On the sidelines since May, Three Chimneys Farm LLC and Fern Circle Stables' Restless Rider is ready for a return to action in Saturday's $150,000 Grade 3 Royal Delta Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
The Grade 1 stakes-winning daughter of Distorted Humor has not raced since finishing off the board in the May 3 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.
“She had a quarter crack in the fall that we were dealing with. We brought her down to Gulfstream early on. She's thrived there. She's done very well there,” trainer Kenny McPeek said.
Restless Rider was first or second in six starts during her 2-year-old season, capturing the G1 Alcibiades at Keeneland and finishing second the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and G2 Golden Rod at Churchill Downs. She came back last year to finish second, beaten a neck, in the G1 Ashland at Keeneland before turning in the first poor performance of her career in the Kentucky Oaks.
“She's a top filly – complete class to be around. We're hoping she transfers that to her 4-year-old year. We gave her plenty of time to fill out to do that,” McPeek said. “I think we're all set to have a really good season with her. I'd like to think in the fall we can have her on a Breeders' Cup campaign.”
Jose Ortiz is scheduled to ride Restless Rider for the first time in the 1 1/16-mile Royal Delta.
Summer Wind Equine LLC's Golden Award will be in search of her second graded-stakes victory in a row in the Royal Delta. The Bill Mott-trained daughter of Medaglia d'Oro captured the Nov. 2 G3 Turnback the Alarm at Aqueduct in her most recent start.
The 5-year-old Kentucky-bred mare won the G3 Shuvee at Saratoga last July before being pulled up in the G1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga and going to the sidelines. She returned two months later to win the 1 1/8-mile Turnback the Alarm, in which she stalked the early pace before scoring by three-quarters of a length.
“She looks great; she's doing well. I couldn't ask any more from her. We haven't rushed her back to the races. We were going to run her one more time in the fall, but she got a little fever and we just stopped on her,” Mott said. “She's doing well. We have to get her started. This will be the first one of hopefully a long campaign for the year.”
Tyler Gaffalione has the mount aboard Golden Award, who won an optional claiming allowance by 3 1/2 lengths in her only start at Gulfstream in January 2019.
Arindel's Cookie Dough is slated to make her first start for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. in the Royal Delta. Formerly trained by Stanley Gold, the 4-year-old daughter of Brethren most recently finished a close second behind next-out winner Pink Sands in the Dec. 14 G3 Rampart, in which she set a solid early pace before faltering late to come up a half-length short of victory.
Cookie Dough will seek her first graded-stakes victory Saturday after being graded-stakes placed in the G2 Davona Dale, G2 Gulfstream Park Oaks and the G2 Black-Eyed Susan last year.
She came to us as a good horse. She's already proven herself. Hopefully, she'll run for us as good as she did for Stan Gold,” Joseph said. “She's been working well. I think she'll go over there with a very good chance.”
Paco Lopez has the mount aboard Cookie Dough, who captured the $400,000 My Dear Girl, the 1 1/16-mile final of the 2018 Florida Sire Stakes series.
Queen Nekia, owned by trained by Joseph, was also entered in the Royal Delta. Claimed for $25,000 out of a Dec. 6 optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream, the 5-year-old daughter of Harlington scored at first asking, winning a Jan. 16 optional claiming allowance at 1 1/16 miles.
Hall of Famer John Velazquez has the call.
Coach Rocks, who was sold at the 2019 Keeneland November sale for $450,000, is scheduled to make her first start for WinStar Stablemates Racing LLC and trainer Todd Pletcher.
The 5-year-old daughter of Oxbow captured the 2018 G2 Gulfstream Park Oaks for trainer Dale Romans.
“She's a very classy filly. She's trained very steadily for this,” Pletcher said. “Hopefully, she'll run as well for us as she did for Dale.”
Coach Rocks will be ridden by Luis Saez.
Imaginary Stables and Glenn Ellis' Tweeting, who finished second in the Jan. 18 Wayward Lass at Tampa after an off-the-board effort in the Rampart, rounds out the field.
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