ELMONT, N.Y. – Michael Schrader’s New York-bred Robin Sparkles will bring her brilliance to open stakes company when facing seven other fillies and mares in Sunday’s fourth running of the $150,000 Floral Park going six furlongs over the inner turf at Belmont Park.
Trained by Bruce Brown, stakes-winner Robin Sparkles boasts a consistent 12-7-2-2 record through $349,168 in lifetime earnings. The 4-year-old daughter of Elusive Quality, bred in the Empire State by Hibiscus Stables, arrives off a 1 1/4-length victory in an optional claiming tilt on September 30 over the Laurel Park turf.
Robin Sparkles enjoyed a productive sophomore campaign, climbing up the ladder with victories at starter allowance, New York-bred allowance and open company allowance levels.
She made her 4-year-old commencement in the six-furlong License Fee on April 30 at Belmont Park where she finished second beaten 1 ¾ lengths, ahead of striking stakes gold in an off-the-turf edition of the Mount Vernon on May 31 going a one-turn mile over Big Sandy. She completed a good run of form at Belmont with an open company optional-claiming victory on June 24 over stakes winners Catch a Bid and Unique Factor.
Robin Sparkles was third in a pair of turf sprint stakes this summer at Saratoga Race Course, finishing three lengths behind Caravel in the Grade 3 Caress on July 24 before rounding out the trifecta in the August 21 Smart N Fancy behind next-out winner Peidi Bianchi and last year’s Floral Park winner Lead Guitar.
“The Floral Park was always our goal but there was plenty of time between Saratoga and the Floral Park. The race at Laurel was a good opportunity to get her back in the win column and get her confidence going for her last couple of races of the year,” Brown said.
The versatile Robin Sparkles has performed well on dirt and turf, but Brown said she prefers the grass.
“She’s definitely better on the grass but her only stake win was on the dirt,” Brown said. “But she’s just so consistent and she really has been a blessing. She shows up every time and really her only subpar race was the first race of her life [tenth in a New York-bred maiden special weight last July at Belmont]. We couldn’t ask for more.”
Brown did not rule out at least one more start for Robin Sparkles this year following the Floral Park, and mentioned the $150,000 Autumn Days on November 28 at Aqueduct as a future target.
“They do have one more turf sprint at Aqueduct but it’s pretty late into the year. We’ll see what happens with weather,” Brown said. “We probably will give her a chance sprinting on the dirt against New York-breds at some point. Her stake win was longer, so we’ll see if she can transfer her speed to sprinting on the dirt.”
Jose Ortiz will ride Robin Sparkles from post 6.
Trainer Christophe Clement will send out Too Sexy for her stakes debut. Owned by Stuart Grant’s The Elkstone Group, the 4-year-old daughter of Quality Road has never been beaten more than 2 ¾ lengths in 11 lifetime starts. She arrives at her first stakes engagement off a six-furlong allowance optional claiming victory on September 25 at Belmont.
Winless in five starts last season, Too Sexy has registered three trips to the winner’s circle this season. Three starts after a winning seasonal bow in a five-furlong maiden special weight in March at Gulfstream Park, she defeated winners on July 16 at Saratoga.
Jose Lezcano will ride from post 7.
Trainer John Kimmel will saddle multiple graded stakes winning mare Pacific Gale for her turf debut. The 6-year-old Flat Out mare, owned by Holly Hill Stables, secured two graded stakes victories at Gulfstream Park at the beginning of the season when taking the Grade 2 Inside Information and the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie.
Pacific Gale, who boasts the highest field bankroll with $645,160 in earnings, has worked four times over Belmont’s inner turf, most recently registering a half-mile move in 50.40 on October 10.
Breaking from post 5, Pacific Gale will be ridden by Hall of Famer John Velazquez.
Colts Neck Stables’ Introduced will vie for her fourth stakes victory when breaking from post 8 for trainer Jorge Duarte, Jr. The 5-year-old El Padrino chestnut mare captured the Incredible Revenge on August 14 at Monmouth Park in her most recent effort after an allowance victory the previous month over the Oceanport oval.
Making her fifth start over a NYRA track, Introduced captured last year’s Smart N Fancy at Saratoga, which was taken off the turf and contested over a muddy and sealed track. During her juvenile season, she finished second to eventual Grade 1-winner Concrete Rose two starts ahead of a close runner-up effort to Regal Glory, a subsequent graded stakes winning millionaire, in the Stewart Manor in December 2018.
Introduced will be piloted by Manny Franco.
Three Diamonds Farm’s Time Limit will seek her first stakes victory for trainer Mike Maker. The consistent New York-bred daughter of Bustin Stones, bred by Hibiscus Stables, has placed at stakes level four times, including a pace-setting second in the Grade 3 Matron in October 2019 as well as rounding out the trifecta in that year’s Key Cents and the NYSSS Fifth Avenue, both at Aqueduct.
Eric Cancel will ride from post 2.
Completing the field are three-time winner Gogo Shoes [post 1, Kendrick Carmouche], French stakes-winner Honey Cake [post 3, Paco Lopez], Secure Connection [post 4, Javier Castellano] – a four-time winner who arrives off a victory at Kentucky Downs, and stakes-winner Raven’s Cry [post 9, Luis Saez].
The Floral Park is carded as Race 8 on Sunday’s nine-race program. First post is 12:35 p.m. Eastern.
America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the fall meet at Belmont Park on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/belmont/racing/tv-schedule.
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Ryan Martin/NYRA Press Office
Photo: Robin Sparkles won the Turf Sprint Feature win at Laurel September 29, 2021. (Dom Napolitano)