Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tale of Ekati & Ikigai Clash in Richter Scale Saturday

Charles Fipke’s 4-year-old homebred colt Tale of Ekati is a three-time Grade 1 stakes winner and expectations are high that he will be among the leaders of the handicap division this season as he makes his 2009 season debut in Saturday’s $150,000 Richter Scale Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park.

Jockey Edgar Prado rode Tale of Ekati in five of eight starts last year for trainer Barclay Tagg and will be back aboard for Saturday’s seven-furlong test.

He’ll face five rival older horses, including Edmund Gann’s emerging sprint star Ikigai with regular rider Jermaine Bridgmohan getting a return call for trainer Marty Wolfson.

Tale of Ekati makes his first start since winning the Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct on Nov. 29 when placed first on a disqualification after finishing second by a nose. The son of Tale of the Cat won The Futurity Stakes (G1) at Belmont as a 2-year-old and the Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct before finishing fourth behind Big Brown in the Kentucky Derby (G1).

Ikigai has won five of six starts since joining the Wolfson barn last summer, most recently an impressive 2¼-length score in the Mr. Prospector Stakes (G3) going six furlongs on Jan. 17. The 4-year-old chestnut by Whywhywhy will be making his first start beyond 6½ furlongs.

Three Diamond Farm and partners’ 5-year-old Now a Victor will bid to bounce back from tiring to 12th of 14 in the Hal’s Hope Stakes (G3) going one mile on Jan. 3 after dueling for the lead into the upper stretch. Jockey Julien Leparoux picks up the mount for trainer Michael Trombetta. The son of Yankee Victor won four of five starts with a second prior to the Hal’s Hope, his second start in 14 months.

Completing the field for the Richter Scale are Lansdon Robbins III’s Ling Ling Qi, Elvis Trujillo; Lawrence Carroll’s Bold Start, Manoel Cruz; and Brian Prichard’s How’s Your Halo, Juan Leyva.

Lime Rickey & Beacon Hill Road Meet Again in Hallandale Beach

Dogwood Stable’s Lime Rickey and Char Mari Stable’s Beacon Hill Road finished second and third in the Dania Beach Stakes, respectively, going one mile on turf at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 17, and the two 3-year-olds meet again in Saturday’s $125,000 Hallandale Beach Stakes.

Thomas Conway and partners’ Jack Spratt won the Dania Beach by a half-length and is entered in the Hallandale Beach at 1 1/16 miles on turf, but listed for ‘main track only’ by trainer Mike Maker, who is waiting for an opportunity to test the Candy Ride colt on a dirt track for the first time in his career of six races.

Jockey Julien Leparoux rides Lime Rickey and is named on Jack Spratt if the race were to come off turf. A son of Lemon Drop Kid, Lime Rickey has hit the board in six of his seven starts on turf for trainer Frank Alexander.

Jermaine Bridgmohan rides Beacon Hill Road, who finished only a nose behind Lime Rickey in the Dania Beach. Trained by Jason Servis, the Kentucky homebred colt by Forestry showed a win, a second and fourth in his other three tries on turf before the good effort last out.

Padua Stable’s English-bred Duke of Homberg finished fifth in the Dania Beach with trouble in the stretch under Alan Garcia, who will be back aboard Saturday for trainer Tom Albertrani. The son of Kentucky sire Dynaformer was beaten only 1¾ lengths for it all in a good effort after finishing fourth in the Pilgrim Stakes (G3) and an overnight stakes at Belmont last fall.

Completing the field of 10 3-year-olds entered in the Hallandale Beach are IEAH Stable’s Into My Soul, Cornelio Velasquez; Haras Santa Maria de Araras’ Tamborim, Edgar Prado; James Scatuorchio’s Swinging Bernie, Manoel Cruz; Michael Strass’ Grace’s Spirit, Eduardo Nunez; and Alex Lugo’s Adari, Elvis Trujillo.

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