News and STORIES

Sombeyay Set For Appelton

Author: Clint Goodman
Published: Friday March 27, 2020
Starlight Racing's Sombeyay is set for the $100,000 Appleton Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park on March 28. 

The one-mile Appleton for 4-year-olds and up is within a larger 14-race program, including 10 stakes, six of which are graded. The biggest race on that card is the Curlin Florida Derby (G1), which is one of the top Triple Crown prep races. 

Gulfstream Park is still racing without spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The race will be live-streamed on the track's website. 

Sombeyay's Career

Sombeyay kicked off his career on the dirt. He first took the Sanford Stakes (G3), followed by a fourth-place finish in the Hopeful Stakes (G1) in the summer of 2018 at Saratoga Race Course. 

Last year, trainer Todd Pletcher tried him on turf after two starts. He ran fourth over a yielding course in the 5 1/2-furlong Quick Call Stakes (G3) at Saratoga. 

After suffering a nose loss to Casa Creed in the one-mile National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (G2T) in August, Pletcher decided to give Sombeyay a break. He didn't race again until opening his 4-year-old campaign with a second-place finish in a 7 1/2-furlong optional claiming race on firm turf at Gulfstream on Jan. 26. 

He followed that with a one-length victory in the one-mile Canadian Turf Stakes (G3T). 

"He seems to really like the course here, and I think the distance suits him well. He's been a pretty consistent performer and seems to show up every time and give us a good effort," Pletcher said. "He's won graded-stakes on two different surfaces now, and that's hard to do. 

"He seems to have kind of found his home on the turf, so we plan on keeping him on it for the time being, but he consistently runs well under any conditions."

Sombeyay will break from post 10 with Luis Saez at the co-topweight of 124 pounds. 

Social Paranoia, Hallday, and Others

Pletcher entered stakes winners Social Paranoia and Halladay as well. The Elkstone Group's Social Paranoia last raced when he scored a half-length victory in the 1 5/16-mile Dueling Grounds Derby Sept. 8. 

He has also placed in four graded stakes, which included the Belmont Derby Invitational (G1T) in July. 

"He's a quality horse, and he's coming off a big win in Kentucky," Pletcher said. "He ran very well first time off a little bit of a layoff at Gulfstream last year. While he still has some allowance conditions left, we just felt like we'd go ahead and give it a try in here and hopefully get his year underway. I think he's the kind of horse that could have a very productive season."

The pair English Bee and Regally Irish was entered by trainer Graham Motion. Calumet Farm homebred English Bee scored the New Kent County Virginia Derby (G3T) at Colonial Downs, and he was second by a half-length to Sombeyay in the Canadian Turf. 

"English Bee is coming off a pretty solid effort. I would say it was his best race to date. I'm a little reluctant to run him back so quickly, but with the scenario that we have right now it's also hard to pass up on a race when you don't know when you're going to be running again," Motion said. 

"That was a much deeper group than he has had to compete against or that he's been able to compete against before," he added. "I think the mile and maybe the turf course and a really good ride all kind of played into it. I really like this horse. He's a blue-collar, hard-knocking, tough little horse, and I was really tickled to see him run so well last time."

Others in the field include Dr. Edgar, El Tormenta, March to the Arch, and Ballagh Rocks.