The Grade III, $150,000 Suwannee River Stakes is the richest race on tap for Saturday at Gulfstream Park. The 1 1/8-mile grass event for older fillies and mares drew a field of eight, including heavily-favored RYMSKA. Owing to her presence, Gulfstream officials decided to card the Suwannee River as the sixth of 12 races. Approximate post time is 2:27 p.m. EST.
#4 RYMSKA (3-5, morning-line favorite), in the eyes of this handicapper, is not as sure a winner of the Suwannee River as her odds would indicate, but she is the most likely victor. The Chad Brown trainee drops out of a sixth-place finish in the Grade I Matriarch, won by stablemate Uni. But RYMSKA’s prior four stakes tries all resulted in wins, some of which featured breathtaking stretch rallies. She retains Irad Ortiz Jr. as she attempts to run her Gulfstream record to 2-for-2. RYMSKA should get an honest pace to work with, she just needs to stay out of trouble.
#5 VALEDICTORIAN (6-1) has a puncher’s chance at a Suwannee River upset. She won two turf races in late summer, including Laurel’s All Along Stakes, before placing second in the Claiming Crown Tiara over this course behind Peru. VALEDICTORIAN continued on to the Marshua’s River, where she was third with a rough trip. She was off a beat slow and was forced four-wide while the winner (Bellavais) rode the rail. VALEDICTORIAN should get a smooth stalking trip under Tyler Gaffalione and is fast enough to vie with these.
#1 VAGABOND PRINCESS (12-1) runs solid enough speed figures to merit inclusion underneath. She’s hit the ticket in five of her previous six turf starts, with the lone exception being the Grade II John C. Mabee at Del Mar last summer off a significant layoff. VAGABOND PRINCESS will be rolling late under Robby Albarado.
The play: $3 exacta 4/1,5, $1 trifecta 4/1,5/1,5, $2 win 5 ($10)
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