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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Stefania Farms’ Lauda Speed returns to his favorite 7-furlong distance while looking to score big in Saturday’s $75,000 Carry Back Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
This year’s Carry Back, a dirt sprint restricted to 3-year-olds, is the penultimate event on a 13-race card and has a local post time of 6:08 PM.
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Here’s a look at the full field for the Carry Back:
1. Real Talk 9/2 – He defeated open company optional claimers in a local 6-furlong sprint last time out with a gate-to-wire effort from the rail. He drew back inside here, but he faces much more early pace presence on paper in his third try at the stakes level and was a well-beaten second to returning rival Lauda Speed 2 starts back over this course and distance. Trainer Carlos David and new jockey Samy Camacho have won 23% of their shared mounts since 2020.
2. Twelve Volt Man 4/1 – The undefeated Violence gelding steps up to the stakes level for the first time and in his third career start. He broke his maiden going 6 furlongs in April, then stretched out to defeat optional claimers going a one-turn mile in May, so he could be sharp as he cuts back and after proper rest. The first of four from the Saffie Joseph Jr. barn earned a field-best last-out Beyer Speed Figure of 83 and new rider Chantal Sutherland hops aboard.
3. Raison d’Air 15/1 – He returns to dirt after winning 1 of 3 local turf routes but also owns a main track victory, having broken his maiden in a local one-turn mile against maiden special weight rivals last September. Trainer Kathy Ritvo hits at 20% with horses swapping from turf to dirt but has only 1 win from her first 30 starters this meet (through Wednesday), and his 2 subsequent dirt tries after breaking his maiden resulted in distant off-the-board finishes.
4. Moonlite Strike 7/2 – The second Joseph Jr. trainee stretches out by a 1/2-furlong after winning the local Roar Stakes by 3 1/4 lengths, defeating returning rival and stablemate Lauda Speed in the process. He won 2 straight dirt sprints late last year before trying the Kentucky Derby Trail, where it was clear after 3 defeats that routing was beyond his reach. Jockey Edgard Zayas looks for his fourth win from as many times riding the Liam’s Map colt.
5. Awesome Gerry 8/1 – He set the pace before fading to third in a tough Churchill Downs 6-furlong optional claiming dirt sprint, a field that saw the runner-up win at the same level in his next start. The third Joseph Jr. trainee won 2 straight to start his career but has only come close to winning once since then, the 7-furlong Jean Lafitte Stakes last November. New jockey Jorge Diaz Jr. wins 35% with a $2.63 ROI for the barn since 2020.
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6. Big Thorn 10/1 – He returns for the first time since finishing a well-beaten third in January’s Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park in his lone start for trainer Steve Asmussen. He’s back in the barn of David Fawkes, who saddled the Florida-bred to a 4-2-1-0 record prior to the Smarty Jones, though his lone off-the-board effort was a sixth-place finish in the local one-turn mile-long Mucho Macho Man behind multiple horses who he’ll see again here.
7. Isolate 10/1 – The second Ritvo runner returns to the track for the first time since he was third in last November’s Nashua Stakes (G3), a one-turn dirt mile event at Aqueduct. He won a pair of local dirt sprints leading up to the Nashua and should appreciate returning to his home track, plus Ritvo’s first-call rider Luca Panici (aboard for his winning debut) returns to the saddle; the two have won 15% together with a positive ROI since 2020.
8. Lauda Speed 5/1 – The fourth Joseph Jr. contestant stretches back out to a distance over which he won both prior tries, including a local optional claiming event 2 starts back over next-out winner and returning rival Real Talk. He was second in the Roar after failing to close into slower early fractions, but this race’s hotter pace setup on paper should benefit him. Jockey Emisael Jaramillo – aboard for both 7-furlong wins – takes the reins once more.
9. Papetu 6/1 – He returns for his first start since finishing seventh in March’s 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby (G1), his fourth straight start in a Gulfstream Park prep for the Kentucky Derby. He won a pair of local 5 1/2-furlong dirt sprints to start his career, but those occurred way back in June and July; he only finished on the board twice in 6 subsequent starts. Trainer Antonio Sano wins 12% with similarly-comebacking runners but hasn’t won a stakes race in over 27 months.
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