Edited Gulfstream Release – Shooting Star Thoroughbreds LLC’s Chance It found no easy spot to make his long-awaited return to the races in Sunday’s feature race at Gulfstream Park, where the popular multiple-stakes winner is scheduled to face five battle-tested rivals in a six-furlong optional claiming allowance.
“I’m looking forward to getting him back in action. The race came up a little tougher than I would have liked for his first race back, but he’s training well,” trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said. “He had a strong work from the gate about eight days ago. That day, I thought he showed he’s as good as ever.”
Chance It, the hero of the 2019 FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes series, has been out of action since finishing fifth in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) March 7, 2020.
The 4-year-old son of Currency Swap captured the Mucho Macho Man to kick off his 3-year-old campaign before starting in the Tampa Bay Derby, in which he dropped back early, made a mild run into contention at the top of the stretch, and faded late.
“There was no sense rushing him back. He’s not a horse that will be sent to the breeding shed any time soon,” Joseph said. “He’s a horse that can race at 5 and 6 years old, so we wanted to give him the time. He seems to have come back as good as ever.”
Chance It concluded his juvenile campaign with a sharp 7 ¼-length victory in the $400,000 FSS In Reality at 1 1/16 miles. The Florida-bred colt also won the $100,000 FSS Dr. Fager at six furlongs.
Edgard Zayas has the call.
Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Double Crown is also scheduled to make his 2021 debut in Sunday’s Race 9 feature. The Kathy Ritvo-trained 4-year-old gelding completed his 2020 campaign with back-to-back graded-stakes placings. After finishing third in the Smile Sprint (G3) at Gulfstream, the son of Bourbon Courage closed to finish second behind heavily favored Yaupon in the Oct. 1 Chick Lang (G3) at Pimlico Race Course.
Double Crown had won back-to-back stakes at Gulfstream prior to placing in the Smile Sprint and Chick Lang.
My Purple Haze Stables’ Cool Arrow, who defeated Double Crown in the Smile Sprint, is coming into Sunday’s race off a third-place finish behind Miles Ahead, who captured Friday’s featured Race 3 at Gulfstream Park as the 6-5 favorite.
Went West, Inter Miami and Man of Honor round out the field.
The Joseph-trained Tonalist’s Shape, a multiple graded-stakes winner during the 2019-2020 Championship Meet at Gulfstream, is scheduled to make her 2021 debut in Saturday’s Race 10, a seven-furlong optional claiming allowance for fillies and mares.
“She had a long year last year, so we decided to give her a break to freshen her up,” Joseph said.
Tonalist’s Shape, who hasn’t run since finishing fifth in the Raven Run (G2) at Keeneland Oct. 17, has been prepared for her first start of the year with a series of seven works, including a solid half-mile breeze that was second fastest of 67 May 16.
“She’s a bit more tricky [than Chance It]. She’s never been a good work horse. Her works have been OK. You’re always curious to see how she comes back,” Joseph said. “She’s always been a hard horse to read off her works. We hope she comes back with that same determination she had last year.”
Tonalist’s Shape won her first five career starts, including the Forward Gal (G3) and Davona Dale (G2) before tasting defeat for the first time in her two-turn debut in the 2020 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2). The daughter of Tonalist returned to win the 1 1/16-mile Hollywood Wildcat at Gulfstream before finishing fourth in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) at Saratoga, fifth in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs and fifth in the Raven Run.
Tonalist’s Shape is the 9-5 morning-line favorite in a field of nine that includes Saguaro Row, who finished third in the March 20 Hurricane Bertie (G3) at Gulfstream before shipping to Belmont for a fifth-place finish in the May 2 Ruffian (G2)