01/15/2015 2:15PM

Dame Dorothy set for Sunshine Millions Distaff unless rain is a factor

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John Bambury
Dame Dorothy finishes third in the Comely on Nov. 29 at Aqueduct.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Dame Dorothy is entered Saturday in both the Sunshine Millions Distaff and Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf at Gulfstream Park, but barring an unforeseen rainstorm, it looked Thursday as if she would go in the Distaff, a race trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Bobby Flay could use as a prep for a race at Santa Anita.

Pletcher on Thursday said the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Stakes at Santa Anita on March 14 could be the near-term goal for Dame Dorothy, who has won four of her five career starts. She suffered her first loss last time out in the Grade 3 Comely at Aqueduct on Nov. 29, racing wide over a track that seemed to favor the inside and speed all day.

“Her race was early in the card,” Pletcher said, “and at the time she ran, it wasn’t obvious that there was a bias. She ended up chasing three wide. As the day went on, it became clear that that was not the way to win that day.”

:: SUNSHINE MILLIONS: Get PPs, watch Saturday’s Gulfstream Park card live

Dame Dorothy never has raced on turf. Pletcher said he only put her in the Filly and Mare Turf because the 1 1/16-mile race “would be quite attractive if it rained and came off.” The $150,000 Distaff requires Dame Dorothy to move back to seven furlongs after going 1 1/8 miles in the Comely, but she has won both her starts around one turn, including a debut win going seven furlongs at Aqueduct in November 2013.

There are 13 entered in the Distaff. By contrast, the $100,000 Sprint, at six furlongs, drew only seven males, most notably graded stakes winner Happy My Way, the runner-up in this race last year.

SUNSHINE MILLIONS DISTAFF (RACE 8)

KEY CONTENDERS

Dame Dorothy (Last 3 Beyers: 80-86-74)

◗ Pletcher said the Sunshine Millions was not part of his original winter itinerary for Dame Dorothy, but when the conditions of the races changed to allow horses bred in Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania – Dame Dorothy’s place of birth – to also compete with Florida-breds, this day moved to the fore.

◗ In addition to her debut win, Dame Dorothy’s other victory around one turn came in the Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm going 1 1/16 miles at Belmont last October.

My Pal Chrisy (Last 3 Beyers: 86-90-90)

◗ She was second in the equivalent of this race last year – the Filly and Mare Sprint – and figures to be a main player again this year despite racing for the first time in almost nine months.

◗ She is one of four runners entered by trainer Marty Wolfson, who also has Dreamlicious, Golden Production, and Swinger’s Party.

Wildcat Lily (Last 3 Beyers: 94-75-73)

◗ Though winless since July 2013, she looked like she was rounding back to her best form last time out when second in the Grade 3 Sugar Swirl here five weeks ago.

Toasting (Last 3 Beyers: 83-83-96)

◗ She was third behind Dame Dorothy in the Turnback the Alarm and now returns to her favorite track, where she owns a pair of wins and a third in four career starts.

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SUNSHINE MILLIONS SPRINT (RACE 5)

KEY CONTENDERS

Happy My Way (Last 3 Beyers: 96-74-104)

◗ He is an absolute terror at Gulfstream, where he has won four times in five starts, his lone loss a second in this race last year behind win machine Ribo Bobo.

◗ He comes off a second-place finish in the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel.

◗ With his rail draw and sharp speed, he figures to make a run for it from the inside, with only Weekend Hideaway, drawn outside, seemingly capable of putting pressure on him in the early going.

Grande Shores (Last 3 Beyers: 95-90-87)

◗ A former claimer who has become a stalwart in local sprints, he is seeking his third straight victory and has finished no worse than second in his last 11 races.

Weekend Hideaway (Last 3 Beyers: 73-87-89)

◗ He has faded in his recent races but is capable of making things difficult early on for Happy My Way. His chances would go up immeasurably if Happy My Way were to not leave alertly from his inside draw.

Yogi Berra (Beyers: 83-71)

◗ After a pair of wins against softer company at Tampa Bay Downs, he faces a significant test while making his first start for trainer Ralph Nicks.

“I got him about three weeks ago,” Nicks said Thursday. “He hasn’t done anything wrong, settled in real well. He seems like a very honest and straightforward horse.”

◗ He was bred and is owned by Jessica Steinbrenner’s Bach Stables, hence the Steinbrenner connection to Yankee legend Berra.