Edited Gulfstream Park Release -– Fresh off notching her 23rd graded-stakes victory aboard Lightening Larry in last Saturday’s Chick Lang (G3) at Pimlico Race Course on the Preakness Stakes (G1) undercard, Chantal Sutherland is scheduled to ride well-regarded contenders in both the $75,000 Big Drama and the $60,000 Sunny Isles Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
“I’m living my dream again,” Sutherland said Thursday between races at Gulfstream. “I’m loving it. I feel great and healthy.”
The Big Drama, a six-furlong sprint for Florida-bred 3-year-olds and up carded as Race 11, and the Sunny Isles, a five-furlong overnight handicap on turf for 3-year-olds and up carded as Race 6, will be co-featured on a 12-race program.
The victory aboard Lea Farms LLC’s Lightening Larry was Sutherland’s first graded-stakes success since 2014 and a giant step forward in the career revival she has achieved through a rededication to her craft since switching her tack from Kentucky to Gulfstream Park in the Spring of 2021.
“It was very rewarding. With Covid and injuries and taking time off, it’s kind of all lining up, coming together,” said Sutherland, who rode Game On Dude to five graded-stakes victories n 2011 and 2012, including three Grade 1 scores. “It’s a testament to all the hard work I’ve put in and the focus I have. There are no distractions right now.”
Sutherland, who rode Lightening Larry for the first time in the Chick Lang, is coming off winning rides aboard both Willy Boi and Warrior’s Pride while riding both horses for the first time.
Lea Farms LLC’s Willy Boy, who captured the Hutcheson at Gulfstream during the 2020-2021 Championship Meet, was making his first start for trainer Jorge Delgado while coming off an eight-month layoff when Sutherland guided him to a 7 ½-length front-running victory in a six-furlong optional claiming allowance at Tampa Bay Downs April 7.
Willy Boi drew Post 8 in a nine-horse field that includes multiple-stakes winners Well Defined and Shivaree and stakes winners Gatsby, King Cab and Cajun’s Magic.
“I love him. He’s doing so good right now, and I love my post,” said Sutherland, whose win aboard Delgado-trained Lightening Larry was her first graded-stakes success since guiding Purely Hot to victory in the 2014 Whimsical at Woodbine.
Just for Fun Stable Inc.’s Warrior’s Pride, who captured the Texas Glitter and the Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint at five furlongs on turf last year, returned to winning form with Sutherland in an April 28 optional claiming allowance at his favorite distance and on his favorite surface last time out.
The Antonio Cioffi-trained 4-year-old son of Poseidon’s Warrior, who began his 2022 campaign with a respectable fourth-place finish in the Feb 22 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint (G3) before coming up very short in the March 19 Silks Run.
“I think he’s going to run big again,” Sutherland said.
Warrior’s Pride, who posted a career-high 94 Beyer Speed Figure in his recent front-running score, will face six rivals in the Golden Isles, including The Virginian, who finished a length behind him while finishing second last time out.
Sutherland, whose 83 victories in 2021 were the most wins in a year since 2010, had won 12 races from 78 mounts [15 %] during the Royal Palm Meet heading into Thursday’s card.