By Jim Freer
Gulfstream Park has a nine-race card on Sunday with first post at 1:15 p.m.
The dirt track is listed as fast and the turf course is listed as good. Six races are scheduled for turf.
According to the Weather Channel there is only a 15 percent chance of rain during the afternoon in Hallandale Beach, where Gulfstream is located.
The feature eighth race is at six furlongs on dirt for Florida-bred 3-year-old fillies. It is a $12,500 optional claimer with a $37,000 purse.
The Sunday card will follow a Saturday on which Star Kitty (photo on home page) won the $75,000 Christmas Past Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf for 3-year-old fillies that had never previously won a stakes.
Star Kitty passed Temple Fur coming around the turn and went on to win in 1:42.10 on the course listed as good, following heavy rain on Friday and intermittent rain on Saturday.
Bonita finished third, another 2 ¼ lengths back in the ten-horse field.
Matthew Rispoli rode Star Kitty, the 9-5 favorite, for owner/trainer Amy Tarrant.
The win was Star Kitty’s second in five career starts, all on turf this year at Gulfstream.
Star Kitty is a daughter of Kitten’s Joy, out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Miss Luann, and was bred in Kentucky by Blue Devil Racing.
Tarrant purchased her for $340,000 at the 2014 Saratoga Select Yearling Sale—first for racing and then for breeding at Hardacre Farm which Tarrant owns near Ocala.
“She’s a Kitten’s Joy to begin win.” Tarrant said. “She was a costly filly, but I’m really getting big time into the breeding part and I wanted really nice fillies for my breeding program – they’re not easy to get. I’ve got a nice horse that can run, and I have the residual value.”
Tarrant said she would look for another stakes for Sharp Kitty at Gulfstream for her next start.
This is Tarrant’s first year of racing year-round at Gulfstream, partly because of proximity to Ocala. In past summers she has raced horses at Monmouth Park and at Saratoga Race Course.
Tarrant and Rispoli also teamed to win with Byegone Days in Saturday’s second race, a $42,000 maiden special weight race at 1 1/16 miles on turf for 3-year-old fillies.
Byegone Days, at 13-1, won by 6 ¼ lengths over Sunrisebernsteini. Her time was 1:42.86 over the course listed as good.
Byegone Days is a daughter of Old Fashioned out of the Langfuhr mare Sabellina and was bred in Kentucky by Woodford Thoroughbreds. Tarrant bought her at the 2014 Saratoga Sale for $110,000.
“Matthew gave both of those horses great trips today,” Tarrant said. “I’m really impressed by him. He’s a good kid who tries hard. I’ve been using him on most of my horses.”
Tarrant is adding Rafael Hernandez as a second go-to rider, providing assurance that she has a second option when one is not available.
Hernandez, who suffered multiple injuries in a spill Feb. 20, is scheduled to return in Sunday’s sixth race at Gulfstream.
Hernandez is named on Peachtree Stable’s first-time starter Ozymandias, trained by Mike Maker. Hernandez suffered a broken collarbone and fractured ribs and had a kidney removed after his mount Brandy’s Girl fell on Feb. 20.
“He’s good to go,” said Hernandez’s agent Cliff Collier. “He feels great, he looks great. He did his therapy here in Florida and then went to St. Louis where he’s been galloping horses the past two weeks at Fairmount Park. He knows everyone there, that’s where he started, and everybody has been great to him.”
Photo – Lauren King, Gulfstream Park