02/26/2015 11:55AM

Night Prowler faces talented challengers in Palm Beach

Barbara D. Livingston
Night Prowler will make his first start since winning the Dania Beach Stakes two months ago in Saturday's Palm Beach.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The “big day” concept being embraced by racetracks throughout America has been taken a step further at Gulfstream Park: Some of those stakes clusters are exclusively for 3-year-olds, including a grouping of three here Saturday.

In addition to the Grade 2 Swale Stakes, a couple of Grade 3, $150,000 turf stakes are on tap for a 12-race Saturday program. The Herecomesthebride, which drew nine fillies, goes early on the card as race 5, while the Palm Beach, with 11 colts and geldings, directly follows the Swale as race 11. Both turf races will be run at 1 1/16 miles.

The Palm Beach might be the more competitive of the pair. Night Prowler, trained by Chad Brown, will be trying to validate his victory eight weeks ago in the Grade 3 Dania Beach while facing a host of promising new opponents, including Dubai Sky, Divisidero, and Eh Cumpari.

The Herecomesthebride is a little more straightforward, with another Brown trainee, Consumer Credit, being the obvious horse to beat and Quality Rocks a clear second choice.

This is the third stakes card exclusive to 3-year-olds already this year at Gulfstream, following the Jan. 3 and Jan. 24 programs.

Herecomesthebride Stakes, race 5

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Key contenders

Consumer Credit (Last 3 Beyers: 81-82-78)

◗ Daughter of the top turf sire More Than Ready will be seeking her fourth straight victory, having followed an October maiden score at Belmont with triumphs in the ungraded Wait a While Stakes at Gulfstream Park West in November and the Grade 3 Sweetest Chant here five weeks ago.

◗ Edgard Zayas, fourth in the local standings, has a return call aboard Consumer Credit from post 8.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 8 Consumer Credit. Trainer Chad Brown is 27-3-8-5 with a $0.38 ROI over the past two years in turf routes with last-out winners in the second start following a layoff. Click for more details. Mike Hogan

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Quality Rocks (Last 3 Beyers: 79-79-73)

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◗ Filly who was privately purchased last fall was prominent throughout the Sweetest Chant before settling for second behind Consumer Credit when making her first start since the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

◗ With the benefit of that last race under her, she figures to settle perhaps a bit more readily this time under Javier Castellano, which should help her cause in a race not lacking for pace.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 5 Quality Rocks. Trainer Bill Mott is 38-7-8-6 with a $2.33 ROI over the past two years in turf routes at Gulfstream Park in the second start following a layoff. Click for more details. Mike Hogan

Devine Aida (Last 3 Beyers: 77-71-71)

◗ Rail-drawn filly makes her first start in a graded event after reeling off three straight wins for Stronach Stables and trainer Ramon Morales.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 1 Devine Aida comes off a win in the Ginger Brew; runners from that race went 8-0-0-0 in their next starts. Click for more details. Mike Hogan

Palm Beach Stakes (race 11)

Key contenders

Night Prowler (Last 3 Beyers: 80-75-62)

◗ Paul Pompa homebred will have Castellano back aboard when breaking from the middle of the pack in post 6.

◗ Son of Giant’s Causeway already has developed a terrific late kick and a certain focus owing in part to him being gelded prior to starting his career. Brown: “As soon as we gelded the horse, he turned it around. Gelding doesn’t help every horse, but it helped him.”

Dubai Sky (Last 3 Beyers: 78-78-70)

◗ John Velazquez has a return call on this Candy Ride colt, who narrowly prevailed in the ungraded Kitten’s Joy on Jan. 24 after engaging his Bill Mott-trained stablemate, Courtier, in a race-long duel. It was his third straight victory, including a dead heat for the win in a Dec. 20 allowance here. He starts alongside Night Prowler in post 5.

“He doesn’t give you more than he has to, but he always seems to have a little bit more left,” said Mott, who through Wednesday had been on a tear (8 for his last 13).

Croninthebarbarian (Last 3 Beyers: 76-77-75)

◗ Dancing most every dance for trainer Garry Simms, this Rick Pitino homebred continues to more than pay his way, having run third to Night Prowler in the Dania Beach and third to Dubai Sky in the Kitten’s Joy. He will start from post 10 under Julien Leparoux.