November 27, 2022

Girl With a Dream prospers in Forward Gal; Grand Sonata, Opalina win turf stakes

Girl With a Dream wins the Forward Gal Stakes (Photo by Lauren King/Coglianese Photos)

Along with a Kentucky Derby (G1) qualifier, the Holy Bull S. (G3), Saturday’s 12-race program at Gulfstream Park featured the $100,000 Forward Gal (G3) for Kentucky Oaks (G1) contenders, and a pair of graded turf stakes for three-year-olds.

Forward Gal (G3)

Girl With a Dream stretched her win streak to three, and picked up 10 points toward a Kentucky Oaks berth, when leading wire-to-wire in the seven-furlong Forward Gal. The Practical Joke filly is campaigned by Jim Bakke and Gerry Isbister.

Trained by Brad Cox, Girl With a Dream was exiting a wire-to-wire tally in the Dec. 27 Letellier Memorial S. at Fair Grounds, and the chestnut lass showed her versatility when rallying to capture an entry-level allowance at Churchill Downs in mid-November. She’s now earned $230,760 from a 6-4-1-0 record.

Girl With a Dream sprinted clear at the start with Luis Saez, establishing splits in :22.85 and :45.73 before stopping the teletimer in 1:23.42, and she comfortably scored by a length as the 5-1 third choice among seven runners.

The Road to the Kentucky Oaks series qualifier awarded points on a 10-4-2-1 scale to the top four finishers.

Radio Days, a convincing winner over maiden special weight and entry-level allowance foes in New York last year, missed the break as the 3-5 favorite, but she rallied well for second in her stakes debut for Shug McGaughey.

It was another 6 1/4 lengths back to Last Leaf in third, and Diamond Wow, Greatitude, She’s So Beautiful, and Disco Ebo rounded out the order of finish.

Bred in Kentucky by Machmer Hall and J Racing Stable, Girl With a Dream was purchased for $115,000 at the 2020 Keeneland September yearling sale. She’s the first stakes winner from the unraced Corinthian mare Henley, a half-sister to multiple Grade 2 winner Mr. Commons.

Kitten’s Joy (G3)

After being stymied in traffic, Whisper Hill Farm’s homebred Grand Sonata angled out in midstretch and closed fast to prevail by a neck in the $100,000 Kitten’s Joy S. (G3). The Todd Pletcher-trained colt registered his second consecutive stakes triumph, scoring by a head in the Dania Beach on New Year’s Day, and Tyler Gaffalione was up on the son of Medaglia d’Oro.

Grand Sonata completed about 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.53 on the firm turf, and he left the starting gate as the 5-1 fifth choice in the eight-horse field.

Royal Spirit, who pressed pacesetter and 9-5 favorite Coinage before taking a short lead between calls in deep stretch, just missed in second at 5-1, 1 1/4 lengths better than Coinage. Eldon’s Prince, Red Danger, Speaking Soul, Father Glado, and Red Knobs came next under the wire.

Grand Sonata, the first foal to race from the A.P. Indy mare A. P. Sonata, is from the female family of champion three-year-old filly Abel Tasman. More immediate relatives include Grade 2 winners Beethoven and Wilburn, and Grade 3 scorer Moonlight d’Oro. The Kentucky-bred dark bay improved his ledger to 5-3-1-0.

Sweetest Chant (G3)

Opalina rallied wide off the far turn, striking the front in midstretch, and edged away to win the $100,000 Sweetest Chant (G3) by about a length. Trained by Roderick Rodriguez and ridden by Saez, the sophomore daughter of Optimizer completed the about 1 1/16-mile turf trip in 1:41.56.

Off as the 43-10 co-second choice, the chestnut notched her first stakes tally. She was exiting a third in the Jan. 1 Ginger Brew S. at Gulfstream. The Florida-bred miss improved her career line to 6-2-2-1, and she’s campaigned by co-breeder Teneri Farm and J Stables.

Ambiteuse closed well for second at 9-2, about a length better than late-running Miss You Ella. Myfavoritedaughter, Battle Charge, Ocean Safari, Roughly a Diamond, Hal’s Dream, and Nostalgic followed.

Opalina is out of the Kitten’s Joy mare Go Kitten Go, and she’s counts stakes-placed Red Hornet as a half-brother.