03/27/2010 11:00PM

Orchid seems ripe for an upset


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Anybody looking for a little value for their betting dollar should find Sunday's $150,000 Orchid at Gulfstream Park interesting.

The Bill Mott-trained pair of Mushka and Changing Skies figure to vie for favoritism in the 1 1/2-mile Orchid along with Lady Shakespeare. But it might be wise to take an equal look at horses such as Cable, Celtic Princess, and Speak Easy Gal, any of whom could upset the applecart if things break their way in the Grade 3 marathon for fillies and mares.

Mushka returns from Santa Anita, where she finished fifth in the Grade 2 Santa Maria Handicap in her 2010 debut. The start was the first for Mushka since her second-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic. She will be returning to turf for the first time since winning the Grade 3 Glens Falls Handicap last summer at Saratoga.

Changing Skies became a graded stakes winner for the first time when she rallied from the rear of the pack to capture the Grade 3 The Very One here on Feb. 27. As a result, she will carry high weight of 123 pounds under the allowance conditions of the Orchid.

Lady Shakespeare finished in a dead heat for second, beaten just a head by Quiet Harbor, in the Marshua's River on Jan. 16.

Cable and Celtic Princess are both coming off unlucky trips in The Very One.

Cable was shuffled back to last and trailed for the opening mile of the 11-furlong The Very One and lost considerable ground around the final turn before coming on best of all at the end to finish third, just two lengths behind Changing Skies.

Celtic Princess, a multiple Group 1 winner in her native Brazil, was taken up sharply before going an eighth of a mile in The Very One and never got much of a clean run thereafter.

Speak Easy Gal has won each of her last two starts while upsetting the odds-on graded stakes winner Salve Germania under second-level allowance conditions on March 4.

"I'm really excited about running her in this race," said trainer Marty Wolfson. "I'm not sure if she'll get the distance but she should be in front real easy. I know she got a little lucky but that was a pretty good filly she beat last time and I think she could be very dangerous if they allow her to relax long enough on the lead."