Thursday, March 12 2009
‘Cool Man’ & Smooth Air Clash in Gulfstream Park Handicap
Mount Joy Stable’s Smooth Air and Robert LaPenta’s Cool Coal Man were prominent winning Grade 2 stakes at Gulfstream Park at this time last year on the road to the Kentucky Derby (G1), but checked in 11th and 15th, respectively, behind Big Brown at Churchill Downs on the First Saturday in May in their only meeting.
The two 4-year-olds will likely be the favorites in a field of six older horses entered in Saturday’s $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) to be run at one mile for the first time after decades contested at 1 ¼ miles and at 1 3/16 miles the last four renewals.
Barn Notes - Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Smooth Air on Schedule for 2009 Season Goals
Mount Joy Stable’s Florida homebred Smooth Air finished a very respectable seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita on Oct. 25, beaten only 5 ¼ lengths for it all by Raven’s Pass, and shortly thereafter trainer Bennie Stutts, Jr. and owner-breeder Brian Burns set out to plan ahead for the 2009 season.
“We gave him a month off at the farm (in Ocala) in November,” said Stutts Wednesday morning after entering the 4-year-old son of Smooth Jazz in Saturday’s $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2), an historic test shortened from the 1 3/16 miles distance of the last four years to a mile for this season.
Monday, March 09 2009
Peisinoe Goes Wire-to-Wire in Ocala Stakes Sunday
Royal Pegasus LLC’s 4-year-old filly Peisinoe broke alertly under jockey Jermaine Bridgmohan in Sunday’s $75,000 Ocala Stakes for Florida-bred fillies and mares at Gulfstream Park and never was headed as she sped to a one-length victory over Zayat Stable’s Zee Zee in the one-mile test.
A daughter of Yes It’s True, Peisinoe had stumbled at the start in her last race, finishing sixth in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint here on Jan. 24 in her first start for trainer Ian Wilkes after being purchased at the Fasig-Tipton November sales. She paid $13.40 to win and was timed in 1:37:47 over the fast track.
Saturday, March 07 2009
I lost My Choo Rallies to Capture Honey Fox
Making her first start since August at Saratoga, Flying Zee Stable’s 4-year-old homebred filly I Lost My Choo swung out around rivals on the far turn and rallied through the stretch to a two-length victory over Linda Shanahan’s 50-1 Rustic Flame in the $100,000 Honey Fox Stakes (G3) Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
Ridden by jockey Jose Lezcano, I Lost My Choo had won all three of her starts over the Gulfstream course last winter for trainer Phil Serpe and made it 4-for-4 in her first start since finishing fifth as the favorite in the Lake Placid Stakes (G2) run over yielding ground at Saratoga on Aug. 15.
Hypocrite Rallies to Sunshine State Victory at Gulfstream
After stumbling badly at the start from the one post under jockey Manoel Cruz, Jacqueline Tortora and partners’ 4-year-old Hypocrite rallied along the rail in Saturday’s $75,000 Sunshine State Stakes at Gulfstream Park to score by three-quarters of a length over Trilogy Stable’s 5-year-old Yesbyjimminy, the 3-5 favorite in the seven-furlong test.
A son of Outofthebox, Hypocrite won the Super Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs last out on Feb. 7 after finishing second and third in two stakes at Calder behind Yesbyjimminy late last year. Rose Family Stable’s 5-year-old Hal’s My Hope finished third in the field of six Florida-breds, 2¾ lengths behind the runner-up. Hypocrite paid $5.40 to win as the second choice and was timed in 1:23:40 over the fast track.
Barbaro’s Brother Nicanor Runner-up to ‘Carlos’ in Second Start
Lael Stable’s 3-year-old Nicanor, full-brother to ill-fated 2006 Florida and Kentucky Derby (G1) hero Barbaro, made his second career start Saturday at Gulfstream Park, and fared much better than his debut as he finished second to Homewrecker Racing’s 7-10 favorite Custom for Carlos in a seven-furlong maiden race.
Nicanor stumbled at the start of his much-publicized debut going one mile on Jan. 31 and never reached contention as he finished 10th of 12. Saturday, he was away alertly under jockey Jose Lezcano, set the pace to the upper stretch, and held gamely for the place at 8-1, a length behind the winner.
Barn Notes 3-7 GP
Danger to Society Working Toward Stakes Rebound
Lansdon Robbins and partners’ 3-year-old Danger to Society continues to work toward a hoped-for rebound in a major stakes with his latest drill coming Saturday morning at Gulfstream Park.
With exercise rider/jockey Mario Madrid in the saddle, the son of Harlan’s Holiday breezed six furlongs in 1:12 2/5 in his third workout since finishing seventh in the Holy Bull Stakes (G3) here Jan. 31.
Friday, March 06 2009
Al Khali Joins Pletcher’s Potential Derby Team
WinStar Farm’s 3-year-old Al Khali rallied through the stretch for a three-quarter length victory under John Velazquez in a 1 1/8 mile allowance test Friday afternoon at Gulfstream Park, moving him up in trainer Todd Pletcher’s arsenal of Kentucky Derby (G1) candidates.
Al Khali is a Kentucky-bred colt by Medaglia d’Oro who was making his first U.S. start. He was originally sold to Dante Zanelli for $15,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sales. He had made his previous three starts under three separate trainers while racing in Peru, where he won his most recent two races after finishing second in his debut.
Barn Notes 2-6
Sky Diva Works Toward 3-year-old Debut at Gulfstream
A diva’s got to have her space. That’s the reason Puglisi Racing’s Grade 1-winning 3-year-old filly Sky Diva is warming up in South Florida and is not part of trainer Steve Klesaris’s main string in New Orleans this winter.
The daughter of Sky Mesa has been training steadily at Gulfstream Park, including a five-furlong breeze Friday morning in 1:01 1/5. She has been ramping up toward a 3-year-old debut following third-place finishes in the Demoiselle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct on Nov. 29 and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) on Oct. 24 at Santa Anita.
Thursday, March 05 2009
Second Half of Gilchrist’s 1,2 Punch Runs in Sunday’s Ocala Stakes
Northern California-based trainer Greg Gilchrist, in South Florida for the Fasig-Tipton 2-year-old sales earlier this week, brought along two stakes stars to run in stakes this weekend at Gulfstream Park.
Gilchrist sends out Estate of Harry Aleo’s 5-year-old mare Wild Promises as the likely favorite in Saturday’s $100,000 Honey Fox Stakes and her 6-year-old stablemate Victorina in Sunday’s $75,000 Ocala Stakes. The latter could rule the choice in a field of 11 Florida-bred fillies and mares going one mile.
GP Barn Notes 3-5
Jerkens Poses ‘Formidable’ Challenge to Gulfstream Park Handicap
With a challenger threatening to match one of his own training feats, Hall of Fame horseman Allen Jerkens will send Robert Clay’s 4-year-old emerging star Formidable into the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) on Sat. Mar. 14.
A son of Sky Mesa, Formidable will face several graded-stakes performers, including Robert LaPenta’s Cool Coal Man, winner of the 2008 Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2). The Nick Zito-trained Cool Coal Man bids to become only the second horse to win the Fountain of Youth and Gulfstream Park Handicap. The other was Sensitive Prince – trained by Jerkens – in 1978-79.
Barbaro’s Brother Nicanor Set for Round Two
Barbaro’s baby brother Nicanor, recovered from minor injuries suffered in his first career start, takes his second try at finding the winner’s circle Saturday when he tackles a field of nine other 3-year-olds.
Nicanor’s race, the Malibu Rum Finish Line, is the eighth on a card of 11 races, highlighted by the $100,000 Honey Fox and the $75,000 Sunshine State. The Malibu Rum carries a $40,000 purse and will be contested at seven furlongs.