04/25/2013 2:26PM

Tampa Bay Downs: Street Gem holds slight edge in evenly matched field


OLDSMAR, Fla. – Several fillies who look as though they could have bright futures will meet at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday in the one-mile allowance feature on turf.

Heading the group is Street Gem, who led into the final furlong of the $70,000 Secret Grace Stakes at Gulfstream Park before weakening to finish fourth in her first try against stakes company for trainer Kathleen O’Connell.

A quick-stepping sort, Street Gem raced in close attendance to the early pace, took the lead, and then continued well until late in the race won by Swear Me In.

A Street Boss filly, Street Gem earlier this meeting returned from a five-month layoff to win a mile maiden race on turf by four lengths in her first start with blinkers. After finishing second in her next outing, Street Gem made it two wins from three starts at the meet by drawing off in an optional-claiming race for a three-length win over Raven’s Rockette, who finished third last Sunday at Keeneland against allowance rivals on the turf.

Wild About Irene, third in her first try on grass last time out in an optional-claiming test at Saturday’s distance, was a solid second in the $100,000 Suncoast behind runaway winner Manuka Honey.

The Gerald Bennett trainee had a rough trip in her debut Dec. 15, running up inside rivals and then being taken back and to the outside before finishing third. Brought back at seven furlongs, Wild About Irene vied for the lead and emerged from a long stretch duel with a neck decision. She has been no worse than third in her last two outings since having blinkers added and should be close to the pace from the start.

Holy Macho Mattie also may show speed as she moves to a middle distance and turf for the first time for trainer Bernell Rhone. Fourth after pressing the pace to the stretch of the Sophomore Fillies on Florda Cup Day, Holy Macho Mattie has two wins from four starts at the current stand. Being out of a Pulpit mare, she should enjoy the turf.

Bow to No One led to the final strides of her last race before losing a neck decision in her first career turf try. She moves up from the claiming ranks for this one but is not without a chance.

◗ In the supporting feature, recent winner D K Edge tops a group of 3-year old claiming sprinters running for $25,000. Trained by Jason DeCosta, who is winning at a 35 percent clip this meeting, D K Edge takes on recent maiden winner Hail Concorde from the Brenda McCarthy barn and another runner from DeCosta’s barn, Don of Dons.