Tropical Park Derby, Other Gulfstream Stakes Draw Deep Fields
Turf horses will be in the spotlight at Gulfstream Park on December 30th, a day when the Florida racetrack will host five turf stakes races featuring large and competitive fields.First up is the $100,000 H. Allen Jerkens at two miles on turf, and while it drew the smallest field among the stakes races (just eight starters), its extended distance makes it one of the most intriguing races on the card. A detailed preview of the race can be found here.
The $75,000 Tropical Park Oaks drew so many entries that it will be run in two divisions, each featuring thirteen starters. The first division includes the four-time graded stakes winner Miss Sky Warrior, who will be making her turf debut, as well as the stakes winners Rose Tree and Storm the Hill. The second division came up even tougher, with trainer sending out the Commonwealth Oaks (gr. III) runner-up Taperge to take on a quality field filled with stakes winners and lightly-raced up-and-comers, including the accomplished Sister Nation, the Maryland-bred stakes winner My Sistersledge, and the promising Speighgal, a Barclay Tagg-trained filly that has won her last two starts with sharp late runs.
The penultimate race on the card is the $75,000 Via Borghese Stakes for fillies and mares going 1 3/16 miles on turf. Martini Glass, runner-up in both the Spinster Stakes (gr. I) and the Delaware Handicap (gr. I) on dirt, should be among the favorites following a win in the Claiming Crown Tiara over the Gulfstream turf course earlier this month. But she’s hardly a standout in a race filled with graded stakes competitors such as Galileo’s Song, a Chad Brown runner coming off a runner-up effort in the Long Island Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct; Daring Duchess, winner of the Keertana Stakes at Churchill Downs; and Beauly, who was beaten just over a length when fourth in the prestigious Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. I) last time out.
Gulfstream will arguably save the best race for last, as the $75,000 Tropical Park Derby attracted a full field of fourteen starters plus one also-eligible and could be the highlight of the day from a wagering perspective. Chad Brown once again holds a strong hand with Funtastic, who enters off a narrow defeat in the Gio Ponti Stakes at Aqueduct, but Small Bear—winner of the Gio Ponti—will be back again, along with English Channel Stakes winner Dalarna, Hawthorne Derby victor My Bariley, and the Ontario Derby (gr. III) winner Tiz a Slam.
Post time for the first race of the day is 12:00 p.m. Eastern.