R Harper Rose Expected to Blossom in $100,000 Desert Vixen
Sharp Debut Winner Favored for FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes Test
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – R Harper Rose is scheduled to make her stakes debut in Saturday’s $100,000 Desert Vixen at Gulfstream Park with just one-race experience. But, oh, what a race it was.
Averill Racing and Two Eight Racing LLC’s filly, who will face seven in the six-furlong first leg of the 2023 FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes series for 2-year-old fillies sired by accredited Florida stallions, demonstrated abundant talent and immense potential while making her debut at Gulfstream Aug. 5. Out of a mare by Grade 1 sprinter Yes It’s True, the daughter of Khozan ran to her breeding, breaking on top and extending her lead to 6 ¼ lengths at the finish of the 5 ½-furlong maiden special weight race.
“She trained like a good horse, but obviously they have to show it on race day,” trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said. “She ran even better than she trained. We never let her run in the morning. We worked her with nice horses before she ran. Each time, she was well in hand.”
R Harper Rose, a $60,000 purchase at the OBS March sale for 2-year-olds in training, was no surprise to bettors who made her their 4-5 favorite in her debut. She has been installed as the 7-5 morning-line favorite for the six-furlong Desert Vixen.
“She’s trained well. She’s come back with two easy works. She makes everything easy. She’s fast and she’s talented. She’s in good order,” Joseph said. “She’s uncomplicated. She’ll work however you want to work her, as fast as you want, as slow as you want. She has a good mind.”
Joseph is also scheduled to be represented by Christian Cruz’s She Has Class, who will make her first start for Gulfstream’s leading trainer after winning one of four starts.
Edgard Zayas has the return call on R Harper Rose, while Miguel Vasquez is scheduled to ride She Has Class for the first time Saturday.
Soldi Stable LLC’s Welcome Back enters the Desert Vixen after debuting with a victory against winners Aug. 5 over Gulfstream Park’s all-weather surface. The daughter of Adios Charlie rallied from last in a field of six that included stablemate Escape Room, the 3-5 favorite, to win by 1 ¾ lengths.
“We put her in the allowance to run with her workmate,” D’Angelo said. “She looked so good. She was a little green in the gate and to saddle, but she showed she has quality.”
Welcome Back, a 25-1 longshot winner, hit the gate while leaving from her rail post position.
“She’s a nice-looking filly, very tall, big. She’s training very good right now,” D’Angelo said.
Edwin Gonzalez has the return call aboard Welcome Back, who is rated second on the morning line at 3-1.
Arindel, whose homebred Lynx captured last year’s Desert Vixen and Susan’s Girl before falling short of a FSS sweep in the My Dear Girl, will be represented in this year’s Desert Vixen by Mist. The homebred daughter of Brethren graduated in her fourth career start Aug. 20 while stretching out to 6 ½ furlongs.
“We always thought a lot of her. We think she’s a filly that wants to go longer, but she’s been getting better and better,” Arindel’s stable manager Brian Cohen said. “She ran her first race, and she got sick. Maybe we ran her back too quick. I thought she could have won two back. Then, she put it together last time.”
Emisael Jaramillo has the return mount on the Juan Alvarado-trained Mist.
Leon Ellman, Glassman Racing LLC and Laurie Plesa’s Epona’s Hope enters the Desert Vixen off a troubled third-place finish in the six-furlong Sharp Susan Stakes, in which she encountered bumping at the start and a very wide trip. The Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained daughter of Adios Charlie closed off the pace to win her debut at 4 ½ furlongs at Gulfstream July 7 under Edgar Perez, who will once again be aboard Saturday.
Trainer Ralph Nicks is scheduled to saddle Fields of Green for Jacks or Better Farm Inc., the FSS series all-time leading owner, and Kitty’s Pretty for Stonehedge LLC, which has also enjoyed considerable success in the series. Fields of Green easily graduated in her second start while dropping into a $25,000 maiden claiming race. Kitty’s Pretty, a daughter of Khozan who won at first asking, finished off the board in the Sharp Susan.
Hector Diaz Jr. has the call on Fields of Green, while Leonel Reyes will ride Kitty’s Pretty for the first time.
Ramiro Rosas-Medina’s Florinda, who won one of her first four starts before finishing fourth in the Sharp Susan, will be ridden by Sonny Leon. Angel Rodriguez trains the daughter of Gone Astray.