Miss J McKay, Imagery Meet Again in Ladies Turf Sprint

February 8, 2023

Miss J McKay winning the Abundantia Stakes at Gulfstream Park Dec. 24, 2022. (Ryan Thompson)

Joins G3 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint on Saturday Progam

David Joseph/Gulfstream Park

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.— Oakwood Stables, Cheyenne Stable and trainer Christophe Clement’s multiple stakes winner Miss J McKay will face a familiar cast of characters as she chases a second consecutive victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Ladies Turf Sprint at Gulfstream Park.

The Ladies Turf Sprint for fillies and mares 4 and older and $100,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint (G3) for 4-year-olds and up, both going five furlongs, highlight a 12-race program that begins at 12:10 p.m.

Miss J McKay is one of five horses in the Ladies Turf Sprint exiting the five-furlong Abundantia on Christmas Eve at Gulfstream, in which she withstood some early trouble and came with a wide rally to win by 1 ¼ lengths.

It was the fourth career stakes win and second straight in the Abundantia for Miss J McKay, who Clement and partners purchased for $325,000 at Keeneland’s November 2022 breeding stock sale. Clement took over the 6-year-old mare’s training after she sold at the same sale in 2020 for $300,000.

With Clement, Miss J McKay has four wins, including the 2022 License Fee at Belmont Park, and was third in last winter’s Captiva Island at Gulfstream from 11 starts. She has been in the money in 13 of 20 lifetime races with $466,893 in purse earnings and is two-for-three at Gulfstream.

“She is doing good,” Clement said. “She was impressive when she won the other day, and she has trained well since.”

Joel Rosario inherits the mount from Tyler Gaffalione, who will be out of town Saturday. Miss J McKay drew Post 7 in a field of nine sharing topweight of 120 pounds with fellow multiple stakes winner Spun Glass, who ran sixth in the Abundantia beaten 2 ½ lengths.

“She’s doing very well, and she seems to like Gulfstream, so let’s go,” Clement said. “The key with her is to just put her where she is comfortable and not make it too complicated.”

Imagery won an Allowance at Woodbine Oct. 29, 2022.

Gary Barber’s Imagery also encountered some early trouble in the Abundantia, raced near the lead throughout along the rail and ran on determinedly under Irad Ortiz Jr. to edge Stony Point by a neck for second. It was Imagery’s 22nd career start and first since being claimed for $50,000 out of a six-furlong sprint over Woodbine’s all-weather course last November.

“She’s been a great claim. Obviously when you can take a horse and move them up into stakes company and get black type, it’s huge,” said Nick Tomlinson, assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse. “Gary is an incredibly sharp man and he’s the one that usually picks them out for us to go and claim them. It worked out great for us. She’s been training really well going into the race, so hopefully we can get there.”

Imagery, 5, is seeking her first stakes in her fourth try. A three-length maiden winner second time out sprinting five furlongs on the Gulfstream turf in January 2021, she was third last fall in the Ontario Colleen (G3), also over Woodbine’s synthetic surface.

Hall of Famer Javier Castellano gets the call on Imagery from Post 3.

“Hopefully she can kind of work out a similar trip. Last time, Irad said she fired through the hole on the inside,” Tomlinson said. “It seemed like from my perspective it took her a couple of strides to kind of fire through there, but hopefully we have a similar trip where we can kind of sit close and make one run and, hopefully, we’re the winners this time.”

Joseph Allen’s 5-year-old homebred Stony Point was third in the Abundantia, just her sixth start and first in a stakes. Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, she pressed the pace was still running at the end, finishing 1 ¾ lengths ahead of Mamba Wamba.

William Werner and Triton Stable’s Mamba Wamba, bred in Ireland, won a five-furlong optional claimer over the Gulfstream turf in December 2021, her first U.S. start. The 5-year-old mare also won an off-the-turf optional claimer sprinting five furlongs Dec. 1 at Gulfstream in her prep for the Abundantia.

One Identity, second in last winter’s Any Limit on dirt at Gulfstream; Charlie T, runner-up in the Nelson J. Menard Memorial Jan. 14 at Fair Grounds; War of Ages and Moor Strength complete the field.

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