Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Gulfstream News & Notes


AINSLEY TO TRY ON ‘TIARA’ ON OPENING DAY AT GULFSTREAM
YOUTH WILL BE SERVED BY DOMINO THIS SEASON
SACCO LOOKING FORWARD TO ‘SWEET’ MEETING


AINSLEY TO TRY ON ‘TIARA’ ON OPENING DAY AT GULFSTREAM


HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Trainer Marcus Vitali was looking at trouble before claiming Ainsley at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 3.

“She never had a clean trip when I took her,” Vitali said. “When you read the comments (in the Daily Racing Form), it was ‘checked, inside,’ or ‘steadied.’ I said, ‘Man, this horse has never had a shot.' "

Ainsley, a 3-year-old daughter of Officer, didn’t have a bit of trouble that day, breezing to a 15-length victory in the $12,500 claiming race for maidens.

Claimed for owner Bruce Mendel, Ainsley will return to action at Gulfstream on Dec. 1 to compete in the $850,000 Claiming Crown on the Opening Day program. The Maryland-bred filly was nominated for two races but is likely to be entered Wednesday in the $125,000 Tiara on turf, one of seven races restricted to horses that have raced at least once in a qualifying claiming race.

After winning her final start for her old connections, Ainsley came right back to capture a starter allowance race at Gulfstream and score in an entry-level allowance race over turf at Calder. She stayed on turf for her next four starts, all stakes at four different tracks, in which she finished no worse than third.

After a pair of even efforts in an allowance and a stakes at Belmont Park for trainer Bruce Brown, Ainsley was reunited with Vitali in South Florida. She prepped for the Claiming Crown at Calder in a Nov. 17 allowance, in which she re-rallied to finish third as the beaten favorite.

“She’s coming back around. We’re heading in the right direction,” Vitali said. “I think the Calder race was well needed and she got a lot out of it.”

Vitali has two other Claiming Crown nominees: Tom’s Kitten ($125,000 Emerald) and Nemo Landing ($100,000 Express).


YOUTH WILL BE SERVED BY DOMINO THIS SEASON

Trainer Carl Domino has 16 horses at Gulfstream with more on their way for the 2012-2013 meeting. A promising contingent of 2-year-olds is set for action.

Domino is particularly keen on Black Onyx, a son of Rock Hard Ten who broke his maiden last time out.

Purchased for $125,000 for the Sterling Racing Stable’s Sam Herzberg of Miami at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale, Black Onyx followed up a second-place finish in his debut with a sharp two-length score at Aqueduct on Nov. 11.

“He ran second, a decent second, but he didn’t change leads and ran green,” Domino said. “The second time I ran him he was really on the ball. He destroyed the field.”

Both of Black Onyx’s starts were taken off the turf and run at a mile around one turn on the main track. Although his colt is bred to turf, Domino is understandably hesitant to take him off the main track.

“He’s always worked on the dirt. I had him on the turf once, and he seemed to really like it, but he’s running so well on dirt, I don’t want to change anything right now,” Domino said.

Domino is also optimistic about the future of three unraced 2-year-olds by Majestic Warrior, all owned by Kinsman Farm and partners.

“Majestic Warrior is the leading (first-crop) sire by races-won,” Domino said. “They have really good heads.”



SACCO LOOKING FORWARD TO ‘SWEET’ MEETING

Trainer Gregory Sacco is looking to continue recent success during the upcoming Gulfstream Park meeting.

“We’ve had a nice fall. We’ve had 2-year-olds break their maiden and a couple a-other-than (allowances), so we’ve had a nice September, October and November,” Sacco said.

Sacco is particularly anticipating Sweet Mike’s next start on turf early in the meeting. The 2-year-old colt has finished second in both of his starts. Bred and owned by John Brunetti’s Red Oak Stable, Sweet Mikes came up just short in a second-place finish behind Flying Bird, a next-out winner at Churchill Downs, in his debut at Delaware Park. He followed up with another second at Laurel, where he made a breathtaking but premature move from sixth to first on the turn into the homestretch before getting caught late.

Sweet Mike is a son of Sweet Return, a multiple Grade 1 stakes-winning stallion who earned more than $1.8 million while racing under the colors of the Red Oak Stable.

“Sweet Mike is named after Mr. Brunetti’s high school best friend and still his best friend today, Mike Cristello. It’s an interesting story and an interesting horse,” Sacco said.

Fifth Ave. Fancy, another Red Oak homebred juvenile, is coming off a maiden-breaking victory at Delaware, in which he closed with a rush to win by a nose on the Delaware turf.



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