Nancy Mazzoni’s homebred She Be Wild, winner of the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) and champion 2-year-old filly from last year, makes her season debut against a dozen rivals in the $150,000 Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II) Jan. 31 at Gulfstream Park.
A daughter of Offlee Wild trained by Wayne Catalano, She Be Wild has won four of her five lifetime starts, with the one defeat coming by a half-length in Keeneland’s Darley Alcibiades (gr. I) last fall. This will be her first try on dirt. Her other efforts have come on synthetic surfaces.
She Be Wild won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on the Santa Anita Pro-Ride surface by three-quarters of a length under Julien Leparoux, who will retain the mount. The dark bay filly has worked well at Gulfstream leading up to the seven-furlong Forward Gal, including her final move on Jan. 27 when she was caught going four furlongs in :47.35. She will carry top weight of 122 pounds and break from post 6.
Chief among She Be Wild’s competitors will be Richard Ravin’s Richiegirlgonewild, who is undefeated in three starts. The last of those wins came in the six-furlong Old Hat Stakes (gr. III) Jan. 9 at Gulfstream when the Wildcat Heir filly wired the field in the slop to score at 31-1.
Richiegirlgonewild also broke her maiden at Arlington Park and won an allowance contest at Charles Town. Trainer Larry Rivelli will keep regular rider Timothy Thornton aboard his charge.
Also returning out of the Old Hat are the second and third-place finishers, Joanie's Catch and Criolla Bonita, who went off at odds of 48-1 and 85-1 while missing by a length and 2 1/4 lengths, respectively. The loss snapped a three-race victory streak for Criolla Bonita, a winner of minor stakes races at Calder Race Course and Tampa Bay Downs as a juvenile.
Also entering in good form is Red Oak Stable’s Romantic Hideaway, a winner of three consecutive races including the Brandywine Stakes at Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack on Dec. 28. The daughter of City Zip is trained by Gregory Sacco and will be ridden by Mario Pino.
Two others to consider are James Jerkens trainee Touching Beauty, runner-up in the Matron (gr. II) last fall at Belmont Park and a disappointing sixth in the Old Hat, and Woodbine shipper Cascading, who could use her early speed to her advantage while breaking from post 2. Cascading, trained by Josie Carroll, won the seven-furlong Glorious Song Stakes on the Woodbine Polytrack in November.
Jockey Edgar Prado rides Ailalea for trainer Todd Pletcher as she makes her first start since drawing off to win the one-mile Tempted Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct by 1 1/4 lengths on Nov. 7. The $340,000 Keeneland September yearling by Pulpit broke her maiden by four lengths going a mile at Belmont in her previous start after two good tries in sprints, and her stretch-running style may serve her well in the contest.
$150,000 Forward Gal (gr. II, Race 9, 5:14 p.m.), 3YO Fillies, 7 Furlongs (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Touching Beauty (KY), J Castellano, 116, J A Jerkens
2. Cascading (KY), J R Velazquez, 116, J Carroll
3. Si Senora (KY), M R Cruz, 116, H A Mackinze
4. Joanie's Catch (FL), P Lopez, 116, B R Rose
5. Richiegirlgonewild (FL), T Thornton, 118, L Rivelli
6. She Be Wild (KY), J R Leparoux, 122, W M Catalano
7. Ailalea (KY), E S Prado, 116, T A Pletcher
8. Carphonic (FL), L E Arango, 116, W P White
9. Romantic Hideaway (KY), M G Pino, 118, G D Sacco
10. Criolla Bonita (FL), A Lezcano, 118, H A Mackinze
11. Sister Resistor (KY), K J Desormeaux, 116, K G McPeek
12. Bickersons (ON), J Bravo, 116, K J Breen
13. Liam's Dream (PA), J Rose, 116, A W Dutrow