Shamrock Rose will officially participate in Saturday’s Fasig-Tipton Hurricane Bertie at Gulfstream Park to kick off her 4-year-old season. The filly shockingly won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs and a finalist for the Eclipse Award for champion female sprinter.
Saturday’s race, which is designed for fillies and mares 4-years-old and older, drew a strong field of 8 contestants. The Fasig-Tipton Hurricane Bertie is one of nine stakes on a 12-race program that also includes the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational and the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational.
Based on her strong track record, just about all horse racing betting sites with odds on the event list Shamrock Rose as a prohibitive favorite in Saturday’s race.
Other horses in the field include Dream Pauline, who has won three of her four starts to this point, and Stormy Embrace, who came in second behind Dream Pauline in the Sugar Swirl. The Sugar Swirl went down at Gulfstream Park in December.
Shamrock Rose is trained by Mark Casse. The Pennsylvania-born filly and daughter of First Dude won her first race despite 25-to-1 odds. Irad Ortiz Jr. will ride the filly in Saturday’s event, which is the first for Shamrock Rose since the Breeders’ Cup victory in November. That was the horse’s fourth consecutive win after also taking the Raven Run at Keeneland, the La Lorgnette at Woodbine and the Malvern Rose at Presque Isle Downs.
Shamrock Rose’s first career win came in her first-ever race as a 2-year-old at Woodbine’s Ontario Debutante.
Casse said of the filly, “She’s been a team effort. We bought her as a 2-year-old and then she ran well as a 2-year-old and then she kind of tailed off. We sent her home to our training center and give her a little break and, boy, she came away from there like hell on wheels.”
The trainer added, “I was so proud of her in the Breeders’ Cup. I always talk about Allen Jerkens and him saying, ‘run them while they are good.’ I think some people thought I was a little nuts running her back in two weeks in the Breeders’ Cup after she won at Keeneland, but like I told a friend, ‘this filly thinks she can beat anyone and until she proves otherwise, I’m going to believe her.’”
Shamrock Rose drew the fourth post for this weekend’s Fasig-Tipton Hurricane Bertie.
Casse went on to say, “I’m a big believer in confidence. She reminds me a little bit of Tepin, who struggled at the end of her 3-year-old year. We gave Tepin a break and we brought her back and she was just so good. We brought Shamrock Rose to Presque Isle after her layoff and ran her against Pennsylvania-breds. It was a fairly easy race, but she got so much confidence out of that after destroying the field. And then got confidence again by winning at Woodbine, which was against a solid field.”
Dream Pauline may well serve as Shamrock Rose’s chief competitor in the upcoming race. This will be just the fifth event of Dream Pauline’s career to this point, with the lone loss being a third place finish the Dream Supreme at Churchill Downs in November of 2018. She had been entered into the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, but failed to earn a spot in the final field.
Dream Pauline’s trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin, said, “She ran very well in the Sugar Swirl. We scratched her from the [Garland of Roses] in New York the week before because she drew the one-hole up there and the Sugar Swirl was a Grade 3. It worked out great. Javier [Castellano] said she was waiting a little bit on horses late, but she dug in and won. The only time she got beat was when she was unlucky and had a horrible trip at Churchill, running down inside and got checked a couple of times. She’s a very nice and professional filly.”
The Fasig-Tipton Hurricane Bertie will mark the first time Dream Pauline has run a race of over six furlongs, so it will be a unique test for the young racehorse. McLaughlin added, “I don’t think there is any problem with the seven-eighths. She’s tall. She’s out of Dream Rush, a very good sprinter, but Dream Pauline is going to want to go farther. We just haven’t been able to string her races together to that with her yet. She had a tiny little bit of an issue last January and we sent her to Ocala for 45 days and she came back. We pointed for a race and won and then we pointed her to the Prioress and she got a 104 [fever] the day before and we had to scratch. She’s really a nice sound filly with no issues, but just some weird things popped up.”
Another potential contender is Awestruck, who took fifth in the Sugar Swirl after a second-place finish in the Dream Supreme.