Miller entrants both in with chances
MIAMI – After a dearth of allowance races throughout the week, they’ll go back-to-back Sunday at Gulfstream Park West with a pair of optionalclaiming events restricted to Florida-breds topping the 10-race program. The first of the two headliners will be decided at six furlongs on the dirt, the second around two turns going one mile over the turf. Both races carry a purse of $42,000.
Rory Miller is the only trainer who’ll be represented in both races, sending out the speedy Majestic Secret against seven rivals in the eighth race and Callie California as one of the choices in the ninth, which drew 13 fillies and mares including a pair of main track-only entrants.
Majestic Secret is coming off a fourth-place finish behind the red-hot The Best Candy here just 10 days ago over a sloppy track. Majestic Secret opened a seemingly comfortable advantage nearing midstretch only to tire late trying to stretch his speed to 6 1/2 furlongs. Winless in seven starts this season, Majestic Secret should have plenty of company up front with Tiger Blood and Forty Fathoms among the competition.
Tiger Blood is already a winner at this meet, having led throughout for a three-quarterlength victory against bottomlevel claiming rivals going seven furlongs in the slop on Oct. 4. He has shown steady improvement since joining owner-trainer Juan Arriagada’s barn during the summer.
Forty Fathoms was a popular item at the claim box earlier this year, changing barns after three successive starts before winding up with owner-trainer Gerald Procino following a third-place finish under a $12,500 price tag on Aug. 17.
A hot pace in the eighth race would enhance the chances of Star Juancho, who has hit the board in eight consecutive starts against virtually the same type of competition, but hasn’t won since March. Star Juancho does own far and away the best last race Beyer Speed Figure of the bunch, a 78 for his second-place finish as the 9-5 favorite under similar conditions at Gulfstream Park on Sept. 22.
Callie California also appears to be a need-the-lead type, and Miller will be hoping she can shake loose early from Classy Woman in the ninth race. Callie California led throughout to post a pair of one-sided victories this summer, each at a mile over the Gulfstream Park turf course. The modest streak was snapped in her most recent appearance, when she stepped up into the allowance ranks to finish fourth on Sept. 23.
Anabella Queen, coming off a pair of frustrating near-misses against statebreds, will try again for first win of the year and should get a good stalking trip behind the early leaders. She is among the other key contenders in the ninth race along with Four K’s and Prospectively.
Pop’s Irish Rose may also deserve a mulligan despite a fifth-place finish as the favorite in this same category on Sept. 23. She has an affinity for the Gulfstream Park West turf, over which she’s registered 2 of her 5 wins.
◗ Seeking a Star, an $800,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland 2017 September sale, will make her local debut in Sunday’s seventh race, a onemile maiden special weight test that drew a full field of 12 2-yearolds, including a pair from the barn of trainer Todd Pletcher.
Seeking a Star, a daughter of Pioneerof the Nile, made her only start this spring at Keeneland, finishing fourth while beaten more than 13 lengths in a 4 1/2-furlong dash won by the now multiple stakes-placed Chelsea Cloisters. Seeking a Star is trained by Mark Casse for principal client John Oxley.