Heavenly Landing, the winner of the race last year, will be part of a 10-horse field on Saturday in the $100,000 Marshua’s River Stakes (Grade 3) at Gulfstream Park.
The race is 1 1/16 miles on turf for fillies and mares 4 years old and up.
Heavenly Landing, a 6-year-old, is among the likely favorites, along with Leading Astray, Channel Lady and Chokurei.
All of those horses have either stalking or closing styles. They will probably be chasing a fast pace set by Frontside and Fantasy of Flight, who would be racing on turf for the first time.
In last year’s Marshua’s River, Heavenly Landing rallied from ninth after a half-mile and won by a nose over La Reine Lionne — a horse that is not in Saturday’s race.
Corey Lanerie rode Heavenly Landing in last year’s race and has the mount again for trainer Eddie Kenneally.
The anticipated dispute between Gulfstream and Calder Casino & Race Course over racing dates has begun, with the prospect of the neighboring tracks racing head-to-head on 35 Saturdays and Sundays between July 2013 and June 2014.
Gulfstream, in a filing dated Dec. 31, told the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering that it that it plans to have racing every week, in most weeks just on Saturdays and Sundays, during the 12 months beginning July 1, 2013.
Gulfstream plans to keep its Wednesday-through-Sunday schedule in January, February and March.
Calder’s preliminary filing, dated Dec. 26, shows it keeping its early April-through-November schedule — with Saturdays and Sundays each week.
Florida horse tracks pick their own race dates, with approvals that are almost automatic coming from the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.
Calder and Gulfstream have until Feb. 28 to submit their final date filings and attempt to resolve their differences.
If two neighboring tracks pick overlapping dates it would not prevent the Florida DPMW from giving approvals.
But head-to-head racing would not be welcomed by fans, owners and trainers. That is among reasons why there are expectations that Gulfstream will attempt to convince Calder to relinquish some race dates.
Gulfstream president Tim Ritvo had previously said that the track would begin what it calls “year-round racing” in January 2014.
Ritvo, said Gulfstream is moving that plan ahead six months because “this has become a year-round facility.”
He was referring to the adjacent The Village of Gulfstream Park outdoor mall, which like Gulfstream is owned by The Stronach Group of Aurora, Ontario.
South Florida race dates are set through June 30, 2013, with no overlap.
Gulfstream will end its 2012-2013 season on April 5. Calder will begin its 2013 race meet on April 6 and has the dates through June 30.