Birdatthewire, Limousine Liberal headline Summit of Speed program

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June 29th, 2016

Birdatthewire tops eight distaffers in the $250,000 Princess Rooney (G2) and Limousine Liberal is the likely favorite among seven runners in the $250,000 Smile Sprint (G2), the two main events in Saturday’s Summit of Speed at Gulfstream Park.

The 7-furlong Princess Rooney and 6-furlong Smile Sprint serve as “Win and You’re In” events for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) and Sprint (G1), respectively, and a total of nine stakes will be offered on the 13-race card.

A Grade 1 winner, the 4-year-old Birdatthewire makes her first start at Gulfstream since capturing the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) 15 months ago. The Dale Romans-trained filly also won last year’s 7-furlong Forward Gal (G2) over the track and Birdatthewire exits a fifth versus better in the May 7 Humana Distaff (G1) at Churchill Downs. She picks up the services of the local jockey Tyler Gaffalione.

Spelling Again finished a close third in the recent Winning Colors (G3) at Churchill Downs and posted a respectable third behind multiple Grade 1 queen Cavorting in the Ruffian (G2) at Belmont two back. The Grade 2-winning mare merits respect for Brad Cox and Luis Saez.

Marty Wolfson, a four-time winner of the Princess Rooney, will send out a pair of contenders in Cali Star and Kiss to Remember. Cali Star makes her first start at Gulfstream since recording a three-length score in the Rampart (G3) in mid-December. Multiple stakes vixen Kiss to Remember, third in last year’s Princess Rooney and second in the Ballerina (G1), will seek to move forward off a close second in the grassy Amelia Island on June 4.

Limousine Liberal has three wins and three seconds from eight career starts but the well-regarded sprinter will be still seeking his first stakes triumph in the Smile Sprint. A head second most recently in the Aristides (G3) at Churchill Downs, the 4-year-old opened 2016 with a track record-setting allowance victory at Keeneland. Saez rides the Grade 1-placed gelding for Ben Colebrook.

Delta Bluesman rolled to a six-length allowance/optional claiming tally when making his last start at Gulfstream in mid-April and the 6-year-old gray returns to Gulfstream off a pair of sharp performances at Monmouth Park for Jorge Navarro, registering a 104 BRIS Speed ratings both times. Emisael Jaramillo retakes the mount.

Chief Lion invades from New York for David Jacobson with a three-race win skein. The 6-year-old gelding registered triple-digit BRIS Speed numbers in those victories but is facing a class check after being claimed twice in recent starts. Regular rider Emmanuel Esquivel will be up. Jacobson is also represented by Eighty Three, runner-up to Delta Bluesman most recently in a Monmouth allowance.

In other stakes, Awesome Banner heads a field of seven sophomores in the $150,000 Carry Back (G3) at 7-furlongs. A convincing winner of the Swale (G2) and Hutcheson (G3) earlier this year, the son of Awesome of Course returned from a freshening with an easy tally in the June 4 Big Cypress at Gulfstream and will be making his second outing for Mark Casse. Gaffalione rides.

The $100,000 Azalea features six 3-year-old fillies at 7-furlongs and Dearest is the one to beat following a six-length romp in the Royal Palm on June 4. Jaramillo will pilot for Gilberto Zerpa. Curlin’s Approval, a sharp four-length debut winner for Wolfson on June 5, is the main rival.

Birdatthewire photo courtesy of Leslie Martin/Adam Coglianese Photography