Sacristy, winner of the Old Hat Stakes (gr. III) as the favorite on New Year's Day, appears to be a standout in the $200,000 Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park Jan. 29.
Just six 3-year-old fillies are entered in the seven-furlong race with Peachtree Stable's Sacristy, to be ridden again by Kent Desormeaux, likely to be a strong choice. Trained by Wayne Catalano, Sacristy was impressive rallying from sixth early in Gulfstream's six-furlong Old Hat. She made a bold move while wide rounding the turn to tally by 1 3/4 lengths as the 6-5 pick.
“We’re happy with the way she’s training and we’re looking forward to Sunday’s race,” Catalano said.
Sacristy broke her maiden at 6 1/2 furlongs in her third start Nov. 10 at Churchill Downs by 6 3/4 lengths. The daughter of Pulpit, a $125,000 Fasig-Tipton buy at Saratoga as a yearling, finished second in each of her first two starts.
The biggest threat to Sacristy could come from Robsham Stables' homebred Broadway's Alibi, making her stakes debut after winning her past two races by a combined 12 lengths. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the Vindication miss won her only start at Gulfstream Dec. 15 by five lengths in a 6 1/2-furlong optional claiming event. John Velazquez returns to ride Broadway's Alibi, who graduated with a seven-length score at Delaware Park in September.
Old Hat runner-up Say a Novena, a two-time stakes winner at 2, returns with blinkers added by trainer Edward Plesa Jr. Rick Shanley owns the bay daughter of Songandaprayer , who was 10th in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) to conclude her juvenile campaign. Say a Novena, with three wins and three seconds in seven tries at sprint distances, drew the far outside post and retains the services of jockey Elvis Trujillo.
“We’re looking forward to this race," said Plesa. “We know she likes the distance. She got back a little farther than we thought she would in her last race, and got some dirt kicked in her face, but we were pleased with her race. We’re going to put blinkers on and that should keep her more focused and put her in more of a stalking position for this race.”
Also returning from the Old Hat is fourth-place finisher Quick Flip, who lost for the first time in four starts for trainer Terri Pompay. The Speightstown filly set the early pace in the Old Hat and fought gamely while racing off the rail before giving way in the final furlong. Rajiv Maragh rides the chestnut for Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence.
Good Deed and Yara, both stakes winners in their most recent starts, complete the field.
In from New Orleans for trainer Steve Margolis, Good Deed has won her last three starts impressively over three different racetracks, most recently taking the Letelier Memorial going six furlongs at Fair Grounds Dec. 18.
The Forward Gal is the ninth race on the Gulfstream card with a 4:17 p.m. EST probable post. It is followed by the $400,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-olds featuring the first start of the year by 2011 juvenile champion Hansen.
$200,000 Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II, Race 9, 4:17 p.m.), 3YO Fillies, 7 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Good Deed (KY), C J Lanerie, 118, S Margolis
2. Quick Flip (KY), R Maragh, 118, T M Pompay
3. Yara (FL), L Saez, 116, J Garoffalo
4. Sacristy (KY), K J Desormeaux, 116, W M Catalano
5. Broadway's Alibi (KY), J R Velazquez, 116, T A Pletcher
6. Say a Novena (KY), E Trujillo, 118, E Plesa Jr.
Blinkers On: Say a Novena