Thursday, March 05 2009
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.
Wednesday, March 04 2009
Florida Derby Prospects Likely to Emerge from Friday Feature
Lori and George Hall’s Atomic Rain and Jayeff B Stable’s Chef are prominent in a field of eight 3-year-olds entered in Friday’s 1 1/8 miles allowance feature at Gulfstream Park, a race almost certain to yield a contender or two for the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) to be run over the track and distance on Sat., Mar. 28.
Jockey Joe Bravo rides Atomic Rain for trainer Kelly Breen as he bids to bounce back from a dull seventh-place finish as one of the favorites in the Sam Davis Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 14.
Monday, March 02 2009
GP Barn Notes 3-1
Affirmatif Very Impressive With Debut Win Saturday
The dust wasn’t completely settled from Saturday’s Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park when trainer Todd Pletcher threw another 3-year-old on to the stage in a big way as the Wertheimer Brothers’ Affirmatif rolled to a nine-length victory in his career debut.
The Kentucky homebred son of Unbridled’s Song won the one-mile maiden turf contest in 1:34.27 – faster by .04 than the time run by 5-year-old Pletcher-trained stablemate Twilight Meteor two races earlier in the Canadian Turf Stakes (G3).
Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Handle Soars Beyond Last Year’s Totals
Beautiful weather and a solid racing program that featured appearances by classic winner Da’Tara; a graded turf stakes, and a headliner that matched most of the nation’s finest 3-year-olds contributed to an astronomical rise in total handle Saturday from the corresponding day at Gulfstream Park last year.
Saturday’s main event was the $250,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth, won by Quality Road, whose victory moved him to the upper echelon of Florida and Kentucky Derby hopefuls. On-track wagering was up 52.79% from last year’s ninth Saturday of the meet, a card highlighted by the historic Gulfstream Park Handicap.
Justwhistledixie Romps to Victory in Davona Dale Sunday
West Point Stables and Lakland Farm’s 3-year-old filly Justwhistledixie made an auspicious South Florida debut drawing off to win Sunday’s $150,000 Davona Dale Stakes (G2) by 3¾ lengths under jockey Alan Garcia in her first start since a 3½-length victory in the Ruthless Stakes at Aqueduct on Jan. 4.
Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Justwhistledixie is a daughter of Dixie Union purchased for $425,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sales. She was posting her fourth victory in six starts, stamping herself as a Kentucky Oaks (G1) prospect.
Saturday, February 28 2009
Quality Road Rolls in Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth
Edward P. Evans’ 3-year-old Virginia homebred colt Quality Road broke alertly in Saturday’s $250,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park, took command in the upper stretch of the one-mile test and drew clear to score by 4¼ lengths over Samotowka Stables and partners’ Theregoesjojo in the longtime Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby preview.
Ridden by John R. Velazquez for trainer Jimmy Jerkens, Quality Road was making only the third start of his career in the one-turn mile test after a sensational debut at Aqueduct in late November and a runner-up effort at odds-on in an allowance race here Jan. 10. The imposing 17 hands bay paid $13 to win and was timed in 1:35:01 over the fast track.
Twilight Meteor Blazes to Canadian Turf Victory
Making his second start after a nine-month layoff, Peachtree Stable’s 5-year-old Canadian-bred Twilight Meteor stalked the early pace in Saturday’s $150,000 Canadian Turf Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park before forging to the front in the upper stretch and holding on for a one-length victory in the one-mile test under jockey John. R. Velazquez.
A chestnut son of Smart Strike, Twilight Meteor finished fourth in an allowance race over the course on Jan. 29 in his first start since late April. Saturday’s victory gave trainer Todd Pletcher his fourth tally in the Canadian Turf.
Castellano Injured in First Race Back From Injury
Jockey Javier Castellano, in his first ride since returning from an injury, fell from his mount Saturday and was under observation while complaining of soreness at Memorial Regional Hospital.
Castellano was aboard Valid Name in the first race at Gulfstream Park. The mishap occurred on the far turn.
GP Barn Notes 2-28
Cool Coal Man & Dream Empress Prominent on Busy Palm Meadows Tab
Robert LaPenta’s 4-year-old Cool Coal Man, winner of last year’s renewal of the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) for trainer Nick Zito, breezed a half-mile in 49 flat Saturday morning as he prepares for his second start this season following a sharp allowance victory here going 6 ½ furlongs on Jan. 28.
The son of Mineshaft went on to finish 15th behind Big Brown in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and third behind that rival in the Haskell Invitational (G1) at Monmouth Park. Cool Coal Man is targeted for the one-mile, $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) to be run Sat., Mar. 14.
Friday, February 27 2009
Gulfstream Featured on Channel 7 Tuesday Night
Fox Channel 7 (Miami) spent Wednesday at Gulfstream Park gathering material for its weekly All Access feature, a behind-the-scenes feature that will air Tuesday night at 10.
Dave Kartunen hosts the show, which in recent weeks gave viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the preparations of a Billy Joel concert, open-heart surgery, the Winterfest Boat Show and Cirque Du Soleil.
Frolic’s Dream Likely Choice in Davona Dale Sunday
Sunday’s $150,000 Davona Dale Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park drew a field of nine 3-year-old fillies to go one mile, and Frolic’s Dream will likely be favored to add to her growing resume as she makes her first start since being purchased privately by Roy and Gretchen Jackson’s Lael Stable and transferred to trainer Barclay Tagg two weeks ago.
Jockey John R. Velazquez will get aboard Frolic’s Dream for the first time after Jermaine Bridgmohan was in the saddle for all five of her previous career starts for owner-breeder Dare To Dream Stable and trainer Marty Wolfson, winning four times and just missing in a photo in the other.