Drifaros winning a $87,000 AOC at Gulfstream Park Jan. 22, 2023 (Ryan Thompson)
David Joseph/Gulfstream Park
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.— My Purple Haze Stables’ Drifaros is scheduled to step into graded stakes company in Saturday’s $125,000 Hurricane Bertie (G3) at Gulfstream Park, where the 4-year-old daughter of Kantharos will make a bid for her fifth consecutive victory.
“There are a couple of really nice fillies in the race, but she’s going to show up,” trainer Terri Pompay said. “She’s going to be a contender, definitely.”
The Hurricane Bertie, a 6 ½-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares, will headline a 12-race program that will also feature the $100,000 Captiva Island, a five-furlong turf dash for older fillies and mares.
Pompay has had to tread softly while training Drifaros, who has experienced foot issues throughout her career.
“She doesn’t grow much foot, so it’s been a bit of a challenge,” Pompay said. “We train her barefoot. We put the shoes on about a week out. We’ll usually do an open gallop, breeze her a little, with the shoes on. We leave them on her, and she runs in them.”
Her feet may be a little tender, but she has been tough to beat. While presenting Pompay with the challenge off protecting the Kentucky-bred filly’s feet while properly training her for a peak effort, Drifaros has won four straight races following a third-place finish in her debut. She graduated at Monmouth by 2 ¾ lengths last June despite trouble at the start and game back three weeks late to capture an allowance race by 3 ¼ lengths while rallying from off the pace.
“She’s a nice filly. She wants to do it and she loves to do it. She is getting better and better,” said Pompay while stressing that Drifaros is very sound. “She had a few issues with her feet last summer at Monmouth. Her feet, they don’t grow a lot. Walking on the concrete there back and forth to the barn, they were just killing her. We tried putting glue-on shoes on her, but it didn’t really work with her.”
Drifaros was turned out with the hopes that her feet would grow a little more. She returned at Gulfstream Jan. 22 with a dominating 2 ¼-length optional claiming allowance victory before going on to win the Feb. 11 Minaret Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.
“She’s a medium-sized filly. She’s not big. She’s not little. She’s kind of non-descript, but when it comes to a race, she’s there,” Pompay said.
Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano is scheduled to ride Drifaros for the first time Saturday.
Frank Fletcher Racing Operations Inc.’s Frank’s Rockette is expected to be heavily favored for the Hurricane Bertie. The 5-year-old daughter of Into Mischief, who has been first or second in 19 of 25 starts, is coming off a 12 ¼-length victory in the six-furlong Sugar Swirl (G3) Dec. 31 at Gulfstream Park.
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott has named Junior Alvarado to ride his multiple graded-stakes winner.
St. Elias Stable’s Colorful Mischief enters the Hurricane Bertie off a pair of runner-up finishes at Gulfstream. The 4-year-old daughter of Into Mischief ran second behind Maryquitecontrary in both the mile Rampart and seven-furlong Inside Information (G2) with late rallies.
“She’s been doing well; she’s been running well. It looks like she’s going to be competing against a heavy favorite in there, so she’s going to have to step up,” trainer Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher said. “She would definitely benefit from a fast pace, so we’ll hope that develops.”
Jose Ortiz is scheduled to ride Colorful Mischief for the first time.
Diamond Racing Club LLC, Amy Dunne and trainer Patrick Biancone’s Diamond Wow, who rebounded from a ninth-place finish in the Inside Information with a sharp three-length optional claiming allowance win; Albaugh Family Stables LLC’s Fire On Time, third in the Inside Information; and Averill Racing LLC, and ATM Racing’s R Adios Jersey, fourth in the Inside Information; round out the field.