Nine of the 13 races at Gulfstream Park on Saturday are stakes, anchored by three-year-olds competing in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and three-year-old fillies in the Davona Dale (G2). Here’s a look a what’s on tap earlier in the program:
Never Surprised figures as an overwhelming favorite in the first stakes of the day, the $150,000 Canadian Turf S. (G3) over 1 1/16 miles. The multiple stakes winner exits a one-length loss to stablemate Colonel Liam in the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1)
“We were optimistic going into the Pegasus. We thought he’d run well, and he did,” Pletcher said. “He had an outside draw and [jockey Luis Saez] had to use him a little bit to get over, and he really fought back when Colonial Liam came to him. It was a big effort.
“If this goes well, we might look at the Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) at Keeneland. The spacing is pretty good to that.”
Pletcher should have another strong favorite in the $200,000 Mac Diarmida S. (G2) with Abaan, who looks for his fourth win in a row and third stakes win of the Gulfstream meet in the 11-furlong grass test. Abaan comfortably captured both the two-mile H. Allen Jerkens S. on Christmas Eve and the W.L. McKnight (G3) in late January.
The $200,000 Gulfstream Park Mile (G2) on the main track could evolve into another showdown between Speaker’s Corner and Fearless, the one-two finishers in the Fred W. Hooper (G3) over the track and distance on Jan. 29.
The $150,000 Honey Fox S. (G3), for fillies and mares at one mile on the turf, features several alumni from the Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G3) in late January. The runner-up in that race, Alms, returns here as does Gift List, Bipartisanship, and Wakanaka. Graded veterans Jouster and Navratilova make their season debuts, while In Italian could be live in her first stakes outing for Chad Brown.
The Christophe Clement-trained pair of Beautiful Lover and Sorrel, separated by a neck in the Jan. 29 La Prevoyante (G3), are back for another round in the $150,000 The Very One (G3) at 1 3/8 miles on the turf. Harajuku, who finished ahead of both in the Dec. 31 Via Borghese S., and the Chad Brown-trained Virginia Joy also figure to receive backing.
A field of nine three-year-olds will contest the $125,000 Palm Beach S. at one mile on the turf, with Red Danger, Coinage, Credibility, and Royal Spirit possessing prior stakes form. The filly counterpart, the $125,000 Herecomesthebride S. (G3), which goes as the nightcap, features a contentious group that includes Mischievous Kiss, Diamond Wow, Opalina, and Lia Marina.