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Cheyenne Stable’s Ozara, who capped her juvenile season with a stakes win over the Gulfstream Park turf course, will look to get the new year off to a similar start in Saturday’s $125,000 Ginger Brew for newly turned 3-year-old fillies.
The one-mile Ginger Brew is the first of three stakes worth $325,000 in purses on an 11-race program, followed by the $100,000 Limehouse sprinting six furlongs and $125,000 Dania Beach scheduled for one mile on the grass, both for 3-year-olds.
First race post time is 12:10 p.m.
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Ozara, trained by Christophe Clement, is one of three stakes winners in the Ginger Brew and the only one whose victory came on the turf, rallying for a popular neck triumph in the 7 ½-furlong Wait a While Dec. 9.
It was the fourth start and third straight in a stakes for the Irish-bred bay, after running fourth in the one-mile Natalma (G1) on the grass at Woodbine and second as the favorite in the 1 1/16-mile Chelsey Flower at Aqueduct.
“She’s a nice filly, trains well,” Clement said. “She loves Gulfstream and loves the firm turf. As long as it’s firm, she’ll be running. It’s not an easy spot, but she’s doing well.”
This will be the first time that Ozara, a $416,346 purchase at Tattersalls October 2022 yearling sale in England, will race over the same course. She debuted in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight last August at Saratoga, winning by a neck.
“She’s very nice. We’ve always liked her,” Clement said. “She’s probably best from seven-eighths to a mile, so she’s not easy to place. She loves it here. She’s a small filly and she’s very handy. As long as it’s firm, she should be very competitive.”
Tyler Gaffalione, up for her maiden triumph, gets the return call from Post 4 in an overflow field of 13.
“This will be perfect for her,” Clement said, “and then we’ll put her away and run her in the [$125,000, 7 ½-furlong] Sanibel Island on Florida Derby Day [March 30].”
AMO Racing USA’s Omaha Girl won the one-mile Hallandale Beach in September over a Gulfstream main track rated good and will be racing for the second time on grass after finishing a troubled fifth from Post 7 of nine in the five-furlong Colleen last July at Monmouth Park, her second career start.
“We tried her once on the grass and she had a tough post position at an uncomfortable distance for her. We believe she’s a two-turn horse,” trainer Jorge Delgado said. “She’s bred to go on the grass and she’s bred to go longer distances, so this is a good chance to try her again on the grass.”
Omaha Girl capped her rookie season finishing last of 12 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) in November at Santa Anita, a race where she again found trouble at the start and was never in contention.
“It was a tough thing to ask. She had a tough break when a horse stepped on her. She needed everything to go her way and nothing went her way,” Delgado said. “Fortunately, she came back good from the race and she’s fresh. We gave her some time off and brought her back and she’s training good enough to compete in here.”
Delgado also entered AMO Racing’s Madame Mischief, a maiden winner going a mile on the grass last August at Monmouth that finished fifth, beaten three lengths, in the Wait a While at odds of 40-1.
“She didn’t get beat far but I believe the 7 ½ [furlongs] was too short for her,” Delgado said. “There’s not much difference between 7 ½ and a mile, but we need to keep giving her more experience and more distance. I believe in the end she’s going to be a graded-stakes filly going long.
“I do believe she’s going to be one of my best fillies in 2024,” he added. “I believe she’s going to be at her best going a mile and an eighth, a mile and a quarter. She might need more distance, but we have a good rider and we think she can handle the trip. Hopefully she can get it done.”
British jockey David Egan is named to ride Omaha Girl from Post 2, while Madame Mischief drew the rail with Paco Lopez.
Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse is represented by a trio of fillies led by Quintessential Racing Florida, Rocky Top Stable and LEM Stable’s Dancing N Dixie, whose two wins have come going a mile and 70 yards over Gulfstream’s all-weather Tapeta course including the Our Dear Peggy in November.
Casse also has D J Stable’s Golden Ghost, a 1 ¾-length maiden special weight winner in his fourth and most recent start Dec. 2 at Del Mar, and Tracy Farmer’s Time to Dazzle, who graduated by 2 ½ lengths going a mile and 70 yards Dec. 15 in an off-the-turf maiden special weight at Gulfstream.
Two horses, Life’s an Audible and Buttercream Babe, were graded-stakes placed last year.
Repole Stable’s Life’s an Audible, trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, broke her maiden sprinting at Saratoga before finishing second to subsequent Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) winner Hard to Justify in the 1 1/16-mile Miss Grillo (G2) at Aqueduct.
Three Diamonds Farm’s Buttercream Babe, bred by Repole before being sold for $180,000 as a 2-year-old in training last April, was third in the Untapable at Kentucky Downs and second by a neck in the one-mile Surfer Girl (G3) at Santa Anita. After a disappointing effort in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, she rebounded to be fourth by 2 ½ lengths in the Wait a While.
Also entered are Chiefswood Stables Limited’s Waskesiu and Gainesway Stable’s San Pantaleo, both last out maiden winners on the Aqueduct turf for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, and West Point Thoroughbreds and Scarlet Oak Racing’s Independenceavenue, a winner of two straight trained by Arnaud Delacour.
Trainer Graham Motion said Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Yatta, third in the Dec. 2 Jimmy Durante (G3) at Del Mar, will scratch, giving Mathis Stable’s Mojave Desert, a front-running maiden winner on Gulfstream’s Tapeta over Thanksgiving weekend, the chance to run as the lone also-eligible.
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