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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – While Gulfstream Park isn’t known for holding great racing this time of year, this Saturday’s $350,000 Princess Rooney Stakes (G2) has a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) up for grabs and a tight field of eight fillies and mares trying to take it.
The 7-furlong dirt sprint is set for race 11 on a 12-race card with a local post time of 4:35 PM.
Heading the field is Estilo Talentoso, who took home the Bed O’ Roses Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park in her latest start. She’d been close to winning a few similar races in the past, so it was nice to see her finally break through. She’ll exit from the rail for this contest with Javier Castellano up for the mount.
The Grade 1-winning Southern California shipper Ce Ce adds plenty of intrigue. She dominated allowance foes 2 starts back but was a disappointing fourth in the Santa Margarita Stakes (G3) last time out. She’ll try to rebound from post 5 with regular rider Victor Espinoza along for the trip east.
Laura’s Light ships in from Lone Star Park after dominating her rivals in the off-the-turf Ouija Board Distaff last time out. That was her first start on dirt, which means she might improve trying it for the second time here. She’ll break from post 6 with Florent Geroux up for the mount.
The full field from the rail out: Estilo Talentoso, Heiressall, Thissmytime, Pacific Gale, Ce Ce, Laura’s Light, Hallawallah, and Sound Machine.
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#6 Laura’s Light – She made her dirt debut a winning one last time out at Lone Star Park in a race that I saw in person. That effort was good enough to try the dirt again for a trainer in Peter Miller who is always tough in sprints of any caliber and on any surface. This is a much tougher challenge than her last, but she seems to have the talent to get the job done.
#1 Estilo Talentoso – She can make it 2 graded stakes wins in a row and has shown consistency throughout her career, plus her talent level seems to be improving with each start. Look for her to drop towards the back early and make one big run down the lane.
#3 Thissmytime – She’ll run off a bit of a layoff for a trainer who’s pretty good in similar spots. Her past races were very consistent and this seems to be her favorite track. It’s hard to separate the top horses in this race, so her morning line price of 6/1 makes her more interesting.
#5 Ce Ce – She’s become a bit inconsistent, but at her best, she’s tough to beat in a spot like this. She’s been solid at this distance, which helps her chances. She may not be an exciting play at a short price, but you probably need to put her on your tickets because she’s the class of the field.
#4 Pacific Gale – At her best, this horse has a shot to jump up and make a big impact in the race. The problem is that she’s pretty inconsistent, and her record proves that she has to be at her best to win a race of this caliber. If she shows up with her top effort, then she’ll have a shot to win the whole thing, but she’s more likely a hit-the-board type.
#8 Sound Machine – She defeated state-bred stakes company in her last start, which makes her a bit interesting in this spot. She usually shows up with a solid effort and trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. always has success at this track. We could see her make some noise at a decent price.
#7 Hallawallah – This horse picked up an easy victory in her last start; however, that was against much lesser competition. This field is much tougher than what she usually faces.
#2 Heiressall – Even though she won last time out, this is going to be a big challenge. It would be a total surprise if she makes any impact in this difficult spot.
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