Thursday, March 26 2009
Barn Notes 2/26
Speedy Casey’s On Call Jumps Into the Fray
When Casey’s On Call made his 3-year-old debut in a $75,000 claiming race Feb. 19 at Gulfstream Park, his connections were not thinking about the Kentucky Derby trail.
Trainer Alec Fehr was.
The 42-year-old Canadian-based trainer convinced owner Terry Hamilton to claim the son of Gimmeawink. Six weeks later they are hoping to run away with the biggest prize of the season as BlackBerry Presents the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) Saturday.
Florida Derby advance
Dunkirk & Quality Road Lead Cast for 58th Florida Derby
Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s Dunkirk, very impressive winning his two starts at Gulfstream Park this season for trainer Todd Pletcher; and Edward P. Evans’ Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) winner Quality Road are the morning-line favorites at 9-5 and 2-1, respectively, for Saturday’s $750,000 Florida Derby (G1).
The two emerging star 3-year-olds will bid to use the historic 1 1/8 miles fixture to earn a berth in the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs five weeks later on Sat., May 2. A field of nine was drawn Wednesday morning for the 58th edition of South Florida’s showcase race.
Wednesday, March 25 2009
GP Barn Notes 3-25
Beethoven Out of Florida Derby
John Oxley’s Beethoven was expected to be the third or fourth choice behind Dunkirk and Quality Road in Saturday’s $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park but will pass the race, according to trainer John Ward Jr.
“There was some heat in a tendon in a front leg (Wednesday) morning,” said Ward of the Sky Mesa colt. “It seems minor, not extreme, but we decided it’s best to not make a minor situation worse. It’s possible he could be back in the entries in the not-too-distant future.”
Monday, March 23 2009
Dress Rehearsal Rallies to Orchid Victory Sunday
Completing a big weekend for trainer Bill Mott and jockey Kent Desormeaux, Swettenham Stud’s 4-year-old Irish-bred filly Dress Rehearsal rallied through the stretch to capture the $150,000 Orchid Stakes (G3) Sunday at Gulfstream Park by 2¾ lengths over Aston Hall Stud’s Lamentation.
Desormeaux had Dress Rehearsal rating comfortably off the pace in the early running of the 1½ miles turf test before rallying past Darley Stable’s 3-5 favorite Criticism in midstretch. Criticism had soundly defeated Dress Rehearsal when they met on Feb. 22 in The Very One Stakes (G3), and appeared headed to victory Sunday with a clear lead into the stretch, but tired to third, 1¼ lengths behind the runner-up in the field of six fillies and mares.
Sunday, March 22 2009
Justwhistledixie Strong Favorite in Bonnie Miss Friday
West Point Thoroughbreds and partners’ 3-year-old filly Justwhistledixie will be strictly the horse to beat in Friday’s $200,000 Bonnie Miss Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park, the first of five graded stakes to be run over the three-day Florida Derby (G1) weekend.
Jockey Julien Leparoux rides Justwhistledixie for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, replacing regular rider Alan Garcia, who will be in Dubai over the weekend. Justwhistledixie bids for a fourth straight stakes victory and fifth overall while facing five rival 3-year-old fillies in the 1 1/8 miles South Florida preview of Kentucky Oaks (G1) prospects.
Barn Notes 3-22
Theregoesjojo Drills for Florida Derby at Gulfstream
Trainer Ken McPeek had scheduled a final major workout yesterday for Samotowka Stables and partners’ 3-year-old Theregoesjojo ahead of next Saturday’s $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park yesterday, but postponed it because of ‘sloppy’ track conditions.
After day-long rain on Saturday, the Gulfstream surface remained ‘sloppy’ with ‘dogs’ up protecting the inside rail Sunday morning, but McPeek gave the go ahead for ‘Jojo’ to work at about 7:30 a.m. and the son of Brahms was timed six furlongs in 1:15 1/5. Clockers caught him in fractions along the way of 25 2/5, 37 4/5, 1:03 and galloping out seven furlongs in 1:30.
Buddy’s Humor Splashes to Victory in Pan American
Day-long rain at Gulfstream Park Saturday forced management to take races scheduled for the turf off that surface and run them on the main track, including the $150,000 Pan American Stakes (G3), but that worked out fine for Eli Lomita’s 5-year-old Buddy’s Humor as he wore down Patricia Generazio’s Presious Passion to win by three-quarters of a length.
A field of only five went to the post after the race was shifted from the scheduled 1 ½ miles on turf to 1 ¼ miles on a ‘sloppy’ main track. Jockey Jose Lezcano was aboard Buddy’s Humor for trainer Bruce Levine and stalked pace-setting Presious Passion from the start before surging to the lead in the upper stretch.
Barn Notes 3/21
Dunkirk & Quality Road Drill at Palm Meadows
Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s Dunkirk and Edward P. Evans’ Quality Road, the two likely favorites for next Saturday’s $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park, posted impressive workouts on a fast track Saturday morning at Palm Meadows.
Dunkirk, working in company with highly-regarded stablemate Affirmatif, was timed a ‘bullet’ five furlongs in 1:00:15 for trainer Todd Pletcher while Quality Road was timed in 1:25 for seven furlongs for trainer Jimmy Jerkens, the only horse working that distance on the tab.
Friday, March 20 2009
GP Barn NOtes 3-20
Five Graded Stakes Set for Florida Derby Weekend
The $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) next Saturday will be the highlight of an outstanding weekend of racing at Gulfstream Park as the 58th edition of the historic Kentucky Derby (G1) preview leads a schedule of five graded stakes to be run over three days.
A field of seven or eight is taking shape for the 1 1/8 miles Florida Derby, led by several of the nation’s most highly-regarded Kentucky Derby prospects – Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s Dunkirk; Edward P. Evans’ Quality Road, John Oxley’s Beethoven and Samotawka Stables and partners’ Theregoesjojo.
Thursday, March 19 2009
Barn Notes 3-19
Sligovitz Facing Test in Pan American Saturday
Stronach Stable’s 4-year-old Canadian homebred Sligovitz finished a game fifth in the Gulfstream Park Turf (G1) on Feb. 1 as a 25-1 longshot, beaten only 1½ lengths by Kip Deville, and faces another big challenge Saturday in the $150,000 Pan American Stakes (G3) with Presious Passion and Spice Route the likely favorites in the 1½ miles turf test..
“He ran very well in that race (Gulfstream Turf),” said trainer Brian Lynch from Palm Meadows Thursday morning. “He was inexperienced when he tried a mile-and-a-half last year and veered out,” referring to the colt’s runner-up finish behind Marlang in the Breeders’ Stakes at Woodbine in early August.
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.