The Kathleen O’Connell trained Stormy Embrace is looking to defend her title in Saturday’s $250,000 Princess Rooney (G2) at Gulfstream Park, one of five stakes on the Summit of Speed card.
Stormy Embrace was installed as the 4-5 morning line favorite in the field of seven. The mare won the race last year by six lengths at 15-1 but will be a much shorter price on Saturday.
She come into the race off a 10 ½ length victory in the Florida bred Musician Romance at Gulfstream Park on May 18.
Last year her lone poor effort came in the Breeders’ Cup where she was a well beaten 11th.
“She’s just as good this year as she was last year. She’s a model of consistency. She doesn’t have to be anywhere. She just has to have things unfold,” said O’Connell. “In the Breeders’ Cup, they unfolded terrible and I just throw that one out, but she’s been a model of consistency otherwise.”
Her main threat will be Saguaro Row, who beat second level allowance optional claimers last out in the slop at Belmont Park. The Michael Stidham trainee is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line.
Three of her first four races came in routes, but Stidham has done the right thing cutting her back to sprinting and she is coming into the race in sharp form.
“I sprinted her and both times she won. I think the key is letting her do what she does best, which is sprint,” Stidham said.
Let’s head out to Gulfstream Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Gulfstream Park Race 12 The Princess Rooney (G2) Post time 5:30 ET
4 Saguaro Row 5-2
6 Stormy Embrace 4-5
1 Razorback Lady 8-1
2 Trenchtown Cat 6-1
The Michael Stidham trainee comes into the race off back to back wins, coming off the layoff to beat Alw-1 company at Keeneland and then beating Alw-2 optional claimers last out in the slop at Belmont Park, both at six furlongs. The third-place finisher Honor Way came out of her last win to beat Alw-2 optional claimers in her next start at Belmont Park on June 2. Both of her stakes tries came in routes and the layoff and the cut back in distance seems to have suited her. She still needs to move forward off her last effort to beat the chalk in here but appears to still have some upside. She looks like she has the best shot of knocking off the favorite.
This mare is the deserving short priced favorite and will be tough to beat. She is the defending champ in this race, drawing off to win by six lengths last year. She came off a 3 ½ month break last out to win the Florida bred Musical Romance by 10 ½ lengths, earning the top last out speed fig. She owns a solid pace profile throughout, and she has won 5 of her 11 starts over the main track here, landing in the money in nine of those trips. She is the logical major threat at a light price.
She dueled for the early lead and could not go with the winner in a runner up finish last out in the Ana T.S. as the beaten favorite. The filly was making her first start off a 2 ½ month break. She ran a good second two back in the Inside Information (G2) where she earned a career top speed figure at seven furlongs. She owns solid early and mid pace numbers and with the rail draw that may force Leparoux to send her early. He was aboard two and three back, both good efforts at today’s distance. She looks capable of better than we saw out of her last out and she is going to be a decent price in this spot.
WIN: Saguaro to win at 5-2 or better.
EXACTA: 4,6 / 1,2,4,6
TRIFCTA: No play