A pair of 1 1/16-mile graded events for distaffers takes place on Saturday, followed by a one-mile turf contest for fillies and mares.
First to go will be Gulfstream Park’s $200,000 Royal Delta Stakes (G2) at approximately 1:30 p.m. (ET). Six were entered and all but one are exiting wins.
Verve’s Tale was last seen taking the Comely Stakes (G3) by a neck on November 26 at Aqueduct. The Tale of Ekati four-year-old was making her ninth career start after just breaking her maiden one race prior in her eighth try. Despite all that, the Barclay Tagg trainee has yet to finish off-the-board, racking up a 9-2-5-2 record thus far.
Curlin’s Approval captured her four-year-old bow last out on January 28, scoring by 2 1/2-lengths in the Hurricane Bertie Stakes (G3). The Marty Wolfson pupil just missed one race before that when second by three parts of a length in the Rampart Stakes (G3) going a mile at Gulfstream. Eskenformoney was the winner of the Rampart and lines back up here to make her five-year-old bow for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Mo’ Green posted a neck victory on January 19 against allowance/optional claiming rivals one start after finishing second in the Margate Stakes for trainer Joe Orseno.
Venom Girl has been playing musical barns of late and will be starting for her fourth trainer from her past five starts, which have all been wins. The Stevie Wonderboy five-year-old has romped in all those efforts, including a 14-length triumph, all against claimers. Angel Quiroz will saddle the mare in her first stakes try in this spot, as well as send out Caboclo do Rio, who is the only runner in the Royal Delta missing a last-out win.
Next up will be the $150,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park around 6:09 p.m.
Terra Promessa made a splash January 14 in her second start off a long vacation, taking the Pippin Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths, and will try to duplicate that effort on Saturday when facing seven rivals. The Curlin filly will square off against some familiar faces in the Bayakoa, as Ready to Confess and Streamline, the respective second and third from the Pippin, are also entered in the race. Last-out romping winner Impasse is back for another try at Terra Promessa after finishing fifth to that one in the Fantasy Stakes (G3) last year.
Power of Snunner, runner-up in the Pan Zareta Stakes on New Year’s Eve after not being seen in competition in 17 months, and Steel Cut, fourth in the Houston Ladies Classic (G3) three weeks ago, will take a shot at the Bayakoa as well. Completing the field are Hailstorm Slew, winner of the Useeit Stakes and an allowance/optional claimer in her past two, and dual stakes heroine Super Sakes, who was well-beaten in her season opener, the American Beauty Stakes on January 28.
About an hour after the Bayakoa, 11 turf distaffers will line up in the $200,000 Buena Vista Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park.
The diverse group includes Illuminant, unraced since taking the Gamely Stakes (G1) last May 30; Prize Exhibit and Jeremy’s Legacy, the respective first and second in the Megahertz Stakes (G3) on January 16; Hillhouse High, a close third in the November 6 Goldikova Stakes (G2) most recently; and Wild at Heart, fourth in the January 14 La Canada Stakes (G2) and making just her second try against turf runners in this spot.