Friday, February 20 2009
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.
Monday, February 16 2009
Gozzip Girl Rallies to Coconut Grove Victory
Farnsworth Farm’s 3-year-old filly Gozzip Girl made a huge run around horses nearing the stretch of Sunday’s $125,000 Coconut Grove Stakes at Gulfstream Park and went on to score by 2¼ lengths over Chester Bishop’s Oilgonewile, who set all the pace in the 1 1/16 miles turf test until overtaken by the winner.
Jockey Kent Desormeaux was aboard Gozzip Girl for trainer Tom Albertrani as the daughter of Dynaformer made only the fourth start of a promising career, posting a mild upset at 10-1 after being timed in 1:40:80 over the ‘firm’ course. Albertrani had sent out Padua Stable’s 3-year-old colt Duke of Homberg, a son of Dynaformer, to win the Hallandale Beach Stakes Saturday in the companion event to the Coconut Grove.
Sunday, February 15 2009
How’s Your Halo Posts Big Upset in Richter Scale
Owner-trainer Brian Prichard’s 6-year-old How’s You Halo was sent off the longest price in the field of six older horses to line up for Saturday’s $150,000 Richter Scale Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park, and wore down Edmund Gann’s second-choice Ikigai in the final yards for a half-length decision under jockey Juan Leyva.
How’s Your Halo stalked the pace set by Ikigai down the backstretch of the seven-furlong test before returning $96.20 to win.
GP BarnNotes 2-14
Trainer Wesley Ward described the Saturday morning breeze here by Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s 3-year-old colt Notonthesamepage as “perfect” and said he is excited to take the next step in the $250,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park Feb. 28.
Early signs indicate the race will attract a deep and talented field of 3-year-olds
Friday, February 13 2009
Friday the 13th a Lucky Day for Lezcano; Reaches 1,000-Win Mark at Gulfstream
Jose Lezcano reached his 1,000th-career victory, riding the 3-year-old Calabria home first in the second race at Gulfstream Park Friday afternoon.
“He broke well and I was able to put him in good position,” said Lezcano. “He gave me an extra push at the quarter pole.”
Barn Notes GP 2-13
Trip Key for Lime Rickey in Hallandale Beach
After a close call in the Dania Beach Stakes in his last start, Dogwood Stable’s 3-year-old Lime Rickey will be looking for a cleaner trip in Saturday’s $125,000 Hallandale Beach Stakes on the turf at Gulfstream Park.
Trainer Frank Alexander has watched the son of Lemon Drop Kid refine his late-closing kick in seven career starts and will be counting on timing from jockey Julien Leparoux in Saturday’s 1 1/16 miles contest to improve on the runner-up finish behind Jack Spratt in his last race on Jan. 17.
Game Face & Any Limit Clash Again in Hurricane Bertie Saturday
Zabeel Racing International’s 4-year-old filly Game Face won the First Lady Stakes (G3) going six furlongs at Gulfstream Park by ¾ lengths over Joseph V. Shields Jr.’s 6-year-old mare Any Limit on Jan. 18, and the two talented sprinters meet again Sunday on the $125,000 Hurricane Bertie Stakes (G3) going 6½ furlongs.
Jockey John R. Velazquez will be back aboard Game Face for trainer Todd Pletcher as the daughter of Menifee will likely be favored to post the fourth graded-stakes victory of her career. She won the Old Hat Stakes (G3) here early last year and the La Troienne (G3) at Churchill Downs in the spring.