Monday, March 15 2010
Eskendereya Breezes for Role as Florida Derby Favorite
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL (Sun., Mar. 14, 2010) – Zayat Stable’s 3-year-old Eskendereya worked an easy five furlongs in 1:02 2/5 Sunday morning at Palm Meadows as he is kept on edge for next Saturday’s $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park, leading a team of a dozen stakes runners on the work tab from trainer Todd Pletcher’s arsenal of talent this winter.
A son of Giant’s Causeway, Eskendereya romped home an 8 ½ lengths winner of the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) last out on Feb. 20 over the track and 1 1/8 miles distance of the Florida Derby and will likely be a heavy favorite for the 59th edition of Gulfstream’s historic Kentucky Derby (G1) preview.
Sunday, March 14 2010
Ice Box Fires ‘Bullet’ Half-Mile for Florida Derby
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL (Sat., Mar. 13, 2010) – Robert LaPenta’s 3-year-old Ice Box drilled a ‘bullet’ half-mile in 47 1/5 Saturday morning at Palm Meadows for trainer Nick Zito as he tunes up for his engagement in next Saturday’s $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park, bidding to improve on his fifth-place finish last out in the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) over the track and 1 1/8 miles distance on Feb. 20.
A son of 1997 Florida Derby runner-up Pulpit, Ice Box was ‘off a bit slow’ in the Fountain of Youth, according to Equibase comments and was never a threat, beaten 12 lengths by Eskendereya, who won by 8 ½ lengths over Zito-trained Jackson Bend. Ice Box had raced much closer to the pace when winning a 1 1/8 miles allowance test over the track on Jan. 18 in his 3-year-old debut.
Friday, March 12 2010
RACING CANCELLED AT GULFSTREAM FOLLOWING THE FOURTH RACE DUE TO WEATHER CONDITIONS
HALLANDALE, FL (Fri., March 12, 2010) – Racing at Gulfstream Park was cancelled following the fourth race on Friday.
Jockeys expressed concerns to track management following several hours of heavy rain. After conferring with the riders and delaying the start of the fifth race, as the rain continued, management called off the remainder of the 10-race program.
Three-Year-Old Allowance Races Spice Sunday Card
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL (Fri., Mar. 12, 2010) – In addition to the renewals of the $200,000 Inside Information Stakes (G2), $75,000 Sunshine State Stakes and the ‘All-Turf Pick Four’ on the last four races Sunday at Gulfstream Park, a pair of allowance races to be run early on the program, one for colts and one for fillies, have attracted several highly-promising young prospects.
The third race going a mile drew a field of seven colts with J. Robert Harris, Jr.’s Allez Reef among the choices and Paco Lopez aboard for his second start this season after a very good runner-up effort behind Soaring Empire in a seven-furlong allowance on Feb. 25, the latter stepping up to run in next Saturday’s $750,000 Florida Derby (G1).
Soaring Empire Joins Cast for Florida Derby
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL (Thu., Mar. 11, 2010) – Ol Memorial Stable and C.E. Glasscock’s Soaring Empire was impressive winning a seven-furlong allowance race at Gulfstream Park in his 3-year-old debut on Feb. 25 for trainer Cam Gambolati and will make the fourth start of his career and first around two turns in the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) on Sat., Mar. 20, according to the trainer.
“We’ve weighed the options and decided to go ahead and give him a chance,” said Gambolati Thursday morning from Palm Meadows. “His race here was very good to win after getting nailed at the start and beat a good field. I know we’re a little behind the eight-ball, but they only get one chance (Kentucky Derby).” Soaring Empire was bumped solidly at the start and rallied from eighth to score by three-quarters of a length.
California Connections Strong on Inside Information Sunday
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL (Thu., Mar. 11, 2010) – Zayat Stable’s 4-year-old filly Kays and Jays shipped into Gulfstream Park from California last month for trainer Mike Mitchell to beat a strong field of filly and mare sprinters in the 6 ½-furlong Hurricane Bertie Stakes (G3) on Feb. 13, and she was left here in the care of trainer Wesley Ward to contest Sunday’s $200,000 Inside Information Stakes (G2) at seven furlongs.
Jockey Jose Lezcano gets a return call on Kays and Jays, a daughter of Macho Uno that finished fifth in the La Brea Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita on Dec. 26. In a previous foray to South Florida last summer, Kays and Jays also showed she liked the dirt surface at Calder, finishing a game second in the $200,000 Azalea Stakes (G3) on Summit of Speed day, July 11.
Wednesday, March 10 2010
Eskendereya Leads Florida Derby Nominations
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL (Wed., Mar. 10, 2010) – Zayat Stable’s Eskendereya, 8 ½ lengths winner of the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 20, is among 92 3-year-olds nominated for the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) to be run at 1 1/8 miles on Sat., Mar. 20, and trainer Todd Pletcher has confirmed it is the next logical start for his promising colt.
The 59th edition of the Florida Derby will highlight the biggest day of racing annually on the South Florida calendar and will also include renewals of the $150,000 Swale Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs, $200,000 Bonnie Miss Stakes (G2) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles, $150,000 Rampart Stakes (G2) for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles and $100,000 Appleton Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds and up at 7 ½ furlongs on turf.
Grasshopper & ‘Phil’ Clash in Gulfstream Park Handicap
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL (Wed., Mar. 10, 2010) – William S. Farish and partners’ 6-year-old Grasshopper and Paul Pompa, Jr. and partners’ highly-accomplished sprinter This Ones for Phil meet for the first time going one mile Saturday in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2), a distance perhaps short for one and longer than the other prefers.
Jockey Alan Garcia rides Grasshopper for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin in the 66th running of the storied event won early in its history by Armed, Coaltown, Sailor, Round Table, Bald Eagle, Kelso and Gun Bow and later by Forego, Bowl Game, Christmas Past, Cigar, Skip Away and Corinthian.
Monday, March 08 2010
Eskendereya Leads Pletcher Work Team at Palm Meadows
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL (Sat., Mar. 6, 2010) – Zayat Stable’s 3-year-old Eskendereya breezed an easy half-mile in 49 1/5 under jockey John Velazquez Sunday morning at Palm Meadows for trainer Todd Pletcher as he’s kept on edge for his likely next start as the favorite in the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park on Sat., Mar. 20.
“I thought he worked very well,” said Pletcher, who supervised workouts for nearly 20 stakes runners on Sunday morning from his powerful stable, getting ready for major events coast-to-coast and another bound for Dubai.
Sunday, March 07 2010
Castellano Leads Gulfstream Standings into Weekend
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL (Sat., Mar. 6, 2010) – Jockey Javier Castellano has ridden one winner on each of the last three days of racing this week at Gulfstream Park to take the lead in the standings with 37 victories, three more than closest rival John Velazquez, going into this weekend’s action.
Jockeys Julien Leparoux and Elvis Trujillo each won a race Friday and are tied for third with 30 tallies apiece ahead of Rajiv Maragh fifth with 29. Leparoux will miss the Saturday card at Gulfstream for stakes mounts at Aqueduct, but will return to ride here on Sunday.
Saturday, March 06 2010
All Turf Pick 4 Returns Sunday at Gulfstream Park
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL (Fri., Mar. 5, 2010) - America’s fastest growing bet – the All Turf Pick 4 – is back on Sunday at Gulfstream Park.
The wager requires patrons to correctly pick the winner of the last four races with a minimum investment of 50-cents.
Offered for the first time at Gulfstream Park two weeks ago, the pool was $266,803, yielding a $1,945 payoff for one dollar. Last week, the pool grew to $312,735, with a blockbuster payoff of $4,558 after a first-time starter for Darrin Miller at 28-1 took the final race in the sequence.
Sal the Barber Set for Season Debut in Sunday Feature
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL (Fri., Mar. 5, 2010) – Lewis Schaffel’s 4-year-old Kentucky homebred colt Sal the Barber won the Calder Derby (G3) in mid-October before a disappointing 10th-place finish in the Hollywood Derby (G1) in late November in his last start of 2009, and is set to return for another campaign in Sunday’s ‘three other than’ optional/allowance going 1 1/8 miles on turf at Gulfstream Park.
Jockey Julien Leparoux rides Sal the Barber for trainer Christophe Clement in a field of seven as he makes his first appearance since chasing The Usual Q.T. home in the Hollywood Derby on Nov. 29, beaten seven lengths by the winner. A son of Alphabet Soup, Sal the Barber finished a game second in the Hall of Fame Stakes (G2) at Saratoga, beaten 1 ¾ lengths by emerging star Courageous Cat before the Calder victory.