R Harper Rose Tackles G3 Forward Gal With Aplomb

February 3, 2024

R Harper Rose aces her graded stakes test (Coglianese)

David Joseph/Gulfstream Park

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.— One turn remains no problem for R Harper Rose.

Averill Racing and Two Eight Racing LLC’s R Harper Rose remained undefeated around one turn when she pulled away from Fiona’s Magic entering the stretch on way to a victory in the $125,000 Forward Gal (G3).

A daughter of Khozan ridden by Edgard Zayas and trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., R Harper Rose won her first four races, including the Susan’s Girl division of the Florida Sire Stakes, before finishing second in the 1 1/16-mile finale of the Sire Stakes. Turning back to one turn and seven furlongs Saturday, R Harper Rose didn’t have much problem with the distance or the competition.

Second down the backstretch outside Fiona’s Magic, who went a quarter mile in :22:63 and a half in :45.90, Zayas moved R Harper Rose to the lead midway around the turn before winning by two lengths over Fiona’s Magic. Chi Chi was third and Scalable fourth.

“I just let her break out of there natural and see where she was sitting,” Zayas said. “I had a great post position where the speed was on the inside, so there was no rush to take the lead.

“I think, sprinting, she can go against any filly. She’s really fast out of there. She could have been on the lead if I let her go.”

Joseph had no problem with R Harper Rose’s performance or keeping her at one turn.

“She’s so fast but she can settle, and back doing what she wants to do going one turn,” he said. “I’m just proud of her today. Everything went right into this race, and she showed it today. Edgar was very patient. They broke well, [Fiona’s Magic] wanted the lead and he didn’t force the issue. I think the first three-eighths of the race it worked to our advantage. It wasn’t a crazy pace.

“This is it for her, one turn. We’re not going to experiment. Last time things didn’t go right but we’re going to keep her to one turn. There’s a lot of races for her at one turn.

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