04/02/2015 1:15PM

R Sassy Lass back from three-month layoff in Sophomore Fillies Stakes

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Barbara D. Livingston
R Sassy Lass (left) returns from a three-month layoff on Saturday in the $75,000 Sophomore Fillies Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

OLDSMAR, Fla. – R Sassy Lass, beaten a half-length in the Grade 3 Old Hat Stakes at Gulfstream Park in her last start, comes off a three-month freshening Saturday as the choice in the Sophomore Fillies Stakes at seven furlongs, a race that tops a trio of $75,000 main-track co-features for statebreds on Florida Cup Day.

R Sassy Lass came into the Old Hat riding a two-race win streak and turned in a sparkling effort in defeat, stalking the early pace, then dueling through the lane in the six-furlong sprint before just missing to Ekati’s Phaeton in a race run in 1:10.05.

Prior to that, the Kirk Ziadie trainee had romped home by 9 1/2 lengths over $100,000 maidens going 5 1/2 furlongs at Gulfstream, then came to Tampa, where she ran down Coco’s Wildcat for a half-length victory in the Sandpiper Stakes in her final juvenile outing.

Coco’s Wildcat is also in this field and comes into Saturday’s race off back-to-back third-place efforts in the Gasparilla at Tampa Bay Downs and the Any Limit Stakes at Gulfstream.

Royal Jewely, from the barn of leading trainer Gerald Bennett, will be turning back in distance and moving from turf back to dirt as she goes for her fourth win from five career starts. Last time out, the City Place filly split rivals late to take an optional-claiming route over the local turf course.

Dogwood Trail is 2 for 3 at Gulfstream and was second in the Any Limit last out.

:: FLORIDA CUP DAY: Get PPs, watch Saturday’s Tampa Bay Downs card live

Bennetts face off in Sophomore

The Bennetts, father and son, may well battle it out for top honors in the Sophomore Stakes, also at seven furlongs on the main track.

Gerald Bennett has two entered in the Sophomore, topped by Fast Flying Rumor. Claimed for $25,000 earlier in the meet, the horse turned in the best race of his career last time out, drawing off past midstretch and proving best by 2 1/4 lengths while covering the 6 1/2 furlongs in a very quick 1:16.38.

Fancy Man was third in that race while facing winners for the first time for Bennett’s son, Dale, and looked very professional in his prior start, winning at first asking.

Royal Squeeze, from the powerful Chad Brown barn, just left the winless ranks in his last start but was second, beaten a nose, in the $372,000 In Reality Florida Sire Stakes as a maiden at Gulfstream last fall.

Happy My Way in Sprint Stakes

Happy My Way, who led into the final furlong of the Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint before finishing second to C. Zee last out, tops the Sprint Stakes at six furlongs.

Trained by Joe Orseno, Happy My Way won 3 of 7 starts last season, including the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint Handicap, and finished second, beaten a length, in the Grade 1 Vanderbilt at Saratoga.

Prudhoe Bay, the winner of the Sophomore Stakes over the Tampa strip last season and the Grade 3 Jersey Shore at Monmouth last summer, tops the challengers.