Stonetastic wields blazing early speed in Inside Information

March 19th, 2016

You didn’t need any “inside information” to know that speed was dominating on Gulfstream Park’s main track on Saturday, and Stoneway Farm’s Stonetastic used her early dash as a lethal weapon in the $200,000 Inside Information (G2).

The 6-5 favorite off a romp in the 6 1/2-furlong Miami Shores here February 14, the Kelly Breen mare brought an 0-for-4 mark at this seven-furlong trip. A couple of those losses were respectable: she didn’t miss by much to next-out Ballerina (G1) winner Unbridled Forever in last summer’s Shine Again at Saratoga, and Stonetastic was fourth in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1). On the other hand, Stonetastic suffered her two worst losses in the seven-furlong La Brea (G1) in 2014 and in last October’s renewal of the Filly & Mare Sprint.

Stonetastic officially checked the seven-furlong box in the Inside Information, but given how the track was playing and how the race unfolded, I won’t say that she answered the question beyond a reasonable doubt. Against seven-furlong aficionados on a different kind of track, in Grade 1 company, with other classy speed in the mix, she may not get away with it.

Jockey Paco Lopez won the Inside Information in the opening strides, when he cleverly rousted Stonetastic into high gear. At full throttle on the outside, she outsprinted pace rival Flutterby through an opening quarter in :21.84, got clear, and put the race away. Stonetastic appeared to be winging along comfortably at the half in :44.35, but when reaching the six-furlong mark in 1:09.83, she was visibly shortening stride. Slowing down through a final furlong in :13.39, Stonetastic completed the course in 1:23.22.

Judging by that evidence, Stonetastic would have been vulnerable had any closers gained traction. No one could get within 3 3/4 lengths, though, underscoring how tough it was to catch the leaders on this day.

The 11-1 Tiger Ride and the 41-1 Engaginglee rallied for second and third, respectively. Best Behavior, who had upset a troubled Stonetastic in the December 26 Sugar Swirl (G3), was hung out wide early and wound up fifth. Bar of Gold, who made an aggressive early move along the inside during the hottest part of the race, weakened to sixth. That was a demanding trip for the 4-year-old, last seen finishing second in the Raven Run (G2) back on October 17. I’d look for her to do better, with a more straightforward passage, next time.

Stonetastic was earning her second graded win, after trouncing the 2014 Prioress (G2). The gray has placed in six other stakes, including the 2013 Pocahontas (G2) and Golden Rod (G2); the 2014 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) and grassy Ginger Brew; and the aforementioned Shine Again and Sugar Swirl. She also has a penchant for blowout allowance wins.

Bred by Machmer Hall and Craig and Carrie Brogden, Stonetastic was sold for $77,000 as a yearling at Keeneland September. Her resume now reads 16-6-3-3, $629,862.

Stonetastic has a well constructed pedigree, and on paper, you’d expect to her to have no problem with seven furlongs on dirt and a mile or so on turf. Yet another top performer by Mizzen Mast (think Mizdirection and Flotilla), she’s out of Special Me, an Unbridled’s Song half-sister to 2004 Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) star Our New Recruit. Because Our New Recruit is by the Cozzene stallion Alphabet Soup, and Mizzen Mast is also by Cozzene, Stonetastic replicates that sire/maternal line match. Moreover, Alphabet Soup and Mizzen Mast are both out of *Ribot line mares, enhancing the similarities between them.

Special Me is also the dam of current Triple Crown nominee Gift Box (by Twirling Candy), who hasn’t raced since finishing third in the Remsen (G2). Stonetastic’s half-brother obviously has more stamina.


Photo courtesy Lauren King/Coglianese Photography.