Awesome Mass, to be ridden by Emisael Jaramillo, faces eight other 2-year-old fillies in the Susan’s Girl
Upset at 7-10 odds in the kickoff of the 2017 FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes, Awesome Mass was entered Wednesday for a quest to make amends to her backers in Saturday’s $ 200,000 Susan’s Girl Division of the series for juveniles sired by nominated Florida stallions.
The Susan’s Girl and the $ 200,000 Affirmed, both scheduled for seven furlongs, will highlight a 13-race Gulfstream Park program with a first-race post time set for noon.
Awesome Mass registered one of the fastest speed figures turned in by a 2-year-old this year when the 2-year-old daughter of Brethren broke her maiden by 11 ¾ lengths at Gulfstream July 20, earning odds-on favoritism in the $ 100,000 FSS Desert Vixen two weeks later. Unfortunately, the Arindel Farm homebred filly stumbled at the start of the six-furlong stakes while grabbing a quarter. She was hustled to engage pacesetter Go Astray long the backstretch and far turn before coming up short in the stretch, finishing 4 ¾-lengths behind the front-running winner.
“She stumbled twice coming out of there. It wasn’t the fact that she grabbled herself. It was that she wasn’t up with the field. She had to race up there to get her position. They went 44.93 (seconds) for the half – that obviously took something out of her,” trainer Stanley Gold said. “When she went to put in her run, she wasn’t in a position to stay with the leader. The leader had the jump on her, but she hung on strong for second.”
Awesome Mass had a much smoother trip while breaking her maiden in her third lifetime start, setting the pace with an uncontested lead and rolling home to an easy victory while running five furlongs in 57.18 seconds. The Florida-bred filly ran the last eighth of a mile in 11.63 seconds and the last three-eighths of a mile in a sharp 34.20 seconds.
“There’s good racing luck and bad racing luck. That one worked out beautifully. She was in front, controlling the pace and no one pressing her. By the time they did, it was too late. She had too much left in the tank,” said Gold, who has saddled the winners of a record 18 FSS events.
Although he certainly wouldn’t mind seeing the maiden-breaking scenario being repeated in the Susan’s Girl, Gold contends that Awesome Mass doesn’t need the lead to be effective.
“That doesn’t matter. She doesn’t need the lead. What matters is that we don’t have to rush up to get position. We need to break with the field. She doesn’t need the lead,” said Gold, who awarded the return mount aboard Awesome Mass to Emisael Jaramillo. “The lead’s fine, but she doesn’t need the lead. She’ll be up closer.”
It’s very possible that Go Astray will outsprint Awesome Mass to the lead again in the Susan’s Girl, which attracted a field of nine juvenile fillies. Ramiro Medina’s daughter of Gone Astray has demonstrated a high turn of speed in all of her starts, including the Desert Vixen, in which she set fractions of 22.22, 44.93 and 57.31 on her way to a final six-furlong clocking in 1:11.08.
“She’s doing really good. She came back in a good form and we’re feeling really confident for Saturday’s race,” trainer Angel Rodriguez said. “It think she will be very tough. She is 100 percent for sure.”
Go Astray broke her maiden in her fourth career start June 17 with a front-running 4 ¾-length victory after finishing second behind Todd Pletcher-trained Stainless May 29. She set the pace into the stretch before finishing fourth against open company in the $ 100,000 Brave Raj Stakes at Gulfstream July 1.
Sent to post at 10.80-1 for the Desert Vixen, Go Astray’s victory over Awesome Mass was widely considered an upset except by her trainer.
“She had been running against better horses. I don’t know how she paid 20-something [dollars],” said Rodriguez, who named Jose Batista to return to the saddle. “I think she is the horse to beat in Saturday’s race.”
Pantyhose, who finished just a nose behind Awesome Mass in the Desert Vixen, is slated to return in the Susan’s Girl. Owned and bred by Jacks or Better Farm, which has produced a record 18 FSS victories, Pantyhose is winless in four starts.
“She’s steady. She just keeps grinding away,” trainer Ralph Nicks said. “She should like the distance. We’ll let her tell us how far she wants to go. It’s looking like the more ground she gets, the better. Hopefully we can catch up this time.”
Edgard Zayas has the return mount.
Nicks will also be represented by Donald R. Dizney LLC’s Harbin Ice in the Susan’s Girl. The daughter of First Dude finished fourth in her debut Aug. 6.
“She’s a maiden and she just came running late. Same thing, I think the seven-eighths will be beneficial to her and it’s a lot of money for these restricted horses,” Nicks said. “I don’t know that she’s completely there yet. She’s a big, leggy thing that as time goes on is going to get better.”
New York-based Eric Cancel has been named to ride Harbin Ice.
Homewrecker Racing LLC’s Dessert Honeys is also scheduled to seek her first career victory Saturday. The Eddie Kenneally-trained daughter of High Cotton finished fourth in her career debut in a maiden special weight race at Saratoga Aug. 6. Declan Cannon has the mount.
Starship Stables’ Starship Bonita, Our Sugar Bear Stable LLC’s Right On and Just For Fun Stable Inc.’s Valid Interest, who finished fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, in the Desert Vixen, are set to return in the Susan’s Girl.
Flying Finish Farm’s Reagan’s Rose, who broke her maiden impressively in her third career start Aug. 20, rounds out the field.
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