Stakes Preview: Saturday’s Grade 3 Herecomesthebride Stakes at Gulfstream Park

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>Gulfstream / February 28 / Race 5  / 2:30 PM EST

Gulfstream Park will run three graded stakes for 3yos on Saturday, one for fillies and two for colts, though none of the three can realistically be considered a prep for the Derby or Oaks. Weather permitting, two of the graded stakes will be on turf, and the first of those is the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride, for 3yo fillies, over 1 1/16 miles.

It has drawn a field of nine and is led by #8 Consumer Credit, winner of the Grade 3 Sweetest Chant here last month for trainer Chad Brown. Pace Projector for the Herecomesthebride indicates that a fast pace is on tap for these 3yo fillies, and it also indicates that Consumer Credit, despite never having been on the early lead in any of her prior 5 starts, will be the one making that fast pace. Her closest pursuer will be the longshot #7 Tumminia, who just broke her maiden for a $25k claiming tag after pressing the pace. The field also contains a trio of fillies who will be making their turf debuts in the Herecomesthebride. All of #2 Sweet Swingin, #3 Arella Princess and #6 Temper Mint Patty are switching over to grass for the first time in this race, and they are also all stretching out off of recent races at six furlongs, which figures to add some fuel to the fire.

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Maddizaskar is a live longshot in the Herecomesthebride Stakes. 

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This is the field for the Herecomesthebride, in post position order:

#1 is Devine Aida. 2-for-2 on turf, with competitive TFUS Speed Figures of 85 and 83 in those races, she impressed in overpowering stakes rivals over this turf course last time. She has fine tactical speed and has done well for herself at the draw, as her rider should be able to save the early ground if that expected fast pace develops. Well-bred filly has never failed to fire, and we liked the way she appeared to step up her game last time with lasix on for the first time. A big threat to the favorite.

#2 is Sweet Swingin. Makes her first start on turf and first over a route of ground in this race. This constitutes quite a pair of hurdles for her to get over. Her trainer is a good one, and he’s not averse to taking chances with his talented horses in big races. Sweet Swingin gets an ordinary Breeding Rating of 72 for turf routes, but her dam, whose three career wins all came sprinting on dirt, is a sister to the stone runner I Ain’t Bluffing, who was a multiple Grade 1 winner on dirt (won Grade 1s both routing and sprinting) and also went 2-for-2 on grass, both in stakes races. We like each of her last two races on the main track and think she may be OK down the line, but we would need a very big price to get interested in her in this spot.

#3 is Arella Princess. Second of the three first-time turfers, this one gets a Breeding Rating of just 62 for turf routes. She broke her maiden with a late run first time out in maiden claiming company and earned a TFUS Speed Figure of 50. This represents a big step up in class, and Arella Princess looks an awful lot like the longest shot on the board in this race.

#4 is Pine Needles. Big pedigree for this filly, who is from one of the top barns in the sport, and she, like many runners debuting for this trainer, was all set to go right off the bat. She powered to the front out of the gate, and, after getting control of the pace, stayed gamely to hold on late in a race that has the potential to produce some runners down the line. Won’t expect to see her cutting the pace in this spot, but won’t be surprised to see her go forward off that debut, something she won’t have to do by much to be competitive, considering the 86 speed figure she earned that day. Clement gets a perfect 100 rating with last-out maiden winners, and he is 7 for his last 16 with runners adding lasix in their next start following a maiden win.

#5 is Quality Rocks. Talented filly from the Mott barn is a maiden from three starts on grass, all of them graded stakes. She has been 2nd in two of those, and, while she had no excuses in those races, it can’t be denied that she ran well. Considering the way the Sweetest Chant was run, with a slow pace (note Pace Figures/fractions shaded blue) and her having had the advantage on Consumer Credit much of the way, it is hard to find a way for her to turn the tables on that rival. She’s the second choice on the ML, and certainly a contender, but if we play against the favorite, it is going to be with someone else.

#6 is Temper Mint Patty. She was impressive in her first couple of starts on the main track, especially so when blowing away fellow NY-breds in the mud with a 101 speed figure in her second career start. She hasn’t won since, and her figures are heading the wrong way, so her connections will try a surface switch. Her dam did post all three of her career wins on grass, so she has that going for her from a pedigree standpoint, but she is going to have to turn things around quickly.

#7 is Tumminia. Count us among those who thought she showed some promise in game debut run at Belmont, but her fortunes have fallen since then. She finally picked up her maiden win here 3 weeks ago, but she required a big drop in class to do so, and she has found a tough spot in which to try to build upon that effort.

#8 is Consumer Credit. More Than Ready filly could easily be undefeated on grass entering this race. After encountering severe traffic trouble while looking loaded in her debut, she reeled off three straight wins on grass, including a pair of stakes. She has stretched out effectively in her last two, and she did quite well in overcoming a slow pace to close down the Sweetest Chant last time. She has improved her figures right along (70-77-82-83-89) and is a clear horse to beat in this race.

#9 is Maddizaskar. No one in this field will be looking for that projected fast pace to develop more than this filly, who owns the top Late Pace Rating in the field (83) by a clear margin. She is a horse who could easily prove to be vastly better than she looks at first glance. She finished strongly to overcome a hesitant start and a slow pace first time out, and she found herself in heavy traffic through the second turn and unable to get a run until it was too late last time. This is a tough spot for her, but she may well be too big of a price to ignore, and if she is indeed better than she appears, this may be the time to take a shot.

The Play: We aren’t wildly against #8 Consumer Credit, but we also aren’t so sure that she has to turn out to be a top 3yo grass filly. She’s the horse to beat, and because we are trying to get a big price involved, we are using her prominently. #9 Maddizaskar is the horse we will try to make some money with in the Herecomesthebride. We’ll bet her to win and play her underneath #1 Devine Aria, #4 Pine Needles, #5 Quality Rocks, and #8 Consumer Credit in exactas and trifectas.

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