The Gulfstream Park racing strip has been very good to both Obligatory and Maryquitecontrary, who will clash in Saturday’s $200,000 Inside Information (G2) on the Pegasus World Cup undercard.
One of the more recognizable older female sprinters of recent seasons, Obligatory is 2-for-2 at Gulfstream, including last year’s Hurricane Bertie (G3). A gray with a patented late kick, she earned a signature win last May in the Derby City Distaff (G1) at Churchill Downs, but concluded 2022 finishing third in the Ballerina H. (G1) and a belated fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1), both times behind presumptive division champion Goodnight Olive.
Maryquitecontrary has raced exclusively at Gulfstream, where she has won five of six starts. She enters the seven-furlong Inside Information on a four-race win streak, the latest being a 3 1/2-length tally in the Dec. 31 Rampart S. going one mile.
Eight others will line up against the above heavyweights, including Rampart runner-up Colorful Mischief and Last Leaf, a dual stakes winner over the surface.
A baker’s dozen of older males will square off in the $150,000 Fred W. Hooper (G3) over one mile. Although he has yet to win a graded stakes, the Grade 1-placed Miles D perhaps is the most talented member of the field. However, the Chad Brown trainee has not been out since finishing third to Olympiad in the Mineshaft (G3) last February and drew the rail in this congested field.
An abundance of speed in the Hooper might benefit Miles D, but also rivals with a recency edge. Among that group is Dean Delivers, recent runner-up in the Mr. Prospector (G3) going seven furlongs. Last-out allowance winner Endorsed is cross-entered in the Pegasus World Cup (G1), in which he finished fourth last year.
A familiar cast lines up for the $200,000 William L. McKnight (G3) over 1 1/2 miles on the turf. Abaan won the McKnight a year ago by two lengths over Temple, but has placed in only one of five starts since. The latter has been more productive, taking the Mac Diarmida (G2) and placing in the United Nations (G1) and Sycamore (G3).
Other notables include the nine-year-old Red Knight and Channel Maker, the latter a former champion turf male who hasn’t placed in five prior runs over the Gulfstream turf.
The stakes action Saturday kicks off with the $150,000 La Prevoyante (G3), a 12-furlong grass test for fillies and mares. Adventuring, a Godolphin homebred who has won four stakes, is the likely favorite, though Personal Best and Transient, both of whom won entry-level allowances at Aqueduct over 1 3/8 miles last fall, have plenty of scope for improvement while stepping up in class.