderful hails from Puerto Rico and is undefeated in 5 races, including four straight graded stakes races. Her smallest win margin is an impressive 5 lengths and she broke her maiden at first asking by almost 13 lengths. She joins the barn of Todd Pletcher and as such is now a stablemate to Forward Gal race-favorite, Kauai Katie. As a daughter of Fusaichi Pegasus she’s kind of a question mark for me. On one hand she has outclassed her competition with ease in all her 5 starts, but on the other hand the level of competition she’ll be facing in the Forward Gal is miles ahead of her fellow competitors in Puerto Rico. She’ll have to bring her very best to the table if she wants to get a piece of the action Saturday. She’s recorded 4 straight 4 furlong moves at Palm Meadows.
Spring Venture is undefeated in three starts at Woodbine and last out finished 13th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr.1) on November 2nd. She has proven versatile enough to win on both the turf and Woodbine’s all weather synthetic surface, so she has to be considered a legitimate contender, especially when you look at her last few works. She ran 5 furlongs in 1.00.18  in her latest work and before that posted a fantastic :59.88 bullet 5 furlong breeze. She looks like a viable threat but the feeling here is that she is a step below the top two.
Pow Wow Wow rounds out the field and is poised to be the longest shot on the board and will most likely run to her odds. In four starts she has captured one start, finished 8th in the Golden Rod Stakes and last out finished a distant second to Live Lively a Gulfstream Park. She appears far outclassed here.
My Happy Face will almost certainly secure the lead at the break and Kauai Katie should be placed close behind in a stalking position if both fillies follow their usual racing tactics. In this writers humble opinion it is a two horse race on paper between these two talented fillies and if they bring their usual brilliance to the track it should a contest of epic proportions. For the moment it appears Kauai Katie is being pointed for an exclusively sprinting campaign in 2013, but My Happy Face could be an exceptional Kentucky Oaks prospect if she runs to her true ability.


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Older Comments about The Gals are Moving Forward...

Yes I did Mary :) I really like the look of My Happy Face. I honestly don't know a thing about Puerto Rican racing so it's going to be very interesting to see what Fuzaichiswonderful can do.
I don't know about Camarero racing, so the Fusaichi girl is a big question mark.
Yeah, Brian A. Did you pick My Happy Face? So did I. Now, to read your blog.
Me too Suzanne, I love her determination, that's one of the most awesome qualities in a racehorse.
She looks hard to beat (Kauai Katie) but I really think it's worth a shot with My Happy Face. I'm very curious to see how Fusaichiswonderful runs as well as Spring Venture for sure, but i also think Ashlee's Princess has a chance to pick up some of the peices is things go south.
I hope you're right, Brian. I am a fan of both KK and MHF, but I really like MHF a lot--she does have that grit and determination.
I'm happy to see you pick against Kauai Katie in here, Brian. She is an excellent filly, but at 4-5 I think you have to take a shot on one of the others in here and I believe there are three good candidates in My Happy Face, Spring Venture, and Fusaichiswonderful.

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