01/06/2012 3:20PM

Gulfstream: All Due Respect back to defend in Ocala Stakes

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The well traveled All Due Respect will be heavily favored to defend her title when she returns to Gulfstream Park for Sunday’s $60,000 Ocala Stakes. The one-mile stakes is restricted to Florida-bred fillies and mares but has attracted a graded stakes-quality field.

All Due Respect rallied from just off the pace to a popular 1 1/2-length decision over Sweet N Sour Nina in last year’s renewal of the Ocala. She has started just twice since, finishing third in the Grade 2 La Troienne on the Kentucky Derby undercard before returning nearly seven months later to be second as the even-money choice in Aqueduct’s Grade 2 Go For Wand.

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said he stopped on All Due Respect following the La Troienne on advice from veterinarian Dr. Larry Bramlage. All Due Respect contested a rapid pace with ultimate winner Lovely Lil in the one-mile Go For Wand before succumbing grudgingly through the stretch, though outlasting C C’s Pal to finish second.

All Due Respect, a daughter of Value Plus, has trained brilliantly since shipping to south Florida, capping off a series of fast works with a bullet five-furlong drill in 59.40 seconds on Tuesday.

“She couldn’t be doing better,” Dutrow said.

Javier Castellano, who guided All Due Respect to her victory last spring in the Ocala, will be back aboard on Sunday.

Sweet Repent has been plagued by foot problems throughout her career but has been a warrior for trainer David Braddy when healthy, capturing 10 of 18 starts, including the Sunshine Millions Distaff here in 2010. Sweet Repent returned from nearly 10 months on the sidelines to launch a three-race win streak last May at Calder that included a pair of stakes victories. She proved no match for the red-hot My Pal Chrissy when she was second-best as the even-money choice concluding her brief but successful 2011 season with a second-place finish in the Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap.

“She’s doing well at the moment and her feet are fine,” said Braddy. “She hasn’t run in a one-turn race in a while. Basically we’re using this one as a prep for the Sunshine Millions Distaff.”

Delightful Mary will start on dirt for only the second time in her career. Her only previous dirt experience came in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Fillies, where she finished third behind the champion 2-year-old filly Awesome Feather. Delightful Mary has raced just once since finishing seventh in the Grade 1 Ashland last April at Keeneland, rallying to capture a third-level optional claiming and allowance race at Woodbine on Nov. 17.

“It’s very difficult for Polytrack horses at Gulfstream,” said Mark Casse, who trains Delightful Mary for owner John Oxley. “I can only judge by Churchill Downs, where she trained well, and by the way she ran in the Breeders’ Cup. I don’t really have any concerns. I think she’ll handle the track just fine.”

R Holiday Mood, a multiple stakes winner for trainer Todd Pletcher, makes her first start since finishing far back in Parx’s Jostle on June 11.

Tourmaline posted three stakes victories a year ago topped by the rich Remington Oaks.

Successful Song finished fourth, 5 1/2 lengths behind Sweet Repent, in the Elmer Heubeck after rallying to an easy win in the Bea Oxenberg Memorial at Calder.

Gorgeous Melody exits a career best effort, a three-length allowance win for which she received a 91 Beyer Speed Figure of 91, on Dec. 4.

Ocala S., Post Time: 4:45 ET Saturday

Purse: $60,000; 1 mile

Post

Horse

Trainer

Jockey

ML Odds

1

Gorgeous Melody

J. Woodard

J. Leparoux

8-1

1

R Holiday Mood

T. Pletcher

J. Velasquez

6-1

1

Delightful Mary

M. Casse

L. Contreras

4-1

1

All Due Respect

R. Dutrow, Jr.

J. Castellano

2-1

1

Successful Song

E. Plesa, Jr.

L. Conteras

6-1

1

Tourmaline

B. Rhone

D. Butler

12-1

1

Sweet Repent

J. Braddy

F. Jara

3-1