Wednesday, March 07 2012

Ever So Lucky Likely Choice in Swale

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Augustin Stable’s Ever So Lucky and Lantern Hill Farm’s Motor City were last seen under colors running second and first in graded stakes last fall at Churchill Downs, and the two will meet as the likely favorites in a field of 10 3-year-olds drawn for Saturday’s $150,000 Swale Stakes (G2) at seven furlongs.

Jockey Joe Bravo gets the call on Ever So Lucky for trainer Jonathan Sheppard after they teamed up to finish a game second as the favorite behind Gemologist in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) going 1 1/16 miles at Churchill on Nov. 26. The son of Indian Charlie developed an immediate following after winning his career debut at Churchill on Nov. 11 by 3 ¼ lengths as the 4-to-5 favorite.

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‘Macho Man’ and Jackson Bend Clash in Gulfstream Park Handicap

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Reeves Thoroughbreds and partners’ 4-year-old Mucho Macho Man and Robert LaPenta and Jacks or Better Farm’s 5-year-old Jackson Bend have each won a major stakes race at Gulfstream Park to begin their 2012 seasons, and are the likely favorites in a field of five older horses entered for Saturday’s $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) to be run at one mile.

Jockey Ramon Dominguez flies in to take a return call on Mucho Macho Man for trainer Kathy Ritvo after they teamed up for an impressive 1 ½ lengths victory in the $400,000 Sunshine Millions Classic over Ron the Greek here on Jan. 28, the latter going on to capture the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) last Saturday.

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Jackson Bend: The Little Horse that Could

BOYNTON BEACH, FL – Nick Zito couldn’t have been more impressed with Jackson Bend’s triumph in the Hal’s Hope (G3) at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 14. The Hall of Fame trainer was less impressed with his part in the gritty 5-year-old’s victorious 2012 debut.

“It was dumb on my part to run him. Really, it was dumb. You’re not supposed to go in a race like that. He draws the rail; he carries top weight; and it wasn’t an easy race,” Zito said. “You’re not supposed to do that. It wasn’t very smart, but he made us look smart. He made up for it.”

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Monday, March 05 2012

Inspired Runs off with Ladies Turf Sprint

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Peter Blum Thoroughbreds’ 5-year-old homebred mare Inspired raced up to take the lead not long after the start of Sunday’s $70,000 Ladies Turf Sprint at Gulfstream Park, and was never threatened as she held a safe margin of one length to the finish in the five-furlong grass course dash.

Ridden by John Velazquez for trainer Allen Iwinski, Inspired was briefly outrun from the gate by Honey Chile before getting into rhythm down the backstretch. The chestnut daughter of Unbridled’s Song was posting her fifth victory in 15 career starts after shipping out of town for a similar wire-to-wire score in the Pan Zareta Stakes at Fair Grounds on Jan. 21.

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Soldat Sharp in Return Victory Sunday at Gulfstream

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Harvey Clarke and partners’ 4-year-old Soldat made a very impressive return to competition Sunday at Gulfstream Park as he drew off to win a 1 1/16 miles turf test by three lengths as the 4-to-5 favorite under leading jockey Javier Castellano. It was his first starts since finishing 11th behind Animal Kingdom in the Kentucky Derby (G1) last spring at Churchill Downs.

“It’s nice to have him back,” said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin of Soldat’s victory. “He trained very well. I didn’t give Javier (Castellano) any specific instructions. I didn’t know whether he would end up close to the pace or not, but he rode him perfectly and we’re pleased to have him (Castellano) ride.

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Calabrese, Canani & Rocco Jr. Sweet First Three Races at Gulfstream

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Horses owned by Frank Calabrese, trained by Nick Canani and ridden by Joe Rocco Jr. swept the first three races Sunday at Gulfstream Park.

The afternoon started for the trio with Twin Cities drawing off to win the first race by 10 lengths in the one mile, $10,000 claiming event. Centrique won a maiden $25,000 claiming event in the second while the 6-year-old gelding Coach Gravy won the third at a mile on the turf.

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Sunday, March 04 2012

Doubles Partner Aces Canadian Turf at Gulfstream

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – When favored Little Mike was prompted to set a quick early pace by longshot Trend in Saturday’s $150,000 Canadian Turf (G3), it proved to be game, set match for stretch-running Doubles Partner.

The early pressure that turned out to be the undoing of favored Little Mike was a turn of good fortune for Doubles Partner, who was able to reserve his energy with a ground-saving trip under Julien Leparoux before launching an impressive stretch bid in the mile turf event.

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Castellano Extends Lead in Gulfstream Standings With Five Winners

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Fresh off riding the 3000th winner of his career, Javier Castellano visited the Gulfstream Park winner’s circle five times on Saturday.

The 34-year-old native of Maracaibo, Venezuela, who reached the 3000-win milestone on Feb. 24, boosted his meet-leading total to 81 wins, 21 more than his closest rival, John Velazquez.

“I’m so happy the way my career is going. I’ve been very lucky to ride good horses for good trainers who put me in this spot,” Castellano said. “I had a lot of good chances today, but sometimes it can go the other way. I was very blessed.”

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Pants On Fire Wins; Dialed In Fourth in 2012 Debuts

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Trainer Kelly Breen indicated early in the week that Lori and George Hall’s 2011 Louisiana Derby (G2) hero Pants On Fire was more than ready for his first start since late July, and the 4-year-old colt confirmed that assessment conclusively Saturday at Gulfstream Park as he drew clear in the stretch for a 4 ½ lengths victory in a one-mile allowance race.

The $67,100 allowance race got a lot of attention since it was drawn on Wednesday and also marked the return of Robert LaPenta’s 4-year-old Dialed In, winner of last year’s Florida Derby (G1). The colt ran well enough to finish fourth after a mild rally from last early in the race under jockey Javier Castellano.

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Saturday, March 03 2012

Gulfstream Today: 3.2.12

Windsor Manor Farm’s 4-year-old Kentucky homebred colt Ninja Blade stalked the pace from third down the backstretch of Friday’s 6 ½ furlongs allowance feature at Gulfstream Park with leading jockey Javier Castellano and wore down the leaders to post a hard-fought half-length victory over Peachtree Stable’s 4-year-old Red Ace.

A roan/gray son of Johannesberg trained by Eddie Kenneally, Ninja Blade has won two of his last three starts at this meet after finishing second in the first five starts of his career, including three races over the Gulfstream track last year. He paid $4 to win as the even-money favorite in the field of five and was timed the distance in 1:15 4/5 over the ‘fast’ track.

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Friday, March 02 2012


HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Brendan Walsh, former assistant to Eddie Kenneally, saddled his first winner as a trainer when Mrs. James Moseley’s Sandcastle won the fifth race, a maiden special weight event, Friday afternoon at Gulfstream Park.

“It’s a dream of a lifetime to train a winner. To have one here is fantastic,” said Walsh, who went out on his own in October and has 10 horses at Gulfstream’s satellite training facility Palm Meadows. “We have some nice horses. Hopefully, there’s a little more to come.”

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Soldat Back on Home Turf at Gulfstream

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Soldat will make his return to the site of his finest moment when he goes to post in Sunday’s sixth race at Gulfstream Park, but trainer Kiaran McLaughlin’s objective for his 4-year-old colt has changed from a year ago.

Last year, McLaughlin was determined to let Soldat prove himself on Gulfstream’s main track, over which he captured the Fountain of Youth (G2) to earn a shot in the Kentucky Derby. If his trainer has his way this year, Soldat will never see action on dirt again.

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