“Look out, that’s all I can tell you,” he said. “Look out.”
Dogwood Trail, a Jacks or Better Farm homebred daughter of Awesome of Course, is a strong contender to notch her second straight victory in the Three Ring after gamely holding off the graded-stakes placed Huasca to win Gulfstream’s Azalea Stakes (G3) on the July 5 Summit of Speed program. In that race, the 3-year-old chestnut led all the way despite receiving pressure throughout, and when challenged at the top of the lane, she found another gear and drew off to a 1 ½-length score. The Florida-bred covered the seven-furlong distance in 1:22.12 seconds, just one hundredth of a second slower than her male counterparts went in the same day’s Carry Back Stakes (G3).
Gold is expecting more of the same brilliance in the Three Ring. In Dogwood Trail’s final pre-race breeze on July 29, the speedy filly went four furlongs in a quick 46.70 seconds; that move came 11 days after a bullet five-furlong work in 58.05 seconds. She also has a strong record to back her up. In five lifetime starts at Gulfstream, Dogwood Trail has never finished worse than second. Although all three of her lifetime wins have come in wire-to-wire fashion, Gold says Dogwood Trail also has the ability to rate.
“This filly has a lot of class, and she does what you ask her to do,” he said.“She could be anywhere on the track that you want her to be, but she got enough dangerous speed to stay close.”
Trainer Bill Kaplan will send out the duo of Moment of Delight and Lastingfriendships in the Three Ring. Moment of Delight, a daughter of A. P. Warrior, is no stranger to the Sire Stakes series; she finished second to fellow Three Ring entrant Holywell in two of the three filly legs last year, coming a nose short in Susan’s Girl, also at seven furlongs. Following a three-month layoff early in her three-year-old season, Moment of Delight returned to handily win a competitive allowance race on June 13. She enters the Three Ring off a troubled sixth in the Azalea (G3) on July 5.
“She’s training very well,” Kaplan said.“She’s a nice filly. She’s a big, grand filly, and I think this might just be the right distance for her.”
Lastingfriendships, a daughter of With Distinction, finished second to the Mike Maker-trained Pursuing Fate, another who has lined up for the Three Ring, in a state-bred allowance on July 25. She finished fourth behind the multiple stakes-winning Devine Aida in her lone try at the seven-eighths distance.
“She’s coming off a good race,” Kaplan said. “She’s a Sire Stakes horse, so she deserves a chance.”
R Sassy Lass, winner of the Sophomore Fillies Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in April, will contend the Three Ring off a fourth place effort behind Huasca and Dogwood Trail in the Tangelo Handicap on June 6. Holywell was sixth in the Tangelo and will look to recapture the strong form she displayed as a 2-year-old when she won both the Desert Vixen and Susan’s Girl divisions of the FSS. She will also make a surface switch after running on grass in the Betsy Ross Handicap on July 4. The lightly raced Pursuing Fate has won two of three starts for Get Away Farm; Savingtime and Jamie’s Dancer complete the field.