01/29/2013 1:47PM

Gulfstream: Invaders add intrigue to Thursday turf sprint


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – There are three entry-level optional-claiming races carded over the turf on Thursday’s 10-race program at Gulfstream Park. Among all the horses competing in those three events, the two most intriguing are Fearless Jacq and To My Valentine, who will square off against one another in race 9, a five-furlong dash for 3-year-old fillies which carries a $54,500 purse.

Fearless Jacq was purchased privately by Sovereign Stable after winning her career debut at Newmarket in mid-August. She was immediately sent to Woodbine with trainer David Simcock to compete in the Grade 2 Natalma, and she finished 12th after making a nice middle move in the one-mile event decided over a yielding course.

Fearless Jacq was eventually transferred to trainer John Terranova’s barn at Palm Meadows. where she has trained forwardly for her U.S. bow.

“I don’t know if it was the softer ground or the distance, but she did not run up to expectations in the Natalma,” said Terranova. “She came to us right after the race and I gave her a little break to let her grow up a little bit.”

Terranova said he’s eagerly looking forward to getting Fearless Jacq started again.

“We’re pretty much back at square one with her right now,” said Terranova. “She won sprinting at Newmarket, so we’ll begin from there, going five furlongs. She’s doing great coming into this race. She seems to like the firm ground. She’s been training over at Palm Meadows, and should get the same kind of surface at Gulfstream. She’ll get Lasix for the first time on Thursday and that should help, too. Probably the toughest thing for her will be running five furlongs simply because in those races, if you miss a beat at the start or anywhere in the race, it’s all over in a flash.”

To My Valentine has made all six of her starts in France, where she won her maiden at first asking in April and was Group 3-placed going five furlongs at Chantilly on July 1. Trained by Wesley Ward, To My Valentine has also been working steadily for her U.S. debut over the turf at Palm Meadows.

Ward will also be represented in the race by Shrinking Violet, who finished second but was disqualified and placed fifth racing under similar conditions here on Dec. 21. Shrinking Violet is one of three multiple winners in the field along with Rosie Red and Case Cracker.

Rosie Red is owned by Laurie Plesa and the Trilogy Stable and trained by Eddie Plesa Jr., the same connections who combined to win Saturday’s Grade 3 Holy Bull with Itsmyluckyday. Rosie Red led throughout to capture a similar optional claimer on the grass in her 3-year-old debut three weeks ago.

Case Cracker is perfect in two starts but has never raced on turf and hasn’t started since June 11, when she won an entry-level allowance race going 4 1/2 furlongs at Delaware Park. Case Cracker displayed good speed working five furlongs in 1:00.26 from the gate here for trainer Larry Rivelli on Jan. 20.