July 24, 2024

Bleecker Street looks to remain perfect in Hillsborough

Bleecker Street wins the Endeavour Stakes (Photo by SV Photography)

Hillsborough S. (G2) — Tampa Bay Downs Race 7 (3:14 p.m. ET)

Weather could wreak havoc at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday as there are three grass stakes scheduled on the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) undercard and current forecasts predict a 100 percent chance of rain.

Regardless of surface condition, trainer Chad Brown will likely be considered to have the fillies to beat in the $225,000 Hillsborough S. (G2) over nine furlongs. Bleecker Street enters the Hillsborough undefeated from four starts, including an impressive, come-from-behind victory in last month’s Endeavour (G3) over 1 1/16 miles.

Also starting for Brown is Rocky Sky, an Irish import whose lone U.S. race to date was in the Saratoga Oaks (G3) last August. Rock Sky raced wide in fourth early before fading out of contention to trail the field of eight. Both Bleecker Street and Rocky Sky are owned by Peter Brant.

Another exiting the Endeavour is the runner-up Lady Speightspeare, who placed in the Tropical Park Oaks prior to the Endeavour. The Roger Attfield trainee kicked off her career with four straight victories, including the Natalma (G1) and Bessarabian (G2) at Woodbine. Also likely to attract some support is Runaway Rumour, second in both the Lake Placid (G2) and Sands Point (G2) last season.

Brown also has a potentially formidable contenders in the $200,000 Florida Oaks (G3) for three-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles. French import Dolce Zel was a surprise maiden winner at Longchamp when last seen in October, while Spicer broke her maiden at Aqueduct in November over subsequent Sweetest Chant (G3) runner-up Ambitieuse.

Also lining up are Ginger Brew S. winner Alittleloveandluck, a distant second to Nest in the Suncoast S. on the main track last time; the Shug McGaughey-trained On Alert; and Mazarine (G3) winner Mrs. Barbara, who looks to snap a 0-for-3 skid on the grass.

The $75,000 Columbia, a one-mile test for straight three-year-olds, will mark the turf debut of Kitten Mischief, who finished up the track in the Sam F. Davis (G3) on the main track last month. Another likely to attract support is the McGaughey-trained Fort Washington, a maiden winner on the grass at Aqueduct in November.