Two fillies who are being touted as Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) contenders will get their say Saturday in the Stonerside Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park. Among the scheduled starters are Madcap Escape, who won the Old Hat Stakes at Gulfstream in February, and La Reina, who has not started since finishing just a nose behind Ashado in the Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II) last November. The race is the fourth on the Florida Derby (gr. I) card.
Madcap Escape is undefeated, but the Hennessy filly has made only two starts. She broke her maiden by 10 lengths in January at Gulfstream Park racing six furlongs, then won the Old Hat, also at three-quarters of a mile, by nearly 12 lengths. Frank Brothers trains Madcap Escapade, a $160,000 yearling purchase, for Bruce Lunsford.
La Reina is a homebred racing for breeder Emory Hamilton. La Reina is a daughter of champions A.P. Indy
and Queena, and has never finished worse than second in four starts. Shug McGaughey sent her out to break her maiden last September going seven furlongs, the same distance as the Stonerside Forward Gal, but she also won the mile Tempted Stakes (gr. III) before endin her year in the Demoiselle.
Journey Fever and Wacky Patty come into the Forward Gal with both credentials and seasoning. Harvey Vanier bred Journey Fever in Illinois with his wife, Nancy, and he now trains the filly for Jeff and Stefanie Carroll. She was fourth in Madcap Escapade's Old Hat Stakes, then finished fifth in the 1 1/8-mile Bonnie Miss Stakes (gr. III) on March 6. Journey Fever has 11 starts to her credit and last year won or placed in three stakes races in Illinois.
All but one of one of Wacky Patty's nine starts has been in stakes company, and she's one four of those, including last year's Landaluce Stakes (gr. III) at Hollywood Park. Wacky Patty has also competed at distances from 4 1/2 to eight furlongs, so she's very versatile. In her only start at the Forward Gal distance of seven furlongs, Wacky Patty won last November's Chargedupsycamore Stakes at Delta Downs. Wacky Patty finished second in her most recent start, the six-furlong Ocala Stud Oaks in January.
Todd Pletcher brings two fillies to the Stonerside Forward Gal, Irish Melody and Frenchglen, and both are owned by Aaron and Marie Jones. The couple bought Irish Melody, a daughter of Unbridled's Song
, for $500,000 as a yearling. They bred Frenchglen themselves in Kentucky. She is sired by the Joneses' stallion Forestry
The field for the Stonerside Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II) by program number, from the rail out:
Horse, Jockey, Weight, Morning Line
1--Journey Fever, I.V. Diego, 121, 20-1
2--Madcap Escapade, Jerry Bailey, 121, 3-5
3A--Irish Melody, Pat Day, 115, 6-1
4A--Frenchglen, Pat Day, 115, 6-1
5--La Reina, John Velazquez, 121, 3-1
6--Wacky Patty, C.H. Velasquez, 4-1