One of Saturday’s racing highlights should be the Sweetest Chant at Gulfstream, with recent G2 Golden Rod victress Kathmanblu returning to turf; she was a game third to More Than Real and Winter Memories in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly Turf. Nina Fever won her only turf start, but failed to impress in the G1 Hollywood Starlet last out. She has fired off three impressive works since shipping to Florida, as has Todd Pletcher’s Excited—both could very well flesh out a chalky trifecta behind Kathmanblu. However, in looking for a little value, I’ve landed on two others. One is the Smarty Jones filly Holidaysatthefarm; her half-sister Rich In Spirit was a G3 turf winner, and she’s run some nice races for Tom Proctor. The Cactus Ridge filly Bellaridge also looks a strong chance off a nice juvenile campaign and a sharp bullet work. That said, I’ll probably toss another into the mix just to be safe. Moved to the stable of Bill Mott, turf stakes winner Tiger Girl returns to her preferred surface, but off her most recent LA-bred stakes races, I’m not particularly hopeful of her chances—although her jockey Kent Desormeaux lives to thwart me (even though he doesn’t know it).
Race 6 at Tampa Bay is a one-turn 6.5 furlong event for maiden 3-year-old fillies, and I had to chuckle at the cleverly-named A.P. Indy filly Marion Ravenwood, daughter of the G1-placed Andujar. She was narrowly beaten first up by Moonlit Malibu who next out ran second to Dance Quietly in the Busanda Stakes. That’s a good form line, plus she’s put in two strong works since shipping to Florida for Graham Motion. Top Tampa jock Daniel Centeno takes the reins. For a big price, Giverny Girl also looks intriguing off two races last June at Arlington; the winners of both those races became stakes winners, including G3 Arlington-Washington Lassie victress Wonderlandbynight. She’s been training at Tampa Bay since December, posting five nice works, and she’ll run here for the first time with Lasix—usually a positive angle. The other one in this race of interest is first-time starter Bid a Moon, a daughter of Malibu Moon (whose progeny often fire first up); the combination of Christophe Clement and Frederic Lenclud is hot, so I’m hoping for good things from this filly.
Whether it stays on the turf or not, race 9 at Tampa Bay looks like a good spot for 3-year-old Admiral Perry. After finishing second in his maiden effort at Saratoga (14 ½ lengths behind Uncle Mo) and then a distant fifth behind To Honor and Serve next out, this First Samurai colt looks stronger with age, having posted a sharp workout leading up to this; his unraced dam is a three-quarter sister to G1 Haskell and Travers victor Coronado’s Quest, as well as a half to G3 turf winner Warning Glance. Likely to vie for favoritism, though, are Live In Joy who finished third at this distance here on December 30, behind Summer In Giza—both are in for a $75k tag. Last-out turf winner Rafe actually cuts back in distance; the horse he defeated won next out. Ah, I just love his sire Anabaa and his damsire Candy Stripes!
The Sweetest Chant stayed on the yielding turf, and 1-2 Kathmanblu ($3.00 win) continues to impress on all surfaces. 5-1 Excited ($3.80 place) finished second, while the photo showed a dead-head for third between 7-1 Nina Fever and 8-1 Holidaysatthefarm. Pretty chalky results, as the 10 cent superfecta paid a paltry $3.23.
Short-priced favorite Marion Ravenwood ($2.60 win) held on to beat first-time starter Bid a Moon ($5.00 place); it was a chalky $12.40 exacta for $2. Giverny Girl scratched.
Admiral Perry ($8.20 win) defeated Live in Joy ($3.60 place), with a $2 exacta that paid a more generous $31.80. After leading much of the way, Summer in Giza could only hold on for fourth, while 8-5 favorite Rafe trailed throughout, a complete non-factor.