12/31/2010 4:33PM

Casablanca Smile's participation in La Prevoyante up in the air

Coady Photography/Keeneland
Casablanca Smile, here winning the Dowager at Keeneland, would be among the favorites in the Grade 3 La Prevoyante on Sunday, but may not run.

MIAMI – Trainer Shug McGaughey already knows his long-winded Casablanca Smile gets along beautifully with jockey Javier Castellano. What the Hall of Fame horseman isn’t sure about is how the two-time Group 1-winning Chilean-bred will get along with the Calder turf course if he sends Casablanca Smile in Sunday’s Grade 3, $150,000 La Prevoyante Handicap.

The Grade 3 La Prevoyante, originally scheduled to be run on Dec. 11, will close out the 2010-2011 Tropical at Calder stakes schedule. The Tropical meet ends Tuesday, and the Gulfstream Park meeting opens Wednesday.

Rains forced management to take the Grade 2 W. L. McKnight Handicap off the turf two weeks earlier, and subsequent cold weather has caused further damage to a turf course that has been in constant use for more than eight months. The jockeys refused to ride two races over the course on Monday, and McGaughey said he is thinking long and hard whether to send Casablanca Smile out to run in the 1 1/2-mile La Prevoyante.

“She’s doing really well and it’s another step up for her, but I don’t know how she’ll like that chewed-up course over there,” McGaughey said on Friday. “The goal is to win a [U.S.] graded stakes with her and this could be the one, although I’m going to watch the turf races closely at Calder today and tomorrow before making up my mind whether to run her or not.”

Casablanca Smile has started four times since being shipped to McGaughey from her native Chile in April. She was third, beaten a length by Shared Account, making her U.S. debut in the Grade 3 All Along, second behind Changing Skies in the Waya at Saratoga, and second in the Grade 3 Glens Falls before closing out her 4-year-old campaign with a wire-to-wire seven-length triumph in Keeneland’s Dowager.

“I thought Javier really rode her well in the Glens Falls and exceptionally well at Keeneland, taking her right to the lead after sensing the pace was slow,” said McGaughey who won the 2001 La Prevoyante with Krisada. “She’s kind of a one-paced horse and I don’t think she needs to be in front. There’s a lot more speed in this field than in her last race, but I won’t mind if she just sits in behind Speak Easy Gal. That would be fine.”

Changing Skies, who will share the 121-pound highweight assignment with Casablanca Smile, is no stranger to success in south Florida, having opened her 2010 campaign winning Gulfstream Park’s Grade 3 The Very One. Her best race last year, however, may have come in defeat when she was beaten a head by Ave over yielding ground in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl.

Although she’s been based at Calder, Speak Easy Gal will be making her first start over her home course on Sunday. Speak Easy Gal won 4 of 8 starts a year ago, including Gulfstream’s Grade 3 Orchid, but finished a tiring third after trying to rate behind Casablanca Smile in the Dowager.

Other key contenders in the La Prevoyante include Liberally, who finished third after taking the lead turning for home in the Waya, and Tarrip, who set a very slow pace before tiring to be third in the Grade 3 Long Island Handicap in her 2010 finale.