Jockey Rafael Bejarano will be aboard the 5-year-old mare Oonagh Maccool breaking from the rail in the Sabin, her first start since finishing last of six in the Go for Wand Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga July 30 as the 3-to-2 favorite. The chestnut daughter of Giant's Causeway burst on the scene at Gulfstream last winter, winning an allowance test by eight lengths in her second U.S. start after winning both of her tries in England in 2005.
From there, Oonagh Maccool captured the Rampart Handicap (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park in March and the Louisville Breeders’ Cup (gr. II) at Churchill Downs in early May. In one more appearance before the Go for Wand, she lost a hard-fought head decision to Happy Ticket in the Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill in June.
Top weighted at 119 pounds, Oonagh Maccool’s faces seven rivals in the Sabin, one of two grade III tests for older fillies and mares at Gulfstream Park Saturday, sharing top billing with the Hurricane Bertie at 6 1/2 furlongs.
Hobeau Farm’s 4-year-old homebred filly Swap Fliparoo is among the most dangerous of Oonagh Maccool's rivals with jockey Javier Castellano in the saddle for trainer Allen Jerkens. The roan/gray daughter of Exchange Rate scored the most important victory of her career in the seven-furlong Test Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga last summer.
Swap Fliparoo is a confirmed closer and rallied from 12th of 13 to finish second last out in the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint at Gulfstream Jan. 27 going just six furlongs. She should appreciate the one-turn mile of the Sabin and boasts a highly consistent record of 20-4-9-2 for earnings of $483,000.
$150,000 Sabin Handicap (gr. III, Race 6, 3:25 p.m.)
Fillies & Mares 4 & Up, 1 Mile
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Oonagh Maccool (IRE), 119, Rafael Bejarano
2. Grecian Lover (FL, 115, Rene R. Douglas
3. Swap Fliparoo (FL), 115, Javier Castellano
4. Leona's Knight (FL), 113, Jeffrey Sanchez
5. Sugar Swirl (ON), 114, Eddie Castro
6. Toll Taker (IL), 114, Rajiv Maragh
7. Getcozywithkaylee (FL), 114, No Rider
8. Classy Charm (KY), 115, Kent J. Desormeaux