· Summertime Sky Returns to Turf, Tops Eight in Broussard
· Rapid Rhythm Slowing Career Cadence
· December Seven Bullets for Mineshaft
· Work Tab
SUMMERTIME SKY RETURNS TO THE TURF, TOPS EIGHT IN BROUSSARD
A talented group of eight sophomore fillies have lined up for the $50,000 Joseph E. Spanky Broussard Memorial, set for a mile on the Stall-Wilson turf course Saturday afternoon. The first grass stakes for sophomore fillies on the season, the Broussard is topped by John C. Oxley’s Mark Casse-trained Summertime Sky, who wheels back on three weeks’ rest for top connections after a respectable fourth in the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes on the main track on Jan. 21. In what will be her third start in six weeks, the daughter of Sky Mesa and Chilean champion Eccellenza (CHI) returns to the turf over which she was a sharp winner first out on New Year’s Eve. Gabriel Saez picks up the mount from the outside post.
Another who impressed while graduating in a turf sprint is 3-1 morning-line favorite Stallion Heiress, who is trained by defending champion conditioner Mike Stidham for Stallionaire Enterprises. Unraced since dismantling a maiden special weight field at first asking on Dec. 8, the daughter of Exchange Rate makes her much-anticipated return when Mitchell Murrill returns to the saddle from post two.
The back-class in the field soundly goes to Elisabeth Alexander, Michael Dubb et al.’s Rum Go, who was third last out in the Grade III Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 12. Six lengths astern beaten Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf favorite La Coronel that day, she has been training forwardly in New Orleans for trainer Tom Proctor and will be ridden by Sophie Doyle from post five in what will be her fourth lifetime start.
On connections alone, Tracy Farmer’s Clever Girl requires respect from the rail post. Trained by leading conditioner Brad Cox, the daughter of Biondetti is unbeaten in two starts— both around two turns on the grass — and proved her affinity for the Stall-Wilson when taking an allowance on Dec. 15 last out. Shaun Bridgmohan rides.
Superduper Sky (David Flores, post three), Picaresque (Denny Velazquez, post four), Hotshot Anna (Marcelino Pedroza, post six) and Legallini (Miguel Mena, post seven) complete the lineup.
RAPID RHYTHM SLOWING CAREER CADENCE
Top turf sprint mare Rapid Rhythm has come together nicely over the last year for trainer Mike Stidham, but is soon to end her racing career at the top of her game. According to her conditioner, the Robert. S. Evans-owned 5-year-old multiple stakes winner is aiming toward what will likely be her career finale in the $75,000 Mardi Gras Stakes on Feb. 28.
“Right now her next race is going to be the Mardi Gras and (Evans) said that he would like to breed her,” Stidham said. “She is possibly going to his Belmont winner, Tonalist.”
A winner of seven of 18 starts, the daughter of Successful Appeal has proven a force in turf sprints. Her last two starts have been stakes victories over the 5½-furlong turf trip, including the $50,000 Battle of New Orleans at the Fair Grounds on Dec. 3 last out. She has also been unstoppable on the Stall-Wilson turf course and will attempt to close her career 5-for-5 over the local lawn. Other highlights of her career include a victory in the $60,000 Oakley Stakes at Laurel two back and a stellar runner-up effort in the $350,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint three back in Sept. 10.
After her Laurel victory, she was sold from David Ross’ DARRS, Inc., to Evans in a private transaction. Stidham remained the trainer. She worked a half-mile in 49.20 on Feb.5.
“We were glad to have been able to keep her and run her a few more times,” Stidham concluded. “She’s been a lot of fun to have around the barn.”
DECEMBER SEVEN BULLETS FOR MINESHAFT
Jay Em Ess Stable’s December Seven fired a warning shot to his more-seasoned foes for the Feb. 25 Grade III $125,000 Mineshaft Handicap with a bullet five-furlong move on Wednesday morning. The bay son of Street Sense worked in 1:00.20, the best of 19 at the distance.
Out of the Bernardini mare Date to Remember, the understandably long-winded December Seven has won his last two races by a combined 7¼ lengths, including a four-length tally in second-level allowance company on Dec. 29. He bypassed a run in the Jan. 21 $75,000 Louisiana Stakes to point toward graded company in the Mineshaft.
Top local runners were on the tab this week. Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm’s Gun Runner worked six furlongs on Feb. 5 in 1:13 flat, while top sophomores Farrell and Guest Suite also worked. The latter negotiated a half-mile in a swift 47.80 on Feb. 7 for trainer Neil Howard and owners William S. Farish and Lora Jean Kilroy. Farrell worked five furlongs in 1:01.20 on Thursday for trainer Wayne Catalano and owner Coffeepot Stables.