Monday, March 16 2009
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.
‘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.