Odds-on choice Game Face won the Gulfstream Park rubber match when she overpowered her rival Any Limit in the homestretch to win the $150,000 Inside Information Stakes (gr. II) (VIDEO) by 2 1/2 lengths on March 15.
Game Face and Any Limit, who each carried 122 pounds, had split two prior meetings in sprints for older fillies and mares at the Gulfstream meeting. Bettors, though, could see only the Todd Pletcher-trained Game Face, who went off at odds of 3-5 in the seven-furlong Inside Information, previously known as the Shirley Jones.
Ridden by John Velazquez, Game Face settled into third place as Any Limit outfought Keep the Peace for the early lead. Any Limit, ridden by Cornelio Velasquez, set solid fractions of :22.41 and :44.60 on a fast track while building a one-length lead over Keep the Peace and Julien Leparoux.
Rounding the turn a three-wide Game Face turned up the heat on the leaders, taking control at the furlong pole and going on to a relatively easy win in a time of 1:22.09. Keep the Peace finished third, 1 3/4 lengths behind Any Limit.
“The pace was definitely a factor today as opposed to last time out," Velazquez said. "I wanted to stay close and have a shot, that’s all. She kept making up ground, and at the quarter (pole) I noticed she got real comfortable. We went to the outside and once I let go and asked her, this time she was ready to fight all the other horses down the lane.”
The 4-year-old Game Face was boxed in on the turn during her most recent try, the 6 1/2-furlong Hurricane Bertie (gr. III) Feb. 15, finishing second to Any Limit by 1 1/4 lengths. A month earlier, Zabeel Racing International's daughter of Menifee easily captured the six-furlong First Lady (gr. III) by 2 3/4 lengths over her rival. The Herecomesthebride victory, worth $90,000, was the sixth in 11 starts for the multiple grade-winning chestnut filly and boosted her career earnings to $468,834.
Game Face was a $280,000 2-year-old purchase at the Ocala Breeders' Sale in March 2007. Bred in Kentucky by Marilyn F. Seltzer, Game Face is out of the Gone Westmare Galleon of Gold.
“She gives a hundred percent every time," said Anthony Sciametta, assistant to Pletcher, who was attending the OBS 2-year-old sales. "Last time she got caught down on the inside and finished second. Today she drew outside and had a better trip.”
The winner paid $3.40, $2.20 and $2.10, topping a $2 exacta worth $10. The 6-year-old mare Any Limit, a multiple grade II winner for trainer Allen Jerkens, returned $3 and $2.20. Keep the Peace, the second choice in the compact field, was worth $2.20 to show for trainer Eddie Kenneally. Stormin Mon, Pious Ashley and Precious Kiss completed the order.