Chuck Willis dug in down the stretch to score his fourth consecutive win on Monday at Gulfstream Park
With the Summit of Speed just a month away, next Saturday’s $60,000 Hollywood Lakes and $75,000 Game Face at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla., will serve as key local preps for several entrants.
Millionaire Diamond Oops figures to be the one to beat in the Hollywood Landing, a six-furlong overnight handicap for 3-year-olds and up that will serve as a prep for the $200,000 Smile Sprint (G3) July 3 at Gulfstream.
The six-furlong Smile will co-headline the Summit of Speed card with the $350,000 Princess Rooney (G2), a seven-furlong sprint for fillies and mares that has been designated as a Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ race.
Diamond Oops captured the 2019 edition of the Smile Sprint before going on to finish second in Grade 1 stakes back-to-back, once on dirt at Saratoga and once on turf at Keeneland. He started his 2020 campaign with a solid fourth-place finish in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream while stretching out to 1 1/8 miles. Back at one turn, Diamond Oops won the Twin Spires Turf (G2) at Churchill and the Phoenix (G2) on dirt at Keenland before getting a break following a pair of off-the-board finishes in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Keeneland and the Mr. Prospector (G3) at Gulfstream. The son of Lookin At Lucky, who is owned by trainer Patrick Biancone, Diamond 100 Racing Club and partners, is coming off a fourth-place finish in the April 30 Twin Spires Turf.
Ournationonparade, a two-time optional claiming allowance winner during the Championship Meet, is being pointed to the Hollywood Lakes and could give Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and trainer Kathy Ritvo a third Smile prospect.
Dean and Patti Reeves and Ritvo already have a pair of strong prospects for the Smile in Double Crown and Frosted Grace. Double Crown, who closed out his 2020 campaign with a runner-up finish in the Chick Lang (G3) at Pimlico in October, came off a 6 ½-month layoff a late-rallying triumph over multiple-stakes winner Chance It in a May 23 stakes-quality allowance at Gulfstream, setting up a likely rematch in the Smile. Frosted Grace, who finished second behind Grade 1 winner Mischevious Alex in the Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3) during the Championship Meet, is coming off a third-place finish in the Maryland Sprint (G3) at Pimlico following a very troubled start.
John Minchello’s Competitive Speed, who was twice graded stakes-placed during the Championship Meet, is scheduled to make her first start since finishing off the board in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) in the Game Face, a 6 ½-furlong stakes for 3-year-old fillies. The Javier Gonzalez-trained daughter of Competitive Edge, who won the Glitter Woman in January before finishing third in both the Davona Dale (G2) and Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), was bumped out of the starting gate in the Kentucky Oaks and never recovered.
e Five Racing Thoroughbreds’ Sound Machine has already established herself as a Princess Rooney candidate by registering a gutsy 2 ¾-length victory in Saturday’s $75,000 Musical Romance at Gulfstream.
“We’d love to win a graded-stakes with her. She’s by Into Mischief; she’s graded stakes-placed already; and she’s won two stakes,” trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said. “To win a graded stakes with her would be huge.”
Chuck Willis Scores Fourth Win in Row in Monday’s Golden Glades
Tracy Farmer’s Chuck Willis ($9.40) led from gate to wire to win Monday’s $70,000 Golden Glades at Gulfstream Park, notching his fourth win in a row.
The Irish-bred 5-year-old gelding, who captured an April 22 optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream off an 8 ½-month layoff, ran a mile over firm turf in 1:33.38 under Miguel Vasquez in the overnight handicap for 3-year-olds and up.
The Mark Casse-trained Chuck Willis had won one of four starts in Europe before finishing off-the-board in his North American debut in the Grey Stakes (G2) at Woodbine in October 2018. The son of Kodiac was sidelined for 19 months before winning back-to-back optional claiming allowances over Woodbine’s synthetic surface and going to the sideline for another 8 ½-month layoff.
“We’re very thankful to Mr. Farmer for being so patient with him. It’s going to pay off for him,” said Nick Tomlinson, Casse’s assistant trainer. “He’s the real deal. He’s had some hiccups along the way, but he can be a pretty serious horse.”
Vow Me Now and Edwin Gonzalez chased Chuck Wills throughout the race but fell a half-length short of catching him. Renaissance Frolic, the 2-1 favorite ridden by Edgard Zayas, finished third, a length back.
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