Wednesday, February 11 2009
Tale of Ekati & Ikigai Clash in Richter Scale Saturday
Charles Fipke’s 4-year-old homebred colt Tale of Ekati is a three-time Grade 1 stakes winner and expectations are high that he will be among the leaders of the handicap division this season as he makes his 2009 season debut in Saturday’s $150,000 Richter Scale Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
Jockey Edgar Prado rode Tale of Ekati in five of eight starts last year for trainer Barclay Tagg and will be back aboard for Saturday’s seven-furlong test.
He’ll face five rival older horses, including Edmund Gann’s emerging sprint star Ikigai with regular rider Jermaine Bridgmohan getting a return call for trainer Marty Wolfson.
Barn notes GP 2-11
Jack Spratt Jumps into Fountain of Youth Mix
Trainer Mike Maker will get a reading on the Kentucky Derby (G1) prospects of Thomas Conway and partners’ Jack Spratt when that 3-year-old colt runs in the $250,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, Feb. 28.
It will be the son of Candy Ride’s first race on dirt.
After winning the Dania Beach Stakes on turf here on Jan. 17 with a sweeping late burst, Maker is out to see if Jack Spratt can convert that success onto the big stage of the main track.
Monday, February 09 2009
Scolara Rallies from Last to First in Marion County
Haras Santa Maria de Araras’ 4-year-old homebred filly Scolara brought back a check in each of her last four stakes starts going back to last summer, but didn’t get her first stakes victory until Sunday when she rallied from last of eight Florida-bred fillies and mares to capture the $75,000 Marion County Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Scolara was making her first start since losing a head decision when second in the Pago Hop Stakes at Fair Grounds on Dec. 6. After breaking a half-step slow, the daughter of Quiet American was content to sit near the back of the field until splitting horse at the top of the stretch and going on to win by 2¼ lengths over Richlyn Stable’s Pay Wright.
Barn notes 2-8 GP
Wicked Style Ready to Complete Road to Recovery
Two years ago, Glenn Bromagen’s Wicked Style was an undefeated rising star with a Grade 1 victory and a spot in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). Two leg fractures later he’s a 4-year-old on the brink of a successful comeback, according to trainer Rusty Arnold, ahead of a classy allowance race Thursday at Gulfstream Park.
The son of Macho Uno impressively won his first three career races including the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland in 2007 before a disheartening 41-length loss in the Juvenile in the slop at Monmouth Park behind eventual champ War Pass. He emerged with a condylar fracture in his front leg that wiped out a shot at the 3-year-old classics and kept him on the shelf for seven months.
Sunday, February 08 2009
Barn Notes GP 2-7
Exuberant Beethoven Quickly Gets Back to Work
Only one week after finishing fourth in the Holy Bull Stakes (G3), John Oxley’s Beethoven was back on the track at Gulfstream Park working out for trainer John Ward, who is now leaning toward running the 3-year-old classic prospect in the $250,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2) on Feb. 28.
“He just went easy and I normally wouldn’t think of working him back so soon, but he was jumping out of his skin,” said Ward, who had to take cover when the son of Sky Mesa literally kicked up his heels next to him, showering him with dirt. “See that? I don’t think it took much out of him.”
Thursday, February 05 2009
Scolara the One to Beat in Marion County Sunday
Haras Santa Maria de Araras’s 4-year-old Florida homebred filly Scolara looks like the class and the horse to beat in a field of nine Florida-bred fillies and mares entered in Sunday’s $75,000 Marion County Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Jockey Kent Desormeaux gets the call on Scolara for trainer Bill Mott in the one mile turf test as she makes her first start since a game second by a head in the Pago Hop Stakes over the Fair Grounds course on Dec. 2. The daughter of Quiet American boasts an 8-2-3-2 record on turf and finished a strong third in the Mrs. Revere Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 8 prior to the Pago Hop.
Barn Notes GP 2-5
Dutrow Seeks Similar Results on Turf in the Tallahassee
The stakes aren’t quite as high and there isn’t a Grade 1 race on the line, but six days after watching Kip Deville bounce back from a dull race to win the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) on Sunday, trainer Rick Dutrow will send Vincent Scuderi’s 4-year-old Formal King into the $75,000 Tallahassee Stakes Saturday off a similar dull race.
The gelded son of Formal Dinner will take on a dozen other Florida-breds in the one-mile turf contest while trying to put the memories of his 73-length loss in an optional-allowance race on the inner dirt track at Aqueduct on Jan. 2 behind him.
Smooth Air Returns in Tallahassee Saturday at Gulfstream
The connections of Mount Joy Stable’s 4-year-old homebred colt Smooth Air are hopeful the two-time Grade 2 winner will be a major player in the handicap division this season. A test comes Saturday when he makes his 2009 debut in the $75,000 Tallahassee Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Jockey Paco Lopez will be aboard Smooth Air for the first time in the one-mile turf race for trainer Bennie Stutts Jr. It will be his first start since a respectable seventh-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita on Oct. 25, beaten only 5 ¼ lengths for it all by Raven’s Pass.
Monday, February 02 2009
Winning at Gulfstream Becoming a Regular Experience for Frank Calabrese
His eyes fixated on the race playing out on the flat screen before him, and his right thumb flipping through a program, Frank Calabrese is barely moved by the question.
He shrugs off the thought of his life story being depicted in Hollywood with a slight grin, but if any producers or directors have any ideas, Calabrese has a suggestion for the leading man – and only one.
Barn Notes 2-1
Huge Gain for Gulfstream Park’s On-Track Handle on Donn Day
On-track handle at Gulfstream Park Saturday was $1,254,814, a 20.75% increase from the previous year’s Donn Day mark.
There were 10 races Donn Day this year, as there was Donn Day last year, which fell on Feb. 2.
Overall handle on the Gulfstream card, combining on-track handle with interstate and intertrack wagering, reached $13,816,476.54, up 14.54% from last year’s mark of $12,063,021.78.
Sunday, February 01 2009
Barbaro’s Brother Suffers Slight Injury in Defeat
Barbaro’s younger full brother Nicanor injured himself slightly leaving the gate, put in a strong mid-race rally, but tired from his efforts and finished 10th of 12 in his eagerly anticipated debut Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
Nicanor is owned by the Lael Stable of Roy and Gretchen Jackson; trained by Michael Matz and ridden by Edgar Prado, the same connections that guided Barbaro to victories in the Florida Derby here and the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs three years ago.
Castellano Sent to Hospital, Leparoux Wins 3 After Gulfstream Spills
Javier Castellano was sent to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood complaining of pain in his right shoulder after falling from his mount, Presto Change O, in the third race at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
Presto Change O ducked in at the start, rushed into contention, then clipped heels with another horse, forcing Castellano from the saddle. Castellano, one of the nation’s top riders, took off his remaining mounts Saturday.