HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Fully recovered from a career-threatening injury that cost her all of 2020, Shifty She, with her distinctive name and background, is ready for a stern test Saturday in the inaugural running of the TAA Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Turf Invitational Presented by PEPSI (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
Peter Brant’s Grade 1 winner Regal Glory, trained by Chad Brown, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the 1 1/16 miles turf test that drew a field of 11 stakes runners. Regal Glory will start from Post No. 4 with jockey Jose Ortiz. The lineup includes Robert amd Lawana Low’s Sweet Melania, who edged Shifty She in the Suwannee River (G3) on Dec. 18, and Team Valor’s Irish-bred Wakanaka, who will make her U.S. debut.
The $500,000 Filly and Mare Turf is the newest addition to Gulfstream Park’s program of seven graded stakes topped by the sixth running of the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) present by 1/ST Bet.
Shifty She, a Florida-bred daughter of Gone Astray, had won three of four starts as a 3-year-old in 2019 before going to the sidelines with a tendon injury.
“In this game you have to be very patient and I’m a very patient guy,” said Chris Pallas, who is the mare’s co-breeder and co-owner.
Pallas credits the vets at Ocala Equine with the treatment that enabled her to resume her career.
“We got her back and she is just a pleasure to be around,” he said. “She’s just a very smooth horse. When you watch her, she glides over the grass. She’s very graceful and she loves what she’s doing. That’s really her mindset. She’s all about the business and she loves to run.”
Since her return in April with new trainer Saffie Joseph Jr., the speedy daughter of Gone Astray has a record of 3-1-1 from seven starts, topped by a victory in the Noble Damsel (G3) on Oct. 23 at Belmont Park.
Chris Pallas and his brother-in-law George Klein bred the mare and Pallas is a co-owner in Pedigree Partners. Pallas and Klein were given the unraced broodmare Perilous Hope and they followed their plan to have the Phipps family mare Pure Profit on both sides of Shifty She’s pedigree. Pure Profit’s daughter, Educated Risk, is the third dam of Perilous Hope and her Hall of Fame daughter, Inside Information, is the third dam of the Florida-based sire Gone Astray.
“We had won a silent auction to a season with Gone Astray so we kind of did this for practically nothing. Here we are today,” Pallas said. “This is an expensive sport and if you can match up your pedigrees you can do this fairly inexpensively and you can get pretty lucky.”
Pallas, a longtime Fort Lauderdale resident, said there was a similar breeding approach with the graded-stakes winning sprinter Mambo Meister he co-owned from 2007 to 2012.
Shifty She – Pallas fashioned the name from her breeding – showed stakes ability while tiring and finishing fourth in her comeback race in April in an optional claimer and has been in stakes company since. At her best when on or near the lead, she led from gate to wire in the Noble Damsel.
“I was numb for three days after that. It was amazing. She had two really sharp works here and when you’re an owner and you can come and watch the workouts, you learn a lot more about your horse than at a race. I knew she was ready to run. Everybody that handled her from here to Belmont was fantastic. Just being there that day, it was an overcast day, it was cool. She ran them off their feet. She just did her thing.”
Brant purchased Regal Glory for $925,000 in January of 2021 in the disbursement of the late Paul Pompa’s racing stable. The daughter of Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Animal Kingdom has been trained by Brown throughout her career. Last year, she won the Plenty of Grace at Aqueduct and De La Rose at Saratoga around a fourth in the Just a Game (G1) then finished second by a half-length to stablemate Blowout in the First Lady (G1) at Keeneland. In front from the start, she picked up the coveted Grade 1 victory in the Matriarch on Nov. 28 at Del Mar.
Sweet Melania, a 5-year-old daughter of American Pharoah, was in the money four times during a seven-race winless streak going into the Suwanee River. She stayed within striking distance of pacesetting Shifty She, engaged her in the stretch and earned her third graded stakes victory by a half-length. Sweet Melania, the 5-1 second choice on the morning line, will start from the rail.
Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher liked what he saw Saturday when the mare worked a half-mile in :48.98 at Palm Beach Downs.
“I thought her last race was one of her best. I think she’s actually coming into this one even better,” Pletcher said. “This will be a more demanding race, but she’s training like she’s made a move forward since the last one. Hopefully she can step up.”
Charles Fipke’s homebred Lady Speightspeare won the first four starts of her career, all at Woodbine in suburban Toronto, before finishing third as the 6-5 favorite after a troubled trip in the Tropical Park Oaks on December 26. The daughter of Speightstown out of the Theatrical mare Lady Shakespeare, will have a new rider with Junior Alvarado. She drew Post No. 3 and is 8-1 on the morning line.
Fortune Racing’s Bipartisanship won the Tropical Park Oaks at 19-1 for trainer Graham Motion and has two wins and a third in four starts since being imported from Ireland last year. She drew the outside post and is 20-1.
Stuart Janney’s homebred 5-year-old In a Hurry finished third in the Suwannee River behind Sweet Melania and Shifty She. Her regular rider Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano has the mount on the daughter of Blame, who will start from Post No. 10.
Trainer Michael McCarthy will saddle Nicest, the Irish-bred daughter of American Pharoah. She was third in the Juddmonte Irish Oaks (G1) and Ribblesdale Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot before being imported last year. In her most recent start, she was second in the off-the-turf American Oaks (G1) on Dec. 26 at Santa Anita.
Godolphin’s Alms was seventh in the Suwannee River after missing by a neck in her previous start at Fair Grounds. Gift List will be making her first start for trainer Brian Lynch since finishing third as the favorite in the Wonder Again (G3) on June 3 at Belmont Park. Summer in Saratoga, trained by Joe Sharp, closed out the 2021 season with three wins in four starts. In her most recent race, she won the Blushing KD by a neck at Fair Grounds on Dec. 26.