by John Mucciolo
Gulfstream Park plays host to a fine card on Saturday with much of the focus on sophomores. A trio of graded events will be held for three-year-olds, topped by the competitive $350,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G2).
Also on tap is the $150,000 Swale Stakes (G3) at seven furlongs for the boys, as well as the $150,000 Forward Gal (G3) for the fillies at the same distance.
In addition, a trio of maiden special weight events for three-year-olds is set for the 12-race card. Specifically, Race 7 looks like the type of high-quality maiden tussle that Gulfstream Park is known for on Saturdays during this time of the year. I have a hunch that we will see a powerful performance or two.
Mass Appeal (#1) (10-1) draws the rail for his debut run for conditioner Rodolphe Brisset. The $250,000 Speightstown colt shows solid morning drills in advance of his first offering and gets Javier Castellano in the silks.
The dark bay colt is a half-brother to a pair of stakes winners in 2017 Belmont Stakes (G1) star Tapwrit and 2018 Del Mar Derby (G2) victor Ride a Comet.
Final Say (#2) (3-1) will make his first appearance for Todd Pletcher, who is always a major factor with three-year-old runners in the Sunshine State in the winter. The Violence colt has a trio of stakes-winning half-siblings, and he must be a good-looking specimen.
The West Virginia-bred went from a $90,000 Keeneland September yearling in 2017 to a $470,000 two-year-old purchase at the 2018 OBS March Sale. Leading pilot Luis Saez gets the assignment.
Haunt (#8) (8-1) is a dark bay son of Ghostzapper making his first offering for Bill Mott. The Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider homebred is the second foal produced from the stakes-winning Distorted Humor mare Cheery.
The colt is a half-brother to the superb Elate, who was a stylish victress of both the 2017 Alabama Stakes (G1) and Beldame Stakes (G1). If Haunt is anything like his big sister, he will be a force for a barn that has sent out some fine-looking youngsters of late. Jose Ortiz will guide the interesting sophomore.
One to watch in Race 12, a six-furlong maiden dash, is Honest Mischief (#1) (5-2). The Juddmonte Farm homebred debuts in the finale and could be any kind. The Chad Brown pupil is by the fine, win-early sire Into Mischief and was produced from the brilliant Grade 1-winning Seattle Slew mare Honest Lady. This makes Honest Mischief a half-brother to successful sire First Defence, winner of the 2008 Forego Stakes (G1).