Shooting Star Thoroughbreds LLC's Chance It will once again have the opportunity to live up to the hype in Saturday's $200,000 Affirmed Division of the FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
The seven-furlong Affirmed will co-headline Saturday's program with the $200,000 Susan's Girl Division for fillies in the second leg of the series for 2-year-olds sired by accredited Florida stallions.
Chance It created a buzz June 29 when he broke his maiden by 9 ¼ lengths under wraps, producing the fastest Beyer Speed Figure (91) for a 2-year-old in the country at the time. The son of Currency Swap offered an impressive encore performance Aug. 3 with a dominating victory in the $100,000 FSS Dr. Fager, matching the 91 speed figure of his maiden triumph while prevailing by 3 ½ lengths.
“The margin wasn't as big, but the number was the same. It came back with 91 again,” trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said. “He was on the inside and he had to be used a bit. I knew he was legit, but it was nice to see that progression.”
Chance It, who debuted with a second-place finish in a five-furlong maiden race at Gulfstream June 1, is slated to stretch out from six furlongs to seven furlongs in the open division series that will conclude with the $400,000 In Reality at 1 1/16 miles Sept. 28.
“I feel fairly comfortable with him going a mile, a mile and a sixteenth. They have to do it, but he doesn't show distance limitations right now,” Joseph said. “With Currency Swap, you think sprinting, but on his dam's side, he has Pleasantly Perfect.
“He's a good looking horse. The only thing you can knock him about is his pedigree. He has no pedigree,” he added. “But he's a good looking horse and when you put him on the track, he wants to achieve. He's willing. He always wants to do more.”
Leading rider Edgard Zayas has the return mount aboard Chance It, the 3-5 favorite who breezed three furlongs in 37.83 seconds Wednesday morning at Gulfstream in preparation for a start in the Affirmed.
Trainer Ralph Nicks entered two horses in the Affirmed in a quest to saddle his third straight winner in the seven-furlong stakes named for the Florida-bred 1978 Triple Crown champion, Stonehedge LLC's Liam's Lucky Charm being the more formidable contender. The son of Khozan finished second behind Chance It in the Dr. Fager after being bumped at the start.
“He was second best. Chance It was the better horse that day. I think Liam's moving forward as we go along. As we stretch out, we're going to get better,” said Nicks, who scored Affirmed victories with Soutache (2017) and Garter and Tie (2018). “I don't know if seven-eighths is enough to catch the other horse, but on the other hand, he'll be someone to be dealt with.”
At five furlongs, Liam's Lucky Charm finished third in his May 12 debut before breaking his maiden by 6 ¾ lengths June 9. In the six-furlong Dr. Fager, he recovered from early bumping to close for second 10 ¼ lengths clear of third-place finisher Absolute Grit.
Nicks expects Liam's Lucky Charm to move even more forward when sent around two turns.
“He trains like it and has acted like it all along,” he said. “I think you'll see him get better as we move along. He's maturing. He should run a better race Saturday. Is it going to be good enough? I don't know.”
Reylu Gutierrez has the mount.
Nicks-trained Shivaree, a half-brother to Garter and Tie, will attempt to break his maiden in the Affirmed after finishing third in his second career race last time out.
“We won it last year with his brother, who broke his maiden in there. So we'll try to duplicate the same effort,” Nicks said. “That whole family – I've had three of them now – have been slow learners. A bit of ground will help him too. He's training really well and has been moving forward since his last race.”
The Jacks or Better Farm's homebred colt will be ridden by Jeffrey Sanchez.
Arindel's Genghis enters the Affirmed off a 2 ¾-length victory July 27 in his fourth career start. The homebred son of Brethren has finished second in his first three races, including runner-up finishes behind Chance It June 28 and Positively Awesome, an undefeated half-brother to multiple Grade 1 winner Jackson Bend, April 2.
Emisael Jaramillo has the return mount aboard the Juan Alvarado-trained son of Brethren.
Arindel will also be represented by Stanley Gold-trained Plato, a son of Brethren, who finished second last time out in a maiden $35,000 claiming race. Miguel Vasquez has the mount.
Cathi and Karl Glassman's Absolute Grit is slated to return in the Affirmed after an eventful trip in the Dr. Fager. The Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained colt, the second betting choice in the first leg of the Florida Sire Stakes, was bumped at the start and encountered more bumping leaving the backstretch while racing three-wide before coming up short in the stretch.
The son of Kantharos broke his maiden at first asking April 26 before finishing second behind Positively Awesome in the June 30 Kodiak Island Stakes.
Cristian Torres has the mount.
Rounding out the field are Stonestreet Stables LLC's Our Time, a son of Kantharos who was a dead-heat winner in his July 20th debut; Tracy Pinchin's Northbrook, a son of Going Astray who finished fourth in the Dr. Fager; Patricia's Hope LLC's Jettin Out, a son of Adios Charlie who broke his maiden Aug. 17 after finishing second in his first three starts; and Ramiro Rosas-Medina's Rebelde, a son of Khozan who broke his maiden in his seventh start last time out.
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2020 Paulick Report.