01/23/2016 3:57PM

R Girls a Charmer sizzles in Gasparilla Stakes

SV Photography
R Girls a Charmer and jockey Antonio Gallardo win the Gasparilla Stakes by four lengths Saturday.

OLDSMAR, Fla. – Expectations are sky high for the extremely fast filly R Girls a Charmer, who turned in a second consecutive scintillating performance Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs, winning the $82,500 Gasparilla Stakes by four lengths under jockey Antonio Gallardo.

R Girls a Charmer ($3.60), a Florida-bred daughter of In Summation, led from start to finish in the seven-furlong test for 3-year-old fillies, stopping the clock in 1:25.61. She built a 1 1/2-length lead after a quarter-mile in 23.04 seconds and a half-mile in 46.33 and gamely responded when second choice and runner-up Cosmic Girl moved up to challenge her on the turn, drawing off with ease down the lane.

It was her first start for trainer Mark Casse and owner Gary Barber, who purchased the filly following her front-running, 6 3/4-length victory in a $47,000 maiden special weight race at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 2. R Girls a Charmer likely will start in a graded stakes next, according to Casse, with one option being the Grade 2, $200,000 Davona Dale Stakes for 3-year-old fillies going a mile at Gulfstream on Feb. 27.

“I thought she ran well,” Casse said after the Gasparilla. “I was a little bit worried because the track looks a little bit looser today, but she handled it well. One thing about her, she is one fast horse.”

R Girls a Charmer debuted at Gulfstream Park West on Nov. 28 for trainer Alfred G. McIntosh and a partnership that included Averill Racing. She set a quick pace in that six-furlong test before finishing second to Dearest, who is unbeaten in two starts.

After romping in her second start, R Girls a Charmer was purchased by Barber and transferred to Casse. She turned in a very sharp workout last Monday at Palm Meadows, going a half-mile in 47.80 seconds.

“She’s a nice filly,” Gallardo said. “I really like her. She was the best filly here. She made the lead really easy. I had a lot of filly even though there was a lot of wind and the track is a little bit heavy. But she’s strong. When she saw someone putting the pressure on, she took off again.”

Casse said he was confident that R Girls a Charmer could withstand the brief challenge from Cosmic Girl, who was coming off a 7 3/4-length victory in a first-level optional $75,000 claimer here Dec. 19 for trainer Eoin Harty.

“She looked like she was running pretty easy, so I’m always nervous, but I wasn’t that nervous,” Casse said.

Cosmic Girl was followed by Missalaney, Catira Rock, Kylbrylie, Conflate, Valueable Charmer, and A Little Attitude.