It’s been a long wait.
But 18 months after branding himself as a promising 3-year-old, and 15 months after going off as one of the favorites in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2), Shooting Star Thoroughbreds, LLC’s Chance It appears ready to establish himself as one of the country’s premier 4-year-olds in Saturday’s $200,000 Smile Sprint Invitational (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
“He’s all dressed up and ready to go,” said Mary Lightner, managing partner of Shooting Star Thoroughbreds. “We were looking for a big 3-year-old year for him. It didn’t happen. Now we’re looking for a big 4-year-old year.”
Chance It, trained by Saffie Joseph Jr. and 3-1 in the morning line, will need his best Saturday in the six-furlong Smile when facing a field of eight that includes multiple Grade 2 winner Diamond Oops (5-2), 2020 Florida Derby (G1) runner-up Shivaree (15-1), and graded-stakes placed Double Crown (9-2) and Frosted Grace (6-1).
The Smile is one of two graded stakes races comprising Saturday’s Summit of Speed card highlighted by the $350,000 Princess Rooney (G2), a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” that has attracted multiple Grade 1 winner Ce Ce.
One of the fastest 2-year-olds of 2019, Chance It won two-thirds of the Florida Sire Stakes – including the 1 1/16 mile $400,000 In Reality in September to wrap up his juvenile season. The son of Currency Swap made his 3-year-old debut on Jan. 4 2020 by winning the Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream. Two months later, Chance It went off the second choice at 5-2 in the Tampa Bay Derby and finished fifth. The colt would no return to the races for nearly 15 months.
“He came out with a soft tissue injury from that race,” Lightner said. “At 3 he was certainly a stakes horse, but we felt he was a graded-stakes horse. So, we decided to give him all the time he needed.”
Chance It prepped for the Smile May 23 when he finished second in an allowance optional claimer at Gulfstream while making his first start in 15 months.
“We were happy with his race,” Lightner said. “We’re pretty competitive people so we would have liked to have won. But he really needed the race and the horse that beat him [Double Crown] is a good horse.”
Chance It enters the Smile off two ‘bullet’ workouts. Edgard Zayas is named to ride.
The Patrick Biancone-trained 6-year-old Diamond Oops won the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G2) at Churchill Downs and the Phoenix Stakes (G2) at Keeneland (G2) last fall. After a fourth-place finish in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint in May, the son of Lookin At Lucky won the $50,000 Hollywood Lakes in June at Gulfstream. Diamond Oops has won six of 11 starts at Gulfstream and three of four at the distance. Florent Geroux is named to ride.
Trainer Kathy Ritvo has entered three in the Smile in Frosted Grace, Double Crown and Ournationonparade.
Frosted Grace, a 5-year-old son of Mark Valeski, enters the Smile off a third-place finish May 15 in the Maryland Sprint (G3) at Pimlico. Earlier in the year Frosted Grace was second in the Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3) and second in the Sir Shackleton. Double Crown’s victory over Chance It in May was his first start since finishing second in the Chick Lang Stakes (G3) at Pimlico in October. The son of Bourbon Courage finished third in last year’s Smile behind Cool Arrow. Ournationonparade finished third behind Diamond Oops in the Hollywood Lakes last time out and was fifth in last year’s Smile.
Ritvo has named Javier Castellano on Frosted Grace, Luca Panici on Double Crown and Cristian Torres on Ournationonparade.
Willy Boi (15-1), trained by Jeff Engler, finished fourth in the Hollywood Lakes last time out. The Uncaptured colt had previously finished fourth in the Chick Lang. Miles Ahead (4-1) finished second in the Hollywood Lakes for trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. Miles Ahead has won six races at Gulfstream and is four of six at the distance.
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2021 Paulick Report.