Rapturous Puts on ‘Game Face’ for Saturday’s Stakes
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Windylea Farm LLC’s Rapturous will bring a record of remarkable consistency and versatility, in Saturday’s $75,000 Game Face at Gulfstream Park.
Although diminutive in stature, the daughter of Kantharos has proven to be a resilient competitor during her eight-race career that includes four victories with successes on dirt as well as Tapeta.
“On all terrains she gives you her all,” trainer Kathleen O’Connell said.
Rapturous is coming off her first out-the-money finish in her turf debut, in which she broke slowly from the starting gate before rallying for fourth. Saturday, the Florida-bred filly will return to dirt in the $75,000 Game Face, a 6 ½-furlong sprint for 3-year-old fillies, in search of her first stakes score.
Rapturous won at first asking in a $50,000 claiming race at 5 ½ furlongs on dirt last September before rallying late to win a 5 ½-furlong optional claiming allowance on Tapeta a month and a half later. Two starts later, she romped to victory on a sloppy main track in an open allowance before checking in second behind Hot Peppers, who most recently won the Jersey Girl at Belmont Park by 6 ¾ lengths. The O’Connell trainee went on to win another open allowance before finishing second in her stakes debut in the Tampa Bay Downs’ Sophomore Fillies.
“She’s always exhibited a lot of grit, but if you look at her, she’s very small in stature. So you always worry about the smaller horses going up against the bigger horses,” O’Connell said. “She’s got a lovely stride, a lovely way of going, and she’s got a heart that is just unbelievable.”
Luca Panici, who has been aboard Rapturous in all of her starts, has the return call.
Trainer Ron Spatz is scheduled to saddle a pair of fillies for the Game Face, including impressive debut winner Freedom Speaks, who scored by six lengths for Reitman Stables LLC after running five furlongs on Tapeta in 56.96 seconds. Monarch Stables Inc.’s Last Leaf is considerably more experienced than her stablemate, having won a pair of turf stakes and two of six starts on dirt.
Emisael Jaramillo has the call on American Freedom, while Miguel Vasquez has the return mount aboard Last Leaf.
Jacks or Better Farm Inc.’s Rachel’s Rock, Glen Hill Farm’s Slot Queen, and Laurie Plesa, David Melin and Leon Ellman’s One Identity round out the field.
The Game Face is carded as Race 7 on a 12-race program that will also including the $60,000 Coral Gables, a 1 1/16-mile overnight handicap for 3-year-olds and up on Tapeta. Robert Cotran’s Eamonn, a back-to-back optional claiming allowance winner before finishing second in the Mr. Steele on turf, is slated to make his second start on the all-weather surface. The Joe Orseno-trained son of Pioneerof the Nile finished a late-closing second in a five-furlong optional claiming allowance in his first race on Tapeta.
Sonata Stable’s Calibrator is scheduled to make his 2022 debut after closing out his 2021 campaign with a three-length romp in his first start on Tapeta Oct. 27. The Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained son of Violence has won four of nine races on turf.