Preakness Winner War of Will Returns
Photo Copyright Eclipse Sportswire
By Emily Shields for TVG
The only Thoroughbred stakes race in North America this weekend is the $75,000 Sunshine Forever Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. The 1 1/16-mile turf race drew a field of 12, including main track only runner Just Whistle.
The 2019 Preakness Stakes (G1) winner War of Will returns in the race, and heads back to turf after not running on it since November, 2018. The son of War Front, who will take blinkers off for this, is trained by Mark Casse for Gary Barber. After winning the Preakness, the Louisiana Derby winner was third in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) and most recently ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
He will face a host of classy turf runners including Social Paranoia. Last year’s Dueling Grounds Derby winner, Social Paranoia made his 2020 debut in the March 28 Appleton (G3) over this course and won. Todd Pletcher trains the son of Street Boss, who has finished in the top three in 11 of 12 starts and has won both tries on this track. He was Grade 1 placed at Belmont Park last year.
Pletcher’s other starter is Halladay. The son of War Front is also unbeaten on this track after winning the Tropical Park Derby here December 28. He was fourth across the state in the Tampa Bay (G3) in February, but returned here at a mile to win impressively April 4. Luis Saez will ride the four-year-old for Harrell Ventures LLC.
Admission Office was second here behind top runner Zulu Alpha in Grade 2 company last out. The son of Point of Entry has been second twice in three starts on this course, but has been top three in 10 of 12 lifetime races. Brian Lynch trains for Amerman Racing, and Joel Rosario will ride. The last time these two were paired, they were twice Grade 2 placed.
Aquaphobia is a seven-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway out of the Grade 1 winning mare Pussycat Doll. He was a stakes winner over this trip February 17, which was his first victory since September, 2018. He was fourth, beaten less than five lengths, in Grade 2 company at the Fair Grounds last out. Irad Ortiz, Jr will ride for Mike Maker.
Like War of Will, El Tormenta takes the blinkers off. He won the Woodbine Mile (G1) at a staggering 44-1 last September, then ran credibly in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Santa Anita in November, finishing sixth but being beaten just over six lengths. He lost to Social Paranoia in the Appleton last out, his 2020 debut.
Sand Dancer, Cullum Road, Hawkish, Regally Irish, and Highland Sky complete the field. TVG will have all the racing action from Gulfstream Park this weekend.
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