Fresh, Fast Bruanna Returns in First Lady

(from track report)
Trainer Mike Gorham will have a "fresh" horse when he starts John D. Murphy and Old Coach Farms' Bruanna in Sunday's $100,000 The First Lady Handicap (gr. III) at six furlongs at Gulfstream Park.

"She had a hard summer at Delaware Park and I gave her a little time off this fall," Gorham said. "She's good and fresh now. I worked her last Saturday and she worked super. She'll run well on Sunday."

Bruanna turned in the fastest time of 42 horses working five furlongs when she was clocked in 1:00 handily.

Bruanna was claimed out of a winning effort for $35,000 at Delaware Park on June 19. The 5-year-old mare then rattled off three straight victories, including back-to-back wins in the Light Hearted Stakes on July 21 and the Veiled Look Stakes on Aug. 26. Bruanna then forced the pace of the top sprinter Xtra Heat before tiring and finishing fourth in the Endine Stakes (gr. III) on Sept. 7.

"She got burned up in a speed duel with Xtra Heat in her last race," Gorham said. "It was unfortunate but my mare likes to run on the lead and she just isn't good enough to keep up with a horse like Xtra Heat. I don't think there are any horses of that caliber in Sunday's race."

Mandy's Gold, a seven-time stakes winner including a score in the Ruffian Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park last year, is the Gorham barn's big horse. Currently the 5-year-old mare is getting a rest at Willow Creek Ranch in Ocala but will be shipped to Gulfstream in a couple of weeks.

"She needed some time off but I'll be picking her up soon," Gorham said. "I should have her ready for either the Shirley Jones Handicap (gr. III) or the Rampart Handicap (gr. II) here later in the meet."

The Shirley Jones carries a $100,000 purse and will be run over 7 furlongs on Feb. 14 while the Rampart is worth $200,000 and will be run at 1 1/8 miles on Mar. 1.