01/22/2015 12:28PM

Seduire leads classy field in Forward Gal

Benoit & Associates
Seduire, winner of the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes, will lead a classy field Saturday in the Forward Gal Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The Holy Bull is the richest and most important event on Saturday’s outstanding 11-race program at Gulfstream Park. But for sheer quality from top to bottom, the field for the $200,000 Forward Gal could be just as good.

The lineup of 11 3-year-old fillies for the Grade 2 Forward Gal includes the Grade 2 winner Seduire, the Grade 3 winner Ekati’s Phaeton, the multiple graded stakes-placed Skipalute, the speedy Taylor S, the once-beaten Enchantress, and up-and-comers such as Birdatthewire and Lassofthemohicans.

Pace could be the deciding factor as many of the key contenders have proven to be at their best when racing on or with the lead.

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West Coast invader Seduire likely will go postward as the favorite off her 2 1/4-length victory in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez at Santa Anita. The seven-furlong Forward Gal will be her first start outside of California.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 5 Seduire. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is 35-12-6-4 with a $4.71 ROI over the past three years in dirt sprint graded stakes; 15-6-3-2, $4.33 ROI with last-out winners. Click for more details. Mike Hogan

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Ekati’s Phaeton turned in a game effort to register a well-deserved half-length decision in the six-furlong Old Hat here three weeks ago. The victory was her third in five career starts and her third in as many races over her home course at Gulfstream.

Taylor S cruised to a wire-to-wire, six-length entry-level allowance win Nov. 29 at Churchill Downs, her 94 Beyer Speed Figure just three points below the one that Kentucky Derby favorite Dortmund received in winning at a mile later on the card.

Enchantress has sandwiched two one-sided victories around a disappointing fifth-place finish in the Grade 3 Tempted.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 6 Enchantress. Horses she beat in her victory on Dec. 13 have gone 5-0-0-1 in their next start, with a top Beyer Speed Figure of 66. Click for more details. Mike Hogan

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Key contenders

Seduire (Last 3 Beyers: 94-88-75)

* Has never been headed at the half-mile call in any of her seven starts, although she’s yet to win beyond 6 1/2 furlongs.

Ekati’s Phaeton (Last 3 Beyers: 85-74-53)

* Horse for the course continues to improve.

“She’s got a ton of speed,” said trainer Bill Kaplan. “She was up close in the Old Hat but was well within herself, and I don’t think we’ve seen the best of her yet.”

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Taylor S (Last 3 Beyers: 94-64-53)

* Easily handled the well-regarded Lassofthemohicans despite a tardy beginning when both began their careers Sept. 14 at Churchill Downs.

* Has had Dale Romans talking in superlatives since they arrived locally this winter.

“She’s a real talent,” he said. “She’s run the fastest numbers of any 2-year-old I’ve ever had. Corey [Lanerie] said she’s so fast you can’t even tell she’s moving. It’s like she’s just galloping out there.”

Enchantress (Last 3 Beyers: 94-39-87)

* Shares top Beyer honors in the field with Seduire and Taylor S.

* Trainer Todd Pletcher is seeking his fourth straight Forward Gal victory, having won the race the last three years with Onlyforyou, Kauai Katie, and Broadway’s Alibi.

Skipalute (Last 3 Beyers: 82-77-78)

* Remains a maiden but has finished second in 4 of 5 starts, including the Grade 2 Matron and Grade 3 Delta Princess.

Birdatthewire (Last 3 Beyers: 78-67-66)

“She definitely is best around two turns, and I needed a place to get her started, but I think she’s going to really come running, especially if the pace is real fast, as it figures to be in the Forward Gal,” said Romans.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 10 By the Moon. Trainer Michelle Nevin is 18-7-2-2 with a $4.61 ROI over the past year going route to sprint on dirt. Click for more details. Mike Hogan

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