Everything Coming Up Orchids for Ocean Silk

Trainer Pat Byrne has had the date Sunday, March 21 circled on his calendar since his Ocean Silk finished second in her 2004 debut in the Feb. 28 The Very One Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park. This Sunday she is set to start in the Orchid Handicap (gr. IIT), also at Gulfstream Park.

"I've still got three days yet to lead her over there," said Byrne in a release from Gulfstream Park. "We'll hope things stay uneventful and the weather holds."

In her 2004 debut, Ocean Silk finished second to the very impressive Binya. It was Ocean Silk's second start since arriving from Europe for owner Robert Sangster and Byrne was sure there was little he could do to get to Binya that afternoon. Binya is waiting for other races and Ocean Silk gets more distance in a race worth more money and with a higher grade.

"Sometimes it works out that way," said Byrne. "She's doing everything right at this point and I know she's going to like a mile and a half."

In addition to getting a furlong more than her last start, Ocean Silk can also boast a fitness edge over what is expected to be her main rival, Spice Island. Ocean Silk's The Very One performance was her first start since losing her U.S. debut to Spice Island last October at Keeneland. Spice Island has been on the shelf since December, while Ocean Silk got so much out of her race, Byrne has had very little to do over the last three weeks.

"She's plenty fit, because coming off those three-turn races usually always sets them up pretty good," said Byrne. "She hasn't needed any workouts since her race. I was thinking of letting her stretch her legs on the turf [Wednesday] morning, but she didn't need it. If the races were four weeks apart I would have put a breeze into her, but I just didn't see the point. She gets so much out of her gallops. I haven't had to do very much at all."

Because of the fitness edge Ocean Silk will probably be the favorite over Spice Island even though the latter is the highweight at 119 pounds. Ocean Silk will tote 115 pounds--the same assignment as her The Very One race.