03/25/2013 4:22PM

Gulfstream Park: Stopshoppingmaria aims for fourth win of meet Wednesday

Tom Keyser
Stopshoppingmaria will try to go 4 for 4 at the current Gulfstream meet for trainer Todd Pletcher in Wednesday's allowance.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – After winning three races in as many starts this winter, it appeared that Stopshoppingmaria’s work was done for the Gulfstream Park portion of her campaign. Instead, the red-hot turf-sprint specialist will get one more chance to strut her stuff in southern Florida when she goes postward as the heavy favorite once again in Wednesday’s $70,200 allowance feature, carded at her favorite distance of five furlongs on the grass.

Stopshoppingmaria, a 4-year-old daughter of More Than Ready owned by the Repole Stable, certainly has found her niche after finishing second going a mile in the Grade 1 Frizette on dirt and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf to close out her 2-year-old campaign.

Stopshoppingmaria returned from almost 3 1/2 months on the sidelines to win her local debut by 1 1/4 lengths going five furlongs under entry-level allowance conditions Dec. 14. She has since captured both a second-level allowance dash and the Lady’s Turf Sprint Stakes over the same distance in similar fashion, rallying from close up and proving clearly best at the wire, with her Beyer Speed Figures improving with every start.

“She’s had a great winter,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “We didn’t really expect to have another opportunity to run her here, but when this race came up, I figured she’s 3 for 3 doing it, and we have another chance, so why not try it?”

Stopshoppingmaria is one of two horses Pletcher entered in the race, along with R Holiday Mood, a Grade 3 stakes winner on dirt last winter who will make her turf debut Wednesday. R Holiday Mood contested the pace before finishing a tiring sixth in defense of her title in the Hurricane Bertie in her last start Feb. 10.

“She’s actually breezed pretty well on the grass, so we’re going to run her too,” Pletcher said of R Holiday Mood. “It’s something new for her, but we’re going to give it a try.”

Rosa Salvaje, who chased Stopshoppingmaria home when second in the Lady’s Turf Sprint, and Double the Energy, whose two-race win streak came to an end in that race, both will take another run at the favorite Wednesday.

Rosa Salvaje has performed well in all three of her starts here this winter but remains winless since capturing an overnight stakes over the Saratoga turf course in July. She also finished second and third behind Double the Energy under allowance conditions earlier in the meet.

Double the Energy could not duplicate those efforts in the Lady’s Turf Sprint, finishing a nonthreatening sixth, nearly four lengths behind Stopshoppingmaria.

Sweet Cassiopeia closed out her 2012 campaign with three straight turf-sprint victories at three different venues, but has not started since winning a high-priced optional-claiming dash over the Churchill Downs turf course Nov. 15 for trainer William Connelly.