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Silks Run Preview: Carotari Back For Title Defense
Carotari winning the Ellis Park Turf Sprint (Credit: Coady Photography)

Silks Run Preview: Carotari Back For Title Defense

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – William Branch’s Carotari is back to defend his title in Saturday’s $75,000 Silks Run Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

The Silks Run is a 5-furlong turf sprint open to horses ages 4 and up. This year’s edition is the penultimate event on a 12-race card and has a local post time of 5:19 PM.

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Here’s a look at the full field for the Silks Run:

1. Yes I Am Free 5/2 – He steps back up to the stakes ranks after winning 2 of his past 4 starts and coming within a 1/2-length of winning the others, all with returning rider Emisael Jaramillo in the irons. Expect the front-running gelding to gun from the rail and try to outkick as many rivals as possible heading into the far turn. He has a sharp 5-3-2-0 record over this course and distance.

2. Sovereign Warrior 20/1 – He takes a big step back up to the stakes ranks after running for a mid-level tag for most of the past year and has only 1 victory in his past 21 starts, all on turf and most of which came sprinting. Trainer Juan Avila hits at 22% in stakes with a high $9.48 ROI but is just 3% in turf sprints, so sharp bettors will demand value from him come post time before playing him.

3. Harry’s Ontheloose 6/1 – He returns for his fourth straight try over this course and distance after finishing fourth in the Janus and third in both the Claiming Crown Canterbury and the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint (G3) last time out. His Beyer Speed Figures have improved in 4 starts since returning to breeder/trainer Herman Wilensky’s care last fall.

4. Carotari 3/1 – He returned from nearly five months off to finish second by a neck in the 5-furlong Pulse Power Turf Sprint Stakes at Sam Houston. He owns a 3-2-1-0 course and distance record that includes winning last year’s Silks Run gate to wire and trainer Brian Lynch wins 31% with a $4.41 ROI when his horses make their second starts after simlar layoffs.

“The Silks Run has been a good race over the years,” Lynch said. “I won it a couple times with Power Alert, and this guy’s won it, so I’m really looking forward to it. (Carotari’s) a lovely horse to be around and has a great demeanor about him. Nine times out of ten, he shows up when you lead him over there.”

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5. The Connector 8/1 – Since Dennis Ward took over training duties late last year, he won 2 of 4, all at Tampa Bay Downs in 5-furlong turf sprints, and was third last time out in the Turf Dash Stakes. This is a step up in class from what he’s faced across town, but Ward hits at 27% in turf sprints and attracted the services of Jose Ortiz for the first time.

6. Mai Ty One On 4/1 – He returned from a six-month break to defeat $35k claimers over this course and distance in January, then repeated that effort against $62k optional claimers last time out. Jockey Luis Saez rides for the fourth straight time and should use this outer post draw to try stalking the early speed and pouncing in the stretch.

7. Citrus Burst 8/1 – He rallied hard to defeat optional claimers over this course and distance 2 back, then nearly did the same against a higher level last time out, ultimately finishing third behind Mai Ty One On and Yes I Am Free. Corey Lanerie rides for the third straight start and will likely be sending him from behind as they round the far turn.

8. Long Blade 15/1 – Trainer Juan Arias claimed him for $25k in January after he lost by a neck over this course and distance, then ran him back protected against starter allowance rivals in an off-turf dirt sprint that didn’t go well for him. He returns to his preferred surface (6 of his 7 wins came on grass), but this is the toughest field that he’s faced in his 22-race career.

9. Kobe Fifty Two 20/1 – He climbs the ladder to the stakes ranks for the first time after gamely wiring a $35k starter allowance field over this course and distance last time out, ultimately winning the head bob to spring the 29/1 upset. While that produced a career-best Beyer Speed Figure and all 3 of his wins came going 5 furlongs on this lawn, this is still a major step up in class.

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