01/15/2015 2:36PM

Waterway Run must show she still wants to race

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Waterway Run, shown winning the Beaugay Stakes, may be sent to the breeding shed if she doesn't perform well in the Sunshine Milions Filly and Mare Turf.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf on Saturday at Gulfstream Park could prove a pivotal race for Waterway Run. Her performance, according to trainer Chad Brown, could determine whether she stays in training this year, or is bred.

Waterway Run was good enough to win the Grade 3 Beaugay at Belmont Park last year, and was far from disgraced when taking on the division’s best in the Grade 1 Just a Game, in which she finished sixth. But she is winless in her last three starts, and last fall was offered as a racing or broodmare prospect at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky. Bidding reached $525,000, but her reserve was not attained and she remained with owner Martin Schwartz.

“We didn’t get the price we wanted, so she was kept in training,” Brown said Thursday. “She was kept in training after her last race, and went right back into training after going to the sale, so she didn’t miss much time at all.”

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Waterway Run was bred in Pennsylvania, and became eligible to this race when the conditions were recently expanded to allow horses bred in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York to join Florida-breds in the Sunshine Millions.

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To prevail, Waterway Run will have to handle the likes of Awesome Flower, who has won three of her last four starts, and Effie Trinket, third in the Grade 2 Honey Fox over this course last year.

Dame Dorothy, cross-entered in this race, is expected to go in the Distaff earlier in the day.

The Filly and Mare Turf, which drew 11 runners, and the Sunshine Millions Turf are both $100,000 races at 1 1/16 miles. The Turf drew a field of 10, including the vastly improved Manchurian High, third in the Grade 3 McKnight here last month.

Filly and Mare Turf, race 8

KEY CONTENDERS:

Waterway Run (Last 3 Beyers: 76-87-92)

Her Beyer Speed Figures declined as the year progressed, so a freshening from September until now could prove beneficial.

One of her best efforts came in her lone start on this course last February, which was her first start in this country and her first start in more than seven months, so she has shown she can run well fresh.

Awesome Flower (Last 3 Beyers: 88-92-84)

She is in the best form of her life, with three wins and a second in her last four starts, but to date she has been a better runner on dirt and synthetics than turf, a surface on which she has a win and a second in six starts.

Speed Seeker (Last 3 Beyers: 86-81-77)

Both of her wins have come when she has made the lead, and though Salamera figures to outrun her early, she fits strongly with these based on some of her graded stakes efforts last year.

Effie Trinket (Last 3 Beyers: 79-79-92)

A mainstay in New York-bred races, she is seeking her first win since September 2013, though she was a close third in the Honey Fox over this course last March.

Paco Lopez rode Effie Trinket in the Honey Fox. This will be the first time he has ridden her since that race.

Rock On Baby (Last 3 Beyers: 79-91-66)

After a layoff of 364 days, she returned with a fast-finishing second in last month’s Tiara, and she should move forward.

Turf, race 6

Manchurian High (Last 3 Beyers: 94-95-87)

He finished off 2014 with a series of sharp efforts, including a victory in the Laurel Turf Cup and then a third-place finish in the McKnight, earning career-best figs.

The challenge for him will be the cut back to 1 1/16 miles after going 1 1/2 miles in his last two starts, but the likely fast pace in this race should help his late run.

Reporting Star (Last 3 Beyers: 98-93-98)

He got better as 2014 progressed, and finished off the year with a runner-up effort in the Grade 3 Tropical Turf Handicap across town at Gulfstream Park West.

He was not disgraced in two Grade 1 races last year, the Northern Dancer and Canadian International, both at Woodbine.

With the abundance of speed in here, he could fall into an ideal stalking trip.

Iron Power (Last 3 Beyers: 102-85-86)

Perhaps the speed of the speed, he comes off front-running wins at Belmont and Aqueduct, most recently in a second-level allowance on turf in which he earned a career-best fig.

Bad Debt (Last 3 Beyers: 90-88-94)

Another former claimer like Manchurian High, this consistent veteran was third in this race last year and has turned in three good efforts since being re-claimed by trainer Mike Trombetta.