Four weeks after hitting the wire less than a length apart in the Via Borghese, the top trio of Paige, Desiree Clary and Flipcup will meet up again in Saturday’s $ 200,000 La Prevoyante Handicap (G3) on the Gulfstream Park turf.
The 48th running of the 1 ½-mile La Prevoyante and $ 100,000 Hurricane Bertie (G3) at seven furlongs, both for fillies and mares 4 and older, are among the six supporting stakes on the undercard of the inaugural $ 12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), the world’s richest horse race.
Also on tap are the $ 400,000 Poseidon for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles, the $ 200,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap (G3) for 4-year-olds and up at 1 ½ miles on turf, and $ 125,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint and $ 125,000 Ladies Turf Sprint for older horses going five furlongs on the grass.
Jim Wells and Cheyenne Stables’ Paige, a 5-year-old daughter of Sky Mesa, captured the 1 3/16-mile Via Borghese Dec. 31 at Gulfstream after an ideal trip from Paco Lopez, who sat patiently in mid-pack before angling inside down the stretch to edge Desiree Clary by a half-length. It was just a head back to Grade 3 winner Flipcup in third.
“She had a very good trip,” trainer Christophe Clement said. “She was saving ground, showed a nice turn of foot, and it was a nice race. I have a question mark if she wants to go that far at this time, but we are going to try and go from there.
“She came out of the race in good order, she has trained very well and she looks very well. She seems to be thriving at Payson Park,” he added. “Unfortunately [it] will be a very competitive race. We will try our best and see what happens.”
Paige finished sixth in the 1 ½-mile Dowager (G3) last fall at Keeneland, her only previous try at the distance. German-bred Desiree Clary, who joined Clement last summer after six starts in Europe, was third by a half-length in the Long Island Handicap (G3) in November at Aqueduct.
“Desire Clary will stay for sure. She looks well and there’s no doubt in my mind that she has the stamina,” Clement said. “You try to bring them up to the races as good as possible and as fit as possible and then it’s up to the racing gods. It’s all about the trip.”
Team Valor International and Green Lantern Stables’ multiple graded stakes-placed mare Arles will make her 5-year-old debut in the La Prevoyante. Bred in France, she made her first nine starts in Germany before coming to the U.S. last summer.
Second by less than a length in the Glens Falls (G3) at Saratoga in her North American debut, she came up a nose short as the favorite in the Red Carpet Handicap (G3) in November at Del Mar, both races coming at 1 3/8 miles. She owns a win at 1 ¼ miles in her penultimate European start.
“She really has been good since we’ve gotten her, perhaps a little bit unlucky. She’s had two solid seconds but she seems very consistent and she’s been there each time,” trainer Graham Motion said. “She’s a very straightforward, very attractive mare, really very uncomplicated. We didn’t go looking for a mile and a half race but I certainly think it is something within her scope.”
Flipcup is winless in six starts since taking the Arlington Matron (G3) last May including four New York-bred stakes races. She encountered traffic trouble and was forced to alter course in the Via Borghese, her return to open company, and was third by a half-length.
Her Bill Mott-trained stablemate, Suffused, is making her 5-year-old debut in the La Prevoyante, beaten a nose in the 1 ¼-mile E.P. Taylor (G1) last October at Woodbine in her 2016 finale. Winner of the 1 3/8-mile Glens Falls (G3) in her previous start, she came within a head of winning the 1 ½-mile Waya (G3), also at Saratoga.
Wapi, a multiple Group 1 winner in Chile making her second North American start; Cellars Shiraz winner Gypsy Eyes; Lobelia, a winner of two of her last three starts; 2015 Claiming Crown Tiara winner Quiet Kitten; stakes-placed Promotional; Dueling Grounds Oaks winner Try Your Luck; and Stay the Night complete the field.
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