Chance It Looks Solid in $200,000 Affirmed
Wednesday, August 28, 2019
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Shooting Star Thoroughbreds LLC’s Chance It will once again have the opportunity to live up to the hype in Saturday’s $200,000 Affirmed Division of the Florida Sire Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The seven-furlong Affirmed will co-headline the program with the $200,000 Susan’s Girl for fillies in the second leg of the series for 2-year-olds sired by accredited Florida stallions.

    Chance It created a buzz on June 29 when he broke his maiden by 9 ¼ lengths under wraps, producing the fastest Beyer Speed Figure (91) for a 2-year-old in the country at the time. The son of Currency Swap offered an impressive encore performance on Aug. 3 with a dominating victory in the $100,000 Dr. Fager, matching the speed figure of his maiden triumph while prevailing by 3 ½ lengths.

    “The margin wasn’t as big, but the number was the same," trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said. "It came back with 91 again. He was on the inside and he had to be used a bit. I knew he was legit, but it was nice to see that progression.”

    Chance It, who debuted with a second-place finish in a five-furlong maiden race on June 1, is slated to stretch out from six to seven furlongs in the open division of the series that will conclude with the $400,000 In Reality at 1 1/16 miles on Sept. 28.

    “I feel fairly comfortable with him going a mile, a mile and a sixteenth," Joseph said. "They have to do it, but he doesn’t show distance limitations right now. With Currency Swap, you think sprinting, but on his dam’s side, he has Pleasantly Perfect. “He’s a good-looking horse. The only thing you can knock him about is his pedigree. He has no pedigree. But he’s a good-looking horse and when you put him on the track, he wants to achieve. He’s willing. He always wants to do more.”

    Leading rider Edgard Zayas has the return mount aboard Chance It, who is 3/5 in the morning line, and who breezed three furlongs in 37.83 seconds Wednesday morning. 

    Trainer Ralph Nicks entered two horses in the Affirmed in a quest to saddle his third straight winner in the race named for the Florida-bred 1978 Triple Crown winner, with Stonehedge Farm's Liam’s Lucky Charm being the more formidable contender. The son of Khozan finished second behind Chance It in the Dr. Fager after being bumped at the start.

    “He was second best," said Nicks. "Chance It was the better horse that day. I think Liam’s moving forward as we go along. As we stretch out, we’re going to get better." Nicks scored Affirmed victories with Soutache (2017) and Garter and Tie (2018). “I don’t know if seven-eighths is enough to catch the other horse, but on the other hand, he’ll be someone to be dealt with.”

    At five furlongs, Liam’s Lucky Charm finished third in his May 12 debut before breaking his maiden by 6 ¾ lengths on June 9. In the Dr. Fager, he recovered from an early bumping incident to close for second, 10 ¼ lengths clear of third-place finisher Absolute Grit.

    Nicks expects Liam’s Lucky Charm to move even more forward when sent around two turns. “He trains like it and has acted like it all along,” he said. “I think you’ll see him get better as we move along. He’s maturing. He should run a better race Saturday. Is it going to be good enough? I don’t know.” Reylu Gutierrez has the mount.

    Nicks-trained Shivaree, a half-brother to Garter and Tie, will attempt to break his maiden in the Affirmed after finishing third in his second career race last time out. “We won it last year with his brother, who broke his maiden in there. So we’ll try to duplicate the same effort,” Nicks said. “That whole family - I’ve had three of them now - have been slow learners. A bit of ground will help him too. He’s training really well and has been moving forward since his last race.” The Jacks or Better Farm’s homebred colt will be ridden by Jeffrey Sanchez.

    Arindel’s Genghis enters the Affirmed off a 2 ¾-length victory 0n July 27 in his fourth career start. The homebred son of Brethren had finished second in his first three races, including behind Chance It on June 28 and Positively Awesome, an undefeated half-brother to multiple Gr. 1 winner Jackson Bend, on April 2. Emisael Jaramillo has the return mount aboard the Juan Alvarado-trained colt. Arindel will also be represented by Stanley Gold-trained Plato, another son of Brethren, who finished second last time out in a maiden $35,000 claiming race. Miguel Vasquez has the mount.

    Cathi and Karl Glassman’s Absolute Grit is slated to return in the Affirmed after an eventful trip in the Dr. Fager. The Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained colt, second betting choice in the first leg of the series, was bumped at the start and encountered more bumping leaving the backstretch while racing three wide before coming up short in the stretch. The son of Kantharos broke his maiden at first asking on April 26 before finishing second behind Positively Awesome in the June 30 Kodiak Island Stakes. Cristian Torres has the mount.

    Rounding out the field are Stonestreet Stables' Our Time, a son of Kantharos who was a dead-heat winner in his July 20 debut; Tracy Pinchin’s Northbrook, a son of Going Astray who finished fourth in the Dr. Fager; Patricia’s Hope LLC’s Jettin Out, a son of Adios Charlie who broke his maiden Aug. 17 after finishing second in his first three starts; and Ramiro Rosas-Medina’s Rebelde, a son of Khozan who broke his maiden in his seventh start last time out
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