2023 Forward Gal Stakes Betting Odds and Contenders Preview
The road to the Kentucky Oaks comes to Florida on Saturday, February 4, with the Forward Gal Stakes (G3). The seven-furlong dirt race offers a purse of $125,000, as well as Road to the Kentucky Derby points apportioned 20-8-6-4-2 to its top five finishers. It is the first of three Oaks points races at Gulfstream Park this winter; the series continues with the Davona Dale (G2) on March 4 and the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) on April 1.
The race is open to sophomore fillies, and 10 rising stars have passed the entry box. The leader of the field is Atomically, who makes her first start since the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) on November 4. Other stakes winners in the field include Twice as Sweet, Lynx, and Red Carpet Ready.
The race most recently produced a Kentucky Oaks winner in 2016, when its winner Cathryn Sophia went on to win the blanket of lilies. Its 1989 winner, Open Mind, also went on to win the Kentucky Oaks. Forever Together (2007), who went on to be champion turf female as a four-year-old, also won this race as a three-year-old.
Forward Gal Stakes 2023 Information
Race Date: Saturday, February 4, 2023
Track: Gulfstream Park
Post Time: 4:17 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
Distance: seven furlongs
Age/Sex: three-year-old fillies
Where to Watch: FanDuel TV
Where to Bet: TVG.com and FanDuel Racing
Forward Gal Stakes Odds
The field for the 2023 Forward Gal Stakes was drawn on Saturday, January 29, and morning line odds were assigned closer to the time of the race. These are the entrants for the 2023 Forward Gal in post-position order, including trainers, jockeys, and morning line odds for each horse.
|1||Flakes||Juan Alvarado||Edgard Zayas||20-1|
|2||Twice at Sweet||Brendan Walsh||Tyler Gaffalione||10-1|
|3||Atomically||Todd Pletcher||Jose Ortiz||3-1|
|4||Arella Star||Roderick Rodriguez||Miguel Vasquez||20-1|
|5||Apropos||James Toner||Jorge Ruiz||15-1|
|6||Lynx||Carlos David||Joel Rosario||6-1|
|7||Undervalued Asset||Chad Brown||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||7-2|
|8||Red Carpet Ready||George Arnold, II||Luis Saez||4-1|
|9||Positano Sunset||Ian Wilkes||Julien Leparoux||9-2|
|10||Adeliese's Smile||Jose Jimenez||Leonel Reyes||30-1|
Forward Gal Stakes Prep Results
Out of the 10 horses in the Forward Gal, only two come out of the same race. Lynx and Arella Star finished third and fourth, respectively, in the Cash Run at Gulfstream on Jan. 1. Lynx was beaten only 2 1/2 lengths; Arella Star was another 6 1/2 lengths behind Lynx.
Only one of the runners comes out of graded company. Atomically ran 7th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies last out, though is a stakes winner at Gulfstream. Two others come out of stakes company. Red Carpet Ready most recently won the Fern Creek Stakes on November 28 at Churchill Downs, while Twice as Sweet last ran fourth in the Letellier Memorial at Fair Grounds on December 26.
The other five runners all come out of maiden wins. Apropos and Adeliese’s Smile won straight maiden special weights at Gulfstream Park, while Flakes won a maiden/optional claiming race there. Undervalued Asset graduated at Aqueduct, while Positano Sunset got his diploma at Churchill Downs.
Forward Gal Stakes Contenders
These are the contenders in the 2023 Forward Gal Stakes, organized by post position:
Flakes: She won from the fence in her only start, proving she could rate from the rail. However, that came in a field of only six, and the trip with a group of 10 will be tougher. The company will also require a sharp step up, as these are stakes horses and not optional-claiming maidens. It is a plus that trainer Juan Alvarado can win with last-out maiden winners at a price, however.
Twice as Sweet: One of the most experienced horses in the field, she has five starts already. She finished off the board for the first time ever in the Letellier Memorial at Fair Grounds on December 26, though she was just two noses out of second, and her trainer sees fit to press on. She has never stretched out past six furlongs, but if she can handle the Gulfstream track, the extra distance ought to suit her well.
Atomically: She flattened out to finish seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, but returns to the track where she started her career. She romped over Florida-breds in a seven-furlong maiden race, showing real aptitude at this distance. She has also won with both on-pace and off-pace trips. However, she still has to prove herself against open company, and she also needed a race off the lay last year before she got into her best.
Arella Star: She weakened to fourth in the Cash Run on January 1 and now cuts back to a seven-furlong trip. She was well beaten against Grade 1 company over the trip, though the return to Gulfstream may help. Even so, she needs to take a massive step forward from any of her previous races, and it is not a good sign that she has not published a workout since the Cash Run.
Apropos: Although she has yet to face winners, both of her starts have been good, and she has been able to run a good race both on the lead and from a tracking spot. It is a good sign that she won at Gulfstream, though that came against maidens over a sloppy track, and she will need to prove herself on a dry track against winners. Both of her races so far have come back comparably slow, too, and first off a maiden win is not a strong win proposition for her trainer James Toner.
Lynx: She rattled off victories in her first three starts, though she has been beaten in her last two starts, her only races at a mile or more. The cut back to seven furlongs should suit her nicely, she has tactical speed, and she is well-proven over the Gulfstream dirt. She also has a chance to step forward in her second start off of a freshening.
Undervalued Asset: She has raced just once for high-percentage trainer and jockey Chad Brown and Irad Ortiz, Jr., but won easily in a maiden special weight in her only start. She should be able to get a good outside pressing trip, and her pedigree means the extra furlong should prove no trouble for her.
Red Carpet Ready: She has raced only twice, but both of those wins have been romps at Churchill: a wire-to-wire maiden win at six furlongs, and a stalk-and-pounce score in the Fern Creek Stakes at six and a half. A win at six-and-a-half furlongs bodes well for good form at seven, the tactical speed should play well at Gulfstream, and his new rider Luis Saez wins prodigiously at Gulfstream.
Positano Sunset: It took her three tries to get off the mark. She graduated November 18 in a six-and-a-half-furlong maiden special weight at Churchill Downs and has been laid off since then. She has been working regularly since late December, though has yet to try the Gulfstream course. Her maiden win was a sharp step up, but she will have to pick up where she left off first off the break, which does not always happen with her stablemates.
Adeliese’s Smile: She broke her maiden at fourth asking in a one-mile race at Gulfstream on January 5. One-turn mile form can play well in seven-furlong races, but she needs a significantly better effort than that to run to the form that her foes have shown.
Forward Gal Stakes Past Winners Past Performances
Looking over the last 10 years of the Forward Gal, it has been a fertile ground for newly-minted graded stakes winners. In fact, the last Forward Gal winner to have won a graded stakes before that was 2013 winner Kauai Katie, who won the now-defunct Old Hat (G3) in the start just before.
However, horses with ungraded stakes experience have had success: five of the last 10 winners were last-out stakes winners. Cathryn Sophia (2016) won the Gin Talking at Laurel, Tequilita (207) won the Smart Halo at Laurel, Take Charge Paula (2018) won the House Party at Gulfstream, Tonalist’s Shape (2020) won the Hut Hut at Gulfstream, and Girl with a Dream (2022) won the Letellier Memorial at Fair Grounds.
The other four recent Forward Gal winners were making their stakes debut in the Forward Gal. Onlyforyou (2014) came out of an allowance win at Gulfstream, while the others came out of maiden special weights. Birdatthewire (2015) and Zaajel (2021) got their diplomas at Gulfstream, while Feedback (2019) did at Saratoga.
Forward Gal Stakes Undercard
The Forward Gal is one of five graded stakes on Saturday’s card at Gulfstream Park. All of them are open to three-year-olds, making the card a great preview of the sophomore season. The Holy Bull (G3) is a Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race, the Swale (G3) showcases dirt sprinters, the Kitten’s Joy (G3) features turf males, and the Sweetest Chant (G3) is for grass fillies. With five stakes and big, classy fields at Gulfstream Park all day long, make plans to watch and wager with FanDuel and TVG!
Gulfstream Park is the historic racetrack that hosts the Florida Derby each year. It is the only American racetrack that offers all three racing surfaces: conventional dirt, turf, and a synthetic Tapeta surface. The outer track is a dirt course measuring 1 1/8 miles around, complete with a chute that allows for classic one-turn dirt mile races. The next track inward is a one-mile and seventy-yard Tapeta track that opened in 2021. The inner course is a seven-furlong turf track.
Gulfstream Park has hosted many major races over the years, including the Breeders’ Cup in 1989, 1992, and 1999. In 2017, the race ran the rich Pegasus World Cup Turf for the first time, which was at one time the world’s richest horse race. But the Florida Derby, run along the road to the Kentucky Derby, remains Gulfstream Park’s most established and famous race.
Forward Gal Stakes FAQ
Q: When is the Forward Gal Stakes?
A: The 2023 Forward Gal Stakes will be run Saturday, February 4, at 4:17 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The race is the 10th of 12 on the Saturday card at Gulfstream Park.
Q: Where is the Forward Gal Stakes?
A: It takes place at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida.
Q: Which trainer has the most wins in the Forward Gal Stakes?
A: Todd Pletcher has more wins than any other trainer in the Forward Gal. He has won four editions of the race, most recently with Zaajel in 2021. Pletcher sends out Atomically in the 2023 edition of the race.
Q: Who is the favorite for the 2023 Forward Gal Stakes?
A: The morning line favorite for the 2023 Forward Gal is Atomically, trained by the race’s all-time leading trainer Todd Pletcher, and also the only horse coming out of a Breeders’ Cup start. The close second choice on the morning line is Undervalued Asset, an easy maiden special weight winner for Chad Brown, who has a lot of success bringing horses up from maiden wins to stakes company.
Q: Who is the best Forward Gal Stakes jockey?
A: Three jockeys have won the Forward Gal three times. The now-retired Craig Perret last won in 1991. Irad Ortiz Jr., who last won in 2020, rides Undervalued Asset this year. Luis Saez, whose three wins include the last two runnings, takes the call on Red Carpet Ready.
Q: Who won the 2022 Forward Gal Stakes?
A: Girl With a Dream won the 2022 Forward Gal for trainer Brad Cox and jockey Luis Saez. Cox has no entrant in the 2023 edition, though Saez will guide Red Carpet Ready this year.