Unbeaten Tonalist's Shape takes next test in Gulfstream's Hut Hut

Gulfstream Park Communications
November 28, 2019 12:55pm
Unbeaten Tonalist's Shape takes next test in Gulfstream's Hut Hut
Photo: Lauren King
Tonalist’s Shape, undefeated in two career starts this fall, aims to keep her perfect record intact while facing stakes company for the first time in Saturday’s $75,000 Hut Hut at Gulfstream Park.

The one-mile Hut Hut for 2-year-old fillies is among six $75,000 stakes on an 11-race Juvenile Showcase Day program that highlights opening weekend of the 2019-2020 Championship Meet, kicking off a schedule of 98 stakes, 39 graded, worth $28.6 million in purses over the 89-day stand that runs through March 29.

First race post time is noon.

Slam Dunk Racing, Dough Branham and Legacy Ranch Inc.’s Tonalist’s Shape didn’t make her debut until Sept. 28 at Gulfstream, rallying from far back with an inside bid to capture the 5 ½-furlong maiden special weight by 1 ¼ lengths.

The chestnut daughter of 2014 Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Tonalist came back in an entry-level optional claiming allowance going 6 ½ furlongs Oct. 20 at Gulfstream Park West and was even more impressive. She raced within range of the leaders to the top of the stretch before drawing off to a 2 ¾-length triumph.

“She obviously was impressive in her first race. When a horse wins their first race, you never know until they run back that they are legit,” trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said. “She ran back and was legit. She won again and is training well for this race. We expect a good performance.”

Her connections thought enough of Tonalist’s Shape to consider Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile Golden Rod (G2), but opted to keep her home and avoid the bad weather forecast in Kentucky. She has worked four times at Gulfstream since her last win, the most recent an easy half-mile breeze in 49.21 seconds Sunday.

“The way she trains, I don’t think she needs to be so far back,” Joseph said. “She doesn’t need to sit last. She can sit handily and still kick on.”

While the Hut Hut will be the longest trip for Tonalist’s Shape to date, Joseph believes her future will continue to be successful as she stretches out.

“I think distance is going to help her,” he said. “She’s shown in her works and in her races, the way she gallops out, that the longer they go the better.”

Though both her stakes wins came sprinting, Amalio Ruiz-Lozano’s Ceci Valentina should provide a stiff challenge for Tonalist’s Shape. Trained by Angel Rodriguez, the daughter of Prospective has three wins and two seconds in five starts, including victories in the seven-furlong FSS Susan’s Girl Aug. 31 at Gulfstream and 6 ½-furlong Juvenile Filly Sprint Nov. 9 at Gulfstream West.

Arindel’s Filly Jean King will be making her fourth straight stakes start in the Hut Hut and second on dirt. Off the board in both the Sharp Susan and Juvenile Turf, the latter Nov. 9 at Gulfstream West, the Brethren filly was second in the FSS My Dear Girl over Gulfstream’s main track Sept. 28. The winner, Two Sixty, went on to compete in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).

Briannjenn Racing’s Addilyn returns to the dirt after finishing fifth in the Our Dear Peggy Sept. 28 on Gulfstream’s turf course in her most recent start. A maiden winner third time out on Gulfstream’s main track Aug. 11, she was overmatched when eighth in the Sept. 14 Pocahontas (G2) at Churchill Downs.

Phipps Stable homebred Power Move, trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, was a first-out winner Oct. 6 at Belmont Park, then was second as the favorite in Aqueduct’s one-mile Tempted Stakes Nov. 1.

Rounding out the field are Greater Plan, a maiden winner at Gulfstream West Nov. 3, and maiden Miss Cheeny.

 

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