HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Rodney Lundock’s homebred Maryquitecontrary will make a title defense in Saturday’s Grade 2 Inside Information presented by Don Julio Tequila at Gulfstream Park under similar circumstances leading up to last season’s romp in the seven-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares.

The $200,000 Inside Information will be renewed on Saturday’s 13-race program with seven graded stakes, highlighted by the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational presented by Baccarat (G1), the $1 million 1/ST Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) and the $500,000 TAA Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G2).

Florida-bred Maryquitecontrary enters the Inside Information coming off a length victory in the $150,000 Rampart, a mile stakes for older fillies and mares on Dec. 30 at Gulfstream. Last season, Lundock’s homebred captured the Rampart going away prior to a two-and-a-length triumph in the Inside Information on the Pegasus World Cup undercard.

This year, Maryquitecontrary will be saddled by Eddie Plesa Jr., who took over the training of the stretch-running mare prior to her triumph in the 2023 Rampart under Luca Panici, who has been aboard in all of her 12 career starts.

“I was just tickled to death. When you watch races, one of the things I do if my horse is in contention heading for home, I look to see what’s happening behind my horse to see if another horse is moving up. I was very confident at the eighth-pole that she was going to win the race,” Plesa said. “She didn’t let me down. She came into the race great. There were some question marks… when you change from one trainer to another, things can be different for a horse. Horses can be creatures of habit. I think she handled the switch outstanding. We were pleased as we can be and we’re anxious to run her Saturday, because coming into this race, I have more confidence in her for this race than the last.”

Maryquitecontrary has developed a habit of winning, having visited the winner’s circle seven times in 12 career starts following sweeping moves into the stretch. While that move has been very successful, Plesa is hopeful that Panici and Florida-bred mare will be able to take a more direct route to the winner’s circle Saturday.

“I thought Luca rode a very good race on her last time,” Plesa said. “I had a talk with him before the race. As a trainer, I hate to see horses go wide. I said, ‘If you can save ground, save ground. If you can’t, I’m not going to say anything to you afterward,’” Plesa said. “She was inside down the backside. She was in position entering the stretch. He had to go to the outside a couple of them, but it wasn’t like previous races that I witnessed. She responded 110 percent.”

Maryquitecontrary is expected to be challenged by the second and third-place finishers in the Dec. 23 Sugar Swirl (G3) at Gulfstream—Miller Racing LLC’s Intrepid Dream and AMO Racing USA’s Olivia Darling.

A daughter of Double Diamond Farm stallion First Dude out of Mary Kate ‘n Kelly, by Mecke, Maryquitecontraray has earned $599,805 in her career.

Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained Intrepid Dream chased front-running winning Florida-bred Spirit Wind before settling for second in the six-furlong sprint, just a half-length back. The daughter of Jess’s Dream had won four races in a row, including three stakes victories in Maryland, going into the Sugar Swirl.

Tyler Gaffalione was awarded the return mount by Joseph, who is also slated to saddle Edward Seltzer’s Florida-bred Bluefield, who finished a troubled fifth in the Sugar Swirl.

Flavien Prat is set to ride the daughter of Field Commission for the first time Saturday. Bluefield was bred by Ed Pendray and Seltzer.

Jorge Delgado-trained Olivia Darling closed well to finish third in the Sugar Swirl, just three-quarters of a length behind Spirit Wind.

Irad Ortiz Jr. has the return mount aboard the daughter of Palace.

Klaravich Stables Inc.’s Gerrymander, who finished third in the Ruffian (G2) at Belmont last year, enters the Inside Information coming off a fifth-place finish in the Dec. 2 Go For Wand (G3) at Aqueduct.

Jose Ortiz has the mount on the Chad Brown trainee.

Two Item Saver and pilot Junior Alvarado, She’s Outta Here and rider Miguel Vasquez, Music City Star and jockey Javier Castellano, Florida-bred Dreamster with Edgard Zayas aboard and Sassy Nature with Oisin Murphy up round out the field.

Return to the Jan. 24 issue of Wire to Wire