Maryquitecontrary Heads Gr. III Princess Rooney
Wednesday, October 4, 2023

    HALLANDALE BEACH - When last seen at Gulfstream Park, Rodney Lundock’s Maryquitecontrary swept to an eye-catching triumph in the seven-furlong, Gr. II Inside Information on the undercard of the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational.

    The 4-year-old daughter of First Dude has returned to regain her winning ways in Saturday’s $200,000, Gr. III Princess Rooney, a ‘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 on Nov. 4 at Santa Anita.

    Maryquitecontrary, who followed up her Inside Information score with a second-place finish behind Goodnight Olive in the Gr. I Madison at Keeneland in her first start for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. The homebred filly went on to finish fourth in the Gr. II Honorable Miss at Saratoga before offering a rare off-the-board finish over Saratoga’s muddy track in the Gr. I Ballerina last time out.

    Now in trainer David Fawkes’ barn at Gulfstream, Maryquitecontrary, who will seek her sixth straight success over Gulfstream’s main track in the Princess Rooney. She has been installed ast5-2 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.”

    Luca Panici, who has been aboard for the Florida-bred filly’s last eight starts, has the return mount on the filly who was saddled by Joe Catanese for her fifth-race winning streak culminating in her Inside Information victory by 2 ½ lengths. “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 Stable’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 2 ½-length victory in the 2022 Azalea, in which she handed runner-up Maryquitecontrary her last loss at Gulfstream. Maryquitecontrary got revenge 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 champion Echo Zulu in the Gr. III Winning Colors at Churchill Downs. Miguel Vasquez has the mount aboard Last Leaf (4-1).

    Saffie Joseph Jr., who has won the last seven meets at Gulfstream Park, entered three runners in the Princess Rooney Sunday -- Edward Seltzer’s Bluefield (6-1), e Five Thoroughbreds’ Three Witches (8-1) and Sean Defreitas’ Rosie’s Halo (15-1). Bluefield will be coming off a three-month layoff since rallying to finish second in the six-furlong Saylorville Stakes at Prairie Meadows. In her prior start in the Musical Romance, a 6 ½-furlong stakes named in honor of the 2012 Princess Rooney and Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint champion, Bluefield scored an impressive four-length win over runner-up 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.”

    e Five Racing Thoroughbreds’ Three Witches returned from a five-month layoff for Joseph to capture an Aug. 27 optional claiming allowance at seven furlongs, rallying from off the pace to win going away by 4 ¾ 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 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.

 “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 and ATM Racing and Jayson Werth’s R Adios Jersey (7-2), a graded stakes-placed multiple stakes-winner, is expected to ensure a lively pace in the Princess Rooney. The 5-year-old daughter of Adios Charlie is coming off a dazzling 5 ½-length victory in the seven-furlong Sheer Drama Stakes at Gulfstream on Aug. 19. Edwin Gonzalez has the return call aboard the Florida-bred mare.

    BC Racing’s Flakes (20-1) 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 Gr. II Gulfstream Park Oaks. 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.

    AMO Racing USA’s Olivia Darling (10-1), 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.

    Poiema (8-1) 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 Neolithic shook off early pressure while setting the pace in the 5 ½-furlong handicap and drew off to a comfortable 5 ¼-length score. Edgar Perez has the return call.

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