Diamond Oops seeks repeat win against top contender C Z Rocket in Smile Sprint (G3) Invitation List

June 21, 2021

Ce Ce Still Most Prominent of Princess Rooney (G2) Invitees

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Madaket Stables LLC, Gary Barber and Tom Kagele’s C Z Rocket tops a list of 15 invitees for the $200,000 Smile Sprint Invitational (G3) July 3 at Gulfstream Park.

The Smile Sprint, a six-furlong dash for 3-year-olds and up that will offer a $25,000 win-only bonus for Florida-bred entrants, will be featured on the Summit of Speed program that will be headlined by the $350,000 Princess Rooney (G2), a seven-furlong Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and  In’ sprint for fillies and mares.

Peter Miller-trained C Z Rocket won five straight races last year before finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Keeneland. The multiple Grade 2 stakes winner won his first two 2021 starts, including a victory in the Count Fleet Sprint (G3) at Oaklawn, before coming up a little short to finish second last time out while stretching out in the Steve Sexton Mile (G3) at Lone Star Park.

Diamond Racing Club LLC and partners’ Diamond Oops, the 2019 Smile Sprint champion who is being asked back to seek a second score in the race named for the 1986 Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion, is a multiple graded-stakes winner who is Grade 1 stakes-placed on dirt and turf.

After winning the 2019 Smile, the Patrick Biancone-trained 6-year-old gelding went on to finish second in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt on dirt at Saratoga and the Shadwell Mile on turf at Keeneland. After starting his 2020 campaign with a solid fourth-place finish in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream while stretching out to 1 1/8 miles, Diamond Oops returned to one-turn races to win the Twin Spires Turf (G2) at Churchill and the Phoenix (G2) on dirt at Keeneland. The millionaire son of Lookin At Lucky followed up a pair of subpar efforts to capture a six-furlong overnight handicap June 5 at Gulfstream Park.

Michael Dubb’s Chateau, who captured the Tom Fool (G3) at Aqueduct, is also prominent on the invitation list. The Rob Atras-trained 6-year-old gelding followed up his graded-stakes score in March with a fourth-place finish in the Carter (G1) at Aqueduct and a runner-up finish behind Firenze Fire in the Runhappy (G3) at Belmont.

Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher’s Special Reserve made the Smile invitational list by winning the Maryland Sprint (G3) at Pimlico on the Preakness (G1) undercard. In the 5-year-old gelding’s prior start, the Michael Maker trainee finished second in the Commonwealth (G3) at Keeneland.

Trainers Kathy Ritvo and Saffie Joseph Jr. are both represented on the Smile invitation list by three horses.

Reeves Thoroughbred Racing owns the Ritvo-trained trio of Double Crown, Frosted Grace and Ournationonparade.  Double Crown, who concluded his 2020 campaign with graded-stakes placings in the Smile Sprint and the Chick Lang (G3) at Pimlico, came off a 6 ½-month layoff to win a May 23 stakes-quality optional claiming allowance last time out. Frosted Grace, whom Dean and Patti Reeves own in partnership with William Branch, is graded stakes-placed in two of his three 2021 starts, including a troubled third behind Special Reserve in the Maryland Sprint last time out. Ournationonparade most recently finished third behind Diamond Oops June 5.

Shooting Star Thoroughbreds LLC’s Chance It, the hero of the 2019 Florida Sire Stakes series and the winner of the 2020 Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream, tops the Joseph trio. The 4-year-old son of Currency Swap recently came off a 14-month layoff to finish second behind Double Crown. Daniel Alonso’s Wind of Change, who captured the ungraded Mr. Prospector at Monmouth last time out, and Elona Jones’ Doc Amster, a last-out optional claiming allowance winner, also made the invitational list.

David Melin, Leon Ellman and Laurie Plesa’s Miles Ahead, who was just a head behind Diamond Oops while finishing second in the June 5 overnight handicap at Gulfstream; Bell Racing LLC’s Real Talk, an impressive winner of a recent six-furlong optional claiming allowance; Rigney Racing LLC’s Rubus, an optional claiming allowance winner at Churchill Downs last time out; Jacks or Better Farm Inc.’s Shivaree, a multiple stakes winner who finished second behind Tiz the Law in the 2020 Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream; and Lea Farms LLC’s Willy Boi, who captured the Hutcheson during this year’s Championship Meet at Gulfstream; round out the list of Smile Invitees.

Ce Ce Still Most Prominent of Princess Rooney (G2) Invitees

Bo Hirsch LLC’s Ce Ce is still the most prominent invitee to the $350,000 Princess Rooney (G2) July 3 at Gulfstream Park.

The multiple Grade 1 stakes winner is also the most accomplished performer on the second of three invitational lists for the Princess Rooney, a seven-furlong Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ race for fillies and mares that will headline the Summit of Speed program that will also feature the $200,000 Smile Sprint Invitational (G3), a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up.

Ce Ce, who captured the Beholder Mile (G1) at Santa Anita and the Apple Blossom (G1) at Oaklawn last year, is trained by Michael McCarthy, who ventured from his Santa Anita base with City of Light to win the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream in 2019. The 5-year-old daughter of Elusive Quality has raced twice this year, debuting with a 3 ¼-length victory in a seven-furlong optional claiming allowance April 17 before coming up short in a fourth-place finish in the two-turn Santa Maria (G2) a month later.

Trainer Brad Cox, who took Gulfstream’s top prize after saddling Knicks Go for a victory in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Jan. 23, is represented on the Princess Rooney invitational list by two horses. OXO Equine LLC’s Mundaye Call joins Kueber Racing LLC and partners’ Vault, who captured the Ruffian (G2) at Belmont last time out, on the list of 13 invitees.

Mundaye Call is one of five fillies and mares added to the second of three Princess Rooney invitation lists. Ciaglia Racing LLC and partners’ Venetian Harbour, 2W Racing LLC’s Bronx Beauty, e Five Racing Thoroughbreds’ Sound Machine, and and Saul Kupferberg’s Honor Way are also first-time Princess Rooney invitees.

Venetian Harbour, a 4-year-old daughter of Munnings who captured the Raven Run (G2) at Keeneland before finishing off the board in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) last year, made a victorious 2021 debut on turf in the June 5 Monrovia (G2) at Santa Anita. The Richard Baltas trainee finished second in the Ashland (G1) at Keeneland and Test (G1) at Saratoga last year before winning the Raven Run.

The second of three Princess Rooney Invitational lists includes two others who are Grade 1 stakes-placed graded-stakes winners: Medallion Racing and partners’ Estilo Talentoso and Tommy Town Thoroughbreds LLC’s Victim of Love.

Juan Arriagada-trained Estilo Talentoso won two of six starts at Gulfstream, including a maiden score and an overnight-stakes victory, before hitting the road to finish in a dead-heat with Belle’s the One for second in the Madison, check in third in the Derby City Distaff, and win the Bed o’ Roses (G3) at Belmont. Todd Beattie-trained Victim of Love, who captured the May 8 Vagrancy (G3) at Belmont, concluded her 2020 racing second with a third-place finish in the Ballerina (G1) at Saratoga.

Holly Hill Stables LLC’s Pacific Gale, who captured the Inside Information (G2) and Hurricane Bertie (G3) during Gulfstream’s Championship Meet; LLC’s Lake Avenue and Gary Barber’s Laura’s Light are Grade 2 stakes winners have been included on the first two invitation lists.

Daniel J Lopez and George Chestnut’s Chub Wagon, who remained undefeated while winning the June 13 Shine Again at Pimlico; Godolphin LLC’s Lakeside Avenue, runner-up in the Ruffian last time out; Gary Barber’s Laura’s Light, a multiple graded-stakes winner on turf; and Windylea Farms IV LLC’s Thissmytime, who finished second behind Pacific Gale in the Inside Information; round out the Princess Rooney invitation list.

The third and final invitational list will be published June 27.

Gulfstream Park Press Release

Photo: Diamond Oops winning the 2019 edition of the Smile Sprint. (Coglianese)

Very well done piece by The King, John Stettin twitter.com/jonathanstetti…

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