Trainer Bill Mott sent out Swettenham Stud’s Irish-bred filly Dress Rehearsal to capture the $150,000 Orchid Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park last year and will have the likely favorite in the 2010 edition of the 1 1/2-mile turf event March 28 with another runner, Changing Skies, for the same owner.
Jockey Jorge Chavez gets the call on Swettenham’s 5-year-old homebred Changing Skies, the daughter of Sadler’s Wells who rallied to a half-length victory in the 11-furlong The Very One Stakes (gr. IIIT) over the course last out on Feb. 27 in her first start since October. Changing Skies was group stakes-placed in France earlier in her career.
With a 3-3-3 record from 13 starts, Changing Skies is out of the Silver Hawk mare Magnificent Sky. She will break from the outside post in a field of 11 fillies and mares while carrying top weight of 123 pounds.
The victory of Dress Rehearsal was the third Orchid score for nine-time Gulfstream meet leading trainer Mott, who sent out Gaily Gaily to score in 1989 and Crockadore in 1992 in the earlier years of his Hall of Fame career.
In addition to Changing Skies, Mott has entered Zayat Stable’s highly-accomplished 5-year-old mare Mushka as she switches back to turf after making her last three starts on synthetic tracks at Keeneland and Santa Anita.
Jockey Kent Desormeaux rides Mushka. She makes her first appearance on turf since capturing the 11-furlong Glens Falls Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Saratoga in early September. The daughter of Empire Maker finished a game second in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I) behind former Mott charge Life Is Sweet at Santa Anita on Nov. 6, but failed to show her best last out when finishing fifth in the Santa Margarita (gr. I) on Feb. 14.
Finishing second to Dress Rehearsal last year was Lamentation for trainer Christophe Clement, who has won the Orchid six times previously, including four straight renewals from 1999-2002. The French-born horseman will be well represented in his bid for a seventh victory in the race by Philip Freedman’s 5-year-old mare Cable.
Jockey Alan Garcia gets the return call on Cable. She comes back from a good effort finishing third in The Very One, beaten two lengths by Changing Skies after rallying from last in the field of 13. A Kentucky-bred daughter of Dynaformer, Cable rallied for second in the nine-furlong Suwannee River Stakes (gr. IIIT) in her previous start.
The Orchid is the headliner on Gulfstream’s 11-race program and will go to post at approximately 5:43 p.m. EDT.
$150,000 Orchid Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 10, 5:43 p.m.), Fillies and Mares, 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Mushka (KY), K J Desormeaux, 121, W I Mott
2. Magical Theater (KY), C H Marquez Jr., 117, G R Arnold, II
3. Lady Shakespeare (KY), J R Velazquez, 117, R L Attfield
4. Love to Tell (KY), J L Castanon, 117, M Burgess
5. Speak Easy Gal (FL), E Trujillo, 117, M D Wolfson
6. Cable (KY), A Garcia, 117, C Clement
7. Liberally (IRE), R Maragh 117 T Albertrani
8 Nehantic Kat (NY), L J Castellano, 117, B Tagg
9. Who Plays Brahms (KY), M Aguilar, 117, M Morales
10. Celtic Princess (BRZ), E R Da Silva, 117, E Caramori
11. Changing Skies (IRE), J F Chavez, 123, W I Mott