Thursday, January 01, 2009


Hal’s Hope & Spectacular Bid Get Gulfstream Season Off to Fast Start


A full field of 14 older horses led by Hobeau Farm’s Delightful Kiss will go to the post for the $100,000 Hal’s Hope Handicap (G3), and eight 3-year-olds are set to clash in the $100,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes, the highlights of Saturday’s opening-day program at Gulfstream Park.

The Hallandale Beach, Fla. track will run on a five-day-a-week schedule, Wednesdays through Sundays, before closing on April 23. Post time for the first race daily is 1:15 p.m.


Jockey Calvin Borel will fly in to ride Delightful Kiss in the one-mile Hal’s Hope, and he will break from Post 4 in the bulky field. It will be his first start since a game runner-up effort behind Einstein in the $400,000 Clark Handicap (G2) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 28, with favorite Commentator third.

Delightful Kiss is a 5-year-old roan/gray Florida homebred gelding by Kissin Kris trained by Pete Anderson, who has taken him back and forth across the nation the last two years, including a California swing before the Clark when he captured the All American Stakes (G3) at Golden Gate Fields in late September and finished a close-up fourth in the inaugural edition of the Breeders’ Cup Marathon at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.

However, the one-turn mile may be short of the best distance for Delightful Kiss, a confirmed stretch-runner whose next major goal is the $1 million Sunshine Million Classic at nine furlongs at Gulfstream on Jan. 24, leaving Saturday’s race wide-open.

Other contenders that will get plenty of attention in the race include Four Roses Thoroughbreds’ 4-year-old Anak Nakal with Joe Bravo to ride for trainer Nick Zito and Rolbea Thoroughbreds’ 5-year-old Finallymadeit with Eduardo Nunez getting the return call from trainer Javier Negrete.

Anak Nakal was high-profile on the 2008 Kentucky Derby (G1) trail after capturing the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs as a 2-year-old. After a sluggish start to the campaign and seventh-place finish behind Big Brown in the Derby, Anak Nakal finished third in the Belmont Stakes (G1).

A son of Victory Gallop, Anak Nakal scored his biggest victory in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G2) at Philadelphia Park on Sept. 1 and ran well to be second behind Arson Squad in the Meadowlands Cup (G2) in his first try against older horses. Anak Nakal also made his last start in the Clark Handicap, but was never a threat finishing seventh.

Finallymadeit has been appropriately tagged the ‘Iron Horse’ of South Florida racing making 19 starts in 2007 and 15 in 2008, and comes into the Hal’s Hope in the best form of his career. The homebred chestnut by Concerto has won the $200,000 Carl Rose Classic on Nov. 8 and $100,000 Fred W. Hooper Handicap (G3) last out on Dec. 13 in wire-to-wire fashion.

Completing the deep and talented field drawn for the Hal’s Hope are Leo-Sag Stable and partners’ Cuba, Donver Stable’s True Resurgence, Paul Pompa. Jr.’s Fearless Vision, Three Diamonds Farm’s Now a Victor, Darley Stable’s National Pride, Patriot Stable’s Famous Patriot, Edmund Gann’s It a Bird, Rose Family Stable’s Rexson’s Rose, Marc Keller’s Bribon, Mitchell Ranch’s Bullsbay and David and Teresa Palmer’s Storm in May.

You Luckie Mann Likely Choice in Spectacular Bid

Kramer Stable’s You Luckie Man was very impressive winning the $100,000 Birdonthewire Stakes by 11 lengths at Calder last out on Oct. 18 for trainer Marty Wolfson and may rule the favorite in the six-furlong Spectacular Bid Stakes, the first in a series of stakes scheduled at the meet for potential Triple Crown race prospects.

Jockey Jermaine Bridgmohan rides You Luckie Mann. The roan/gray son of Exchange Rate won his debut at Calder in late July by 14 ¾ lengths before finishing third in the Dr. Fager and Affirmed divisions of the Florida Stallion Stakes as the favorite in each race won by Big Drama before the Birdonthewire romp.

Let’s Go Stable’s Silent Valor will get plenty of attention in his first start since finishing eighth behind Midshipman in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita on Oct. 25, beaten less than four lengths for it all in respectable effort. Jockey John R. Velazquez rides Silent Valor for trainer Todd Pletcher. The son of Lion Heart scored his biggest victory in the Sapling Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park last summer.

Completing the field for the Spectacular Bid are Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Notonthesamepage, Elvis Trujillo; Zayat Stable’s Jazzandthemagician, Kent Desormeaux; John Dillon’s Vinnies Wild Tale, Eibar Coa; Brian Prichard’s Under Contract, Alan Garcia; Joseph Pace’s Put It Back Twenty, Edgar Prado; and J. Robert Harris, Jr.’s Bee Cee Cee, Cornelio Velasquez.


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