Top Turf Trainers Well Represented in Marshua's River Stakes

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

January 11th, 2018

Some of North America’s most successful trainers of turf horses will square off this Saturday in an exciting renewal of the $150,000 Marshua’s River Stakes going 8.5 furlongs at Gulfstream Park.

The Eclipse Award-winning trainer , whose stable is filled with top-notch turf stars, will send out Abbreviate in search of her first stakes win. The four-year-old filly finished seventh last time out in the Autumn Days Stakes at Aqueduct, but that was a six-furlong sprint and she was at a disadvantage trying to rally into a slow pace. Previously, the daughter of Harlan’s Holiday had won two straight races going longer at Belmont Park, including a one-mile allowance race which she won decisively by 2 ¾ lengths.

Mike Maker has campaigned plenty of graded stakes winner on turf through the years and will seek another with Gianna’s Dream, who has won half of her eighteen starts and rarely finishes out of the trifecta. In fact, Gianna’s Dream ran a huge race when second by a neck in the My Charmer Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream last month, stamping her as one of the horses to beat in Saturday’s competitive event.

Representing is Dream Dancing, by far the most accomplished filly in the race thanks to her narrow victory in the Del Mar Oaks (gr. I) last summer. The daughter of Tapit is 2-for-2 at Gulfstream Park, including a win in the Herecomesthebride Stakes (gr. III) over this distance back in March, but the Marshua’s River will mark her debut against older mares—can she make the transition while carrying the top weight of 123 pounds?

From the barn of Graham Motion comes Ultra Brat, winner of the Tropical Park Oaks in December 2016. The two-time stakes winner has only run once since then, returning from a long layoff to finish fourth (ahead of Abbreviate) in the Autumn Days Stakes after racing close to the slow early pace. Rounding out the field are King’s Ghost, a stakes winner on both dirt and turf at Gulfstream; Vendita, who is stepping up sharply in class but who has six wins at Gulfstream on her record; Inside Out, fifth last time out in the My Charmer Stakes (gr. III); and Kylla Instinct, winner of a one-mile allowance race at Gulfstream last month.

Post time for the Marshua’s River Stakes is 4:00 p.m. Eastern.