(Crazy Beautiful / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
From the Gulfstream Park Media Team:
Trainer Kenny McPeek will be on a quest to win back-to-back runnings of the $200,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) Saturday when he saddles Crazy Beautiful for the 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
Last year, McPeek saddled Swiss Skydiver for a 9-1 upset victory in the Gulfstream Park Oaks that would set the tone for an Eclipse Award-winning campaign that included a victory in the Alabama (G1) at Saratoga and a photo-finish victory over Authentic in the Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico.
The 51st running of the Gulfstream Park Oaks will be among 10 stakes on Saturday’s program that will be headlined by the $750,000 Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm at Xalapa. Saturday’s 14-race card will also be highlighted by as mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 pool, which is expected to swell into the multi-millions should the popular multi-race wager go unsolved through Friday. There will also be guaranteed pools of $750,000 for the Late Pick 5 and Late Pick 4.
The Gulfstream Park Oaks will offer 170 qualifying points for the April 30 Kentucky Oaks (G1) on a 100-40-20-10 basis.
Phoenix Thoroughbred III’s Crazy Beautiful is coming off a second-place finish in the Feb. 27 Davona Dale (G2) at Gulfstream. The daughter of Liam’s Map rallied from well off the pace in her 2021 debut to finish a distant second to going-away winner Wholebodemeister. She was making her first start since finishing off the board in the Nov. 6 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Keeneland.
“She ran great here. I think that she’s training well enough that we should go right now,” McPeek said.
Crazy Beautiful launched her career last summer with back-to-back wins at Ellis Park, including the Debutante Stakes before finishing second in the Pocahontas (G3) at Churchill Downs. The Kentucky-bred filly was favored to win the Alcibiades (G1) at Keeneland but was no match for stablemate Simply Ravishing while finishing second.
Jose Ortiz has the mount aboard Crazy Beautiful, who was rated as the 5-2 morning-line favorite.
Trainer Todd Pletcher is scheduled to saddle Con Lima for a return to dirt in the Oaks. Multiple graded stakes-placed on turf in her two most recent starts, the daughter of Commissioner is hardly heading to foreign territory. The Texas-bred filly, who is owned in a partnership by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, graduated over Gulfstream’s main track July 31 after finishing a close second to Wholebodemeister in her debut over a sloppy track three weeks earlier.
“It’s something we’ve been thinking about for a while. Being a graded-stakes and all – and she seems to like Gulfstream – we decided to give it a try,” Pletcher said.
After finishing second behind Simply Ravishing in the off-the-turf P. G. Johnson, Con Lima returned to Gulfstream to finish second in the off-the-turf Our Dear Peggy. Sent around two turns on turf for her next two starts, Con Lima romped to front-running optional claiming allowance victories by open lengths. She showed the way before fading to second in the Jan. 30 Sweetest Chant (G3) and came back to overcome trouble leaving the starting gate to close from far back and finish second in the Herecomesthebride (G3) Feb. 27.
“Her races on the turf have been very good, but she’s been consistent on both surfaces,” Pletcher said. “It seemed like the right trip to try it.”
Irad Ortiz Jr. has the return mount on Con Lima, who is rated second at 3-1 in the morning line.
Competitive Speed, a sprint-stakes winner owned by John Minchello, is scheduled to make her first start around two turns Saturday. The daughter of Competitive Edge is coming off a third-place finish in the one-turn mile Davona Dale, in which she made a wide middle move to challenge front-running Wholebodemeister on the turn into the homestretch before weakening to finish third, 1 ½ lengths behind Crazy Beautiful.
Competitive Speed broke her maiden at Gulfstream Park West last July in her second career start while racing for a $25,000 claiming tag. She came back to win an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream by 4 ½ lengths going away.
“After she won that race, I said, ‘Oh, I think we’ve got something,” trainer Javier Gonzalez said.
Competitive Speed came back to win the 6 ½-furlong Glitter Woman by three lengths before finishing a troubled sixth in the Forward Gal and third in the Davona Dale.
“She’s one of those horses that never make you look bad,” Gonzalez said. “She has a big heart in a small package.”
Gonzalez is confident that Competitive Speed will handle two turns.
“I don’t think two turns will be a problem for her,” Gonzalez said. “She’s been working very good and finishing up strong.”
Leonel Reyes has the return mount aboard Competitive Speed.
Juddmonte Farms Inc.’s Millefeuille will seek to rebound from a seventh-place finish in the Davona Dale Saturday. The Bill Mott-trained daughter of Curlin had previously finished second at Aqueduct in the Dec. 6 Demoiselle, in which she set the pace before falling a half-length short of holding off undefeated Malathaat.
Tyler Gaffalione is scheduled to ride the homebred filly for the first time Saturday.
Trainer Dale Romans, who has saddled the winners of three Gulfstream Park Oaks, is scheduled to saddle Calumet Farm’s Bow Bow Girl and Robert Baron’s Len Lo Lady for this year’s running.
Bow Bow Girl is coming off an impressive maiden score at Gulfstream Park in her third career start. The homebred daughter of Oxbow set a pressured pace before drawing off to win the 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight race by 4 ½ lengths. Len Lo Lady broke her maiden by more than 10 lengths in a $50,000 claiming race prior to finishing third in a mile optional claiming allowance.
Corey Lanerie has the return call on Bow Bow Girl, while Hall of Famer John Velazquez is scheduled to ride Len Lo Lady for the first time.
Dennis Smith and Daniel Walters’ Pens Street will seek to improve on a a distant fourth in the Davona Dale last time out.
The Rohan Crichton-trained daughter of Street Sense, who finished first and second in her first two career starts, will be ridden by Miguel Vasquez.