02/14/2012 12:47PM

Gulfstream Park: Ward takes on old charge in turf sprint

Tom Keyser
Ullapool will make her turf debut in an allowance sprint Thursday at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Ullapool, a horse formerly trained by Wesley Ward, and Sweet and Lowdown, a horse currently trained by Ward, will be among the major players in Thursday’s $53,500 allowance headliner at Gulfstream Park.

Thursday’s main event is scheduled to be run at five furlongs on the turf, although none of the nine 3-year-old fillies entered in the race have ever won on grass.

Ullapool was transferred from Ward to trainer Chad Brown by owner John Fort’s Peachtree Stable shortly after finishing fourth going 6 1/2 furlongs over the main track in her 2-year-old finale here Dec. 15. Ullapool, a daughter of Langfuhr, had trained in spectacular fashion leading up to that race, but had the misfortune to run into Broadway’s Alibi that afternoon. Ullapool dueled for the lead with Broadway’s Alibi into the stretch, before proving no match, ultimately tiring to finish seven lengths behind the winner who returned off that race to dominate the Grade 2 Forward Gal Stakes by nearly 17 lengths one month later.

Ullapool has breezed six times at Palm Meadows since joining Brown’s stable, but never on the grass. Her sire has produced a good amount of turf winners, while her dam, Grey Traffic, placed in her only start on grass.

Sweet and Lowdown also will make her 3-year-old debut in Thursday’s main event, but unlike her former stablemate Ullapool, she has had experience on the turf, finishing second going a mile against mid-level conditioned claimers at Calder and third against tougher $50,000 starter opposition at 7 1/2 furlongs over the local course to close out her 2-year-old season Dec. 31.

Sweet and Lowdown could benefit from all the speed in the race, turning back to five furlongs. She has trained almost extensively over the Palm Meadows turf course, where she posted a 59.60-second five-furlong clocking around the dogs Feb. 6.

Trainer Todd Pletcher’s Miss Caterina is the only undefeated filly in the field, although she has been idle since cruising to an easy 5 3/4-length maiden win when launching her career under a $60,000 claiming tag last summer at Saratoga. Miss Caterina will be the first foal of her dam, Elusive Sara, to race on turf. She worked a slow five-eighths over a good grass course at Palm Meadows last week in preparation for her return.

Peggy Joyce, beaten a neck under similar conditions when making her turf debut here Dec. 23, also figures to be among the favorites. Trained by Edwin Broome, Peggy Joyce added blinkers for her second start on grass four weeks later, but had her best chances compromised when bumped hard leaving the starting gate. She was ultimately forced to take the overland route, doing well to recover and finish fourth in a full field of 12.

Cameo Lady, Backstage Magic, Personally Yours, Demi Tasse, and Blues Dancing, who is entered for main track only, complete the field.