Averill Racing LLC and Two Eight Racing LLC’s R Harper Rose is one of three Florida-bred fillies entered to run in the Grade 3 Forward Gal going seven furlongs at Gulfstream Park Saturday. Seven 3-year-old fillies, including Florida-breds Chi Chi and Fiona’s Magic, have entered the $125,000 Forward Gal, which also offers a $20,000 Top 3 bonus for Florida-breds presented by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association. The bonus is paid on a 50%-30%-20% schedule.

R Harper Rose suffered the only loss of her four-race career last out when second to Honey Dijon in the $400,000 FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes My Dear Girl going a mile-and-a-sixteenth on Dec. 2.

However, trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said R Harper Rose may have had more than one excuse for the defeat.

“It was her first time going that far and it was the last leg of the [Florida Sire] stakes, so you had to give it a go,” Joseph said. “She had gotten sick in between, so she didn’t come into it with the ideal preparation. But we went ahead and gave it a go and she was just second-best on the day. Now we cut her back to what we think will be her best thing going one turn.”

R Harper Rose won her first two starts by a combined 12 lengths against special weight maiden fillies in August and against non-winners of two, $75,000 optional claiming fillies in September, both going five-and-a-half furlongs at Gulfstream.

She then won the $200,000 FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes Susan’s Girl by four lengths going seven furlongs in October at Gulfstream.

“She’s just a very fast filly. Speed’s her game, but she can also rate a little bit if she needs to,” Joseph said. “This race we feel like we have her going in the right way, so hopefully she’ll bring her ‘A’ game. She’ll need it. She’s had a good preparation going into this race. Cutting back in distance should help her, too. So far everything’s been good to order, so we’re happy with her.”

Bred by Sally J. Andersen, R Harper Rose is by Journeyman Stud stallion Khozan out of True Bliss, by Yes It’s True and has earned $257,300 in her four races.

She was purchased by Averill Racing for $60,000 out of the 2023 Ocala Breeders’ Sales March Sale where she was consigned by GOP Racing Stable. She also sold during the 2022 OBS October Yearling Sale for $16,000 to Pro Racing Stable out of Richard Kent’s Kaizen Sales consignment.

R Harper Rose has post four in the seven-horse field and regular rider Edgard Zayas gets the return mount. R Harper Rose has post four.

Chi Chi will attempt to bounce back off a fifth-place finish to winner Power Squeeze in the $150,000 Cash Run going a mile on Jan. 1 at Gulfstream.

Trained by Herman Wilensky for owner Earnest C. Frohboese, Chi Chi is a two-time stakes winner with victories in the $50,000 E.L. Gaylord at Remington Park in September and in the $60,000 Juvenile Fillies Sprint against Florida-breds at Gulfstream on Nov. 11.

Chi Chi has won two of six career starts with one second while earning $86,295. She is by Audible out of Simply Confection, by Candy Ride (Arg) and was bred in Florida by France Weiner. She is a graduate of the 2022 OBS Winter Mixed Sale where she was consigned by Stuart Morris but did not meet her reserve.

Chi Chi has drawn post three and jockey Junior Alvarado will ride the bay filly for the first time.

Stonehedge LLC’s homebred Fiona’s Magic will take a two-race win streak into the Forward Gal for trainer Michael Yates.

The daughter of Journeyman Stud resident St Patrick’s Day out of Mollie’s Magic, by Factum defeated special weight maiden fillies by seven lengths in her second career start in November at Gulfstream then won a first level, $75,000 optional claiming by two-and-a-half lengths at Gulfstream in December.

The dark bay or brown filly has won two of three starts with one second and earnings of $87,400.

Fiona’s Magic has drawn post two and Tyler Gaffalione will ride.

The lone graded stakes-winner in the Forward Gal is Gary Barber’s Witwatersrand from the barn of trainer Mark Casse.

Witwatersrand won the Grade 3 Mazarine by nearly three lengths going a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the synthetic main track at Woodbine in her last race on Nov. 4 after finishing third in the $140,000 Glorious Song won by A Little Frisky going seven furlongs there in October.

In her only other career start, the daughter of Connect won a Woodbine maiden special weight going six-and-a-half furlongs in September.

Witwatersrand has earned $107,031 in her three starts and Casse has given the riding assignment to Paco Lopez. They will depart from the outside post seven.

Todd Pletcher will saddle Scalable for the Forward Gal for owner Mike Repole’s Repole Stable.

Scalable exits a six-length maiden special weight score going a mile at Gulfstream on Jan. 4 after finishing fifth behind winner Just F Y I in the Grade 1 NetJets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita on Nov. 3.

Scalable has one win and one second in four starts with earnings of $146,200 and Jose Ortiz will be aboard when she breaks from post six.

Rounding out the field are Maryland Juvenile Fillies-winner Kissedbyanangel, who will be ridden by Luis Saez; and recent maiden winner Nikitis and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.

Return to the Feb. 1 issue of Wire to Wire