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Gulfstream Park: Pomeroys Pistol taking aim at Sugar Swirl Stakes
By Mike Welsch
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Three members of this year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint lineup, Musical Romance, Her Smile and Pomeroys Pistol, are among the 26 horses nominated to the Grade 3 Sugar Swirl to be run a week from Saturday at Gulfstream Park. This will be the second edition of the six-furlong Sugar Swirl to be decided at Gulfstream in 2011. Sugar Swirl I was won by Tar Heel Mom, another member of this year’s BC Filly and Mare Sprint field, last winter.
Musical Romance, Her Smile, and Pomeroys Pistol finished, first, third, and fourth, respectively, in the Filly and Mare Sprint. Of that trio, only Pomeroys Pistol appears likely to start in the Sugar Swirl.
Pomeroys Pistol finished less than four lengths behind Musical Romance, despite bobbling briefly leaving the gate and getting hung wide forcing the pace in the Filly and Mare Sprint. Pomeroys Pistol won the Grade 2 Forward Gal here in February and also was second in both the Grade 1 Test and Prioress last summer in New York.
“There’s a pretty good chance she’s going to run in the Sugar Swirl,” owner-trainer Amy Tarrant said. “I gave her three weeks off in Ocala after the Breeders’ Cup. She’ll ship to Palm Meadows on Thursday, where I hope to maybe get one breeze into her before the race. I thought she ran a really great race in the Breeders’ Cup. She didn’t have the best of trips, but this filly has a big heart, and we were very proud of her. Churchill Downs is no easy track to run on, but we know she loves Gulfstream Park.”
Trainer Bill Kaplan said the chances are very slim that Musical Romance will try to enhance her Eclipse Award status with a victory in the Sugar Swirl.
“She’s had a 14-race campaign, and I’d really like to get her a little bit freshened for next year,” said Kaplan who is pointing for a Jan. 28 return for Musical Romance, either in the Florida Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint at Gulfstream or the Grade 1 Santa Monica at Santa Anita.
Musical Romance had her first work since winning the Breeders’ Cup on Tuesday morning at Calder, going five furlongs in 1:02 under regular rider Juan Leyva.
“She just cruised around, she did it easy, Juan never asked her to run,” Kaplan said. “It was just a maintenance work.”
Her Smile is now under the care of trainer Chad Brown after being purchased by Frank Stronach for $1 million at the Fasig-Tipton November sale.
“She came to me about four days after the auction and she seems to have come out of the Breeders’ Cup very well, although we’ll pass this first race and point her towards the Hurricane Bertie,” Brown said. “That will give her a little more time and the 6 1/2 furlongs should fit her better anyway.”
Brown will join up with his large south Florida-based winter contingent at Palm Meadows on Friday. His arrival will coincide with that of Stronach’s undefeated, Eclipse Award winner Awesome Feather, who was scheduled to board a van out of New York on Thursday.
Calder trainer battle down to wire
The battle for leading trainer honors for the Tropical at Calder session should go right down to the wire, with the 2011 session set to close Friday. Antonio Sano held a 17-16 advantage over both Steve Dwoskin and Nick Canani entering Thursday’s card.
Canani can do no better than tie for the crown as he has only one horse entered over the final two days of the meet. Dwoskin, the 2010 Calder title holder, has the most chances to add to his win total, with three horses entered both Thursday and Friday. Sano, who ran away with the Calder training championship earlier this year, will start two horses on each of the final two days of the meet.
◗ The multiple stakes placed Honey Chile worked four furlongs in 49 seconds Tuesday at Gulfstream. Honey Chile finished second in the Grade 2 Beaumont and third in the Grade 3 Eight Belles earlier this year. She was joined on the tab by Uptowncharlybrown who worked a bullet five-eighths in 59.87 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.59 for trainer Edward Coletti Sr.
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