Marshua’s River real bettor’s race
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – One glance through the lineup and you can tell that the heavy hitters in the North American filly and mare turf division sat out the $150,000 Marshua’s River on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
How? Well, none of the eight fillies and mares in the Grade 3 turf race hails from the barns of Bill Mott, Christophe Clement, or – added emphasis here – Chad Brown. But, hey, that’s okay: The 1 1/16-mile Marshua’s River seems like a glasshalf-full kind of race to hold the fans’ interest, with more than half the field owning a rightful shot at victory.
La Signare, Bellavais, I’m Betty G, and Valedictorian all should be part of a loosely assembled core of lukewarm favorites, while Bombshell and Monte Crista also figure to attract their fair share of wagering action.
Trainer Kelly Breen believes Valedictorian, a New Jerseybred who finished second in the Claiming Crown Tiara on opening day (Dec. 1) of the Gulfstream championship meet and is the leading earner ($369,435) in the field, could emerge best with another big effort.
“She’s doing tremendous and really likes the new turf course there,” Breen said this week from Palm Meadows.
La Signare, winner of the Wonder Again in June before exiting the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks a month later with an injury, “has trained wonderful” toward her return, trainer Brian Lynch said. “We removed a tiny chip from her ankle after the Oaks, and everything has gone very well since then.”
Bellavais, favorably drawn on the hedge, will be looking to improve on a fourth-place finish in the My Charmer last month for Todd Pletcher. So, too, is a better race expected from Monte Crista after the Maryland-bred filly took some recent regrouping from trainer Mike Trombetta.
Rounding out the competitive cast are likely longshots Rose Tree and Hogans Holiday.
This will be the 16th running of the Marshua’s River, which is named for a standout turf mare whose 33th and final start came at Gulfstream in March 1994. As the 11th of 12 races on a Saturday card that starts at 11:45 a.m. Eastern, it’s a key link in all of the late multirace wagers, including the 20-cent Rainbow 6 (races 7-12).
The Marshua’s River (post, 4:47) is co-featured with the Tropical Turf (race 9, 3:45), for which Lynch has the heavy favorite in Heart to Heart.