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Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Gulfstream Park News & Notes


Rosario Has Return Mount on Animal Kingdom in Dubai
Namaskara on ‘Course’ for Honey Fox Start
Fort Larned May Go Back to Track by Weekend


Rosario Has Return Mount on Animal Kingdom in Dubai

Trainer Graham Motion confirmed Wednesday that Joel Rosario will have the return mount aboard Animal Kingdom in the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 30.

Motion had been critical of Rosario’s first ride aboard his 2011 Kentucky Derby winner in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf (G1) on Feb. 9, when he made an aggressive early inside move along the backstretch to get the lead on the far turn, only to be caught by Point of Entry in the stretch.

“I’ve never been a big believer of taking riders off horses just because they make one mistake. It’s not a science. Sometimes it takes an experience like that to get to know a horse better. I think all riders are open to making the odd mistake,” Motion said.

Rosario, who rode Animal Kingdom for the first time on Feb. 9, is currently second in the jockey standings in his first fulltime meeting at Gulfstream.

Animal Kingdom, who worked seven furlongs on turf in 1:26.77 at Palm Meadows on Monday, appears to have benefited from the experience in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap.

“I’d like to think it gave him a really good, solid race under his belt. He seems like he’s sharper and perhaps a little more focused,” Motion said. “His works since then have been good. I’d like to think that put him right where we wanted him to be.”

Animal Kingdom is scheduled to work at Palm Meadow next Monday and be shipped to Dubai on Tuesday.


Namaskara on ‘Course’ for Honey Fox Start

Namaskara will certainly be tested by the likes of Grade 1-stakes winner Samitar, as well as multiple-stakes winners Centre Court and Channel Lady, in Saturday’s $150,000 Honey Fox (G2), but the Motion-trained mare has shown a distinct fondness for the Gulfstream Park turf course.

“That’s why I’d like to start her there. She obviously handles the course well,” Motion said. “They went very quick the other day when she ran, so she was a little further off the pace, but she’s a filly that likes the firm turf and likes to run more freely.”

The 5-year-old daughter of Giant’s Causeway will be seeking her first stakes victory after scoring an impressive off-the-pace allowance score on Feb. 3. Namaskara scored back-to-back turf triumphs at Gulfstream last season.


Fort Larned May Go Back to Track by Weekend

After monitoring Fort Larned for the past few days, trainer Ian Wilkes is pleased with the manner in which he has emerged from his fall in last Saturday’s $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2).

The 5-year-old son of E Dubai stumbled and fell two jumps out of the starting gate, unseating jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. before picking himself up and completing the course riderless well ahead of his rivals.

“Everything’s good,” said Wilkes, whose stable star grabbed a quarter before falling head first to the track. “It’s superficial. It’s not real bad.”

If all goes well, Fort Larned could return to training at Palm Meadows Training Center by the weekend.

“I’ll see how he’s doing tomorrow,” Wilkes said. “He’ll likely go back on Friday or Saturday, if he’s OK.”

Wilkes said he’d nominate Janis Whitham’s Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) for the $100,000 Skip Away (G3) scheduled for March 30, but no plans for a next start have been made.

“We’re not sure yet, he’s not been back to the track yet,” said Wilkes, who saddled Fort Larned for a victory in last year’s Skip Away. “We’ll wait until he goes back to the track and go from there.”



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