Parbhoo Saddles Off the Jak to Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint
Triple Crown Trails Lead Cross Country Saturday
Bourbon Lane Stable and Wayne Lynn’s 4-year-old Bourbon Courage arrived in South Florida at Palm Beach International Airport Wednesday from New Orleans on a Tex Sutton Forwarding charter flight ahead of his 2013 season debut in the $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) Saturday, Feb. 9 at Gulfstream Park.
“He got his first tour of the track yesterday morning,” said trainer Kellyn Gorder who also made the trip from his winter headquarters at Fair Grounds. “We’re in Jonathan Sheppard’s barn. I’m going to stay and watch him breeze Sunday morning. After the Clark we gave him a couple weeks off and he’s done well training at Fair Grounds. Javier Castellano will ride him.”
A son of Lion Heart, Bourbon Courage made a quick entrance onto the national stage last year in eight starts, winning his first two at Fair Grounds in February and March and competed in six Graded stakes after that.
Fourth in the Derby Trial (G3) at Churchill Downs and fifth in the Woody Stephens (G2) at Belmont Park, Bourbon Courage started to hit his best stride finishing second by a half-length in the West Virginia Derby (G2) at Mountaineer Park in his first try around two turns on Aug. 4.
He went on to win the Super Derby (G2) at Louisiana Downs by five lengths in early September, finished second by a length in the Indiana Derby (G2) at Hoosier Park in early October and ran a very big race to finish third in the Clark Handicap (G1) last out on Nov. 23 at Churchill, beaten a length for it all by Shackleford in his first test against older horses..
Among Bourbon Courage’s major rivals in the strong field assembling for the Donn is WinStar Farm and Maribeth and Chuck Sandford’s 4-year-old Take Charge Indy, the 2012 Florida Derby (G1) winner trained by Pat Byrne. The son of A.P. Indy also makes his first start since the Clark Handicap in which he finished second, a head in front of Bourbon Courage.
Also expected to line up for the 57th edition of the Donn are Golden Goose Enterprises and partners’ Citrus Kid, Bruce Hollander and Cary Shapoff’s Csaba, Let’s Go Stable’s El Padrino, Preston Stable’s Flat Out, William S. Farish, Jr.’s Pool Play and B.J. Wright’s California invader Ultimate Eagle. Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Mucho Macho Man is listed as a ‘possible’ starter.
Pool Play completed his final major preparation for the Donn Friday morning at Palm Meadows with a five-furlong workout in 1:00 4/5 for trainer Mark Casse. The 8-year-old son of Silver Deputy ran a big race to finish second by a neck behind Csaba in the $100,000 Hal’s Hope Stakes (G3) going a mile here on Jan. 13 in his first start since finishing eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita on Nov. 3.
Parbhoo Saddles Off the Jak in Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint
Trainer Shivananda Parbhoo will send Sherry Parbhoo's Off the Jak to the turf Saturday in the $75,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint at five furlongs. The 5-year-old son of With Distinction makes his turf debut after winning the Florida Sunshine Millions Sprint over a sloppy track Jan. 19 and finishing second by less than a length Dec. 29 in the Mr. Prospector (G3) over six furlongs.
"He trains as if he wants to run on turf," Parbhoo said. "We've been wanting to try him on the turf for a while now but haven't had a chance. We tried a Calder race earlier this year but it came off the turf due to rain."
While Off the Jak has run on or close to the pace in his recent starts, Parbhoo said he doesn't want the gelding on the front Saturday.
"I'd like him to sit third or fourth and wait until the three-eighths pole then make a run," he said.
Triple Crown Trails Lead Cross Country Saturday
It is that time of year that horsemen and horses are on the move for the best opportunities to earn a place on the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Triple Crown trail of 2013 and Saturday is a busy day on the schedule nationwide with four Graded stakes for 3-year-olds, including the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park at seven furlongs.
A field of 10 was drawn for the Hutcheson, but Newtown Anner Stud and James Covello’s Falling Sky was also entered in Saturday’s $250,000 Sam Davis Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs and trainer John Terranova has indicated that will be where the son of Lion Heart will run with Gulfstream-based jockey Luis Saez going along for the ride.
Falling Sky will be making his first start for new connections since being purchased for $425,000 OBS January Mixed sales following an impressive allowance victory at Gulfstream on Dec. 15, his second victory from three starts.
Falling Sky will have plenty of company from South Florida making the trip to Tampa Bay Saturday for the Sam Davis and two other stakes that afternoon -- $150,000 Florida Oaks (G3) and $150,000 Endeavour Stakes (G3).
In addition to Falling Sky, the 10 drawn for the Sam Davis include several South Florida connections including John Oxley’s pair of Northern Lion and Dynamic Sky (Mark Casse), Pinnacle Racing’s Silver Day (Bill Kaplan), Wachtel Stable and partners’ My Name Is Michael (Bill Mott) with Joel Rosario to ride, Hardaway Stable’s Speak Logistics (Eddie Plesa, Jr.) and My Meadowview Farm’s Midnight Poppa (Nick Zito) to be ridden by Jose Lezcano.
Leading Gulfstream rider Javier Castellano is notably absent from the Saturday overnight at Gulfstream as he travels to New York for the day for the mount on WinStar Farms’ 3-year-old Revolutionary in the $200,000 Withers Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Pletcher has most of his arsenal of 3-year-old prospects at Palm Meadows and will be represented in the Hutcheson by Perretti Racing Stable’s Forty Tales and also runs Lets Go Stable’s brilliant maiden winner Verrazano in an ‘a other than’ allowance race going a mile in the fifth race on the card.