February 24, 2024

Performer, Got Stormy among stars suiting up on Fountain of Youth undercard

Performer wins the Hooper Stakes (Coglianese Photos/Lauren King)

Gulfstream Park Mile (G2) — Race 9 (3:27 p.m. ET)

Separated by a head in last month’s Fred W. Hooper (G3), Performer and Eye of a Jedi will have a rematch in Saturday’s $200,000 Gulfstream Park Mile, one of numerous graded events on the Fountain of Youth Day undercard.

Performer was in receipt of two pounds from Eye of the Jedi when winning the Hooper photo, but there will be a four-pound shift in the weights for this one as Performer carry two pounds more than his rival on Saturday.

“He gutted it out pretty good,” trainer Shug McGaughey said of the dual Grade 3-winning Performer, who’s won six of eight starts. “I don’t think it killed him to win, but that horse that finished second is a pretty darn horse.

“He seems to have come out of the race good. He had a very good work the other day,” added McGaughey, who intends to stretch Performer back out over a mile and an eighth in the colt’s next start.

Tax, impressive winner of the Harlan’s Holiday (G3) in December before running a dull 10th in the Pegasus World Cup (G1), looms as a viable contender, while 2020 Gulfstream Park Mile runner-up Phat Man shortens up to a more favorable trip after disappointing of late around two turns.

Honey Fox S. (G3) — Race 11 (4:29 p.m. ET)

Multiple Grade 1 queen Got Stormy, who enjoyed a bit of a renaissance last year after reverting to sprints, stretches back out around two turns for her six-year-old debut in the $125,000 Honey Fox S. (G3) over a mile on the turf. A dual graded stakes winner sprinting last fall, Got Stormy was last seen finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Keeneland.

“I’m anxious to see what the year brings for her [because] 2020 was a crazy year for a lot of reasons, but for her, it was about weather, bad weather, and so many times running her on a track that she didn’t care for,” trainer Mark Casse said “And she now has a new dimension; she can sprint, as well. So it opens up some options.

“If she is going to run a mile, it has to be very fast.”

Got Stormy debuts Saturday for co-owner Spendthrift Farm, which purchased the mare at auction last fall for $2.75 million.

Her rivals include recent Marshua’s River (G3) scorer Zofelle and multiple stakes winner Feel Glorious.

Mac Diarmida S. (G2) — Race 4 (12:55 p.m. ET)

Tide of the Sea, wire-to-wire winner of the 1 1/2-mile W.L. McKnight (G3) over Temple last month, will seek to do it again over furlong shorter in the $200,000 Mac Diarmida S. (G2). Stretching back out from shorter events in which they were at a distance disadvantage are Admission Office and Aquaphobia, while the multiple graded-placed Sir Sahib looks to rebound off a dull performance in the McKnight in his debut for trainer Jose Corrales.

Canadian Turf S. (G3) — Race 8 (2:53 p.m. ET)

The $125,000 Canadian Turf S. (G3) over 1 1/16 miles features recent Sunshine Turf winner Venezuelan Hug, Tampa Bay (G3) runner-up Eons, Grade 2 scorer Fancy Liquor, and Grade 3-placed Olympic Runner, a local allowance scorer for Mark Casse last month over Winters Back.

The Very One S. (G3) — Race 13 (5:36 p.m. ET)

An evenly matched field of fillies and mares will travel 1 3/16 miles on the turf in the $125,000 The Very One S. (G3). Notables in the lineup are the 2020 Saratoga Oaks heroine Antoinette and German Group 2 winner Kalifornia Queen, who makes her U.S. debut here for Chad Brown.

Herecomesthebride S. (G3) — Race 3 (12:26 p.m. ET)

Con Lima, first or second in all four of her prior stakes appearances, will attempt to notch her second added-money win of the meet in the $100,000 Herecomesthebride S. (G3), a 1 1/16-mile grass test for three-year-old fillies. The Todd Pletcher trainee wired the field in the Jan. 2 Ginger Brew S., but was run down late by White Frost when settling for the place in the Sweetest Chant (G3) last time.

Making their first starts of the season are Spanish Loveaffair, a stakes winner on this course last summer prior to finishing second in the Jessamine (G2) and sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), and Tobys Heart, who captured both sprint attempts last season including the Bolton Landing S. at Saratoga.

Palm Beach S. — Race 6 (1:53 p.m. ET)

The $100,000 Palm Beach S., the only non-graded stakes on the card, is for three-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Although Kitten’s Joy (G3) winner Chess’s Dream aims to win his second stakes in succession, vying for favoritism might be the Shug McGaughey-trained Scarlett Sky, a five-length allowance winner last time, and Bill Mott’s Jan. 16 debut winner Annex. The stakes-placed Fighting Force and Cave Hill are among the other contenders.