Thursday, March 19 2009
Emerging Star Criticism the One to Beat in Orchid Sunday
Darley Stable’s 5-year-old English homebred mare Criticism has won the 12-furlong Long Island Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct on Nov. 1 and 11-furlong The Very One Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 22 in her last two starts for trainer Tom Albertrani, and will likely be favored to make it three in a row in Sunday’s $150,000 Orchid Stakes (G3).
Jockey Edgar Prado gets a return call on Criticism in the 1½ mile turf feature facing seven rival fillies and mares as she bids to continue her ascent to the top ranks of the filly and mare turf stakes division in the U.S. after campaigning with moderate results as a 3-year-old in France through the 2007 campaign.
Wednesday, March 18 2009
Presious Passion Bids for Pan American Repeat Saturday
Patricia Generazio’s 6-year-old gelding Presious Passion has emerged among America’s premier long-distance turf stakes performers over the last two years, and will bid to become the fourth horse in history to win the $150,000 Pan American Stakes (G3) twice Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
Jockey Elvis Trujillo will be back aboard Presious Passion, who was 20-1 when he won the 12-furlong Pan American last year. He will attract considerably more support in this edition, facing six rivals after a game half-length victory in the 11-furlong Mac Diarmida Stakes (G3) over the course on Feb. 21.
Barn Notes 3-18
Presious Passion Ready for Pan Am Defense
Patricia Generazio’s Presious Passion needed three starts at Gulfstream Park to warm up and score one of his biggest career victories in last year’s Pan American Handicap (G3), but he’s needed less time to reach his peak this year as he enters Saturday’s renewal of the $150,000, 1½-mile turf contest ready to defend his crown.
The 6-year-old gelded son of Royal Anthem exits a determined front-running victory in the 11-furlong Mac Diarmida (G2) on Feb. 21 after he built a seven-length lead and held on for a half-length win.
Monday, March 16 2009
Gozzip Girl Rallies in Stretch to Capture Herecomesthebride
Jockey Elvis Trujillo brought Farnsworth Stables’ 3-year-old filly Gozzip Girl up the rail in the stretch of Sunday’s $150,000 Herecomesthebride Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park for a half-length victory over Andrew Farm and Frank O’Connor’s Obsequious.
The victory was the second in a stakes at the meet for Gozzip Girl and the fifth of the season here for trainer Tom Albertrani. Dell Ridge Farm’s Bluegrass Prince finished third in the field of eight 3-year-old fillies, three-quarters of a length behind the runner-up. Livin the Dream Stable’s Dream Empress, the 9-5 favorite, was never a threat, finishing seventh.
Game Face Rolls to Inside Information Victory
Zabeel Racing International’s 4-year-old filly Game Face won the rubber match of a graded-stakes trilogy at Gulfstream Park Sunday, beating Joseph V. Shields Jr.’s 6-year-old mare Any Limit by 2½ lengths in the $150,000 Inside Information Stakes (G2).
Any Limit, who won the Hurricane Bertie Stakes (G3) with Game Face second when they met in mid-February, set the pace in the seven-furlong Inside Information while dueling with Gary and Mary West’s 4-year-old filly Keep the Peace to mid-stretch until Game Face rolled down the outside to victory under jockey John R. Velazquez for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Barn Notes 3-15
Stately Character Facing Florida Derby Decision
With a stakes win under his belt and an encouraging performance over the track, New Life Stable and Equus Racing Stable’s Stately Character could join the field in the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) on Sat. Mar. 28 at Gulfstream Park.
The 3-year-old homebred son of Pleasant Tap won the Foolish Pleasure Stakes last September at Calder Race Course before going on the shelf until early this season at Gulfstream.
Sunday, March 15 2009
Smooth Air Up in Time to Capture Gulfstream Park Handicap
Mount Joy Stables’ 4-year-old Florida homebred Smooth Air wore down the leaders in the deep stretch of the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) Saturday at Gulfstream Park to score a 1¼-length decision over Rolbea Throughbred Racing’s 5-year-old Finallymadeit.
Ridden by Paco Lopez, Smooth Air was making his second start this year after finishing seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita in late October for trainer Bennie Stutts Jr. The son of Smooth Jazz relaxed off the pace down the backstretch of the one-mile test as Finallymadeit dueled for the lead with Robert Clay’s Formidable before Smooth Air rallied down the outside in the field of six older horses. Formidable held third, three-quarters of a length behind the runner-up.
El Crespo Back on Turf for Palm Beach Victory
G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s 3-year-old Kentucky homebred El Crespo beat one horse last out in the Holy Bull Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 31 trying dirt for the first time, but he was back on turf Saturday to win the $150,000 Palm Beach Stakes (G3) by a length over Dogwood Stable’s Lime Rickey, the 9-5 favorite.
Jockey Javier Castellano was aboard El Crespo, who had broken his maiden on turf over the Gulfstream course on Jan. 10 after two starts in Kentucky last year for trainer Rusty Arnold. The homebred son of A.P. Indy paid $10 to win and was timed in 1:47:71 for the 1 1/8 miles on firm turf. Darley Stable’s Stormalory finished third in the field of six 3-year-olds, a head behind the runner-up.
Winning Jockey Quotes
“Definitely a great trip and a great horse. We broke well and the slow pace really helped us. I knew the five (Duke of Homberg) and three (Casey’s On Call) were the speed (horses) coming in, so the plan was to settle in and take a shot whenever we could. We were behind the five on the backstretch but when I asked him he responded nicely. Unfortunately, I was hurt last time (and didn’t ride him in the Holy Bull) but he seems to like the grass and me, I guess. This is a really special horse and I think the best is yet to come.”
(Note: Alan Garcia rode El Crespo in Castellano’s absence.)
Winning Trainer Quote
“He’s a 3-year-old by A.P. Indy, so we thought we had to try him on dirt in the Holy Bull (as a potential Derby candidate), and obviously that didn’t work, so we brought him back here on grass. He ran a big race. It was basically his ‘a other than’ and to do it in a graded stakes was a big step for him. He’s a half-brother to a good turf horse in Rey de Café and I think his future will be on turf, although we might try him on Polytrack again. He didn’t do well in his first start at Keeneland, but that was sprinting.”
(Note: Arnold reported from Tampa Bay Downs where Humphrey’s Commodities finished unplaced in the Hillsborough Stakes.)
Barn Notes 3-14
Dunkirk Steps Up Pressure in Florida Derby Workout
Undefeated Dunkirk, the 2-for-2 contender for the Coolmore partnership of Susan Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor, posted his latest workout Saturday morning at Palm Meadows Training Center as trainer Todd Pletcher prepares him for his first career stakes attempt in the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) on Sat., Mar. 28 at Gulfstream Park.
The 3-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song breezed five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 under exercise rider Patti Barry. Pletcher caught the colt’s last quarter-mile in 23 4/5.
Friday, March 13 2009
Gulfstream Barn Notes for Friday, March 13
Pan American & Orchid Marathons Next Weekend at Gulfstream
The emphasis will be on stamina next weekend at Gulfstream Park with renewals of the $150,000 Pan American Stakes (G3) on Saturday and $150,000 Orchid Stakes (G3) on Sunday, companion events to be run at 1 ½ miles on turf, the latter for fillies and mares.
Leading the list of nominees and a probable starter in the 48th edition of the Pan American is Patricia Generazio’s 6-year-old gelding Presious Passion, winner of the race last year before scoring the biggest victory of his career in the United Nations Handicap at Monmouth Park over the summer for trainer Mary Hartmann.
Thursday, March 12 2009
Any Limit vs. Game Face Round 3 in Inside Information Sunday
The ‘Rubber Match’ between Joseph V. Shields, Jr’s 6-year-old mare Any Limit and Zabeel Racing International’s 4-year-old filly Game Face is set for Sunday’s $150,000 Inside Information Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park after the two traded trips to the winners’ circle in a pair Graded stakes sprints earlier in the meet.
A field of six fillies and mares was drawn for the Inside Information, formerly known as the Shirley Jones Handicap, and the seven-furlong test will share the spotlight on Sunday’s program with the $150,000 Herecomesthebride Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies on turf.
Barn Notes 3-12
Zito Hot for Cool Coal Man in the Gulfstream Park Handicap
With an undefeated record at Gulfstream Park and one of the fastest performances of the year already under his belt, Robert LaPenta’s 4-year-old colt Cool Coal Man is poised for a big effort in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) Saturday.
Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito is excited to send the son of Mineshaft into the 65th running of the storied race as it shifts to one mile for the first time this year. He eagerly points out how impressive Cool Coal Man ran in his 2009 debut winning an optional/allowance race by 2 ¼ lengths going 6 ½ furlongs here Jan. 28.