Grade 1-placed 6-year-old faces eight rivals in grade 3 test at Gulfstream Park.
Being a grade 3 stakes with a purse of $100,000, the Tropical Turf Stakes (G3T) is not a major target on most racing calendars.
Yet the Jan. 9 edition of the one-mile turf stakes at Gulfstream Park could play a big role in catapulting some of the starters back into high-level graded stakes competition.
For the most part, the field of nine—seven of whom are 6 or older—features runners looking to regain their sharp turf form of the past.
At the top of that list is William Lawrence’s Analyze It. A 6-year-old son of Point of Entry trained by Chad Brown, Analyze It began his career with high expectations after winning his first three starts, including a pair of grade 3 stakes.
His 3-year-old campaign featured a pair of runner-up finishes in grade 1 stakes and a loss by less than a length in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1T), but after 22 months on the sidelines, he only raced twice in 2020.
A victory in the Sept. 5 Red Bank Stakes (G3T) started the comeback and his most recent start was an eighth in the Oct. 3 Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (G1T) as the 2-1 favorite.
At the moment, the offspring of the Consolidator mare Sweet Assay is third on the list of four reserve nominees for the Jan. 23 $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational Stakes (G1T) at Gulfstream.
Amerman Racing’s multiple grade 2-placed Admission Office enters Saturday’s race off his first graded stakes win. On the downside, that came nearly seven months ago when he captured the 1 1/2-mile Louisville Stakes (G3T) over grade 1 victor Arklow.
“He’s coming back at a distance that isn’t really ideal for him, but it’s a good starting point. The good thing about this race is there’s plenty of pace, which ideally suits Gulfstream. But if they get going too fast up front, it could set up for someone to come off the pace,” trainer Brian Lynch said about the proven stretch runner. “He’s his own worst enemy. He gives himself too much to do. He needs the ideal trip and the heavens to open up.”
Jordan Wycoff’s Tusk won last year’s Tropical Turf for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr., but did not race again until 11 months later when he was eighth in the Dec. 5 Claiming Crown Emerald Stakes.
“He got an easy lead and stopped but he got tired,” Joseph said about the 8-year-old Tapit gelding’s last start. “He’s been training forwardly since then. He won this race last year, so we’re going to give him a chance to win it again.”
The field also includes LRE Racing and JEH Racing Stable’s Casa Creed, who is winless since taking the Aug. 2019 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (G2T), and John Oxley and My Meadowview Farm’s Ride a Comet, who is coming off a Nov. 21 win in the Kennedy Road Stakes (G2) on synthetics but captured the 2018 Del Mar Derby (G2T) three starts ago.