Pletcher Saddles Two In Sunday's $75,000 Any Limit
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Sunday's 11-race program at Gulfstream Park will be headlined by the $75,000 Any Limit Stakes, a seven-furlong test for 3-year-old fillies. Trainer Todd Pletcher, currently on pace to collect his 11th straight training title at Gulfstream, will field two of the eight runners, Sweet Whiskey and Fierce Boots, in the Any Limit.
Alto Racing's Sweet Whiskey tasted victory in the $100,000 Old Hat Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream on January 4 and will be looking for her second win of the Championship Meet. The daughter of Old Fashioned had been under consideration for the Forward Gal Stakes (G2) on January 25, but stayed in the barn while stablemate Onlyforyou did the honors in that event.
"She had run well in the Old Hat and the Forward Gal was only three weeks later," Pletcher explained. "It was just more about timing, really. Early in her career when she won her debut, we ran her back on similar spacing in the Spinaway and it didn’t seem like she fired to her full capability. Being early in the year, we didn’t want to space her races too close together.
We wanted to make sure to build off that first effort. We didn’t want to run in the Davona Dale at a mile and a sixteenth, so that left this as the next option. I figure we’ll try her at seven and see how she does, and this will kind of determine where we go from here."
An impressive winner first out at Saratoga, Sweet Whiskey faded to finish a distant fourth in the Spinaway Stakes (G1) at the upstate New York oval. She followed that with a runner-up effort at Belmont in the Matron Stakes (G2) on September 29 and was freshened up thereafter.
"She’s training really well and looks great," Pletcher said. "She's put on some weight since her last race and we're pleased with the way she's coming into (the Any Limit)."
Javier Castellano, who rode Sweet Whiskey in the Old Hat, will be back in the irons on Sunday.
Fierce Boots, owned by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, led every step on her way to victory in the Busanda Stakes going a mile and 70 yards at Aqueduct on January 4. The daughter of Tiznow finished fourth in the Busher Stakes at the same track four weeks later, and soon found herself heading to South Florida.
"She came down here pretty soon after her last race," Pletcher offered. "There weren't that many options up there for her and we thought there would be more possibilities for her here. She'll probably have a little different running style in this type of race--instead of being on the lead the way she was in those route races, she'll be coming from just off the pace."
Luis Saez will ride Fierce Boots for the first time in the Any Limit. She will break from post two alongside Sweet Whiskey on the rail. Also in the Any Limit is Whomping Willow, who put it all together in her latest to romp in a maiden race on February 16 at Gulfstream. Regular rider Corey Lanerie has the mount once again for trainer Dale Romans and owners Mark and John Bacon and Dana Wells. The daughter of Mineshaft drew post seven. Sunday's featured event is rounded out by Thank You Marylou (Julien Leparoux), Luna Santa (Elvis Trujillo), Naive Enough (Joel Rosario), Golden Friendships (Juan Leyva) and Boheme de Lavi (Edgar Prado).
The Any Limit is named in honor of the Allen Jerkens-trained filly who was a two-time winner of the Hurricane Bertie Handicap (G3) at Gulfstream Park.