The seven-furlong Forward Gal shares the card with the $400,000 Miller Lite Holy Bull (gr. II) for sophomores with aspirations on the road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Full preview of the Holy Bull here.
A field of six 3-year-old fillies was assembled for the Forward Gal, including unbeaten Onlyforyou, trained by defending race champion Todd Pletcher, and Aurelia's Belle, third in the Old Hat (gr. III) at Gulfstream on Jan. 4.
Trained by Mark Casse for owner Mike Rutherford, Resistivity will be making her fourth start when she contests the Forward Gal, and first since her maiden victory going one mile at Gulfstream on Dec. 27.
In that race, jockey Julien Leparoux took the Student Council filly to the lead and stayed there, hitting the wire in 1:39.18 to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Leparoux will be back aboard in the Forward Gal from the rail.
"She's always been pretty high on our list of what we think are our better 3-year-old fillies," Casse said. "She won the other day but I kind of thought she struggled with the track a little bit and just won on her class. I definitely think cutting her back is probably going to help her a little bit."
Resistivity was fifth in her career bow last October over the Keeneland Polytrack, then came back to finish a second as the favorite behind Unbridled Forever in a seven-furlong main track sprint at Churchill Downs on Nov. 30.
Unbridled Forever went on to win the Silverbulletday Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on Jan. 18. The same day, Resistivity had her lone work following her maiden victory, a bullet five furlongs in :59.70 seconds at Palm Meadows.
"We thought she ran well the first time, and the second time out at Churchill, we didn't think she'd get beat but she ran into Unbridled Forever, who just won the stakes the other day," Casse said. "We think she's a pretty good filly. She's doing good, and she worked well the other day. Even though she's cutting back, we think the seven-eighths is going to be good for her."
Glencrest Farm's Onlyforyou will be making her stakes debut in the Forward Gal for Pletcher, who won the race last winter with Kauai Katie. A bay daughter of Malibu Moon , Onlyforyou has won each of her two starts, both at six furlongs. She broke her maiden at Aqueduct Racetrack on Nov. 10 before coming back with a professional 3 1/2-length victory in her first try against winners on Dec. 15 at Gulfstream. Meet-leading rider Javier Castellano, aboard for both races, gets a return call from post 3.
"Any time you win first time out, you're anxious to see how they handle the next step," Pletcher said. "She'd indicated to us based on her training that she would be able to handle the step up in class, and she did it stylishly. She looks great and is physically doing really well."
Onlyforyou tuned up for the Forward Gal with a half-mile work in :48.65 Jan. 19 at Palm Meadows.
"The filly has trained very well," Pletcher said. "Both of her races have been very good. She came out of her last race and trained accordingly, and we've kind of had this circled on the calendar since her last race. She's a nice filly."
Flash Encounter has two wins from four career starts, most recently taking a 5 1/2-furlong entry-level allowance on Jan. 10 at Calder Casino & Race Course. Stately Defence was third, beaten two lengths by Penwith, in a one-mile allowance at Gulfstream on Jan. 2. Maiden winners My Dear Regina and Aurelia's Belle complete the lineup.
$200,000 Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II, Race 7, approximate post 3:34 p.m. EDT), 3YO fillies, seven furlongs (dirt)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Resistivity (KY), J.R. Leparoux, M E Casse
2. Aurelia's Belle (KY), J.R. Velazquez, W M Catalano
3. Onlyforyou (KY), J. Castellano, T A Pletcher
4. Stately Defence (FL), J.J. Gonzales, D Fawkes
5. My Dear Regina (KY), K.J. Desormeaux, E Caramon
6. Flash Encounter (FL), H. Sanchez, M Yates
All runners carry 116 pounds