Weather could be a key factor in the outcome of Saturday's two graded turf stakes at Gulfstream Park.
The $100,000 Canadian Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) drew a field of nine – including three entered for the main-track-only – while the $100,000 Suwannee River Handicap (gr. IIIT) attracted 12 fillies and mares.
The forecast for the weekend indicates showers are likely, so the grass status of the two events will remain a question until post time. The Canadian Turf will be run as the eighth event on a 12-race card, while the Suwannee River goes as the 11th.
In the 1 1/16-mile Canadian Turf, Darley Stable's Millennium Dragon will be the favorite if the race stays on grass. The 5-year-old comes off a victory in the Appleton Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream on Jan. 4, and Richard Migliore returns to take the mount.
Millennium Dragon is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, who has an incredible record of eight wins in 11 starts so far this season at Gulfstream. McLaughlin will also saddle Shiek Maktoum's Steadfast and True, who won an allowance race on opening day. John Velazquez rides.
Team Victory's Hard Buck, who is unbeaten in three U.S. starts, will be the main rival. The 5-year-old Brazilian-bred trained by Ken McPeek won three stakes in Kentucky last year. Edgar Prado will be aboard in his first start since Nov. 16.
The others entered for turf are Sarah and Ken Ramsey's Everything to Gain, Jose Santos; Claiborne Farm's Remind, Cornelio Velasquez; and Double S Stable, Avanzino & Sullivan's French Charmer, Chris DeCarlo.
The main-track-only entrants are Lambholm Stable's Light Night, Cornelio Velasquez on a second call; Sumaya Us Stable's Newfoundland, John Velazquez on a second call, and Joseph V. Shields Jr.'s Justification, Jorge Chavez.
In the 1 1/8-mile Suwannee River, Skymarc Farm's Madeira Mist will be favored to get on the winning side of the ledger. The 5-year-old mare, trained by Christophe Clement, was third behind Delmonico Cat and Koney Kitty in the Honey Fox (gr. IIIT) last out, beaten just a half-length for all of it. Jose Santos rides.
Clement also saddles the Leigh Family Stables' Sixty Seconds, who returned from a four-month freshening to run fifth in the La Prevoyante Handicap (gr. IIT) at Calder last month. Manoel Cruz has the mount.
The top rivals will be Wiemer & McLane's Something Ventured and Live Oak Plantation's Young Star, whose popularity at the windows will be tempered by outside post positions.
Something Ventured has won two of three starts on the Gulfstream grass for trainer Todd Pletcher, but last out was fifth in the Honey Fox. She drew post 11 for this try with John Velazquez up.
Young Star, trained by Bill Mott, drew the far outside. She comes off a victory in the Designated Dancer Stakes at Calder. Rene Douglas rides.
$100,000 Canadian Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 8, 4:10 p.m. EST), 3 & up, 1 1/16 mile on turf
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Light Night (KY), 112, Cornelio H. Velasquez (2nd Call)
2. Hard Buck (BRZ), 119, Edgar S. Prado
3. Everything to Gain (KY), 113, Jose A. Santos
4. Steadfast and True (KY), 112, John R. Velazquez
5. Newfoundland (KY), 115, John R. Velazquez (2nd Call)
6. Justification (FL), 115, Jorge F. Chavez
7. Remind (KY), 114, Cornelio H. Velasquez
8. French Charmer (KY), 116, Christopher P. DeCarlo
9. Millennium Dragon (GB), 118, Richard Migliore
Main Track Only: Light Night, Newfoundland, Justification
$100,000 Suwannee River Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 11, 5:35 p.m. EST), fillies & mares 3 & up, 1 1/8 mile on turf
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Changing World (FL), 113, Joe Bravo
2. May Gator (KY), 113, Jorge F. Chavez
3. New Economy (KY), 116, Rosemary B. Homeister, Jr.
4. Madeira Mist (IRE), 116, Jose A. Santos
5. San Dare (KY), 115, Mark Guidry
6. Mystery Itself (KY), 111, Cornelio H. Velasquez
7. Approach (GB), 113, Edgar S. Prado
8. Sixty Seconds (NZ), 116, Manoel R. Cruz
9. Wishful Splendor (KY), 113, Eibar Coa
10. Mymich (KY), 111, Brice Blanc
11. Something Ventured (KY), 116, John R. Velazquez
12. Young Star (KY), 114, Rene R. Douglas