The newly added Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf Invitational is a grade 3 race on the grass going a mile and a sixteenth. This race is just part of a seven-stakes race day here at Gulfstream Park. The field looks absolutely loaded with talent and deciphering the distance and pace setup seem to be key to unlocking the winner of this race. I have looked over the field of 11 and have opinions on all of them.
Sweet Melania – 5/1
15: 4-4-4 $571,210
Sweet Melania is drawn to against the rail competing with familiar foes. Now five years old, this daughter of American Pharoah looks to add to her graded stakes resume. She has found the winners circle in both grade 2 and 3 races previously. She has never won a grade 1, but luckily for her, this is a grade 3. The distance is not an issue and she is riding a 4 race streak of hitting the board. Expect to see her on the board here too.
Wakanaka – 12/1
I’ll call Wakanaka a wildcard as this will be this four-year-old’s first start outside of Italy… Yes you read that right. It’s really hard to trust a horse shipping in from Europe since the class of most of those fields are not the same as here in North America. But to her credit, she’s never finished outside of 2nd in all of her starts. Wakanaka comes in on a 3 race winning streak where she won by nearly 13 lengths combined. This race will be a test since she will be going further than she ever has by a sixteenth of a mile, but in her last mile start she had so much in her tank overtaking first place and winning by open space. Probably unlikely this horse makes much commotion, but im a little intrigued.
Lady Speightspeare – 8/1
5: 4-0-1 $274,379
Roger Attfield brings brought this four-year-old filly down to Gulfstream Park from Woodbine sporting a perfect 4-0 record. In her only start in the United States, she nabbed her first loss of her career to a weaker group than she’ll see today. I’m a bit nervous disregarding this horse since there is clear talent and never finished outside of the money. She would have to really outrun her class to score a top 3 finish today.
Regal Glory – 2/1
16: 9-4-0 $1,244,884
Your morning line favorite looks like a doozie. Regal Glory is a multiple graded stakes winner, including her last out grade 1 win at Del Mar in the Matriarch. This horse is certainly deserving of being a favorite, but I do worry (a little) that she prefers a mile instead of this mile and a sixteenth. In her only mile and a sixteenth race, two years ago, she finished in a dead heat win. Since then, her connections have kept her at a mile or less. She deserves to be on everyone’s tickets, but at what price?
Gift List – 15/1
8: 3-4-1 $305,814
Gift List started her career at two-years-old racing in England. In 2021, she transferred to the Brian Lynch barn and ran at Keeneland, Churchill Downs and Belmont. She has been on the shelf for 240 days. I’d say she might need a race, but between 2020 and 2021 she waited 161 days between racing and fired off a 2nd place finish in the grade 2 Appalachian. Never finishing outside of the money, she will have to work pretty hard to keep that streak alive. My favorite angle for this horse is that she gets my favorite longshot grass rider, Julien Leparoux. 15/1 just might be… a gift.
Alms – 20/1
9: 4-1-1 $254,130
Alms is shares the 20/1 morning line odds with Bipartisanship as the longest odds in the field today. If Alms last time out was any indication of what to expect, we know why she got hit with the longshot title. She ran into at least three of the horses seen in this field today back in December on this track. This horse has won the mile distance, but the extra sixteenth looks to be too much for this horse. I don’t feel her speed rating matches up well in this spot either. Best to drop this one from your ticket.
Nicest – 6/1
9: 1-1-4 $189,883
We have another American Pharoah kid here in Nicest. I don’t have any interest in this horse personally and I would think this horse odds will drift longer. The only angle I can see here is that this horse has more stamina than any other horse in this race. If you think some of these other horses trying this distance wont make it, then you can make a better case for this horse than I. When Julien Leparoux opted to ride Gift List, it seemed pretty clear since Leparoux piloted this horse back in October.
Summer In Saratoga – 12/1
17: 7-1-2 $477,000
Summer In Saratoga is an interesting horse. The class is here for this horse as she has grade 3 wins as well as ungraded stakes wins. If this horse sits closer to the front than not, Summer In Saratoga could upset in this race. I struggle to find enough pace to run at, but if you look at her previous races, she motors down the backstretch every time. While I don’t think this horse wins personally, I wouldn’t be shocked if she does. If her odds stay around the 10/1 range or better, she’s worth a graduated wager, in my opinion.
Shifty She – 6/1
11: 6-1-1 $335,995
In a race that is being billed as having a face pace, there really is a lack of speed horses signed on. Shifty She should get out to an extremely easy lead. If no one runs up to challenge her, I like this horse to take the field the distance. Shifty She regularly races at a mile on the turf, but is perfect 1 for 1 at 1 1/16th distance. I have slight reservations about Regal Glory or Sweet Melania being able to grab this race, but having regular rider Edwin Gonzalez on top helps. Shifty She is my pick to win this race, but I wouldn’t single her due to her lack of class.
In A Hurry – 12/1
12: 3-2-3 $173,416
In A Hurry seems to do her best running when she’s near the front and I think she’ll be sitting behind Shifty She. If there’s a lack of challenge on the front end, In A Hurry could just end up being in a right place at the right time. I do not think this horse will win. Either Shifty will take us the whole way, or classier horses will take over, but I do think the bottom of a superfecta or h5 could be the right spot for this horse.
Bipartisanship – 20/1
8: 2-0-3 $107,833
I truly have little interest in Bipartisanship in this race. This horse would need a pace meltdown and likely will be sitting too far back for anything to happen. The positive angle for this horse is that a mile and a sixteenth is what this horse runs, but with little class challenge. It would take a major step forward for this horse to hit the board.
My Order of Finish: Shifty She / Regal Glory / Sweet Melania / Summer In Saratoga