Friday, April 03 2009
Barn notes 4-3-2209
Rick Pitino Takes Time for Horse Hobby at Gulfstream
With the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s college basketball fans stirred into a frenzy after the elimination of top-seeded University of Louisville from the NCAA men’s tournament and the hiring of a new coach at the University of Kentucky, Louisville’s coach Rick Pitino escaped the storm for a few hours indulging his passion for horse racing Thursday at Gulfstream Park.
The 56-year-old coach is one of the principle partners in Ol Memorial Stable. He was at the track to see his 3-year-old filly In Debt Joanne go for her second career win in a 5 ½-furlong claiming race.
Thursday, April 02 2009
Barn Notes 4-2-2009
Cool Gator Could Heat Up April for Orseno
With a five-win day last year Joe Orseno earned the distinction of being the leading trainer in the month of April at Gulfstream Park. This year the focus will be slightly different and he hopes Garland Williamson’s Cool Gator can start the month in a big way in the $100,000 Skip Away Stakes (G3) Saturday.
“Instead of winning five in one day, we’re going to try and win as many stakes as we can,” said Orseno as he mapped out plans for two or three of his best horses.
Wednesday, April 01 2009
Finallymadeit the Center of Attention in Skip Away
Rolbea Thoroughbred Racing’s 5-year-old homebred Finallymadeit has earned his nickname as South Florida’s ‘Iron Horse’ over the last three years, often performing well above expectations, but he will get plenty of attention in Saturday’s $100,000 Skip Away Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
Regular jockey Eduardo Nunez will be back aboard Finallymadeit for trainer Javier Negrete in the 1 3/16 miles test after a solid runner-up effort behind Smooth Air going one mile last out in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) on Mar. 14 at odds of 10-1, his sixth start of the meet without winning.
Barn Notes 4-1, 2009
Finallymadeit May Finally Be Favorite in Skip Away
At every turn this winter Rolbea Thoroughbred Racing’s Finallymadeit has been sticking his unheralded nose into the picture of Gulfstream Park’s biggest races, but Saturday the 5-year-old homebred son of Concerto will have the focus on him as he tries to speed away with the $100,000 Skip Away Stakes (G3) at 1 3/16 miles.
The race will be Finallymadeit’s sixth of the meet. Like clockwork the chestnut Florida-bred has seemingly shown up every time a big pot was on the table regardless of distance, surface or class.
Monday, March 30 2009
One Caroline Remains Perfect After Rampart Romp Sunday
G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s brilliant 4-year-old filly One Caroline ran her undefeated career record to five-for-five Sunday at Gulfstream Park after a dominating wire-to-wire victory in the $150,000 Rampart Stakes (G2), coasting home 6½ lengths ahead of Darley Stable’s 22-1 longshot Sea Chanter.
Jockey Edgar Prado had One Caroline in front shortly after a somewhat awkward break in the 1 1/8 miles test, and had plenty left when challengers got close nearing the stretch, drawing clear effortlessly. The roan/gray daughter of Unbridled’s Song won both of her starts last year at Churchill Downs and all three at this meet for trainer Rusty Arnold, most recently the Sabin Stakes (G3) on Feb. 20.
Barn Notes 3/29
Reviriego’s South American Operation Making Florida Home
Trainer Juan Reviriego is a colorful character, wearing an ascot and weathered sport coat most mornings around the barn. It’s hard to believe the native of Argentina could quietly slip into anyplace, but his former California string of South American-bred horses has been transplanted to Gulfstream Park in the last month.
Among his small band of runners is the Dama Group’s 5-year-old mare Lady Sprinter, who has been working steadily since getting here in February with hopes of duplicating her Argentine Group 1 stakes success here in the U.S.
Saturday, March 28 2009
Quality Road Sets Track Record Winning Florida Derby
Edward P. Evans 3-year-old Virginia homebred Quality Road turned back challengers at the head of the stretch in Saturday’s $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park and drew off to win by 1 ¾ lengths over Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s even-money favorite Dunkirk in the historic South Florida Kentucky Derby (G1) preview.
Ridden by John Velazquez for trainer Jimmy Jerkens, Quality Road was a strong second choice after winning the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) last out on Feb. 28 and punched his ticket to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 2 as he paid $4.40 to win in his first start around two turns. The Virginia-bred son of Elusive Quality set a track record for the 1 1/8 miles on a fast track.
‘Phil’ Wins Swale After Big Drama Disqualification
After a stretch-long battle in Saturday’s $150,000 Swale Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park, Harold Queen’s homebred 3-year-old Big Drama prevailed by a half-length over Paul Pompa Jr.’s This Ones for Phil in track-record time, but was disqualified and placed second after a stewards’ inquiry.
Big Drama was away alertly early in the seven-furlong test in his first start since winning the Delta Jackpot (G3) in early December and fought back bravely when challenged by This Ones for Phil in the stretch. Homewrecker Stable’s Custom for Carlos finished third in the field six, 4½ lengths behind the runner-up.
Nicanor Second Again in Third Start at Gulfstream
Lael Stable’s 3-year-old Nicanor, full-brother to ill-fated 2006 Kentucky Derby (G1) hero Barbaro, made his third career start Saturday at Gulfstream Park, and finished second as he did last out on Mar. 7, this time a half-length behind Brenda Stewart’s Glittermans Cartel in a one-mile maiden race.
Trained by Michael Matz and ridden by jockey Jose Lezcano, Nicanor was the 7-10 favorite in the field of eight 3-year-olds and loomed boldly into the stretch, but failed to make up ground in the final yards. Glittermans Cartel was timed in 1:36:08 over the fast track and paid $10.20 for $2. Jockey Kent Desormeaux rode the winner for trainer Ken McPeek.
Horse Society’s Post-Race Party to Benefit Old Friends, New Vocations
A post-race party to be held at Gulfstream Park Saturday, Florida Derby Day, will benefit the Old Friends thoroughbred-retirement home and the New Vocations racehorse-adoption program.
The party is free and open to the public and will begin immediately after the 12th race in Gulfstream Park’s South Beach area. The event was organized and sponsored by Horse Society Magazine, an emerging publication that has made a splash in the industry with its profiles of the sport’s leading lights and its coverage of the “Lifestyle of Thoroughbred Racing.”
Justwhistledixie Romps in Bonnie Miss Friday
West Point Thoroughbreds and partners’ 3-year-old filly Justwhistledixie confirmed her status as one of the favorites for the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs when she rallied down the stretch to capture the $200,000 Bonnie Miss Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park Friday by 1¾ lengths over Edward P. Evans’ Casanova Move.
Jockey Julien Leparoux rode 3-5 favorite Justwhistledixie with complete confidence, rating comfortably in fourth down the backstretch of the 1 1/8 miles test before circling rivals on the far turn and drawing clear with authority as she scored her fifth straight victory for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
Dunkirk (N.Y.) Abuzz
New York Great Lakes Town (No, Not Sacketts Harbor) Has Rooting Interest in the Florida Derby
The south shores of Lake Erie are far from the Aegean Sea, but there’s been a war brewing between city-states here mildly reminiscent of that between Athens and Sparta.
The cities in question are Fredonia, population 10,706, and Dunkirk, the bigger city with 13,131 inhabitants, two hamlets nestled between Erie, Pa., and Buffalo, N.Y..