Edited From Gulfstream Park Report
Not much has weighed on the mind of trainer Jimmy Jerkens when it comes to Edward Evans' Christmas Kid, but he has some slight distance concerns as the daughter of Lemon Drop Kid tries the Saturday's $150,000 Bonnie Miss Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park.
The Bonnie Miss, for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles, is the traditional highlight for her division in South Florida and is often a major stepping stone on the road to the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) May 4.
Christmas Kid exits a four-length romp in the Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II) at a mile here Feb. 10. She's previously raced and won middle distance races on turf, but Saturday will be her first two-turn race on the main track.
“It's a lot different than going a one-turn mile,” said Jerkens. “It seems like she has easy speed, and by the same token, it seems like she should be easy to rate. I don't think she's the type that would get rank going that far. She seemed to handle two turns on the turf OK, but it is different and it's a concern.”
With the distance in mind, Jerkens worked Christmas Kid seven furlongs in 1:27 1/5 Feb. 28 at Palm Meadows Training Center.
“You want to keep that kind of rhythm up,” said Jerkens. “It takes a different breathing pattern than a sprint race and you want to keep her saving that energy and build up the stamina, but at the same time, you don't want to over-train them either.”
Jerkens also entered Susan and John Moore's Fee Fi Fo Fum in the Bonnie Miss in what would be just her second career start, but indicated an allowance race on Sunday's card might be where she ends up if the stakes field swells.
“We thought we'd take a shot at picking up a check if the field was small,” said Jerkens. “She's run just that one time so the stakes would be a tough ask, but she's very good and with 3-year-old fillies, you never know. They can improve quickly.”
A third-place finish behind Christmas Kid in the Davona Dale for Larry Bielfeldt's filly Lisa M has not discouraged her trainer David Kassen from taking on that rival again. A daughter of Banker's Gold, Lisa M has been third to Christmas Kid in her last two starts and Kassen is warily having another go against her.
“They don't always run their race,” Kassan said. "If my filly runs her best race and that filly has an off day, in a short field, you've got to take a shot.”
Lisa M has been unlucky in her two starts this year, but still managed to overcome trouble and finish third in the the Tropical Park Oaks Jan. 1 at Calder Race Course and the Davona Dale. She won the Arlington Breeders' Cup Lassie (gr. III) in September.
I think my filly is good and fit,” said Kassen. “She's trained really good here and ran well over the track the other day. I think she could even have been second that day if she had stayed inside. I don't know if she's good enough to get to Christmas Kid, but you've got to try.”
Lisa M will be ridden for the first time by jockey Manoel Cruz in the Bonnie Miss.
Bonnie Miss Stakes (gr. II) Race 9 Post 4:54
Post Horse Weight Jockey
1. Lisa M 118 Manoel Cruz
2. High Again 118 Cornelio Velasquez
3. Miss Tizzynow 118 Rafael Bejarano
4. Fee Fi Fo Fum 116 Joe Bravo
5. Lost Etiquette 118 Javier Castellano
6. Christmas Kid 120 Rene Douglas
7. Naseem 116 G.F. Almeida
8. Swift Temper 118 Mark Guidry