02/01/2013 3:20PM

Gulfstream Park: Cosmic Energy seeks better trip in Sunday optional claimer on turf

Tom Keyser
Dame Marie is a likely favorite in an optional claimer Sunday at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Dame Marie is stakes-tested and coming off a strong second-place finish in her 2013 debut earlier in the meet. But trip players may take a chance at beating the likely favorite with Cosmic Energy when the pair rematches under optional claiming conditions in Sunday’s $57,500 feature at Gulfstream Park.

Cosmic Energy finished fourth, two lengths behind Dame Marie, when the two still relatively lightly raced fillies met going a mile here Jan. 13. Cosmic Energy, who had trained brilliantly up to the race, had her best chances compromised that day when stumbling leaving the starting gate. She recovered quickly enough to race within striking distance of the leaders, but lacked the necessary late punch when set down for the drive by jockey John Velazquez.

“The stumble certainly didn’t help her,” said Tim Hills, who trains Cosmic Energy for owner Robert Susi. “When she stumbled, Johnny kind of picked her head up to get her back in the game and she really got pulling instead of relaxing like she had in her races late last summer and fall. As a result, he said when the hole opened at the top of the stretch, she wasn’t able to hit it fast enough before it closed on them again.”

Hills also believes Cosmic Energy might have needed the race, her first start in nearly three months.

“She trained as good as a horse can train up to that race, and I don’t think she needed the race as much fitness-wise as she did just to get back into the game,” Hills said. “In that respect, the race should help her a lot this time.”

Dame Marie rallied on the extreme outside after trailing for six furlongs to surge within easy striking distance of the leaders in early stretch but could not sustain the bid, dropping a one-length decision to Absolute Crackers while making her first start since Oct. 27. Dame Marie failed to hit the board in four starts against stakes opposition at 3, although she did come within less than four lengths of the winner, Centre Court, in the Grade 3 Regret at Churchill Downs.

Like Dame Marie, Deanaallen’skitten does her best running from far back, as she did when rallying from last to a popular three-quarter-length victory under a $25,000 claiming tag Dec. 27 while making her first start in more than a year for trainer Chad Brown. Deanaallen’skitten has always been a popular item at the mutuel windows, having gone postward the public’s choice in each of her last seven starts and in 10 of her last 11 outings, four of which resulted in victories.

The remainder of the well-matched field of fillies and mares includes Glamour N Glory, Limonar, Anna Sophia, Nasty Rumor, Namaskara, More Than Love, and Peggy Joyce.