Trio of graded stakes at Sum­mit of Speed

Daily Racing Form Saturday Stakes Preview - - FRONT PAGE - – Mike Welsch –Jim Dun­leavy – Steve An­der­sen

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – That col­lec­tive sigh of re­lief heard from the Gulfstream Park rac­ing of­fice and points north on Wed­nes­day came from the con­nec­tions of seven of the eight fil­lies and mares en­tered in Satur­day’s Grade 2 Princess Rooney once they learned that the mul­ti­ple Grade 1 win­ner Sheer Drama will not be in the race.

The Princess Rooney was one of the three graded stakes on Satur­day’s Sum­mit of Speed pro­gram to be drawn Wed­nes­day, along with the Grade 2 Smile Sprint and Grade 3 Carry Back.

Trainer David Fawkes briefly con­tem­plated bring­ing Sheer Drama back on short rest for the Princess Rooney, a Win and You’re In race for the Breed­ers’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. Fawkes still will be rep­re­sented in the seven-fur­long Princess Rooney by the lightly raced Wil­low Hills, who makes her 2016 de­but.

“It would have ob­vi­ously been a very good spot for her, es­pe­cially since she could walk right out of her stall into the start­ing gate,” Fawkes said when asked about his de­ci­sion not to start Sheer Drama. “But in the end, it would just have been too quick a turn­around. I’m go­ing to give her a lit­tle break, freshen her up a bit, and point for the Bal­le­rina later this sum­mer at Saratoga.”

With Sheer Drama out, Bir­datthewire be­comes the only Grade 1 win­ner in the lineup for the Princess Rooney. Bir­datthewire cap­tured the Grade 1 La Brea at Santa Anita in her 3-year-old fi­nale on Dec. 26 but has gone win­less in four sub­se­quent starts, most re­cently fin­ish­ing fifth in the Grade 1 Hu­mana Distaff at Churchill Downs.

Spell­ing Again joined Bir­datthewire on Wed­nes­day’s flight from Ken­tucky to south Florida for the Princess Rooney. A Grade 2 win­ner, Spell­ing Again fin­ished a trou­bled third, beaten less than a length, in the Grade 3 Win­ning Col­ors at Churchill on May 28.

The lo­cal con­tin­gent will be headed by the Marty Wolf­son­trained duo of Cali Star and Kiss to Re­mem­ber.

The Grade 2 Smile Sprint, a Win and You’re In for the Breed­ers’ Cup Sprint, drew seven starters, topped by the David Ja­cob­son-trained pair of Chief Lion and Eighty Three, who was sup­ple­mented into the race. Limou­sine Lib­eral, who fin­ished 11th in the 2015 BC Sprint, and Delta Blues­man will also ship in for the six-fur­long dash, which, like the Princess Rooney, of­fers a purse of $250,000.

Awe­some Ban­ner will be the odds-on fa­vorite in the sev­en­fur­long Carry Back, which lured seven 3-year-olds, in­clud­ing Ken­tucky in­vader Rated R Su­per­star for trainer Ken Mcpeek. Awe­some Ban­ner got back on the win­ning track last month with an easy vic­tory in the Big Cy­press Stakes, the fi­nal lo­cal prep for the Carry Back.

Rated R Su­per­star, third in the Grade 1 Breed­ers’ Fu­tu­rity at 2, snapped a seven-race los­ing streak with an al­lowance win at Churchill Downs in his last start.

Bel­mont: Mother Goose

The Grade 1, $300,000 Mother Goose on Satur­day at Bel­mont Park has drawn a field of seven 3-year-old fil­lies, in­clud­ing Rachel’s Valentina, Lewis Bay, and Light­stream, all of whom will have their share of sup­port­ers.

Todd Pletcher, the trainer of Rachel’s Valentina, also has en­tered Off the Tracks and Mo d’amour in the 1 1/16-mile race.

The field also in­cludes Mom’s On Strike, trained by Joe Sharp, and Linda Mimi, who is con­di­tioned by Gus­tavo Del­gado.

Rachel’s Valentina, the sec­ond of two foals pro­duced by Horse of the Year and 2009 Mother Goose win­ner Rachel Alexandra, fin­ished sec­ond in the Grade 1 Ash­land at Keeneland and then weak­ened to fin­ish sixth four weeks later in the Ken­tucky Oaks.

She has had eight weeks to re­cover from those races and Pletcher has worked her five times at Bel­mont Park for this.

Lewis Bay fin­ished third af­ter mak­ing the lead en­ter­ing the stretch of the Ken­tucky Oaks for trainer Chad Brown. She won the Grade 2 Gazelle at Aqueduct prior to the Oaks.

Light­stream is un­de­feated in three starts for trainer Brian Lynch. She has won a sev­en­fur­long maiden race at Gulfstream, an about seven-fur­long al­lowance at Keeneland, and the seven-fur­long Soar­ing Softly Stakes on turf at Bel­mont.

Santa Anita: Af­firmed Stakes

AR­CA­DIA, Calif. – Danz­ing Candy, who fin­ished 15th in the Ken­tucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 7, is sched­uled to have his first start for trainer Bob Baf­fert in Satur­day’s $100,000 Af­firmed Stakes for 3-year-olds.

Danz­ing Candy was trans­ferred from trainer Cliff Sise to Baf­fert in the days af­ter the Ken­tucky Derby by own­ers Jim and Dianne Bashor and Ted Aroney. In the Ken­tucky Derby, Danz­ing Candy set the pace to the fi­nal turn and faded through the fi­nal fur­long to fin­ish 20 lengths be­hind the win­ner, Nyquist.

Danz­ing Candy won con­sec­u­tive starts at Santa Anita ear­lier this year, in­clud­ing the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes in March. Danz­ing Candy was later fourth in the $1 mil­lion Santa Anita Derby on April 9, a race won by Ex­ag­ger­a­tor, who was sec­ond in the Ken­tucky Derby and won the Preak­ness Stakes.

Danz­ing Candy is ex­pected to be part of a small field in the Grade 3 Af­firmed at 1 1/16 miles. Other pro­jected starters are Beau­mar­chais, Curlin Rules, and Dal­more, none of whom has won a stakes.

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