.Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. guides Abscond to victory in the $250,000 Natalma Stakes at Woodbine
Apogee Bloodstock’s Abscond, a Grade 1 stakes-winning daughter of Blame, will be looking to run away with Saturday’s $150,000 Herecomesthebride at Gulfstream Park.
Abscond is scheduled to meet 11 other 3-year-old fillies in the 1 1/16-mile turf race, one of 10 stakes, nine graded, on Saturday’s 14-race program that will be highlighted by the $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2).
Trained by Eddie Kenneally, Abscond won at first asking in a 5 ½-furlong turf race at Ellis Park in July, boding well for the Kentucky-bred filly’s future.
“She’s shown a lot of promise all the way through. She had breezed really well before her first out and it turned out she went and won professionally the first time we ran her,” Kenneally said. “She’s hasn’t run a bad race in her lifetime. All of her races are good and she’s coming into this one in very good shape.”
Abscond made her second start at Saratoga, finishing second in the 5 ½-furlong Bolton Landing Stakes, losing to Kimari, who was coming off a second-place finish in the Queen Mary Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot. The Kenneally trainee went on to capture the mile Natalma (G1) over a yielding Woodbine turf a month later, earning a trip to Santa Anita for a start in the Nov. 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). She became involved in a contested pace while racing between horses, faltering late to finish seventh, 4 ½ lengths behind victorious Sharing.
“She was in the middle of two horses and they may have been going a little quick the first part of the race, and it hurt us in the stretch,” Kenneally said. “But she hung in there and showed some courage and didn’t get beaten by much. She bounced back nicely and ran a good race in the Ginger Brew and got beaten less than a length after not a great trip.”
Abscond stumbled at the start of the 7 ½-furlong Ginger Brew, rated off the pace and finished with energy to come within three-quarters of a length of victorious She’s My Type while finishing third.
Abscond will be ridden for the first time by Tyler Gaffalione in the 1 1/16-mile Herecomesthebride.
“She’s very versatile. This is a mile and a sixteenth – the farthest she’s gone so far is a mile – but I think it’s well within her range,” Kenneally said. “Her pedigree says he should have no problem with that.”
Mary Ann Charlston’s Witez will also enter the Herecomesthebride coming off a narrow loss in her 2020 debut. The 3-year-old daughter of More Than Ready pressed the pace in a Jan. 31 optional claiming allowance, moved to the lead in the stretch, only to be caught late by Stuart S. Janney’s In a Hurry, who is also entered in the Herecomesthebride.
Witez broke her maiden at Kentucky Downs by four lengths in her third career start Sept. 8, before closing out her juvenile season with a second-place finish in the Jessamine (G2) at Keeneland a month later. Chris Landeros has the return call board the homebred filly.
Shug McGaughey-trained In a Hurry closed from off the pace to catch Witez by a half-length while making her 2020 debut. The daughter of Blame previously broke her maiden in her second career start at a mile at Laurel Park in September.
Julien Leparoux will ride In a Hurry again Saturday.
Teresa and David Palmer’s Cheermeister, a front-running winner of the Feb. 1 Sweetest Chant (G3) at Gulfstream last time out, will seek to make it back-to-back graded-stakes successes in the Herecomesthebride.
The Armando De La Cerda-trained daughter of Bodemeister finished second and was placed first in her Oct. 14 debut at Gulfstream Park West before registering a front-running score in the $100,000 Wait a While at Gulfstream Nov. 30. She sustained her first loss in the Ginger Brew, in which she finished far back after breaking through gate prior to the start. Emisael Jaramillo will return to the irons Saturday.
Trainer Michael Maker will be represented in the Herecomesthebride by David Staudacher’s Sunset Promise and Paradise Farms Corp. and Parkland Thoroughbreds’ Stunning Sky. Sunset Promise is a multiple stakes-placed daughter of Broken Vow who recovered from early bumping to close from 11th to fourth in the Ginger Brew last time out. Stunning Sky, a daughter of Declaration of War, won a Jan. 1 optional claiming allowance at first asking after being claimed for $50,000 in her previous start.
Manuel Franco has the mount on Sunset Promise, while Paco Lopez has the call on Stunning Sky.
Trainer Mark Casse and owner Gary Barber will also be represented by a pair of fillies – Declarationwarrior and Lucky Polly, both of whom are coming off maiden victories. Edgard Zayas will ride Declarationwarrior, while John Velazquez has the call on Lucky Polly.
Calumet Farm’s Ginger Kitty, Rodolphe Brisset, Rags Racing Stable LLC and Robert Wood’s Hey Kitten, Belladonna Racing LLC’s Veruca, and Staghawk Stables’ Lost Ticket round out the field.
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