Roxy Gap Favored for Gulfstream Park Opener

Roxy Gap Favored for Gulfstream Park Opener
Photo: Michael Burns Photography
Roxy Gap

Roxy Gap won all three of her starts at Woodbine last summer by big margins for trainer Mark Casse and is the morning-line favorite for the $100,000 Old Hat Stakes (gr. III) Jan. 5, opening day feature of the 2011 Gulfstream Park season.

The Gulfstream meet runs through April 24.

The Old Hat, for 3-year-old fillies, drew a field of six vying at six furlongs. It is the eighth race on the card with a probable post of 4:23 p.m. EST.
           
Jockey Julien Leparoux gets the call on Melnyk Racing Stable’s Canadian homebred Roxy Gap in her first start since romping home a 4 ¾-length allowance winner going 1 1/16 miles on turf last out Aug. 21. She is 9-5 on the morning line.

The daughter of Indian Charlie had won her debut by 6 ½ lengths going five furlongs July 3 and the $150,000 Shady Wells Stakes by 2 ½ lengths over six furlongs two weeks later. Both races were run over the Polytrack surface at Woodbine.
           
Owner-trainer Wesley Ward’s Final Mesa also will get plenty of support with California-based jockey Joel Rosario named to ride. The New York-bred daughter of Sky Mesa   has made three of her four starts on synthetic tracks, but didn’t miss a beat when winning the $50,000 Polly Drummond Stakes on dirt at Delaware Park in May by 4 ¾ lengths.
           
Final Mesa won her debut at Keeneland in mid-April by 7 ½ lengths and the $150,000 My Dear Stakes at Woodbine in late June before suffering her lone defeat last out in the Sorrento Stakes (gr. III) at Del Mar on Aug. 6. She faded to sixth behind Wickedly Perfect that day after dueling for the lead to mid-stretch.
           
“The layoff is a bit of a concern,” Ward said. “I think some of the other fillies in there might be a little more race fit. She looks fast, but she can sit off the speed.”
           
Trainer Tony Dutrow sends out a solid contender for the 30th edition of the Old Hat in Daniel Ryan’s Pennsylvania homebred Quantum Miss with Jeremy Rose in the saddle. The roan/gray daughter of Smoke Glacken has made three starts, finishing third in her debut at Parx Racing in September and breaking her maiden there by 5 ½ lengths in late October. She won an allowance at Penn National by 16 lengths Nov. 26.
           
Another intriguing prospect in the field with more experience on synthetic surfaces than dirt is Jean and Thomas Bosch’s Florida homebred It's Me Mom. She ships in from Tampa Bay Downs for trainer Lynn Scace and regular rider Willie Martinez has the call. The daughter of Put It Back made the first five starts of her career on the Tapeta synthetic surface at Presque Isle Downs, winning the last three.
           
After drawing off to win the $100,000 Presque Isle Debutante by 6 ¾ lengths Sept. 26, It’s Me Mom made one more start last year after shipping into Tampa Bay for the winter season. Sent off the odds-on favorite in the $75,000 Sandpiper Stakes going six furlongs on Dec. 26, she ran very well in her first try on dirt to finish second after setting the pace to the upper stretch.
             
$100,000 Old Hat Stakes (gr. III, Race 8, 4:23 p.m.), 3-Year-old Fillies, 6 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, ML Odds
1. Mis Vizcaya (KY), R Maragh, 116, J C Vazquez, 15/1
2. It's Me Mom (FL), W Martinez, 120, L M Scace, 4/1
3. Final Mesa (NY), J Rosario, 120, W A Ward, 7/2
4. Pomeroys Pistol (FL), P Lopez, 116, A Tarrant, 10/1
5. Quantum Miss (PA), J Rose, 120, A W Dutrow, 2/1
6. Roxy Gap (ON), J R Leparoux, 120, M E Casse, 9/5

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