Saturday, February 5, 2011
Today’s 7th race at Gulfstream is the Grade 3 Suwannee River Stakes for fillies and mares going 1&1/8 miles on the turf. This race is named for the river running from Georgia through Florida that empties into the Gulf of Mexico. So a little geography lesson along with a little handicapping. Who says we aren’t well rounded? Past winners of the Suwannee River are Old Hat, Sulemeif , Julie La Rousse, Marshuas River, Seebe, Pico Teneriffe and, Naissance Royal, to name a few.
There is a nice field of 10 this year, with an MTO standing by. But the weather looks good enough at the time of this writing for the race to go on a firm grass course. There’s no real short priced morning line favorite here, so at first glance it looks like a wide open affair.
The filly I like in here is It’s Tea Time. Yes, she is coming off a layoff since the Breeder’s Cup, where she was fourth to Unbridled Belle, Blind Luck and Havre de Grace. ( hey, she beat Life at Ten (!) ). She returned to the worktab six weeks later, and has worked steadily for her return, with several very sharp works on the lawn. She had no trouble coming back last year off a similar freshening and won two in a row at Saratoga, and now she is dropping in class. She has won at the distance, and she has won over the Gulfstream turf. She is a neck away from being a winner on 3 surfaces, not bad for 9 lifetime starts. This shows that this filly tries on whatever you put her on. The Dynaformers get better with age, so as a four year old, she still has some improving to do. She has J. Lep in the irons and he knows her well. The trip will be key, as is always the case on the turf. Rusty Arnold needs a winner and today is the day. It’s Tea Time is my best bet of the day.