C Z Rocket Tops Smile Sprint Invitation List

C Z Rocket Tops Smile Sprint Invitation List

Madaket Stables, Gary Barber, and Tom Kagele’s C Z Rocket  tops a list of 15 invitees for the $200,000 Smile Sprint Invitational (G3) July 3 at Gulfstream Park.

The Smile Sprint, a six-furlong dash for 3-year-olds and up that will offer a $25,000 win-only bonus for Florida-bred entrants, will be featured on the Summit of Speed program that will be headlined by the $350,000 Princess Rooney Invitational (G2), a seven-furlong sprint for fillies and mares 3 and up that will award the winner a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) Nov. 6 at Del Mar.

The Peter Miller-trained C Z Rocket, who was bred in Florida, won five straight races last year before finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Keeneland. The multiple grade 2 winner won his first two 2021 starts, including a victory in the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn Park, before finishing second while stretching out in the Steve Sexton Mile (G3) at Lone Star Park.

Diamond 100 Racing Club, Amy Dunne, D P Racing, and Patrick Biancone Racing’s Diamond Oops  won the 2019 Smile Sprint. Last year he took the Twin Spires Turf Sprint Stakes Presented by Sysco (G2T) at Churchill Downs and the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes (G2) at Keeneland. After three unplaced finishes, he returned to the winner’s circle in a six-furlong overnight handicap at Gulfstream.

Michael Dubb’s Chateau , who captured the Tom Fool Handicap (G3) March 6 at Aqueduct, is also prominent on the invitation list. The Rob Atras trainee followed up with a fourth-place run in the Carter Handicap (G1) April 3 at Aqueduct and was most recently second in the Runhappy Stakes (G3) May 8 at Belmont Park.

Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher’s Special Reserve , trained by Mike Maker, made the Smile invitation list by winning the Maryland Sprint Match Series Stakes (G3) May 15 at Pimlico Race Course.

Trainers Kathy Ritvo and Saffie Joseph Jr. are both represented on the Smile invitation list by three horses.

Reeves Thoroughbred Racing owns the Ritvo-trained trio of Double Crown , third in last year’s Smile Sprint and most recently a winner at the allowance level May 23 at Gulfstream after nearly an eight-month layoff; Frosted Grace , third in the Maryland Sprint; and Ournationonparade , who was third in the handicap behind Diamond Oops.

Joseph is represented on the invitation list by Shooting Star Thoroughbreds’ Chance It , winner of the 2020 Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream and second behind Double Crown in his first start in more than a year; Daniel Alonso’s Wind of Change , who captured the Mr. Prospector Stakes May 29 at Monmouth Park; and Elona Jones’ Doc Amster , a last-out allowance optional claimer winner May 20 at Gulfstream.

David Melin, Leon Ellman, and Laurie Plesa’s Miles Ahead ; Bell Racing’s Real Talk ; Rigney Racing’s Rubus ; Jacks or Better Farm’s Shivaree ; and Lea Farms’ Willy Boi  round out the list of Smile invitees.

Ce Ce Heads Princess Rooney Invitees

Bo Hirsch’s
Ce Ce  is the most prominent invitee of 13 to the Princess Rooney. The multiple grade 1 winner is also the most accomplished performer on the second of three invitational lists for the Princess Rooney.

Ce Ce<br>
Breeders’ Cup horses at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. on November 2, 2020.
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Ce Ce trains ahead of the 2020 Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland

Ce Ce, who captured the Beholder Mile (G1) at Santa Anita Park and the Apple Blossom (G1) at Oaklawn last year, is trained by Michael McCarthy. She has raced twice this year, debuting with a 3 1/4-length victory in a seven-furlong allowance optional claimer April 17 before finishing last of four in the two-turn Santa Maria (G2) a month later.

Trainer Brad Cox is represented on the Princess Rooney invite list by OXO Equine’s Mundaye Call , winner of the Runhappy Audubon Oaks last August at Ellis Park; and Kueber Racing, Barlar, Madaket Stables, and Little Red Feather Racing’s Vault , who captured the Ruffian (G2) May 2 at Belmont.

Mundaye Call is one of five fillies and mares added to the second of three Princess Rooney invitation lists. Ciaglia Racing, Highland Yard, River Oak Farm, and Domenic Savides’ June 5 Monrovia (G2) winner Venetian Harbor ; 2W Stables’ Bronx Beauty ; e Five Racing Thoroughbreds’ May 29 Musical Romance Stakes winner Sound Machine; and Saul Kupferberg’s Honor Way  are also first-time Princess Rooney invitees. 

The second of three Princess Rooney Invitational lists includes two other graded stakes winners—Medallion Racing, Barry Fowler, Parkland Thoroughbreds, Little Red Feather Racing, and BlackRidge Stables’ June 4 Bed o’ Roses (G3) winner Estilo Talentoso  and Tommy Town Thoroughbreds’ two-time Vagrancy Handicap (G3) winner Victim of Love .

Holly Hill Stables’ Pacific Gale , who captured the Inside Information (G2) and Hurricane Bertie (G3) during Gulfstream’s Championship Meet; Godolphin’s Lake Avenue , winner of this year’s Heavenly Prize Invitational; and Gary Barber’s multiple graded turf stakes winner Laura’s Light , who took the off-the-turf Ouija Board Distaff May 31, have been included on the first two invitation lists.O

Daniel Lopez and George Chestnut’s undefeated Chub Wagon  and Windylea Farms’s Inside Information second Thissmytime  round out the Princess Rooney invitation list.

The third and final invitational list will be published June 27.

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