Biancone Filly Takes On Boys In Saturday's Gulfstream Park Turf
By Brian Skirka
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - All along, trainer Patrick Biancone was planning on running a girl against the boys in a Grade 1 race this Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
He just expected it to come on the main track.
While multiple Chilean Group 1 winner Belle Watling will not be tackling the boys in Saturday’s Donn (G1), Grade 3 winner Justaroundmidnight will do just that in the Gulfstream Park Turf (G1).
“It’s a Grade 1 and it’s $300,000,” Biancone said when asked about his decision to bypass Saturday’s Suwannee River (G3) in favor of this seemingly more-difficult spot. “I think she has a shot to win.”
Biancone added that there was no physical issue that kept Belle Watling from running in the Donn.
“She’s fine,” he said. “She was supposed to run in the Donn, but I want to wait a little bit. She’s not really ready to go that distance with big weight. She’s just a bit short.”
On the other hand, Biancone says Justaroundmidnight remains on the top of her game after rallying to win the Marshua’s River (G3) last out at odds of 26-1.
“She’s clearly a very talented filly,” he said. “She worked very well on the turf a couple weeks ago [four furlongs in :47 3/5 handily]. She’s getting in light [112 pounds], so we’re going to take our shot.”
The Gulfstream Park Turf is no stranger to fillies or mares. In 2007, multiple Grade 1-winning mare Honey Ryder used the Turf as a prep race for the $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic at Nad Al Sheba. She finished a game second behind Jambalaya before finishing 11th in Dubai.
“Running a filly against the boys doesn’t bother me at all,” Biancone said. “They do it all the time in Europe.”
Winless in five starts in her native Ireland, Justaroundmidnight was sent to Biancone and made her U.S. debut at Monmouth Park on June 13, 2010. After settling well off the pace, she uncorked a ferocious rally to break her maiden going away at the end.
Two weeks later, with just that maiden win under her belt, Biancone entered Justaroundmidnight in Monmouth’s Grade 3 Boiling Springs. The Danehill Dancer filly again settled off the pace, but this time had no running room in the stretch and had to settle for a troubled sixth.
Off since that race on June 26, Justaroundmidnight returned to action in last month’s Marshua’s River and pulled a major upset with yet another late charge.
While she appears to be entering Saturday’s race in career form, Justaroundmidnight will be losing regular rider Joe Bravo.
Bravo, who piloted both Justaroundmidnight and Little Mike to stakes scores on Jan. 9 has elected to ride the latter Saturday as both are entered in the Gulfstream Park Turf.
Florent Geroux has picked up the mount on Justaroundmidnight.