Saturday Feature a ‘Win & You’re In’ Breeders Cup Challenge Race


HALLANDALE BEACH, FL—When last seen at Gulfstream Park, Rodney Lundock’s Maryquitecontrary swept to an eye-catching triumph in the Grade 1 Inside Information at seven furlongs on the undercard of the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (Grade 1).

The 4-year-old Florida-bred daughter of Double Diamond Farm stallion First Dude has returned to the Hallandale Beach track to regain her winning ways in Saturday’s Grade 3 Princess Rooney, a $200,000 ‘Win and You’re In’ Breeders’ Cup Challenge Race. The winner of the seven-furlong sprint for fillies and mares will earn a fees-paid berth in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) Nov. 4 at Santa Anita.

Maryquitecontrary, who followed up her Inside Information score with a second-place finish behind Goodnight Olive in the Grade 1 Madison at Keeneland in her first start for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, went on to finish fourth in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss won by champion Echo Zulu at Saratoga on July 26 before offering a rare off-the-board finish over Saratoga’s muddy track in the Grade 1 Ballerina, again won by Echo Zulu, last time out on Aug. 26.

Now in trainer David Fawkes’ barn at Gulfstream, Maryquitecontrary will seek her sixth straight success over Gulfstream’s main track in the Princess Rooney. She has been installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite in a field of nine fillies and mares.

“She’s been training great since she’s been here,” Fawkes said. “Her last work was really good.”

Also bred by Lundock, the 4-year-old Maryquitecontrary, is out of Mary Kate ‘n Kelly, by Mecke and has won six of 10 career starts with two seconds while banking $458,080.

Luca Panici, who has been aboard Maryquitecontrary in her last eight starts, has the return mount and they have drawn post two.

“We have had good results from the beginning. I hope we can keep it going,” Panici said. “Hopefully, back in her hometown, she’ll run really good.

Monarch Stables Inc.’s Last Leaf, a multiple graded stakes-placed daughter of Not This Time, has also done her best running at Gulfstream, where she has won six of 16 starts for trainer Ron Spatz, including a two-and-a-half-length victory in the 2022 Azalea, in which she handed runner-up Maryquitecontrary her last loss at Gulfstream. Maryquitecontrary got revenge with her two-and-a-half-length score in the Inside Information, in which Last Leaf raced extremely wide and finished fifth.

Currently trained in Kentucky by Eddie Kenneally, Last Leaf has placed in her last four starts in Kentucky, including a third-place finish behind Echo Zulu in the Grade 3 Winning Colors at Churchill Downs in May.

Miguel Vasquez has the mount aboard Last Leaf, who is 4-1 on the morning line.

Saffie Joseph Jr., who has won the last seven training titles at Gulfstream Park, entered three runners in the Princess Rooney Sunday, including Edward Seltzer’s Florida-bred Bluefield (6-1), e Five Thoroughbreds’ Three Witches (8-1) and Sean Defreitas’ Florida-bred Rosie’s Halo (15-1).

Bluefield will be coming off a three-month layoff since rallying to finish second to Yuugiri in the $100,000 Saylorville going six furlongs at Prairie Meadows on July 7. In her prior start in the $60,000 Musical Romance overnight handicap at six furlongs at Gulfstream on May 28, Bluefield scored an impressive four-length win over runner-up and Saturday rival Poiema.

“She ran really well at Prairie Meadows. The filly that beat her came back to win a stake,” Joseph said. “Seven furlongs might be stretching it, but the key is we learned to ride her patiently.”

Bluefield is by Field Commission out of Imtheblues, by Pentelicus and has won seven of 18 career starts with three seconds and three thirds while banking $253,00. She was bred by Ed Pendray and Edward Seltzer.

e Five Racing Thoroughbreds’ Three Witches returned from a five-month layoff for Joseph to capture a first level, $25,000 optional claiming at seven furlongs on Aug. 27, rallying from off the pace to win going away by nearly five lengths.

“Seven furlongs is right down her alley,” Joseph said. “Back at the distance she likes, she’s obviously got to improve, but her figures aren’t that far off. If she can jump forward, she can win it.”

Sean Defreitas’ Rosie’s Hero finished fourth in the seven-furlong Sheer Drama won by Princess Rooney entrant R Adios Jersey at Gulfstream Aug. 19.

“She’s probably better at a mile,” Joseph said. “She won and came off the layoff. She didn’t run that well but we needed to get a race into her. She’s going to move forward big.”

Rosie’s Halo finished second, beaten by just three-quarters of a length behind Maryquitecontrary in a first level allowance in June 22.

Rosie’s Halo is by Jess’s Dream out of Shackalou, by Shackleford and was bred by Colin Mouttet and Paul Mouttet. She has won three with three seconds and two thirds from 10 starts and earning $133,795.

“Maryquitecontrary is a different horse now,” Joseph said. “But we’ll give it a try.”

Edgard Zayas has the call on Bluefield, while Leonel Reyes and Samy Camacho will ride Three Witches and Rosie’s Halo, respectively.

Averill Racing LLC and ATM Racing and Jayson Werth’s R Adios Jersey, a graded stakes-placed, multiple stakes winner, is expected to ensure a lively pace in the Princess Rooney. The 5-year-old daughter of Ocala Stud stallion Adios Charlie is coming off a dazzling five-and-a-half-length victory in the seven-furlong Sheer Drama Stakes at Gulfstream Aug. 19.

R Adios Jersey is out of Marion Theatre, by Montbrook and was bred by Ocala Stud and J. Michael O’Farrell. She has won half of her 14 lifetime starts with two seconds and two thirds while earning $373,245.

Edwin Gonzalez has the return call aboard the Florida-bred mare. They are listed at 7-2 in the program and have post eight.

BC Racing’s Flakes is scheduled to take on her elders in the Princess Rooney. The 3-year-old daughter of Frosted earned graded stakes-placed credentials while finishing third in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2). The Juan Alvarado trainee has been first or second in three subsequent starts against 3-year-olds, including a victory in the Game Face and a runner-up finish in the Azalea.

Emisael Jaramillo is slated to ride Flakes for the first time Saturday. Flakes will depart from post one and is listed at 20-1 in the program.

Flakes is by Frosted out of Tell a Great Story, by Bluegrass Cat and was bred in Florida by Arindel.

AMO Racing USA’s Olivia Darling, who captured an optional claiming allowance in her only start at Gulfstream last December, returns for the Princess Rooney after winning three and finishing second four times in eight subsequent starts. The Jorge Delgado-trained 4-year-old daughter of Palace is coming off an allowance win at Parx Aug. 29.

Jose Morelos, who was aboard for her Gulfstream score, returns to the saddle on the 10-1 morning line choice and they have post three.

Florida-bred Poiema enters the Princess Rooney off an impressive victory in the Edwin Broome Memorial Handicap at Gulfstream in her second start for owner/trainer Joe Catanese. Formerly owned and trainer by Larry Bates, who passed away during the summer, the 4-year-old daughter of Pleasant Acres Stallions’ Neolithic shook off early pressure while setting the pace in the five-and-a-half-furlong handicap and drew off to a comfortable five-and-a-quarter-length score.

Poiema was bred by Cheryl Janine McGuire and James Patrick McGuire and has won five of 22 career starts with five seconds and two thirds while earning $241,685.

Edgar Perez has the return call on Poiema, who is 8-1 on the morning line and has drawn the outside post nine.


— Brock Sheridan Contributed to this story