April 23, 2024

Pletcher, Repole loaded in graded stakes on Holy Bull undercard

Agate Road in The Pilgrim S. at Aqueduct
Agate Road wins the Pilgrim at Aqueduct (Photo by Coglianese Photography)

Before champion Fierceness takes the stage in the Holy Bull (G3), Scalable will represent the same connections in the $125,000 Forward Gal (G3) on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. Although it’s shorter as a seven-furlong contest, the Forward Gal offers the same 20-10-6-4-2 points format to the top five finishers.

The scoring races are part of a quintet of sophomore stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. Turf performers are showcased in the 1 1/16-mile Kitten’s Joy (G3) and Sweetest Chant (G3), each carrying a purse of $175,000, and the $125,000 Swale S. corresponds to the Forward Gal as a seven-furlong affair.

Forward Gal (G3) – Race 10 (4:38 p.m. ET)

Scalable tops the Forward Gal for the Fierceness connections, Repole Stable and trainer Todd Pletcher. Runner-up in the Chandelier (G2) and fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) as a maiden, the Speightstown filly bolted up by six lengths on the class drop versus maidens here Jan. 4. Scalable, the only Forward Gal entrant with experience on the Oaks trail, has eight points so far.

The Mark Casse-trained Witwatersrand comes off a victory in the 1 1/16-mile Mazarine (G3) on the Woodbine Tapeta. R Harper Rose, who lost her perfect record when stretching out in the My Dear Girl division of the Florida Sire S., returns to the seven-furlong conditions of her Susan’s Girl romp. The same point applies to Chi Chi, a two-time stakes winner sprinting, and runner-up in the Sandpiper S., who failed to factor in the one-mile Cash Run S. Chi Chi is bred to go farther, an Audible half-sister to Simplification, but she has lived up to their proficiency at this track.

Chad Brown sends out another Audible, Nikitis, off a maiden score at Aqueduct. Although that was her fourth try, the well-related filly had placed in salty company, including a head loss to eventual Untapable S. winner Alpine Princess at Saratoga. Stakes debutante Fiona’s Magic was a convincing winner of her past two on this track, and Maryland Juvenile Filly S. scorer Kissedbyanangel was most recently third in the Glitter Woman S. in her local bow.

Kitten’s Joy (G3) – Race 11 (5:08 p.m. ET)

The Pletcher/Repole tandem is double-handed with Agate Road (co-owned by St. Elias Stable) and Noted.

Agate Road, who was floored by front-running 13-1 shot Tocayo in the Dania Beach S., will appreciate stepping back up to 1 1/16 miles for the rematch. The Quality Road colt is 2-for-2 at this trip, including the Pilgrim (G2). The deep closer has found a mile too short, both when a belated fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) and runner-up to Tocayo’s larceny in the Dania Beach.

Stablemate Noted will try to make it a double after getting up in a blanket finish in the Pulpit S. The admirably consistent son of Cairo Prince has finished out of the exacta only once, when ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) on the main track. But he did beat Dornoch in the Sapling S. over Monmouth’s main strip before just missing in the Bourbon (G2) back on the turf at Keeneland.

First World War goes back to turf following two fine efforts on dirt. The Brendan Walsh pupil was runner-up to Holy Bull contender Otello in the Mucho Macho Man S. as well as in Parchment Party’s useful allowance at Churchill Downs. Originally starting out on the grass, First World War was a debut winner at Kentucky Downs and fourth as the favorite in the Bourbon.

Armed Forces S. victor Freedom Principle switches from Tapeta to turf, but the son of versatile Flameaway figures to transfer his form. Rounding out the field are Dania Beach fourth Edgartown; course-and-distance maiden winner Hammerstein; Deadpan, a rallying third in an allowance; and Quokka, a troubled eighth in the Central Park S.

Sweetest Chant (G3) – Race 8 (3:38 p.m. ET)

The stakes action opens with the Sweetest Chant, where Repole and Pletcher are represented by Life’s an Audible. Missing by a half-length to Hard to Justify in the Miss Grillo (G2), she didn’t duplicate that form when only eighth behind her in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). The daughter of Audible rebounded with a second in the Jan. 6 Ginger Brew S. here going a mile, and the extra sixteenth should help her cause.

The competitive field includes Dynamic Pricing, a debut winner at Aqueduct for Brown; Irish import Milliat, a fast-closing second by a neck in the Wait a While S. in her American premiere; well-bred Golden Ghost, winner of two straight for Casse; Christophe Clement’s recent course-and-distance maiden winner Style Points; and Jessamine (G2) runner-up Pharoah’s Wine.

Swale S. – Race 9 (4:08 p.m. ET)

The Swale serves as an intriguing clash of promising sophomores at varying points of development, and likely different aptitudes, ranging from sprint types to those who could be looking to stretch out in time.

Risk It cuts back to a sprint for the first time since his impressive unveiling at Saratoga. Steve Asmussen logically gave the Gun Runner colt opportunities on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, but he regressed from a second in the Iroquois (G3) to a fourth in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) and fifth in the Gun Runner S. In contrast, recent Sugar Bowl S. hero Legalize enters on an upward curve, and the Cherie DeVaux pupil might use this as a launching pad to routing.

Florida-bred Bentornato was untouchable around one turn, romping in three stakes, until succumbing to third in the 1 1/16-mile In Reality division of the Florida Sire S. Drawn on the rail here, Bentornato will show his trademark speed. Squints, a hampered seventh behind Bentornato in the Affirmed division, came right back to win the Nov. 11 Juvenile Sprint for state-breds.

Grand Mo the First, 2-for-2 sprinting over Gulfstream’s Tapeta earlier this summer, similarly shortens up following a third in the Oct. 8 Zuma Beach (G3) on the Santa Anita turf. Two are reverting in trip after finishing far up the track in the Remsen (G2) – Bill Mott’s Billal, previously third in the Nashua S. as well as in Fierceness’s sensational debut, and Le Dom Bro, a maiden winner at the Spa two back.

Santa Anita maiden winner Colorado Cruiser makes his first start since joining Jack Sisterson. The Catalina Cruiser colt had been no match for the likes of Nysos and Coach Prime in his two prior outings, and he just prevailed in a six-furlong test last out. Frankie’s Empire is a three-time winner on the Midatlantic circuit.