Thursday, January 29 2009
Barn Notes 1-29 GP
Nicanor & Well Positioned Set for Donn-Holy Bull Undercard
Renewals of the $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) and $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3) highlight an outstanding Saturday program at Gulfstream Park, and there will be plenty of action on the supporting card with Paul Pompa Jr.’s Well Positioned making his 3-year-old debut in the first race allowance and Lael Stable’s Nicanor, Barbaro’s 3-year-old full-brother, set to make his career debut in the eighth race.
Well Positioned makes his first start since his brilliant performance breaking his maiden by 14 ¼ lengths going one mile at Aqueduct on Nov. 23 for trainer Patrick Reynolds. The son of Awesome Again was a $350,000 Adena Springs 2-year-old purchase.
Wednesday, January 28 2009
Donn Handicap & Holy Bull Share Spotlight Saturday
Midnight Cry Stable’s Einstein and Shadwell Stable’s Albertus Maximus are the marquee names entered in Saturday’s $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) at Gulfstream Park for older horses, while the most definitive test yet for potential Kentucky Derby (G1) prospects is set for the $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3).
Both races will be run at 1 1/8 miles.
Jockey Julien Leparoux will ride 7-year-old Einstein in the 51st edition of the Donn after drawing the far outside post 10 as he makes his first start since capturing the Clark Handicap (G2) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 28 for trainer Helen Pitts.
Barn Notes GP 1-28
Breen Likes Holy Bull Options with West Side Bernie
George and Lori Hall and their trainer Kelly Breen have a two-pronged plan of attack on the 3-year-old season with their colts West Side Bernie and Atomic Rain. The former will get to fire the first shot Saturday in the $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3), an early two-turn test for Kentucky Derby (G1) prospects at Gulfstream Park.
West Side Bernie, a Kentucky-bred son of Bernstein, will get the chance to avenge a loss to Big Drama in the $750,000 Delta Jackpot (G3) at Delta Downs in Louisiana on Dec. 5. With Big Drama missing this round due to a training setback, Breen was satisfied the pace scenario of the Holy Bull allowed his charge to go it alone.
Monday, January 26 2009
Hutcheson, Forward Gal advance
‘Break Water’ & Hello Broadway Clash in Hutcheson
Gulfstream Park will offer six graded-stakes races next weekend, beginning Friday with renewals of the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (G2) and $150,000 Forward Gal Stakes (G2), companion events for 3-year-olds, the latter for fillies.
Also on the weekend slate are Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Donn Handicap and the Grade 3, $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes, both at nine furlongs, the Holy Bull exclusively for 3-year-olds, and, on Sunday, the Grade 1, $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf and the Grade 3, $125,000 Suwannee River, both turf events for older horses, the Suwannee River exclusively for fillies and mares.
Barn notes 1-25 GP
Pick Six on Target for Gulfstream Park Turf
A strong workout on the grass course Sunday morning at Gulfstream Park solidified plans for Phipps Stables’ Pick Six as a contender for the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) next Sunday.
Trainer Shug McGaughey was on the lookout for a solid performance in the half-mile breeze as he seeks an improvement on a ninth-place finish in the Fort Lauderdale Stakes here on Jan. 10 by the 5-year-old homebred son of Dynaformer.
Sunday, January 25 2009
Handle, Crowd Up At Gulfstream Park’s Sunshine Millions
On-track handle at Gulfstream Park on Sunshine Millions Day reached $1,449,863.50, an increase from the $1,319,197.80 handle recorded Sunshine Millions Day, 2008.
All-sources handle was also up significantly from 2008 figures, coming in at $13,602,677.28 this year as opposed to $12,368,226.13 last year.
Hill ‘n’ Dale Filly & Mare Sprint
Estate of Harry Aleo’s 4-year-old Florida-bred filly High Resolve broke on top from the rail in the $300,000 Hill ‘n’ Dale Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint Saturday at Gulfstream Park, and went on to a wire-to-wire to score by 2¼ lengths under Robby Albarado as Northern California-based trainer Greg Gilchrist went two-for-two for the afternoon.
Gilchrist had sent out 5-year-old Florida-bred mare Wild Promises to capture the $500,000 Filly & Mare Turf in the previous race with jockey Aaron Gryder in the saddle on the rich card of stakes for horses bred in Florida or California. A roan/gray daughter of Put It Back, High Resolve was winning for the seventh time in 10 career starts, but paid a generous $13.40 to win.
It’s Bird Posts Mild Upset in OBS Sunshine Millions Classic
Edmund Gann’s 6-year-old Florida-bred It’s a Bird raced close-up behind the pace set by Rolbea Thoroughbreds’ Finallymadeit in the early going of Saturday’s $1 million OBS Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park, took command in the upper stretch, and never was threatened while drawing out to win by 5¼ lengths over Carol Nyren’s Dry Martini.
Ridden by Julien Leparoux, It’s a Bird had lost three in a row going into the race for trainer Marty Wolfson and paid $24 to win while timed in 1:49:35 for the 1 1/8 miles on a fast track. Hobeau Farm’s 5-year-old gelding Delightful Kiss was the 2-1 favorite in the field of 12, breaking from the far outside, and rallied late in the stretch to gain third under jockey Calvin Borel, only a nose behind the runner-up.
Wild Promises Wins Sixth Straight in Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf
Making her second trip from Northern California to South Florida this winter, Estate of Harry Aleo’s 5-year-old Florida-bred mare Wild Promises captured the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Saturday at Gulfstream Park with jockey Aaron Gryder along for the ride, posting her sixth consecutive stakes victory for trainer Greg Gilchrist.
Gryder had Wild Promises rating comfortably in third down the backstretch of the 1 1/8 miles turf test and she took command easily when asked in the upper stretch before drawing out to win by 1¾ lengths over Gold Mark Farm’s Elusive Lady in the field of eight fillies and mares. Live Oak Plantation’s Snow Cone rallied for third, 1¼ lengths behind the runner-up.
“Phil’ Rallies to Upset Score in Sunshine Millions Dash
Paul Pompa Jr’s 3-year-old Florida homebred This Ones for Phil collared the leaders at the top of the stretch in Saturday’s $250,000 Sunshine Millions Dash at Gulfstream Park, and drew clear to win by 2¼ lengths over Kramer Stables’ 6-5 favorite You Luckie Mann in the six-furlong test.
With Edgar Prado aboard, This One for Phil was making his first start since Nov, 8 at Calder and first since being purchased privately and placed with trainer Rick Dutrow. The chestnut gelding by Untuttable was twice stakes-placed last year for trainer Kathleen O’Connell. He paid $25.40 to win and was timed the six furlongs on a fast track in 1:09:10 to give Prado his third winner of the afternoon.
GP Barn Notes 1-24
Beethoven and Borel Team for Holy Bull Breeze
With a busy afternoon ahead of him, jockey Calvin Borel got his Sunshine Millions day started early with a breeze aboard John Oxley’s 3-year-old colt Beethoven at Gulfstream Park with a return planned for next week to ride the colt in the $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3).
Trainer John Ward indicated he was happy with the son of Sky Mesa’s 1:01 3/5 drill and declared him ready for his 2009 debut.
Saturday, January 24 2009
In the Face of a Slow Economy, Gulfstream Park’s Handle Up from ’08 Numbers
Through the first 14 days of the 2009 meeting, on the eve of the ultra-popular Sunshine Millions, Gulfstream Park recorded an 8.6% increase in “live,” or on-track handle while also showing a 5.4% bump in all-sources handle.
Crowd counts are not taken at Gulfstream Park but the feeling among management and fans is that there are more people attending the races here this year than there has been since the facility was renovated in 2004.