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Cherokee Queen & Strike It Rich clash in South Beach
Farnsworth Stables’ 6-year-old mare Cherokee Queen and Waterville Lake Stable’s 4-year-old filly Strike It Rich are Graded stakes-winners and the likely favorites in a full field of 13 fillies and mares entered in the $60,000 South Beach Stakes to highlight Saturday’s 12-race card at Gulfstream Park.
Jockey Luis Saez gets the call on Cherokee Queen in the 7 ½ furlongs turf test for trainer Marty Wolfson, who also has Farnsworth’s 5-year-old mare Dancin Perfect and 4-year-old filly Folk Dancer entered in the race with J.L. Alvarez and Orlando Bocachica named to ride, respectively.
Cherokee Queen is clearly the most accomplished of the Wolfson team and will probably rule the public’s choice. The daughter of Cherokee Run won the Suwannee River Stakes (G3) by two lengths over the course here on Feb. 5 facing a much stronger field than will line-up in Saturday’s race, and ran well to finish fourth last out in the Hillsborough Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs last out on Mar. 12.
Jockey C.H. Marquez, Jr. will be aboard Strike It Rich for trainer Christophe Clement in her second start since last summer at Saratoga. The roan/gray daughter of Unbridled’s Song won three straight races last year, beginning with an allowance race here in late April and the Little Silver Stakes and Boiling Spring Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park in late June.
Strike It Rich was a $350,000 Saratoga yearling purchase and was sent off the lukewarm favorite in the Lake George Stakes (G2) at the Spa in late July, but tired to last of 12 after dueling for the lead to the upper stretch. She returned to competition in an allowance race here on Feb. 11 and finished fifth after setting the pace to mid-stretch, an effort that should move her forward to Saturday’s race.
Completing the field for the South Beach are Lally Stable’s Go for Jan, Hal E. Snowden, Jr.’s Bet On the Blue, Melnyk Racing Stable’s Carem Crescent, Alex Rankin’s Sea Road, Dale Romans’ Honchis’n Ponchis, Thoroughbred Legends Racing Stable’s Shirley She Can, Lee Lewis’ Mystic Miracle, David Lanzman and Jason Wood’s Sweeter Still and Capitol Hill Thoroughbreds’ Miss Blakely.