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Mike previews the 2023 Carry Back Stakes from Gulfstream Park, then gives his top picks & long shots. After finishing fifth in the Chick Lang Stakes (G3) at Pimlico, multiple stakes-winning sprinter Super Chow is back at his home track & looks ready to feast on this field. Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
Bassett Stables’ Swirvin, who has gotten off to a promising start while winning his first two career races, is slated to make his stakes debut in Saturday’s $75,000 Carry Back at Gulfstream Park.
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Although his back-to-back victories were hardly flashy, the 3-year-old son of Girvin has shown trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. a most important attribute – a will to win.
“That’s something you can’t teach – when a horse shows that will to win and that kind of fight, and he has it,” Joseph said. “We don’t know how much more he has because in his races, he’s only done what he’s had to do. I think good horses have the will to win.”
Swirvin debuted at Gulfstream Dec. 3 in a 6 ½-furlong maiden special weight race, in which he took an early lead before being headed by a pair of rivals on the turn, only to fight back to win by a half length. The Kentucky-bred colt returned at Gulfstream April 15 in a six-furlong optional claiming allowance in which he again shook off a serious challenge and drew off to win by 2 ¼ lengths.
“In his first start he was completely beaten and found more to just win. The race came back slow figure-wise. Second time, again, he looked beaten and found more again. He did it more workmanlike. It was a much better performance visually and number-wise,” Joseph said. “This time he’s going to have to beat better horses, but we feel he’s up to the task.”
Although Swirvin came again in both his starts, Joseph isn’t looking to stretch him out around two turns.
“I think he’s a sprinter. I think he wants one turn,” Joseph said. “He’s stretching out to seven furlongs this time. I think it’s well within his reach. The way he’s running, I think he’ll get it. If he runs his race, I think he’ll put up a great showing.”
Swirvin, who is rated second at 5-2 on the morning line, was ridden in both of his races by Edgard Zayas, who will be at Thistledown Saturday to ride Joseph-trained Wood Memorial (G2) winner Lord Miles in the Ohio Derby (G3). Edwin Gonzalez has the call Saturday.
“He’s had a good preparation for this race. I think he should improve again,” Joseph said. “He’s going to need to improve again, but we’re going in with a lot of confidence he will run well.”
C2 Racing Stable LLC’s Mr. Peeks, who recently came back from an off-the-board finish in the Curlin Florida Derby (G1) to win a maiden special weight race by six lengths, was also entered in the Carry Back by Joseph. However, Joseph hasn’t confirmed the son of California Chrome as a starter.
Lea Farms LLC’s Super Chow will seek to rebound from a fifth-place finish in the May 20 Chick Lang (G3) at Pimlico in the Carry Back. The Jorge Delgado-trained colt had won five of his six previous races, including three stakes successes. His only loss during that six-race period came in a second-place finish in the Feb. 4 Swale (G3) at Gulfstream.
Emisael Jaramillo has the call aboard the son of Lord Nelson, who has been installed as the 9-5 morning-line favorite.
Stud Carmen Cristina LLC’s Zydeceaux, a two-time stakes winner during the Tampa Bay Downs meet, and My Purple Haze Stables’ Khozeiress, who will make his stakes debut after winning three of his last four starts, are also prominent in the seven-horse field.
Elena Vaccaro’s Sound Doctrine, and Daniel Hurtak’s Lightning Tones round out the field.
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