SSM F/M Turf ($150.000 Purse)
GP- For Fillies and Mares Four Years Old and Upward Foaled in FL
One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Turf
January 20, 2018
Much like its companion race, the SSM Turf, the female edition is a far cry from where it used to be. This race, too, once carried $500.000 purses and attracted some of the most talented horses that were eligible for the conditions. Now, the purse isn’t even a third of that amount, and the luster of the race has worn off. Still, there are five going to the gate in what is simply a FL-bred stake with a smaller purse. Let’s see how it goes, as its time to meet the field.
#1- Sunset Vista (Team 7 Illusions, ridden by L Saez)- A lightly raced filly who did not race at all as an active two year old, Sunset Vista is a winner of one out of six. Her last race was bit dismal, finishing in the rear of the seven-horse field in an N1X allowance at PRX but her form prior to that looks like there may be another reason for that poor run. She did have a second place finish at the FL-bred Miss Gracie here at GP last September. Hopefully, the track brings out the best in her. By the way, jockey L Saez is off to a cold start in 2018 as of press time (1-for-17).
#2- Keep Coming Back (Mb Stables, ridden by T Gaffalione)- Consistent filly who has never failed to be a part of the exacta in seven career starts, four being wins. History shows that she can be counted on to keep coming back to being a major threat, but she’s also jumping up here. She’s yet to run at the stake level and until her last race at PRX, most of the races that she has been in can been as a mid-level type events. She’s getting her test now to see if she’ll be a fixture for the trainer at the graded level during 2018.
#3- Gherdaiya (Chili King Stables, ridden by J R Leparoux)- Hopefully, he’ll have picked up a win by this race, but 2018 has not been kind for Chili King as of press time, with an 0-for-16 start. Gherdaiya was a $50.000 private sales pickup in July, and after winning an optional claimer, she’s been entered in some big races, including the Grade 1 Zenyatta. However, those have not gone well, so the trainer will run her on the grass for the first time since before that sale.
#4- Skeleton Spy (Estero Farms, ridden by L H Colon)- This six year old Skeleton Key mare just cracked the $1,000.000 plateau with a fourth place open allowance result at DMR in her last race. Her career has seen eight wins in 28 career starts, but the glory days were back in 2015 for her. After that run, and being the subject of a private sale far too many times, she actually did have a solid 2016, and every now and then she recaptures that old form. If she does that here, then she’s the one to beat; however inconsistent horses are ones I always shy away from. She wasn’t inconsistent in her heyday, but she is at this point in her career.
#5- Saddle Happy (Our Athletes, ridden by C Landeros)- In May of last year, Our Athletes moved Saddle Happy to the grass, and the trainer could not be much happier with the results. It first took a $20.000 maiden claimer to get her going, and since then she has won four out of five. Her last start was her stake debut, in the $125.000 CC Tiara right here at GP at this exact distance, where a stunning stretch run saw her pass mostly everyone en route to picking up the win. Everything about her is the same for this race from that one, including the opportunity to make C Landeros saddle happy again. I think she gets it done.