HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – St. George Stable’s Huasca possesses the most impressive resume in the field of 10 3-year-old fillies entered in Sunday’s $75,000 Summer Winds Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Graded-stakes placed in two of her three most recent starts, the daughter of Tiz Wonderful is obviously the most accomplished entrant, but the Efren Loza Jr.-trained filly will be asked to do something she has never done in her 10-race career – run on turf.
“She breezed in a minute very easy on turf in her last work,” said Loza, whose Kentucky-bred trainee earned a 1:00 4/5 clocking for five furlongs over the Gulfstream Park West turf course last Saturday. “Eddie Castro, who was on her, told me, ‘I really like the filly. She breezed very good for me.’”
If Huasca can transfer her class to the turf course, St. George Stable’s homebred filly will be a most formidable foe for her competition in Sunday’s five-furlong dash. After winning a six-furlong optional claiming allowance by four lengths at Gulfstream on May 18, Huasca was shipped to Pimlico, where she finished a late-closing second behind multiple-stakes winner Irish Jasper in the $150,000 Adena Springs Miss Preakness Stakes (G3) at six furlongs. She returned to Gulfstream to defeat multiple-stakes winner Dogwood Trail in the seven-furlong Tangelo Handicap, before checking in second behind that rival in the Azalea (G3).
“I broke the filly (in Ocala) and sometimes I would gallop her on grass. She always did good on it,” Loza said. “I’d really like to give her a chance on it and see what happens.”
Castro, who has won twice in three tries aboard Huasca, has the return mount.
Huasca will be meeting fillies at their respective strengths in her turf debut. The David Fawkes-trained Katie’s Kiss and Courtly Lark have both excelled at five furlongs. Stonestreet Stable’s Katie’s Kiss, who came up short to finish second in a 7 ½-furlong handicap last time out, won an optional claiming allowance and finished a late-running third after a slow start in the Tiger Lily at five furlongs.
“She’s doing really good. I expect her to run really well. She’s a nice filly,” said Fawkes, who named Tyler Gaffalione to ride the daughter of Kantharos.
John Eaton and Steve Laymon’s Courtly Lark broke through with a sharp 3 ¼-length maiden victory at five furlongs after three on-the-board finishes around two turns.
“That’s the first time we had the opportunity to run five-eighths. The race came up and she finally had the opportunity to win,” said Fawkes, whose Shakespeare filly will be ridden by Luca Panici. “We were waiting for a five-eighths race.”
Julian De Mora’s Lady Master, who is coming off back-to-back victories for a $30,000 claiming tag at five furlongs; Frederick Hertrich’s Knox County Zip, who has a string of six in-the-money finishes at five furlongs; and Jacks or Better Farm’s Standard Deal, who finished second behind Silver Sashay, a next-out stakes winner, in her only five-furlong turf start; loom as solid factors in the Summer Winds.
Ghost of Anapa, Artiebabe, Yarmorka and Summer Rae round out the field.