Thursday, March 29 2012
Awesome Maria Odds-On for Rampart Defense
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - E. Paul Robsham’s 5-year-old homebred mare Awesome Maria, winner of five straight graded stakes for trainer Todd Pletcher going back to early last year, will be an odds-on favorite to make it six in a row with regular rider John Velazquez aboard in a field of six fillies and mare drawn for Saturday’s $100,000 Rampart Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park, a 1 1/8 miles race she won last year by eight lengths.
A roan/gray daughter of Maria’s Mon, Awesome Maria swept to consecutive victories in the Sabin Stakes (G3) and Rampart Stakes here early in the year and then added tallies in the Shuvee Handicap (G2) in May and Ogden Phipps Handicap (G1) at Belmont Park in mid-June before going to the sidelines for the second half of the campaign.
Pletcher Keeps El Padrino at Gulfstream for Florida Derby
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Some trainers may be discouraged by the imposing presence of Union Rags on the list of 3-year-olds ready to run in the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) this Saturday. Todd Pletcher prefers to focus more on the benefits of Gulfstream Park’s signature event than the competition.
“We certainly could have gone other places where it probably would have been a little easier, but we felt it was more a case of managing our horse the way we want to as opposed to handicapping the race,” said the trainer of the 3-year-old son of Pulpit.
Reveron Seeks Second Derby Score at Gulfstream
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Reveron isn’t one of the high profile contenders coming into the Florida Derby (G1), especially with early Kentucky Derby (G1) favorite Union Rags heading the field. However, it would be shortsighted to overlook him.
Reveron was allowed to go off at almost 9-1 in the Gulfstream Park Derby on New Year’s Day, despite coming in off back-to-back wins at Calder and having not finished off the board in the first four starts of his career. He took the lead early and never relinquished it to become the nation’s first Derby winner of 2012.
Union Rags Strong Choice in 61st Florida Derby Saturday
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Chadds Ford Stable’s Union Rags will be a short-priced favorite facing eight rival 3-year-olds in the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) Saturday going 1 /8 miles at Gulfstream Park.
The Michael Matz-trained colt, made the 6-5 morning-line favorite, will be out to confirm his standing as the solid early favorite for the 138th Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs May 5.
Tuesday, March 27 2012
Gourmet Dinner Continues Comeback in Sir Shackleton on Florida Derby Day
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Gourmet Dinner was a significant presence on the 3-year-old scene as the 2011 Florida Derby (G1) approached.
The Florida-bred son of Trippi was a close third in the Holy Bull (G3) behind eventual Florida Derby winner Dialed In then followed that performance with a second to Soldat in the Fountain of Youth (G2). More than four lengths in the rear was major stakes winner To Honor and Serve.
Brown-trained Rising Stars Considered for Florida Derby Day Stakes
BOYNTON BEACH, FL – Trainer Chad Brown will not get to saddle his undefeated star Awesome Feather Saturday on Florida Derby Day. But the 34-year-old Upstate New York native may very well be represented by a couple of rising stars on the same day.
Self Control and Corporate Jungle, impressive winners in their most recent starts, are being considered for the $100,000 Skip Away (G3) and $100,000 Appleton (G3) on the Florida Derby (G1) undercard.
Union Rags Proves to be a Bargain at Any Price
BOYNTON BEACH, FL – When Phyllis Wyeth began to have second thoughts about selling a homebred yearling she had consigned to the 2010 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale, she sought out trainer Michael Matz.
“She asked me to look at the horse at Saratoga and if I had somebody to buy half of it, she’d like to keep it. I just didn’t have anybody at the time,” Matz recalled. “Now, I bet there are a lot of people who wished they bought half of him.”
Monday, March 26 2012
Gulfstream Park News & Notes March 25, 2012
Millionaire Keertana Targets Orchid Stakes Saturday
Barbara Hunter’s 6-year-old Kentucky homebred mare Keertana defines high class and consistency with earnings of more than $1 million and a career record of 28-11-6-7 for trainer Tom Proctor. It’s no wonder she could go off favored to win Saturday’s $150,000 Orchid Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park at 1 ½ miles on turf.
A daughter of Johar, Keertana will bid to reverse a decision here last month when she finished second by a length in the $100,000 The Very One Stakes (G3) going 1 3/8 miles to Trick or Treat International’s 6-year-old Here to Win, an 11-to-1 shot for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin that was in receipt of four pounds and is expected back for the Orchid.
El Padrino on Target for Florida Derby after Breeze at Palm Meadows
El Padrino signaled his readiness for a clash with Union Rags in Saturday’s $1 million Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park during a half-mile workout at Palm Meadows Training Center Sunday morning. The son of Pulpit, who was ridden by jockey Javier Castellano, was timed in :49.
“He went well. He went in :49, which is what we set out to do. He seemed happy and is coming up to the race in good order,” trainer Todd Pletcher said.
Sunday, March 25 2012
Union Rags Breezes the ‘Right Way’ in Preparation for Florida Derby
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Fountain of Youth (G2) victor Union Rags breezed a half-mile in company Saturday at Palm Meadows Training Center in preparation for a start in next Saturday's $1 million Florida Derby (G1).
The 3-year-old son of Dixie Union, who is expected to be a solid favorite in Gulfstream Park's signature race, breezed the four furlongs in 49.10 seconds under assistant trainer/exercise rider Peter Brett.
Leparoux Maneuvers Newsdad to Pan American Victory
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Newsdad was heavily favored to prevail over just three rivals in the $150,000 Pan American (G2), but his jockey didn’t fall into the trap that a victory would come easily Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
Newsdad did go on to capture the 1 ½-mile turf event by two lengths, but not before Julien Leparoux considered all his options.
Friday, March 23 2012
Gulfstream Today: 3.23.12
Richard Sherman’s 5-year-old Kentucky homebred Nikki’s Sandcastle showed a second, two thirds and a fourth in as many tries at the Gulfstream Park meet going back to Dec. 4, but finally got his day in the winner‘s circle Friday after posting a hard-fought head decision in the eighth race.
Jockey Joe Bravo had Nikki’s Sandcastle rated in fifth down the backstretch of the 7 ½ furlongs turf test run under starter/allowance conditions, and rallied through the stretch to post his fifth victory in 22 career starts. Andrew Farm’s Chosen Empire finished third, two lengths behind the runner-up in the field of seven as Magdalena Farm’s 6-to-5 favorite Dark Cove finished fourth.