With five wins in the last six runnings of the $100,000 Sweetest Chant (G3), trainer Chad Brown has a formidable contender for this year’s renewal in Rymska, who will face eight others in the turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
Formerly campaigned in France, where she won two of three starts including a listed stakes, Rymska arrived in the United States in the fall of 2016 to run in the Miss Grillo (G3) at Belmont Park Oct. 2. After finishing second in that spot for her former trainer, Pia Brandt, she remained in New York and was moved to Brown’s barn. Her original owner, Alain Jathiere, sold partial interest in her to U.S.-based partners, Sheep Pond Partners, Tom Coleman, and Norton Herrick, and the filly was pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1).
Rymska finished fifth in the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita Nov. 4, beaten 3 1/4 lengths by the winner, the Brown-trained New Money Honey, who had also defeated Rymska in the Miss Grillo.
Brown said he wasn’t at all disappointed by Rymska’s performance in his first start for his stable and noted that in the months following the Breeders’ Cup the filly adjusted very well to his barn’s training program.
“She was training particularly well going into the Breeders’ Cup and didn’t run bad at all,” said Brown who last month won his first Eclipse Award as North America’s champion trainer. “Now that I’ve had the opportunity to have her in our program a little longer, I see a horse that has improved as she has turned three. She has been able to adapt to our system and we’ve gotten to know her better. I expect a good race from her.”
Rymska, who Brown said has been training “very forwardly in the mornings”, drew post 7 and will be ridden for the first time by Joel Rosario.
Brown has also entered Ramona Bass’ Okinawa, a maiden winner who won her third career start by wiring the field of a mile turf race at Gulfstream Park Dec. 17. Javier Castellano has the call on Okinawa from the rail.
The waters will get steeper for Fifty Five in the Sweetest Chant. The New York-bred filly, who is making her stakes debut, enters the race off of back-to-back victories for trainer Tom Bush and her owners and breeders, John and Sandy Crowe of Empire Equines LLC.
Fifty Five is a daughter of the Bush-trained Get Stormy, a multiple Grade 1 winner who counted among his victories the 2012 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1). The trainer also conditioned Fifty Five’s dam, the stakes-placed Soave.
The late-developing Fifty Five, who will be ridden by Nik Juarez from post 9, broke her maiden in her second career start while competing against state-breds at Aqueduct in November. She returned to capture a first-level allowance optional claimer at Gulfstream Park on New Year’s Day. She won the 1 1/16-mile race by a half-length over Tamit, the favorite that day and one of her Sweetest Chant rivals.
In both of her wins, Fifty Five trailed the field early and turned on the burners in the stretch to overpower her competition.
“She’s had her share of trouble in her races, but when you’re on the turf and you come from as far back as what she seems to like, she will probably find trouble on a regular basis,” Bush said.
“Gulfstream normally isn’t kind to closers, that’s for sure, but she was able to do that in the allowance race. I think the filly who finished second [Tamit] has a legitimate reputation,” he added. “I know this race will be deeper with more contenders, but it’s a logical step, the timing is good, five weeks, so we’re going to give it a try.”
Glenn Hill Farm’s homebred Compelled was a runaway winner of the Juvenile Filly Turf Stakes for Florida-breds at Gulfstream Park West in November. Unraced since then, the War Front filly has had a steady workout regime at Tampa Bay Downs for trainer Tom Proctor.
Bahama Halo is coming off a fifth-place finish in the Ginger Brew at 7 1/2 furlongs on the Gulfstream Park turf. In her prior start, she finished fifth as the favorite in the off-the-turf Wait a While Stakes.
Also entered are A Great Time, the fourth-place finisher in the Ginger Brew; and Mo Justice, a maiden winner at Tampa Bay Downs who hails from the barn of noted turf trainer Christophe Clement; and Just Sassy, a recent winner of a maiden claiming race.
A field of eight 3-year-old males were entered in the $100,000 Kitten’s Joy Stakes at one mile on the turf.
The likely favorite is the multiple graded stakes winner Made You Look, the easy winner of the Dania Beach (G3) at Gulfstream Park Jan. 7 for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Pletcher also entered Lemonist, who was first under the finish line of a one-mile allowance race in his last start but then was disqualified for interference and placed second. Holiday Stone, who was elevated to the top spot, is also in the Kitten’s Joy field.
Clyde’s Image, a son of Get Stormy from the barn of Tom Bush, ran huge in his stakes debut to finish second in the Dania Beach at odds of 45-1. Dania Beach fourth-place finisher Kitten’s Cat has also been entered in the Kitten’s Joy, a race named for his prolific sire.
The field is completed by Minister’s Strike, who was undefeated in two starts before finishing sixth in the Dania Beach; Sonic Boom and Sir Sebastian.