With both of their racing careers in the final furlong, Todd Pletcher trainees Sandiva and Isabella Sings are looking to pad their already showy résumés with another graded score when they enter the starting gate for the $150,000 Marshua's River (G3T) Jan. 14 at Gulfstream Park.
Al Shaqab Racing's Sandiva, who has demonstrated a penchant for Gulfstream Park's turf course, is the defending Marshua's River winner while Siena Farm's homebred Isabella Sings tuned up for this assignment with a 1 3/4 length victory in the My Charmer Handicap (G3T) at Gulfstream Park West in November.
In what could be the swan songs for both before entering the breeding shed, the Pletcher runners headline the 1 1/16-mile Marshua's River, which drew a field of eight older fillies and mares.
"Right now they are both scheduled to be bred this year," said Pletcher, who has a meet-leading nine stakes wins at the current Gulfstream stand. "I suppose they could run their way into other plans, but we will take it a race at a time right now."
Sandiva, a 6-year-old daughter of Footstepsinthesand, won last year's Marshua's River in easy fashion after playing an active role in setting the early pace. She has not won in four starts since but her most recent effort, a runner-up finish in the Dec. 17 South Beach Stakes where she was beaten just a neck, suggests she is as sharp as ever.
"I thought she ran well and just ran out of ground, but she still has the desire to do it," Pletcher remarked.
Javier Castellano, aboard Sandiva in both the South Beach and last year's Marshua's River, has the mount.
While Sandiva showed speed in winning last year's Marshua's River, she is likely to be outpaced, at least in the early running, by her stablemate, Isabella Sings, a stone-cold front-runner.
Isabella Sings, a 5-year-old daughter of Eskendereya, led at every point of call to take the My Charmer in her previous start.
"Sometimes she will rate a little more kindly than other times, but she is kind of a free-running type so we just let her do her thing," Pletcher said. "We can ration out her speed, but you can't fight with her too much."
Allowing Isabella Sings to "do her thing" will be jockey Edgard Zayas, who was partnered with her in the My Charmer. They will depart from post 7.
The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Dickinson didn't make her turf debut until her ninth career start. The recent move to the grass signaled a new chapter for the mare who enters the Marshua's River 2-for-2 on the grass. She won back-to-back allowance races in the fall, including an explosive performance in her most recent race, an allowance optional claimer at Belmont Park Oct. 20.
"She really moved up on the turf and just loved it," McLaughlin said. "You really never know with that pedigree—the bottom side is dirt and the top side is both. We took her to Parx and tried it and she ran huge. We brought her back to New York and ran her and it was another impressive race. She could have a really good year this year."
Gulfstream Park, Saturday, January 14, 2017, Race 6
- 1 1/16m
- 4 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
- 2:30 PM (local)
|1||1Seeking Treasure (KY)||Luca Panici||119||Doug Matthews||20/1|
|2||2Lobelia (KY)||Corey J. Lanerie||117||Carlo Vaccarezza||20/1|
|3||3Sandiva (IRE)||Javier Castellano||119||Todd A. Pletcher||3/1|
|4||4Elusive Million (IRE)||Julien R. Leparoux||117||Patrick L. Biancone||12/1|
|5||5Sea Coast (IRE)||Tyler Gaffalione||121||Christophe Clement||7/2|
|6||6Inside Out (KY)||Joel Rosario||117||Martin D. Wolfson||15/1|
|7||7Isabella Sings (KY)||Edgard J. Zayas||123||Todd A. Pletcher||9/5|
|8||8Dickinson (KY)||John R. Velazquez||119||Kiaran P. McLaughlin||9/2|
|9||9Genre (KY)||John R. Velazquez||119||Todd A. Pletcher||2/1|
|10||10Caboclo do Rio (CHI)||Jorge Ruiz||119||Angel Quiroz||20/1|