$250,000 Honey Fox (G3) Saturday at Gulfstream Park

$250,000 Honey Fox (G3) Saturday at Gulfstream Park

G3 Winner Speed Franco Tops $150,000 Cutler Bay
G1-Placed Best Performance Returns in $150,000 Sanibel Island

Led by the Christophe Clement-trained pair of Grade 3 winner Lull and multiple graded-stakes placed Stormy Victoria and Stuart Janney III’s Grade 3-winning homebred On Leave, 10 older fillies and mares are set to contest the $250,000 Honey Fox (G3) Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

The 33rd running of the one-mile Honey Fox for fillies and mares 4 and up on the grass is among seven stakes, five graded, worth $2.3 million in purses on the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) Day program.

Carded as Race 11, the Honey Fox kicks off an all-graded-stakes Late Pick 4 that continues with the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) for 3-year-old fillies in Race 12 and $250,000 Pan American (G2) for 4-year-olds and up on the turf in Race 13, and ends with the 67th running of the 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby for 3-year-olds.

Saturday’s spectacular stakes program also marks the return of 2017 Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby (G1) winner in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Hardacre Mile (G2) as well as the $150,000 Cutler Bay and $150,000 Sanibel Island for 3-year-olds on turf. First race post time is 11:30 a.m.

Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s homebred Lull drew Post 2 and will carry 123 pounds including jockey Jose Ortiz, sharing topweight with On Leave. A 4-year-old War Front filly, Lull is making her first start since finishing fifth by 3 ¼ lengths following a troubled trip in the Matriarch (G1) Nov. 26.

Lull, a stakes winner at Kentucky Downs at 2 and 3, became a graded winner for the first time one start prior to the Matriarch, clearing her rivals by the same margin in the Autumn Miss (G3) – both southern California races coming at the Honey Fox distance. She is the 5-2 program favorite.

Tango Uniform Racing and The Elkstone Group’s Stormy Victoria, standing alongside her stablemate in Post 3, is seeking her first graded win after finishing second or third in graded company four times. The Stormy River mare made her 6-year-old debut Jan. 27 at Gulfstream, racing last through a half-mile before coming with a five-wide run to win the 7 ½-furlong South Beach Stakes by three-quarters of a length. She is the third choice on the morning line at 3-1.

“Both fillies are doing great. Lull is a free-galloper. She’ll be close to the pace and she’s a top-class filly. She’s a lovely horse to be around,” Clement said. “Stormy Victoria just had a break and she’s on her way back. As you know she won the stake over the same track last time and I’m very happy with her.”

On Leave, second choice in the program at 3-1, drew outside Post 10 in the Honey Fox, the 5-year-old War Front mare’s first start since a gutsy neck victory as the favorite in the one-mile My Charmer (G3) Dec. 16 at Gulfstream. It was the second stakes win in three starts to end 2017 following the All Along in September at Laurel Park for On Leave, winner of the 2016 Sands Point (G2) at Belmont Park.

Making her graded debut is Deborah Wilson’s Res Ipsa, trained by Ian Wilkes. The 5-year-old daughter of champion turf horse English Channel ended her 4-year-old campaign with back-to-back wins but has not raced since a 1 ¾-length allowance triumph going 1 1/16 miles Oct. 13 at Keeneland.

“The owner likes to give them a little bit of time. The filly really improved and got really good and we just decided to give her some time to mature and come back as a 5-year-old,” Wilkes said. “She got good last year. She just kept improving as we went on, which is good. As she’s gotten older she’s gotten to maturing and she’s getting good.”

Regular rider Julien Leparoux returns aboard Res Ispa, a 12-1 long shot who will break from Post 8 at 119 pounds.

“She’s a little temperamental, but Julien knows her. He’ll find a comfortable spot,” Wilkes said. “She’ll probably be a little on the fresh side because she hasn’t run for a while but we’ll leave it up to Julien and go from there.”

Team of Teams, winner of the one-mile Sand Springs March 3 at Gulfstream; 2017 Selene (G3) winner Grizzel and Island Reward, second and third, respectively, in the Sand Springs; 2017 Sanibel Island winner Conquest Hardcandy; Glory to Kitten, winner of the Mary Todd starter stakes Feb. 17 at Gulfstream; and Liberty Kitten complete the field.

G3 Winner Speed Franco Tops $150,000 Cutler Bay

Grupo 7C Racing Stable’s Grade 3 winner Speed Franco, at one time under consideration for the Florida Derby, will remain on turf and was installed as the 6-5 program favorite for third running of the one-mile Cutler Bay.

It will be the fifth start at the Championship Meet for the sophomore Declaration of War colt, trained by Gustavo Delgado. He won the Pulpit Stakes Dec. 9 and Dania Beach (G3) Feb. 3, both at one mile, and most recently was beaten a neck as the favorite by Maraud in the 1 1/16-mile Palm Beach (G3) March 3.

Trainer Christophe Clement, who won last year’s Cutler Bay with Dover Cliffs, will send out Oak Bluff Stables’ homebred Therapist. The chestnut son of Freud was third in the Palm Beach, 2 ¼ lengths behind Speed Franco, after capping his juvenile season winning the Laurel Futurity and Awad Stakes.

Also entered are Nauti Buoy, winner of the Juvenile Turf Stakes last fall at Gulfstream Park West, unraced since running fifth in the Pulpit; Salmanazar, stretching out off a victory in the five-furlong Texas Glitter in his turf debut Feb. 24 at Gulfstream; Neepawa, fifth in the Palm Beach; and Gulfstream maiden winner The Dow.

G1-Placed Best Performance Returns in $150,000 Sanibel Island

West Point Thoroughbreds, Tango Uniform Racing and Robert Masiello’s Best Performance, a late-running second by less than a length to Rushing Fall in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), makes her return to racing in the one-mile Sanibel Island.

Purchased for $300,000 out of Fasig-Tipton’s Selected 2-Year-Olds in Training sale last March at Gulfstream Park, Best Performance broke her maiden at first asking then ran second in five consecutive stakes, three of them graded, on turf and dirt. Jose Ortiz will ride for trainer Christophe Clement from outside Post 8 as the morning-line choice at 8-5.

Championship Meet-leading trainer Todd Pletcher will send out Amertume, a debut winner Jan. 27 at Gulfstream who returned to finish second by 1 ¾ lengths to multiple stakes winner Thewayiam in the 1 1/16-mile Herecomesthebride (G3) March 3.

Last out winners Figarella’s Queen, Tocame Linda, Got Stormy and Ferdinanda, all making their stakes debuts, Originator and stakes-placed Unstablenthemornin are also entered.

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Shayne Heffernan Funds Manager at HEFFX holds a Ph.D. in Economics and brings with him over 25 years of trading experience in Asia and hands on experience in Venture Capital, he has been involved in several start ups that have seen market capitalization over $500m and 1 that reach a peak market cap of $15b. He has managed and overseen start ups in Mining, Shipping, Technology and Financial Services.

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