Midnight Stroll Set for 2023 Debut in G3 Royal Delta
Clement Unveils Impressive Debut Winner Love Appeals
Graded Winners Top G3 Gulfstream Park Sprint Noms
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Gatsas Stable, R. A. Hill Stable, and Steven Schoenfeld’s Midnight Stroll is scheduled to make her 2023 debut in Saturday’s $150,000 Royal Delta (G3), conceding Gulfstream Park experience and recently to highly regarded Kathleen O. and Classy Edition.
Kathleen O., who captured three straight stakes at Gulfstream last year and who returned from an eight-month layoff to finish a sharp second in the Nov. 22 Comely (G3) at Aqueduct. Classy Edition, who made a splash while winning a Gulfstream optional claiming allowance by 5 ¼ length in her seasonal debut following a 3-year-old campaign that included a runner-up finish to Kathleen O. in the Davona Dale (G2) at Gulfstream.
Nevertheless, Midnight Stroll’s credentials stack up very well against the two fillies with Gulfstream Park experience.
“She’s a very athletic type. She’s obviously gotten stronger, physically and mentally. She’s always been a class act. She’s very good to ship anywhere,” said trainer John Terranova, who will ship Midnight Stroll from Tampa Bay Downs. “She has a great mind. She handles everything very well. She seems real sharp and ready to take on the fillies there.”
Midnight Stroll began her 2022 season with back-to-back front-running wins at Tampa Bay Downs, including a victory in the Sophomore Fillies, a seven-furlong stakes for Florida-breds. The daughter of Not This Time lost all chance in Black-Eyed Susan (G2) at Pimlico while encountering traffic on the first turn.
“The conditions were pretty awful and she got bumped and checked pretty hard on the first turn and carried wide a little bit. She lost a lot of position,” Terranova said. “It was a big reach, a big jump, going for that, but she came out of that well and rebounded to take the Delaware Oaks and we had a couple of nice runs backing up in sprints at Charles Town and Keeneland to finish off the season.”
Midnight Stroll captured the 1 1/16-mile Delaware Oaks (G3) before finishing third in both the seven-furlong Charles Town Oaks (G3) and the seven-furlong Raven Run (G2) at Keeneland.
“I think the filly will be looking forward to and appreciate the route,” Terranova said. “We were looking at those [sprint] stakes as opportunities for her, a real sharp young filly. She did win that stake at Tampa going seven-eighths. They were nice opportunities with big purses to run for. She ran really well in both of them.”
Terranova is confident that Midnight Stroll will be able to adapt as the Royal Delta shapes up.
“She’s been forwardly placed in races; she’s backed off a little bit; she’s really tactical,” Terranova said. “I think she’s one of those fillies that depending on her and the way the race develops, she’s effective from multiple positions.”
Edgard Zayas is scheduled to ride Midnight Stroll for the first time in the Royal Delta.
Clement Unveils Promising Debut Winner Love Appeals
Moyglare Stud Farm LLC’s Love Appeals ($9.20) made a thoroughly professional debut for trainer Christophe Clement while narrowly winning the opener on Thursday’s card at Gulfstream Park.
The 3-year-old homebred daughter of Speightstown is out of Gioia Stella, a $1.5 million purchase at the 2014 Keeneland September Sale who won three of 11 starts for Clement. Whereas, Gioia Stella, a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, was beaten by just a half-length in back-to-back races at Gulfstream to launch her career in 2016, Love Appeals won at first asking after stalking the pace while saving ground and slipping through on the rail to register a neck decision over Chad Brown-trained firster Delahaye.
“She’s always had a little style about her. She’s a nice filly,” Moyglare Stud Farm’s stable manager Fiona Craig. “This filly showed a lot last year and then had a few hiccups. This year, Christophe has brought her along steadily.”
Love Appeals produced a strong series of workouts at Payson Park in preparation for her most promising debut.
Graded Winners Top G3 Gulfstream Park Sprint Noms
Grade 3 winner Lightening Larry, 4-for-8 lifetime at Gulfstream Park, and fellow graded-stakes winners Candy Man Rocket and Scaramouche head the list of nominees for the $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint Saturday, Feb. 25.
Lea Farm’s Lightening Larry exits a popular front-running 2 ½-length victory in the six-furlong Sunshine Sprint Jan. 14 at Gulfstream, where he has finished third or better seven times, including another stakes victory in the 2022 Limehouse. Last spring, the 4-year-old colt sprung a 12-1 upset in the Chick Lang (G3) at Pimlico.
Frank Fletcher Racing Operations, Inc.’s Candy Man Rocket returned from nearly a year between starts to post a 2 ¼-length triumph at six furlongs in a Gulfstream optional claiming allowance Jan. 21. It was his first race since a win last February at Gulfstream, where he also broke his maiden by 9 ¼ lengths in January 2021. One start later, he captured the Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs.
Nicholas Cammarano Jr.’s Scaramouche is nominated to return to the dirt after finishing eighth in the Dec. 24 Janus sprinting five furlongs on the Gulfstream turf. The 4-year-old Munnings gelding won six of 10 starts last year, including by a half-length victory in the six-furlong Gallant Bob (G2) at Parx.
Also prominent among nominees are Stonehedge homebred Cajun’s Magic, winner of the 2021 Dr. Fager and second in three other Gulfstream stakes, including the Sunshine Sprint; Doc Amster, fourth by less than two lengths in the Mr. Prospector (G3); Meraas, a Group 3 winner in Dubai last winter; multiple New York-bred stakes winner Rotknee, unraced since last June; and Super Ocho, third by a length in the 2022 Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G2).