Merry Meadow, winning the Hurricane Bertie earlier this year.<br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Merry Meadow, winning the Hurricane Bertie earlier this year.
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Coglianese Photos/Kenny Martin

Merry Meadow Returns in Princess Rooney

Sprint is a &amp;quot;Win &amp;amp; You're In&amp;quot; race for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

Three-time graded-stakes winner Merry Meadow will cut back to her ideal distance when she returns from more than a three-month layoff in the $250,000 Princess Rooney Stakes (gr. II) July 5 at Gulfstream Park.

The Princess Rooney, a six-furlong sprint designated as a "Win & You're In" race for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (gr. I), is the 10th race on the 12-race Summit of Speed card with purses totaling $1.175 million and drew 10 entries.

"She's been doing great," trainer Mark Hennig said of Merry Meadow, a 5-year-old daughter of Henny Hughes who is shipping to Florida from New York for owner-breeders William Parsons Jr. and David S. Howe.

With eight wins from 27 starts and earnings of $695,550, Merry Meadow last raced when sixth in the seven-furlong Inside Information Stakes (gr. II) March 21, the mare's first loss at Gulfstream Park where she won the Sugar Swirl Stakes and Hurricane Bertie Stakes, both grade III. The Inside Information also ended a three-race win streak for Merry Meadow, who won the Sky Beauty Stakes at Gulfstream Park West previous to her Sugar Swirl and Hurricane Bertie triumphs.

"It was the distance and the way the race unfolded," Hennig said of the Inside Information loss. "She isn't really one that wants to be up there fighting for the lead. It's not her style. I think (jockey Javier Castellano) said she kind of got taken out of her comfort zone after that. Knowing it was seven-eighths, it was the worst-case scenario. I think for her to get seven-eighths, she has to have an ideal trip, and she had a less-than-ideal trip at a less-than-ideal distance.

"She's always held her form," Hennig said. "She's never really ever needed any one set track. She's traveled well and run on all kinds of surfaces. She's always been a pretty consistent runner. We were able to give her a little breather after [the Inside Information], and she's always run well fresh."

Castellano, the defending two-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey, has been named to ride Merry Meadow in the Princess Rooney and is slated for 10 other mounts Sunday.

Victor Espinoza, who rode American Pharoah  for a sweep of the 2015 Triple Crown, has six Summit of Speed mounts, including Kiss to Remember in the Princess Rooney and City of Weston in the co-featured $250,000 Smile Sprint (gr. II).

Maggi Moss' multiple stakes winner Kiss to Remember will be making her debut for trainer Marty Wolfson after previously being conditioned by Tom Amoss, for whom she won the Pago Hop and Battle of New Orleans Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots last year and is coming off a fourth in the Minnesota HBPA Distaff Stakes at Canterbury Park.

Another proven stakes winner in the Princess Rooney is Helen Groves and Jon S. and Sarah Kelly's Tea Time, a 4-year-old Pulpit filly who has won stakes at Belmont Park, Delaware Park, and Parx Racing for trainer Michael Matz. She most recently finished third in the June 20 Red Cross at Monmouth Park.

The Bill Kaplan-trained Naval Command will return from an eight-month layoff in the Princess Rooney. The speedy 3-year-old daughter of Midshipman  has not run since finishing fifth in the Darley Alcibiades (gr. 1) at Keeneland last October but previously won the Happy Ticket Stakes at Louisiana Downs.

The Summit of Speed will be broadcast by Horse Racing Radio Network from 4-6 p.m. EDT on Sirius channel 92 and via live streaming provided on the HRRN website. Mike Penna will anchor the coverage along with analyst Jude Feld. Gulfstream Park announcer Pete Aiello will provide the live race calls. In addition, HRRN will broadcast "The Equine Forum" live from Gulfstream Park on Saturday morning from 8-10 a.m. ET, also on Sirius 92/XM 92 and streamed on the HRRN website.

Entries: Princess Rooney S. (G2)

Gulfstream Park, Sunday, July 05, 2015, Race 10

  • Grade II
  • 6f
  • Dirt
  • $250,000
  • 3 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
  • 5:12 PM (local)
11Phaniebdancing (FL)Jonathan J. Gonzales117Martin D. Wolfson-
22Kiss to Remember (MD)Keeneland Sales GraduateVictor Espinoza117Martin D. Wolfson-
33Little Michelle (WV)Keeneland Sales GraduateTyler Gaffalione119Carlo Vaccarezza-
44Sweet Basil (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateEdgar S. Prado119Ralph E. Nicks-
55Flutterby (FL)Luca Panici119Jerry Bozzo-
66Merry Meadow (KY)Javier Castellano119Mark A. Hennig-
77R Free Roll (FL)Edgard J. Zayas119Sally Mitchelhill-
88Tea Time (KY)Luis Saez117Michael R. Matz-
99Naval Command (FL)Keeneland Sales GraduateJuan C. Leyva114William A. Kaplan-
1010Nesso (FL)Jesus M. Rios117Sandino R. Hernandez, Jr.-