Weekend Lineup: Gulfstream Swings Into Graded Stakes Action

The Gulfstream Park championship meet, whose first Saturday featured the popular Claiming Crown races on Dec. 5, kicks into high gear this weekend with an 11-race Saturday program with five stakes, four of them graded, that could showcase horses competing in the Hallandale Beach, Fla., track’s Jan. 23 Pegasus World Cup and World Cup Turf.

Gulfstream is the only track offering American graded stakes this weekend, with all of their races available on TVG and your favorite ADW streaming service. Gulfstream’s first post is 12:05 p.m., and remember that the track is sticking to estimated post times this meet whenever possible.

Here’s a brief look at the four graded stakes at Gulfstream on Saturday (all times Eastern).

1:35 p.m. – $100,000 G3 Rampart 

Rohan Chrichton, who won the training title at the recently concluded Gulfstream Park West meet, sends out Bajan Girl off two wide-margin victories at GP West in allowance/optional claiming company – both at one mile, the distance of the Rampart. Bajan Girl’s last foray on the Gulfstream Park main track was in March when the Speightstown filly ran fourth behind Swiss Skydiver in the G2 Gulfstream Park Oaks. Letruska, winner of the G3 Shuvee at Saratoga in August, won the Copa Invitacional del Caribe Stakes for her trainer, Fausto Gutierrez, last December at Gulfstream, after arriving from her home base in Mexico City, Mexico.


2:38 p.m. – Sugar Swirl G3

Cinnabunny will be making her first start for Brad Cox in this six-furlong test for fillies and mares, 3 and up, and that’s enough to suggest taking a serious look at this daughter of Golden Lad who is coming off a five-length allowance/optional claiming victory at Parx when trained by Kathleen DeMasi. Irad Ortiz Jr. will be aboard. Golden Ami won her debut at Gulfstream in March for trainer Josie Carroll, then won her only start at Woodbine in Canada on Nov. 14. Red-hot Tyler Gaffalione rides. Lady’s Island is always tough at Gulfstream, showing seven wins in 11 starts, and she demolished the field in this race last year, winning by 6 3/4 lengths.


4:09 p.m. – Harlan’s Holiday G3

Most of the runners in this seven-horse field are known quantities in stakes races – including 2019 Harlan’s Holiday runner-up Phat Man, 2019 G2 Jim Dandy winner Tax and 2019 G1 Pennsylvania Derby winner Math Wizard. The most intriguing entrant might be the Tapit colt Tatweej from the Todd Pletcher barn. Winner of three of four starts at Gulfstream up to one mile, Tatweej will be making his stakes debut and trying two turns for the first time. The Harlan’s Holiday winner could have his trainer thinking Pegasus World Cup.


4:40 p.m. – Ft. Lauderdale G2

Halladay is unbeaten in three starts over the Hallandale lawn for Todd Pletcher and figures to be out winging under Luis Saez in this 1 1/8-mile contest as he was in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile last out when leading till inside the furlong pole. Factor This had a troubled trip in that same Breeders’ Cup race and will be making his local debut for Brad Cox. Chad Brown and Irad Ortiz Jr. could have a say in the outcome with Delaware, as the son of Frankel looks for his first U.S. win in his fifth start. The Group 3 winner in France is coming off his strongest performance with a close third to Therapist in the Artie Schiller at Aqueduct Nov. 14.



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