The top four finishers of last month’s Hurricane Bertie Stakes (gr. III), including winner Kays and Jays, return for the $150,000 Inside Information Stakes (gr. II) March 14 at Gulfstream Park.
Kays and Jays held off Tar Heel Mom by a half-length in the 6 1/2-furlong Hurricane Bertie, with Warbling another 1 1/2 back and Pretty Prolific six more lengths behind at the wire. Also in the mix are a pair of entrants from the barn of Marty Wolfson, including the talented First Passage, who makes her 4-year-old debut while coming off a lengthy layoff.
The Inside Information is a seven-furlong sprint on the main track and headlines Gulfstream’s 10-race program.
Zayat Stables’ Kays and Jays notched her first graded stakes win in the Hurricane Bertie, taking over just beyond the half-mile marker under Jose Lezcano to score as the slight 5-2 favorite. A 4-year-old daughter of Macho Uno—Lovin Spoonful, by Dixieland Band, she was making her first start at Gulfstream.
Previously from the barn of Mike Mitchell in California and now making her first start for Wesley Ward, Kays and Jays has won five of 11 starts, eight of which have come at different racetracks. She won three times in her sophomore season, including a pair of minor stakes.
Lezcano keeps the mount on Kays and Jays, who drew the outside post in a field of 10. She was bred in Kentucky by Milan Kosanovich.
Alex Rankin’s Tar Heel Mom has had some tough luck in both starts as a 5-year-old, missing by a head to Pretty Prolific when running third in the Jan. 9 Sugar Swirl (gr. III) and then coming up short when chasing down Kays and Jays last out. The Stan Hough trainee has produced a 6-4-3 record from 17 starts. Alan Garcia will stay aboard the daughter of Flatter.
Joseph Suton’s Warbling was also a head back in the Sugar Swirl during a frantic finish, then broke poorly en route to her third-place effort in the Hurricane Bertie while closing well. The lightly-raced daughter of Unbridled's Song won both starts as a 3-year-old. Eddie Kenneally has assigned Julien Leparoux to ride.
Tom Walters’ Pretty Prolific won the Sugar Swirl in her 4-year-old debut, but was never a factor in the Hurricane Bertie. Edgar Prado, who was in the irons for the Sugar Swirl, jumps back on for James Baker.
Andrew Rosen’s First Passage is the wild card in the Inside Information. A $1.2 million Keeneland September 2007 yearling, the well-bred daughter of Giant's Causeway—Win’s Fair Lady, by Dehere, won four of her first five starts in the U.S., including the grade III Azalea Stakes at Calder last summer when defeating Kays and Jays by three parts of a length. She then made the jump into grade I company in the seven-furlong Test Stakes at Saratoga, finishing fourth by less than two lengths after missing the break.
First Passage has been off since the Aug. 8 Test and will make her 4-year-old debut while breaking from post 6 under John Velazquez.
Wolfson’s other starter is Saratoga Tango, who is winless since December 2008.
Also shipping in from California last month was Flintridge Stables and STD Stable’s 4-year-old filly Pinkarella, who was nominated for the Hurricane Bertie but instead won a six-furlong allowance race Feb. 12 as the favorite by 4 1/4 lengths for trainer Doug O’Neill. Elvis Trujillo will ride.
$150,000 Inside Information (gr. III, Race 6, 3:42 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 4 & Up, 7 Furlongs (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Honchis'n Ponchis (KY), J L Castanon, 117, D L Romans
2. Pinkarella (KY), E Trujillo, 117, D F O'Neill
3. Pretty Prolific (KY), E S Prado, 119, J E Baker
4. Warbling (KY), J R Leparoux, 117, E Kenneally
5. Saratoga Tango (TX), J Castellano, 117, M D Wolfson
6. First Passage (KY), J R Velazquez, 119, M D Wolfson
7. Thunders Dove (KY), P Lopez, 117, N P Zito
8. Cuvee Uncorked (KY), R Frazier, 117, T G Walters
9. Tar Heel Mom (KY), A Garcia, 117, S M Hough
10. Kays and Jays (KY), J Lezcano, 119, W A Ward