January 22, 2022

Tonalist’s Shape looms large in Hollywood Wildcat

Tonalist's Shape wins the 2020 Davona Dale (G2) (Coglianese Photography)

With limited options for Kentucky Oaks contenders presently, Tonalist’s Shape will return to the races in Friday’s $75,000 Hollywood Wildcat S. at Gulfstream Park. The Davona Dale (G2) and Forward Gal (G3) winner tops a field of eight 3-year-old fillies in the 1 1/16-mile event.

“Timing-wise it fits good. It gives us six or seven weeks for one more prep and hopefully go to the Kentucky Oaks,” trainer Saffie Joseph said.

A chestnut daughter of 2014 Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist, Tonalist’s Shape won her first five starts in convincing fashion. She owns the top Brisnet Speed rating in the Hollywood Wildcat, registering a 94 in the one-mile Davona Dale, but Tonalist’s Shape will need to rebound from her first career setback, a disappointing seventh as the 9-5 favorite in the March 28 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2).

The Gulfstream Oaks also marked her first attempt at two turns.

“I think she’s bred for two turns,” Joseph said. “Obviously, when they don’t do it the first time, there’s doubt. There’s doubt for everyone, but for me there’s none.

“But she didn’t do it, so now she’s got to go out and prove it. That’s why we’re running her and trying to answer that question right away. She should get two turns, there’s no reason she shouldn’t.”

Irad Ortiz Jr., who was up for Tonalist’s Shape’s 3 3/4-length score in the Forward Gal, retakes the mount.

Multiple Grade 3 turf winner Cheermeister will try to transfer her fine form to the main track. The dark bay daughter of Bodemeister has races exclusively on the sod for trainer Armando De La Cerda, recording four wins from six starts including the Sweetest Chant (G3) and Herecomesthebride (G3) at Gulfstream, and Cheermeister has been a confirmed front-runner. She promises to show speed from the far outside post with regular rider Emisael Jaramillo.

Up in Smoke brings a 3-for-3 record to her stakes debut. By The Big Beast, the George Weaver pupil has rallied to win every start by open lengths, receiving a 92 Brisnet Speed rating most recently for a sharp three-length tally over entry-level allowance foes, but she’s never raced past 6-furlongs. The gray Florida-bred will stretch out to two turns with Luis Saez.

Other contestants include Davona Dale third-placer Dream Marie, sixth in the Gulfstream Oaks; last-out maiden winners Pleasant Orb and Vigilantes Way; and Money Never Sleeps, who faces a class check after posting a sharp win over optional starter foes.