04/04/2012 11:44AM

Gulfstream Park: So Much Love still looking for second win

Barbara D. Livingston
So Much Love has finished second in four entry-level allowance races since a debut victory last year at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – So Much Love began her career in high style. The well-bred daughter of Giant’s Causeway won her debut one year ago at Gulfstream Park going a mile on the main track. In her next start, she finished second behind no less a rival than Royal Delta who ended the year as the 3-year-old filly champion following her victory over older horses in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic.

Unfortunately, So Much Love has never really lived up to all those early expectations. On Friday, So Much Love will make her fifth attempt to win her entry-level allowance condition in the afternoon’s $62,750 main event to be decided at 1 1/16 miles on the turf for older fillies and mares.

Although she’s yet to win since her debut, So Much Love has never run a bad race, finishing second in each of her other four starts. A younger sister of three-time stakes winner Love Locket, So Much Love was a beaten favorite in three of those races, including her outing last spring at Keeneland against Royal Delta. Trained by Todd Pletcher for Michael Tabor, So Much Love tried turf for the first time when returning to action here Feb. 25 following an eight-month absence, again coming out second best behind the front-running favorite Sharnberry.

So Much Love, who will be ridden for the first time by Edgar Prado, shows only a single workout in the six weeks since her last start, an easy half-mile in 50 seconds over the Palm Meadows turf course March 30.

Affair Dabbler and Heart Union could prove the ones to beat, the pair having finished a nose apart when second and third, respectively, behind the now graded stakes placed Aqsaam under similar conditions Jan. 8.

Affair Dabbler has failed to win in three subsequent starts, although she was beaten less than a length, when adding blinkers for the first time on March 18. Affair Dabbler finished two lengths behind So Much Love in the pair’s first encounter earlier this winter.

Heart Union has shown improvement since trainer Jonathan Sheppard put her back on the turf earlier this meet. She too chased home So Much Love on Feb. 25, finishing nearly four lengths behind that rival after being hung wide around both turns.

Brampton, who defeated open $32,000 claiming company on the turf here in January, Jalal, Lode Lady, Canaima, Moonshine Magic, and recent conditioned claiming winner Picture Trail complete the lineup.

Florida Bonanza card canceled

The Florida Bonanza, a series of six stakes races restricted to Florida-breds decided under starter allowance conditions for the first time a year ago, will not be run as originally scheduled this season. The Florida Bonanza was slated to be held Saturday.

“When the Sunshine Millions was canceled and changed to the Florida Sunshine Millions this year, all the monies targeted for the Florida Bonanza were transferred to that program,” racing secretary Dan Bork said.

As a result, there will be no stakes racing Saturday, the penultimate card for the 2011-12 meet. The final stakes of the season, the $60,000 Wait a While for fillies and mares on the grass, will be decided on Sunday’s closing-day program.