By Jim Freer
The Gulfstream Park West meet, being held at Calder, today will have two Grade 3 stakes races at 1 1/16 miles on turf with $100,000 purses.
The My Charmer is for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up. It is the fourth race with scheduled post of 2:05 p.m.
Sandiva, Kitten’s Dumplings and Lady Lara are likely favorites. There are ten entrants if the race stays on turf, which is likely.
Sandiva and Lady Lara each won a turf stakes at Gulfstream Park during the last twelve months. Both are making their first start on the Calder turf.
Kitten’s Dumplings is one-for-one on that surface. On Oct. 24 she was the very impressive winner of the 1 1/8 mile Little Miss Magic Stakes.
The Tropical Turf is for males 3-years-old and up. It is the sixth race with scheduled post of 3:05 p.m.
Lochte is the likely favorite. He is coming off a turf stakes win at the GP West meet, and that followed a turf stakes win at Gulfstream Park. There are nine entrants if the race stays on turf.
(Note: In the photo on the home page, Lochte is shown winning the Mr. Steele Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Sept. 27)
The Tropical Turf and My Charmer are the only two graded stakes races of the 40-day GP West meet, which will end Nov. 28.
GP West will have ten races today, with first post of 12:35 p.m.
We will have on-site coverage of the two stakes races on our blog http://insidefloridahorseracing.blogspot.com/
Later today on this Web site, we will have coverage of the GP West stakes and other Florida racing news.
African Fighter, in her first start on the Calder track, beat Karlyrae’swarrior by 6 ¼ lengths in Friday’s featured ninth race.
It was a $16,000 optional claimer, with a $39,000 purse, at one mille on dirt for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.
African Fighter, trained by Todd Pletcher, was in eighth and last place after a half mile. She then made a sustained move, took the lead entering the stretch and drew away.
African Fighter, the 9-5 favorite, was ridden by Eddie Castro and won in 1:38.33. During the summer, she ran in higher level allowance and optional claming races at Saratoga and at Belmont Park.
Her win on Friday was Pletcher’s 13th of the GP West meet.
He is in third place in the trainers’ standings. Antonio Sano, who led GP West trainers in wins last year, and Jorge Navarro each have14 and are tied for the lead.
Pletcher led trainers in wins during each of the last 12 Gulfstream Park championship meets winter meets). The 2015-2016 winter meet will open on Dec. 5 and Pletcher will be favored to run his streak to 13.
In 2014, Pletcher had ten wins at GP West This year, compared with recent Octobers, he sent a larger number of “early arrivals” to his winter base at Palm Beach Downs in Delray Beach.