A pair of interesting turf stakes, both with full fields, highlight the Gulfstream Park program on Jan. 16.
The Dania Beach Stakes for 3-year-olds going one mile, drew a field of 14 and features Strike the Tiger, the gelding who made history last summer by becoming the first American-trained horse to win at Royal Ascot for Wesley Ward.
The Marshua’s River Stakes, for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles, is led by grade I winner Backseat Rhythm, who makes her first start for Rick Dutrow Jr. A field of 13 was drawn for that contest.
Ward, also the co-breeder and co-owner of Strike the Tiger, went into the Windsor Castle Stakes with his 33-to-1 longshot after he won his career debut at Churchill Downs in late April. The then 2-year-old son of Tiger Ridge won that historic five-furlong race by a neck.
Strike the Tiger returned from England and looked good winning the Chenery Stakes at Colonial Downs in Virginia on July 15 by 3 1/4 lengths. In one start since, Strike the Tiger finished seventh as the favorite in the Cradle Stakes at River Downs on Sept. 7 run over a track rated ‘good’ after the 1 1/16 miles test was forced off turf. He has posted a string of fast works at Gulfstream over the last six weeks in preparation for his return. John Velazquez has the mount on the California bred.
Carrying top weight of 120 pounds in the Dania Beach is J D Farms’ Bim Bam, winner of the restricted Arthur Appleton Juvenile Turf Stakes at Calder in his turf debut Nov. 14. Trainer David Brownlee has assigned Eibar Coa to ride.
Backseat Rhythm, previously trained by Patrick Reynolds and Kiaran McLaughlin for Paul Pompa Jr., has posted a string of strong workouts over the main track in preparation for her 2010 return in the Marshua's River. The 5-year-old daughter of El Corredor was among the leaders of her 3-year-old crop on turf in 2008 when she won the Garden City Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont Park and finished second in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) at Keeneland for Reynolds.
Last year, Backseat Rhythm began the season with a third-place finish behind Criticism in The Very One Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream and a victory in the Hillsborough Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Tampa Bay Downs. She made three more starts after being transferred to McLaughlin, finishing fifth last out in the ‘off the turf’ New York Stakes (gr. III) at Belmont on June 20 behind emerging star Icon Project.
Javier Castellano drew the mount, and they will break from post 13.
Also entered in the field is Belle Allure for trainer Christophe Clement. The 5-year-old Irish-bred mare prepares for her first start since capturing the Athenia Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Belmont on Oct. 27. The daughter of Numerous showed promise in French group competition earlier in her career and hit the board in all four New York starts last year for Clement.
Romacaca was claimed at Gulfstream last April for $25,000 by her current connections out of a winning race and won her next three straight at Arlington Park, including a pair of overnight stakes. The daughter of Running Stag went on to finish second in the Pucker Up (gr. IIIT) in early September and a good third last out in the Mrs. Revere Stakes (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 14.
Quiet Harbor is a Kentucky homebred daughter of Silver Deputy that will bid for a fifth straight victory after running through her conditions at Monmouth Park over the summer and completing her campaign by capturing the Violet Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Meadowlands last out on Oct. 10.
$100,000 Dania Beach (Race 6, 3:36 p.m.), 3YO, 1 Mile (Turf) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. City Trooper (NY), J Santiago, 116, G Weaver
2. Guys Reward (KY), R Maragh, 116, D L Romans
3. Bernie the Maestro (FL), J Rose, 116, M W Wolfson
4. Nordic Truce (KY), J R Leparoux, 116, C Clement
5. Mr. Vegas (NY), E S Prado, 116, M E Hushion
6. Lucas Brady (FL), C Penalba, 118, M J Azpurua
7. Bim Bam (FL), E Coa, 120, D R Brownlee
8. Thunder Brew (FL), J L Castanon, 116, A Pecoraro
9. Our Champion (KY), E Castro, 116, J D Braddy
10. Call Shot (KY), J Lezcano, 116, W M Catalano
11. Raging Wit (KY), K J Desormeaux, 116, W I Mott
12. Strike the Tiger (CA), J R Velazquez, 118, W A Ward
13. Trippo (FL), C H Velasquez, 116, F A Alexander
14. Hellen's Choice (FL), E O Nunez, 116, K O'Connell
15. Citrus Kid (KY), (MTO), E S Prado, 120, J P Terranova, II
$100,000 Marshua's River (Race 8, 4:35 p.m.), Fillies and Mares, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Scolara (FL), K J Desormeaux, 122, W I Mott
2. Belle Allure (IRE), E S Prado, 124, C Clement
3. Nehantic Kat (NY), J Bravo, 122, B Tagg
4. Bluegrass Princess (KY), J Lezcano, 118, C C Brown
5. Lomaki (KY), C P DeCarlo, 118, E Coatrieux
6. Lady Shakespeare (KY), J R Leparoux, 122, R L Attfield
7. Romacaca (FL), E T Baird, 122, D L Miller
8. Our Dahlia (KY), E Coa, 118, N Santos
9. Maddy's Heart (MD), E Trujillo, 118, T A Hills
10. Meadow Saffron (KY), R C Landry, 122, F J Seitz
11. Quiet Harbor (KY), E Castro, 124, C R McGaughey III
12. West Ocean (KY), J R Velazquez, 122, T A Pletcher
13. Backseat Rhythm (KY), J Castellano, 124, R E Dutrow, Jr.
14. Song of Solomon (KY), (MTO), J Rose, 118, A W Dutrow