The first stakes of Gulfstream Park’s 2021-22 Championship Meet is a listed even, the Wait A While Stakes, is a turf event for 2-year-old fillies going a two-turn mile and a tricky puzzle it is with its mix of stakes tested vs. recent maiden winners.
There is no shortage of speed signed here, the quickest of which is the Shug McGaughey-trained Gun Boat (4-1) who flashed brilliant early speed which carried her to victory going three-quarters of a mile on the lawn in Queens. By War Front, from a Blame mare, we don’t expect added ground to be an issue.
Lia Marina (7-2), a six furlong maiden winner at Belmont, has run well in both her starts for Christophe Clement including her maiden breaker last out. She has style, pedigree and, like Gun Boat, the right connections for the task.
But instead, we are going going to opt for the more experienced, battled tested Sunstrike (8-1) who exits consecutive Group races in the U.K. and now makes her U.S. debut for Brendan Walsh, profitable with both barn-change and first-time America starters. Firm ground, pace scenario, an inside draw and Paco Lopez all augur well for a price shot.
Two starts back, she was beaten 4-1/2 lengths in a Newmarket Group 2. While she remained one-paced in the final furlong after making a very brief between-horses bid, she might may have been discouraged by racing covered up the entire way, never getting a chance to establish momentum. We’ll pay to find out.
Take a look at the G3 Solara Stakes, Newmarket, AUG 7, and see what you think of that effort.
We’re taking Sunstrike to win at 8-1 or greater, quinellas with the two fillies above, and a trifecta box including Mark Casse’s Lemieux (5-2), a dominating winner in a pace-less Tapeta two-turner last out.