May 25, 2024

Crazy Beautiful, Con Lima head Gulfstream Park Oaks

Crazy Beautiful
Crazy Beautiful wins the Run Happy Debutante Stakes (Coady Photography)

Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) — Race 12 (5:17 p.m. ET)

Saturday’s $200,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) came up without some of the heavy hitters that might have been expected to show. That’s potentially good news for Crazy Beautiful, who’ll look to break through at graded level in the 1 1/16-mile Road to the Kentucky Oaks prep.

Crazy Beautiful won her first two starts, including the Ellis Park Debutante, but has endured a four-race losing skid while placing in the Pocahontas (G3), Alcibiades (G1), and Davona Dale (G2), the latter behind runaway longshot Wholebodemeister.

The gray by Liam’s Map is trained by Kenny McPeek, whose Swiss Skydiver led throughout in upsetting the Gulfstream Park Oaks last year en route to championship honors. The filly that could prove dangerous on the lead here, Con Lima, has been plying her trade on the turf here this winter but has proven capable on dirt in the past.

“It’s something we’ve been thinking about for a while. Being a graded-stakes and all – and she seems to like Gulfstream – we decided to give it a try,” trainer Todd Pletcher said.

Millefeuille, a solid second to Malathaat in the Demoiselle (G2) two back, didn’t fire at all in the Davona Dale but is obviously capable of better. Also returning from the one-mile Davona Dale is Competitive Speed, who finished third and was 1 1/2 lengths behind Crazy Beautiful.

The Gulfstream Park Oaks’ top four finishers will earn Kentucky Oaks (G1) qualifying points of 100-40-20-10, respectively.

Here’s a rundown of the other stakes on Saturday’s Florida Derby Day card:

Orchid S. (G3) — Race 13 (5:55 p.m. ET)

Always Shopping figures as a strong favorite to earn her third stakes win in succession over this turf course in this 1 1/2-mile test. A dominating winner of the La Prevoyante (G3) and Via  Borghese S. earlier in the meet, her competition includes Belle Laura, Morning Molly, Sister Hanan, and Delta’s Kingdom.

Cutler Bay S. — Race 11 (4:43 p.m. ET)

This one-mile turf event for three-year-olds is led by Annex, who rallied from 22 lengths down to take the Feb. 27 Palm Beach S. by a head to remain undefeated in two starts. Making his first appearance of the season is Step Dancer, who captured the Awad S. at Belmont in October after placing in the Pilgrim (G2) earlier that month.

Pan American S. (G2) — Race 10 (4:09 p.m. ET)

Cross Border, third to Colonel Liam in the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) in late January, will look to earn his first win since August in this 1 1/2-mile grass fixture. Division mainstays taking a shot in this race include Sadler’s Joy, Moon Over Miami, and Temple.

Ghostzapper S. (G3) — Race 8 (2:57 p.m. ET)

This nine-furlong test for older horses on the main track includes the recent Challenger (G3) first and third Last Judgment and War Stopper, while Eye of a Jedi looms as a leading candidate on class.

Appleton S. (G3) — Race 6 (1:57 p.m. ET)

The seven-year-old veteran Frostmourne looks the horse to beat in this long-standing Gulfstream fixture over one mile on the grass. A multiple graded stakes winner way back in 2017, the Speightstown gelding was most recently third in the Jan. 9 Tropical Turf (G3). Leading rivals include Ever Dangerous and Seismic Wave.

Sir Shackleton S. — Race 5 (1:27 p.m. ET)

Basin, a Grade 1-winning juvenile who was belatedly awarded first in an Arkansas Derby (G1) division last year following the disqualification of Charlatan, returns to action in this seven-furlong dash having not run since a second-place finish in the Amsterdam (G2) in late August. Last year’s Florida Derby (G1) runner-up Shivaree is another notable in the lineup.

Sand Springs S. — Race 4 (12:57 p.m. ET)

Multiple graded stakes winner Sweet Melania makes her four-year-old debut in this 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares. She was last seen turning in the worst performance of her career when a trailing seventh in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) in October. Feel Glorious, Sweet Bye and Bye, and Abscond are other major contenders.

Sanibel Island S. — Race 3 (12:28 p.m. ET)

This one-mile grass test for three-year-old fillies appears a winnable spot for World Tour, who won at first asking for Bill Mott last month, but she’ll have to get past the more seasoned Joy of Painting and I Get It, both of whom placed in the Feb. 27 Herecomesthebride (G3).