A field of eight fillies and mares will line up in Saturday’s $350,000 Princess Rooney Invitational (G2) led by multiple Grade 1 winner Ce Ce.
The Michael McCarthy trainee is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line. The Princess Rooney is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1).
The mare cuts back to a sprint after a fourth-place finish in the Santa Maria (G2) at Santa Anita on May 22.
“I thought the seven-eighths would be a wonderful distance for her. It looks like there might be some rain down there this week, and I think she might like a wet-fast racetrack,” McCarthy said. “She had a nice little break after the Breeders’ Cup – I thought her race in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff was sneaky good. It was always our plan to give her some time off. She’s come back good.”
The consistent Estillo Talentoso is the 5-2 morning line favorite. Trained by Juan Arriagada, the filly has landed in the money in all 14 of her career starts which includes three wins. She won the Bed of Roses (G3) at Belmont Park in her last outing on June 4 in the slop.
Estillo Talentoso Wins Bed of Roses
The Princes Rooney has the biggest purse of the spring/summer meeting. The co-feature on the Saturday card is the $200,000 Smile Sprint Invitational (G3) which drew a field of eight.
The $400,000 Suburban (G2) at Belmont Park is also a “Win and You’re In” race. The winner stamps a ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
The Michael Stidham trained Mystic Guide is the even money favorite. The colt makes his first start since winning the Dubai World Cup (G1) in his last outing.
Let’s head out to Gulfstream Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Gulfstream Park Race 11 The Princes Rooney Inv. G2 5:25 ET
5 Ce Ce 3-1
8 Sound Machine 12-1
1 Estilo Talentoso 5-2
6 Laura’s Light 7-2
The mare cuts back to one turn here after the mare tracked thee early pace and came up short in the stretch in a fourth-place finish in the Santa Maria (G2) at Santa Anita. The mare came off a five month break two back at seven furlongs and was a sharp winner over $62,500 optional claimers. She won three of her seven starts last year including a pair of Grade 1 races—the Beholder Mile at Santa Anita and the Apple Blossom Handicap, both going two turns. She has worked sharply since her last outing for McCarthy who is 24% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners from route to sprint. Espinoza is in to ride this gal again and she has enough tactical speed to handle the cut back. She looks to be sitting on a top effort here third off the bench.
The Joseph trainee is coming off a victory in the Florida bred Musical Romance last out at 6 ½ furlongs. The speed figure is coming up on the light side but the runner up and fourth place finisher both exited that race to beat optional claimers in their next starts and their Beyers increased by eight points each. She owns solid early and mid pace numbers, and she has run well over the main track here landing in the exacta in 6 of 10 trips. Among those was a runner up finish in the Hurricane Bertie (G3) and a win in the Glitter Woman. She is in good hands with the Joseph barn that has been live at the meet, hitting at a 30% clip and her 12-1 morning line in this spot looks more than fair.
This filly is coming off a game win in the Bed of Roses (G3) last out in the slop at Belmont Park at seven furlongs. It was her first win at today’s distance in seven trips, five of those runner up finishes. She stalked the early pace, came with an even wide bid and edged Lake Avenue by a neck. She earned career tops two and three back, first with a runner up finish in the Madison (G1) at Keeneland and then a third in the Derby City Distaff (G1). The latter was won by Gamine and the runner up and fourth place finishers came out of that race to win stakes next out. She owns the edge in late pace numbers and should get some pace to run at. She has not missed landing in the money in her 14 career starts but does have a habit of landing for minor shares.
WIN: Ce Ce to win at 5-2 or better.
EXACTA: 5 / 1,6,8 and 5,8 / 1,5,8