HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Grade or group stakes-placed on two continents, Team Valor International’s Victory Kingdom will seek her first stakes success in Saturday’s $100,000 Ladies Turf Sprint at Gulfstream Park.
The Ladies Turf Sprint, a five-furlong dash for older fillies and mares, will be a supporting feature to the $100,000 Suwannee River (G3), a 1 1/8-mile turf stakes for older fillies and mares, on Saturday’s 12-race program.
The 6-year-old daughter of Animal Kingdom finished second in the Jan. 1 Abundantia Stakes at Gulfstream, in which she showed a new dimension while closing from off the pace after breaking from the rail post position.
“We didn’t mean to do that. The 1-hole cost us the win, I guess we can say,” trainer Rodolphe Brisset said. “A horse came over and Julien [Leparoux] had to check twice. Then, she came back running. We were happy with the run, but the 1-hole was a tough task.”
Victory Kingdom, who will be ridden by Tyler Gaffalione Saturday, will have to deal with the rail post position again Saturday. However, the Australian-bred mare won’t necessarily be tasked with coming from off the pace.
“She’s very versatile. It’s a five-furlong race, so you have to make sure you break and then see where you are. If we’re on the lead, that’s fine. If the speed goes too fast, we can set off it. That’s fine too,” Brisset said.
Victory Kingdom won one of 11 starts in Australia, where she was group-placed twice, before being brought to the U. S. to continue her career. Team Valor’s homebred mare finished fourth in an off-the-turf Smart N Fancy Stakes Aug. 27 at Saratoga. She went on to finish second over Woodbine’s synthetic surface in the six-furlong Ontario Fashion Stakes (G3), in which she was beaten by a neck after setting a pressured pace. She faded after attending the pace in the 6 ½-furlong Sweet Briar Too Stakes at Woodbine before shipping south.
Cara Oliver’s Hear My Prayer, who defeated Victory Kingdom in the Abundantia, is also set for a return to action in the Ladies Turf Sprint. The 4-year-old daughter of The Big Beast, who got the jump on Victory Kingdom with a three-wide sweep off the turn into the stretch in the Abundantia, drew the far-outside post position in the eight-horse field.
Irad Ortiz Jr. has the return mount aboard David Fisher-trained Hear My Prayer, who has won three of four starts over the Gulfstream turf.
A Bit of Both, a stakes winner on Gulfstream’s main track, is scheduled to seek her 10th victory in 19 starts in the Ladies Turf Sprint. The Mike Maker-trained 5-year-old daughter of Paynter, who has won two of four starts on turf, has shipped in from Fair Grounds, where she finished fifth in the Pan Zareta last time out.
Luis Saez is scheduled to ride the versatile Florida-bred, who is owned by Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables LLC, Darsan Inc., Bethlehem Stables LLC and David Simon.
Averill Racing LLC and Matties Racing’s Lady’s Island, who recently defended her Sugar Swirl (G3) title on Gulfstream’s main track, is entered to see her second triumph from five starts on turf. The Georgina Baxter-trained 7-year-old mare was a front-running winner of a five-furlong optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream Park West the last time she ran on turf in October 2019.
Emisael Jaramillo has the call aboard the daughter of Greatness.
Kenwood Racing LLC’s Tracy Ann’s Legacy, Zilli Racing Stables’ Double Medal, David Melin, Leon Ellman and Laurie Plesa’s Miss Auramet, and Matriarca’s Lagertha, round out the field.
Gulfstream Park Press Release
Photo: Ryan Thompson