03/18/2011 12:24PM

Gulfstream: Clement may go three-deep in Orchid


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Gulfstream Park racing secretary Dan Bork may owe Christophe Clement and Dale Romans a free lunch after the two horsemen entered five of the eight potential starters in Sunday’s $150,000 Orchid at Gulfsteam Park. The Grade 3 marathon for fillies and mares will be decided at 1 1/2 miles over the outer turf course.

\Clement has already won the Orchid an unprecedented six times, dating back to 1994 with Trampoli. He captured four consecutive runnings from 1999-2002, but hasn’t won since Meridiana scored in 2004. Clement may have as many as three chances on Sunday to make it number seven with Tarrip, Giants Play, and Endless Expanse.

Tarrip is the most accomplished of the Clement trio, having finished third in the Grade 3 Long Island Handicap to close out her 2010 campaign and third behind Changing Skies in Calder’s Grade 3 La Prevoyante Handicap to open the new year.

Endless Expanse and Giants Play have each made just one start in the U.S. Endless Expanse rallied to an impressive three-length win in a second-level optional claimer here on Feb. 27 while Giants Play finished a late-running third behind another member of the Orchid lineup, La Luna de Miel, under slightly softer allowance conditions nine days earlier. Both those races were at 1 7/16 miles.

“All three horses are sound, training well, look well, and it’s the right thing to do for every single one to run in this race,” said Clement. “I’ll definitely run two of them and possibly all three. I’ll decide Sunday morning.”

Clement acknowledged that another reason for possibly running all three is that there are no real standouts in the Orchid.

“It’s a very competitive race, they’re all more or less the same,” said Clement. “As for my three, Tarrip is very consistent although she hasn’t won a stakes. The next race for Endless Expanse is the Bewitched at Keeneland and that’s a long ways away. And last but not least is Giants Play, who didn’t win her one race here but could have with a little racing luck.”

Romans will counter the Clement threesome with the duo of Zapparition and Musical Rain, the second- and third-place finishers behind Keertana in the Grade 3 The Very One at 1 3/8 miles here on Feb. 20.

“Zapparition has been doing really well since we stretched her out,” said Romans. “There aren’t many fillies who want to go that far. Musical Rain just keeps improving and I expect her to run good again on Sunday.”

La Luna de Miel, a German-bred filly trained by Graham Motion, prompted a slow pace before edging away to a one-length victory making just her third career start and U.S. debut.

Queen Martha, winless since shipping to the U.S. from England last summer, and Doe Run complete the field.