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Photos courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire

The Grade 3, $100,000 Marshua’s River Stakes brings together a field of 10 fillies and mares in search of some early 2013 graded stakes earnings. Leading the field is the winner of the 2012 edition of this race, Heavenly Landing, coming off a win when last seen in the fall at Keeneland. Her biggest opposition may come from recent Grade 2 Mrs. Revere Stakes runner-up Leading Astray and recent Stardusk Stakes winner Channel Lady. Another with credentials to make a run at victory include Chokurei, who missed by a neck in the South Beach Stakes last month.  Frontside likes to be in front in the early stages and that style enabled her to win two stakes races in a row this summer including the West Virginia Presidents Cup Stakes. Frolic’s Revenge won three stakes races in a row earlier this year and enters the Marshua’s River off a win so is another with a shot at the top prize. Hard Not to Like returns from eight months away and although proven in top company such as when second in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes in April before a sixth place finish in the Kentucky Oaks, she may need a race before showing her best. Fantasy of Flight, Filare l’Oro and Affair Dabbler round out the field.

Heavenly Landing won the 2012 Marshua’s River Stakes with an eyecatching rally from 11th in the early stages and with a career best 111 Equibase Speed Figure. Prior to victory last year, Heavenly Landing won an allowance level race in Kentucky with a 95 figure. This year Heavenly Landing enters the race off an allowance win in Kentucky with a 102 figure, with the third finisher out of that race having flattered her by winning her next start. With her most recent workout the best of 30 at the distance of five furlongs on the day demonstrating good physical condition and with jockey Corie Lanerie in the saddle for this race as he was for victory last year, Heavenly Landing appears very ready to repeat the win.

Leading Astray has never been worse than third in eight career starts, including a win in the similar Pucker Up Stakes in September, earning a career best 104 figure. Following that win, Leading Astray was not disgraced at all when third in the Valley View Stakes before a second place effort to three-time graded stakes winner Centre Court in the Mrs. Revere Stakes in her most recent race. With the ground saving rail and top jockey Jose Lezcano getting aboard for the first time, Leading Astray has potential to earn the sixth win of her career.


Leading Astray Hero2

Channel Lady has three wins and one runner-up effort in four career turf races, all since a poor fifth place effort on the main track to start her career. Being as her last race was her best yet, earning a 109 when victorious in the Stardusk Stakes at Aqueduct near the end of December, this lightly raced filly would be no surprise if being right there at the finish with the main contenders in the Marshua’s River Stakes.

Chokurei is winless in four races since coming to North American from Great Britain. Just the same, her most recent effort on December 9 was her best yet as she rallied from 12th to miss by a neck in the South Beach Stakes, earning a career best 107 figure. With jockey Joe Bravo having gotten familiar with her when riding for the first time, and perhaps with improving to do in her second race over the Gulfstream Park turf course, Chokurei has potential to post the upset in this event.

The rest of the Marshua’s River Stakes field, with their best representative   Equibase Speed Figures, is Affair Dabbler (101), Fantasy of Flight (97), Frontside (107), Filare l’Oro (96), Frolic’s Revenge (104) and Hard Not to Like (101).


My Selections:

Heavenly Landing

Leading Astray

Channel Lady



$100,000 Marshua's River Stakes (G3)

Gulfstream Park, Saturday January 5, Race 10, 5:05 P.M. EST

One Mile and One Sixteenth on Turf, 4-Year-Olds and Upward Fillies and Mares






Leading Astray

J Lezcano

C M Block


Chokurei (IRE)

J Bravo

M R Frostad


Frolic’s Revenge

L Saez

M W Wolfson


Affair Dabbler

J Z Santana

D C Kassen


Heavenly Landing

C J Lanerie

E Kenneally


Channel Lady

J Castellano

T A Pletcher



J Rosario

E Caramori


Filare l’Oro

A Garcia

M V Pino


Hard Not to Like

J Rocco Jr.

M R Matz


Fantasy of Flight

J R Velazquez

R E Dutrow Jr.

Image Description

Ellis Starr

National Racing Analyst for Equibase, Fan Education Specialist, Bettor, Magister of Equine Prognostication (Handicapper).

Image Description

Ellis Starr

National Racing Analyst for Equibase, Fan Education Specialist, Bettor, Magister of Equine Prognostication (Handicapper).

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