The timing seems right for Thewayiam to show how much an eight-month layoff can pay off in Saturday's $150,000 Stella Artois Gallorette Stakes (G3), one of eight stakes races, four graded, that support the $1.65 million Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course.
A field of nine was entered for the 68th running of the Gallorette for fillies and mares 3 and up going 1 1/16 miles on the turf.
Thewayiam, a multiple graded-stakes winner, gave trainer Graham Motion an indication she's ready for a strong effort in the Gallorette after running second by a half-length to Lady Joan in an allowance/optional claimer at Gulfstream Park on April 13. It was the 4-year-old filly's first start since last August, when she finished ninth in the Lake Placid (G2) at Saratoga Race Course.
“She had a long go of it running all winter at Gulfstream and running competitively until Saratoga, when she ran her first disappointing race,'' said Motion of the filly bred in France. “So we just decided to give her a rest.”
Motion, who won last year's Gallorette with Ultra Brat, has been quite pleased with Thewayiam's training, and said, “she ran well her first time (back) at Gulfstream Park. She was beaten by a New York-bred from Phil Serpe, which by no means is a disgrace after a long layoff. Hopefully, she'll progress from that race. We're very happy with her. The timing is right.”
In 2018, Great Point Stables' Thewayiam won her first three starts, including the Sweetest Chant Stakes (G3) and the Herecomesthebride (G3), both at Gulfstream Park. She also ran second in the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) in July.
Chad Brown, the Eclipse Award-winning trainer the past three years, will saddle two starters – Barkaa and Inflexibility – in a race he's looking to win for the fourth time in eight years, most recently with Watsdachances in 2015.
Allen Stable and Peter Brant's Barkaa, a 4-year-old filly bred in France, was sent to Brown last year. She ran eighth in the Sands Point (G2) at Belmont Park on Sept. 15 in her only start in the United States.
“She ran last year, but she didn't run well,'' said Brown, who won the 2017 Preakness with Cloud Computing. “We sent her to the farm for some freshening. She's trained well and we'll give her another try to get her back to form.”
Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence's Inflexibility, a daughter of Scat Daddy, also is making her first start of the year, having finished sixth in the Athenia (G3) at Belmont on Oct. 2.
“She had a good season last year until the fall and then tailed off,'' said Brown. “We freshened her up at the farm, and she's been training sharp and hopefully regaining the very good form she had the first part of last year.”
In 2018, Inflexibility finished in the top three in four of six races, including second in both the Beaugay (G3) at Belmont and the Dance Smartly (G2) at Woodbine.
Mitchell Road brings a strong resume into the race, but is making her graded-stakes debut for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, a winner of his first Kentucky Derby May 4 with Country House, who finished second but was elevated to first following the disqualification of Maximum Security.
A daughter of turf champion English Channel, Mitchell Road has won both starts this year, and has won four of six with two runner-up finishes overall for owners Mrs. J.V. Shields and E.J.M. McFadden, Jr. She won the Albert M. Stall Memorial at Fair Grounds on Feb. 16 in her last start.
Also entered are Viva Vegas, third in the Dahlia Stakes at Laurel in her last start; Dynatail, an allowance winner at Keeneland in April in her 2019 debut; Ireland-bred I'm So Fancy, making her U.S. debut for trainer Arnaud Delacour; In the Lee, trained by Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey; and Hogan's Holiday.
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