HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – She’s Spooky threw a real scare into heavily favored Tapicat in the Voodoo Dancer Stakes on the Gulfstream Park turf Jan. 1 before grudgingly giving way to the graded-stakes winner nearing the wire.
The Alan Benning-trained 4-year-old filly came right back on Jan. 24 to post a front-running allowance score over Ready Signal, who went on to win back-to-back stakes as Gulfstream’s Champions Meet wound down.
After blossoming into a solid turf performer, She’s Spooky tailed off a bit in two subsequent starts and was freshened for a couple months after fading to third behind next-out stakes winner Coffee Clique in an allowance on March 26.
The daughter of With Distinction is scheduled to return to action in Saturday’s $75,000 Anka Germania Stakes at Gulfstream, ready to make her presence felt again in stakes competition, her trainer said.
“She’d been running hard all winter, so we gave her an eight-week break. She’s coming into this race probably better than she’s ever been,” Benning said. “She’s jumping out of her skin. She’s doing better than anyone could get her.”
She’s Spooky, who is scheduled to break from the No. 7 post under jockey Edgard Zayas, is expected to set the early pace, showing the way to eight rivals in the 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for fillies and mares. She’s shown a special affinity for the Gulfstream turf course, over which she has three wins, three places and a show in 10 starts.
“She doesn’t like the soft turf. She likes to hear her feet rattle. Any give in the turf doesn’t really suit her. She likes it firm, and that’s why she runs so well on the Gulfstream turf,” Benning said.
She’s Spooky didn’t have a pedigree that screams, “long on turf,” but after a pair of mediocre starts on dirt to launch her career, Benning decided to make a change.
“She was bred to be a sprinter. She doesn’t have the best conformation up front. I asked the owner if I could switch her to the turf and run her long, because she trained that way. It worked out. She was third first time out and has continued to improve,” he said.
Benning expects She’s Spooky to keep developing.
“She’s a big, lengthy filly. She’s taken a year and a half to come to herself. She’s really only filling out now. She really looks the part now,” he said. “With her eight-week break, she’s put on some weight, mainly muscle. She was just a little physically immature but I think she’s come into herself.”
Trainer Marty Wolfson entered three fillies in the Anka Germania – Lilbourne Eliza, Magical Steps and E B Ryder. Lilbourne Eliza, who captured a turf allowance race at Santa Anita for trainer James Cassidy on May 2, is set to make her first start for Miller Racing and Wolfson. Magical Steps, fifth in her last start at Churchill Downs, will also make her first start for Wolfson. E B Ryder is coming off a close third-place finish in the Distaff Turf for Florida-bred horses at Tampa Bay Downs on April 5.
Trainer David Fawkes entered both Glamour N Glory, a second-level allowance winner in her last start, and Adriani, most recently third in an entry-level allowance. Sheer Drama, a half sister to champion sprinter Big Drama, will seek her first turf victory after finishing third behind Glamour N Glory in her grass debut. Tacones and Flower Mart round out the field of nine. Sonja’s Angel is a main-track-only entry.