Sunday, February 22 2009
Criticism Leads all the Way in The Very One
Darley Stable’s 5-year-old English homebred mare Criticism was Group 3-placed during a modest career in France but she’s taken her game to a new level since coming under the care of trainer Tom Albertrani last fall, winning two of three U.S. starts, including the $125,000 The Very One Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
Ridden by Edgar Prado, Criticism broke sharply and took command early in the 1 3/8 miles turf test, was allowed to set slow fractions while setting the pace, and had plenty left in the stretch to coast home a 2½ lengths winner over Swettenham Stud’s 4-year-old Irish-bred filly Dress Rehearsal.
Taqarub, Justwhistledixie Out of Cold for Weekend Stakes
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin will send two 3-year-olds into stakes action next weekend at Gulfstream Park.
Shadwell Stable’s Taqarub heads into Saturday’s $250,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) and West Point Thoroughbreds and partners’ filly Justwhistledixie is set to run in Sunday’s $150,000 Davona Dale Stakes (G2). The two companion events will be run at one mile.
Saturday, February 21 2009
Presious Passion Turns Back Challenge to Win Mac Diarmida
Patricia Generazio’s remarkable 6-year-old gelding Presious Passion set brisk early fractions and was seven lengths in front after one mile of the $125,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park, but he had enough left to hold on for a half-length victory over Fab Oak Stable and Kona Stable’s Quasicobra at the finish line of the 1 3/8 miles turf test.
Presious Passion has made a career of winning major long-distance turf stakes and producing big payoffs, including last year’s Pan American Handicap, the United Nations (G1) at Monmouth and the last two editions of Calder’s W.L. McKnight Handicap (G2). Trained by Mary Hartmann, the chestnut son of Royal Anthem paid $11 for $2 to win Saturday.
GP Barn Notes 2-21
‘Phil’ Fast Early in Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Drill
Sticking with a plan that worked last time, Paul Pompa Jr.’s 3-year-old This Ones for Phil worked six furlongs for trainer Rick Dutrow Saturday morning at Gulfstream Park with a week until his next start in the $250,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2).
The Florida-bred son of Untuttable was part of a rush of workhorses just after the first renovation break under exercise rider/jockey Mario Madrid. He sizzled the early portion of the work with fractions of 22 and 34 seconds. He then leveled off on the turn, getting a half-mile in 45 2/5 before hitting the wire in 1:11 2/5.
Friday, February 20 2009
One Caroline Stays Perfect After Sabin Victory
G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s 4-year-old filly One Caroline was sent away the even-money favorite in Friday’s $100,000 Sabin Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park after winning all three of her previous career starts, and she remained undefeated as she held Mark Stanley’s 5-year-old mare Swift Temper safe at the finish to score by a length.
Ridden by Edgar Prado, One Caroline broke alertly and, after being headed briefly on the backstretch, took command in the far turn of the one-mile test for fillies and mares. A roan/gray daughter of Unbridled’s Song, One Caroline was a $400,000 Saratoga yearling purchase. She paid $4 to win as she was timed in 1:36:87 over the fast track.
GP Barn Notes 2-20
Stakes Ahead for McLaughlin Runners
Vision Racing’s 4-year-old colt Keep Laughing and Mr. and Mrs William K. Warren’s 3-year-old colt Charitable Man both hit important benchmarks for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin Thursday and have stakes races in their future.
Keep Laughing, a son of Distorted Humor, returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since winning the Lafayette Stakes at Keeneland last April with a come-from-behind victory Thursday afternoon in a six-furlong allowance at Gulfstream Park.
Impressive Allowance Victory Puts Dunkirk on Target for Florida Derby
Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s 3-year-old Dunkirk made headlines before he ever started as a $3.7 million Keeneland September yearling purchase, but he’s making them on the track now after drawing off to an explosive 4¾-length victory in Thursday’s eighth race allowance feature at Gulfstream Park.
With jockey Garrett Gomez flying in from California for the mount, Dunkirk broke well enough in the 1 1/8-mile test but was carried very wide in the first turn. However, the roan/gray colt by Unbridled’s Song moved up steadily down the backstretch and took command with authority in the stretch while drawing clear from A. Steven Miles Jr.’s Warrior’s Reward second in the field of 10 3-year-olds.
Thursday, February 19 2009
Criticism & ‘Backseat’ Return in The Very One Sunday
Darley Stable’s 5-year-old English-bred Criticism made a big impression winning the Long Island Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct in her second American start last fall and Paul Pompa Jr.’s 4-year-old Grade 1-winning filly Backseat Rhythm makes her 2009 season debut as the two clash in Sunday’s $100,000 The Very One Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
Jockey Edgar Prado rides Criticism for trainer Tom Albertrani in the 11-furlong turf test for fillies and mares as she makes her first start since capturing the 12-furlong Long Island on Nov. 1 after a runner-up effort in the Athenia Handicap (G3) at Belmont Park. Those were her only two starts last year.
Barn Notes GP 2-19
Gray Gains Foothold at Gulfstream
Two female turf runners are helping trainer Liz Gray make an impact in her first winter with a public stable at Gulfstream Park, with Kamal Fustok’s Leap in the Sun her latest name-maker heading into Sunday’s $100,000 The Very One Stakes (G3).
Last Sunday, Andrew Farm and Frank O’Connor’s Obsequious finished third in the $125,000 Coconut Grove Stakes. It was the 3-year-old daughter of Fusaichi Pegasus’s first stakes-placing and one of the biggest paydays for Gray since she returned to the backstretch last year.
Presious Passion & Always First Clash Again in Mac Diarmida Saturday
Patricia Generazio’s 5-year-old gelding Presious Passion returns home to Gulfstream Park from a runner-up effort in the Sunshine Millions Turf at Santa Anita in his last start, and Merriefield Farm and Charles Noell’s 8-year-old gelding Always First ships in from Maryland to meet in Saturday’s $150,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2).
Jockey Elvis Trujillo gets a return call on Presious Passion for trainer Mary Hartmann, breaking from the far outside 12 post. Rider Rene Douglas has been retained on Always First for trainer Tom Voss and they drew post 6 in the 1 3/8-mile turf test.
Barn Notes 2-18
Presious Passion Happy Back Home at Gulfstream
The extended dry weather in South Florida this winter is exactly what the connections of Patricia Generazio’s Grade 1-winning turf star Presious Passion have been hoping for as the 6-year-old gelding goes into Saturday’s $150,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
Trainer Mary Hartmann says the son of Royal Anthem loves firm ground, and she’s warily watching the weather for any sign of rain even though the area has had only 32/100ths of an inch of precipitation this year. She points to the gelding’s runner-up finish in the Sunshine Millions Turf at Santa Anita where rain dampened the usually firm Southern California course (it was rated ‘good’ that day).
Miss Isella & One Caroline Clash in Sabin Friday
Domino Stud’s 4-year-old Miss Isella, who established her class winning the Falls City Handicap (G2) in late November at Churchill Downs, will test the class of G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s undefeated 4-year-old filly One Caroline in Friday’s $100,000 Sabin Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
Jockey Calvin Borel will be in town to ride Miss Isella in the one-mile Sabin for trainer Ian Wilkes in her first start since they teamed up to win the Falls City going nine furlongs on Nov. 27. The Kentucky homebred roan/gray daughter of Silver Charm got good last fall and had just missed catching top sprinter Game Face going seven furlongs in her previous start.