Coglianese Photos/Lauren King

Sandiva Returns in My Charmer Handicap

Field of fillies and mares on turf also includes grade I winner Kitten's Dumplings.

After more than a five-month break from racing, Al Shaqab Racing's Sandiva will look to add more South Florida success to her record in the $100,000 My Charmer Handicap (gr. IIIT) Nov. 21 on the Gulfstream Park West turf.

After running behind eventual Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. I) winner Tepin this spring in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIT) and the Longines Just a Game Stakes (gr. IT), Sandiva received a break from racing that trainer Todd Pletcher said has helped the 4-year-old Footstepsinthesand filly.

"She's training really, really well. She's always been a filly that is very good in the mornings. I'm hoping because of that that she would run well off the bench," said Pletcher, whose trainee has a solid series of five workouts at Palm Beach Downs in preparation for the My Charmer. "She's been away a for a little while, but she's training as sharply as she did last winter at Palm Beach Downs when she was on the good run. All indications are she's coming back in good form. Hopefully, she'll run a good race.

"She just needed a little bit of a break. She had a pretty steady campaign," Pletcher added. "We talked about it with Brad Weisbord, the racing manager for Al Shaqab, and Harry Herbert, the international racing manager, and we decided that she had had a steady campaign and the hope was that she could stay in training in 2016 by giving her a break in the summer, when she wasn't quite in as sharp form as she was in the winter."

A group III winner in France, Irish-bred Sandiva has scored both of her U.S. stakes wins in South Florida at Gulfstream Park, closing out 2014 with a win in the Tropical Park Oaks before opening this season with a victory in the Suwannee River Stakes (gr. IIIT).

"She settled into the program well. It seemed like the longer she was here the better she did. She got stronger and gained weight. Her hair coat really blossomed," Pletcher said. "She really flourished at Palm Beach Downs during the winter months and trained exceptionally well."

The field also includes Swettenham Stud's Lady Lara, who won this year's Honey Fox Stakes (gr. IIT) at Gulfstream and enters off a third in the Athenia Stakes on the inner turf at Belmont Park; and grade I winner Kitten's Dumplings, who prepped with an Oct. 24 victory over the Gulfstream Park West course in the Little Miss Magic Stakes.

Entries: My Charmer H. (G3T)

GULFSTREAM PARK WEST, Saturday, November 21, 2015, Race 4

  • Grade IIIT
  • 1 1/16m
  • Turf
  • $100,000
  • 3 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
  • 2:05 PM (local)
11Hellenistic (KY)Edgard J. Zayas117Chad C. Brown12/1
22Lady Lara (IRE)Jose Lezcano120William I. Mott5/2
33Can't Explain (NJ)Jose C. Caraballo116Ralph E. Nicks15/1
44Pink Poppy (FL)Eddie Castro116Ronny W. Werner15/1
55Hope Cross (IRE)Joe Bravo116Chad C. Brown10/1
66Prayed For (KY)Luca Panici116Martin D. Wolfson20/1
77Sandiva (IRE)Javier Castellano121Todd A. Pletcher9/5
88Distorted Beauty (NY)Keeneland Sales GraduateTyler Gaffalione117Bruce N. Levine15/1
99Kitten's Dumplings (KY)Rafael Manuel Hernandez121Michael J. Maker6/1
1010Lori's Store (FL)Matthew Rispoli118Martin D. Wolfson15/1
1111In My Time (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateMatthew Rispoli117Martin D. Wolfson6/1