Livingston Returns to Claim the 'Crown'
Mucho Macho Man Back on the Track
Pompay Happy to be Back

Livingston Street Back to Claim the ‘Crown’

When trainer Peter Walder claimed Livingston Street out of a fifth-place finish at Gulfstream Park on March 2, the 6-year-old gelding would hardly have been considered a “horse for the course.”

Judging from an 0-for-17 career record at Gulfstream before changing stables, it didn’t seem likely that Walder and his partners, Winning Move Stable and Ultra Championship Racing, were expecting Livingston Street to justify his $25,000 claiming tag at the Hallandale Beach racetrack.

Yet, Walder is back at Gulfstream Park and very much looking forward to running Livingston Street on the Opening Day card on Dec. 1. Having already justified his trainer’s confidence in him with three victories and two runner-up finishes from five starts, the son of Mr. Livingston is a strong candidate for the $125,000 Emerald, one of seven races of the $850,000 Claiming Crown that highlights the card.

“We had a great summer with him. We won a couple of big starters with him in Philadelphia. We had a lot of fun with him. He’s a really cool horse,” Walder said. “We’ve been looking forward to the Claiming Crown since August. You don’t want to get ahead of yourself too much in this business, but we’ve been pointing him for this.”

The Emerald, which will be run at 1 1/16 miles on turf, is open to horses that have raced for a claiming price of $25,000 or lower.

Walder has no worries about Livingston Street handling the Gulfstream turf, having registered a victory with the Florida-bred gelding over the course in his first start after the claim on April 2. Livingston Street had enjoyed considerably more success at Calder Race Course, where he was based year round with trainer Bill Kaplan, but Walder found out that the graded stakes-placed turf performer ‘s lackluster record at Gulfstream wasn’t a result of a dislike for the course.

“He was 0-for-his life at Gulfstream when I took him,” Walder said. “I think it might have had to do with shipping, even though it was just a 15-minute ship. The first time we ran him back for $40,000, he ran off the TV screen. I think it really helped just to walk him over.”

Livingston Street registered a two-length triumph for a $40,000 claiming price to earn his long-in-coming trip to the Gulfstream winner’s circle. After shipping north for the summer, Walder raced his new acquisition four times at Parx, where he finished a close second twice before winning back-to-back starter races.

“He’s a happy horse,” Walder said. “He’s acting like a 2-year-old.”

Mucho Macho Man Back on the Track

Trainer Kathy Ritvo sent Mucho Macho Man back to the track Tuesday morning at Gulfstream Park. The Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) runner-up, who shipped from Santa Anita last week, stretched his legs under regular exercise rider Nick Petro Jr.

“He was happy to be out there,” Petro said.

Mucho Macho Man, who won the Florida Sunshine Millions and Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) last season, stalked Fort Larned throughout the Classic run, falling short by just a half-length short of catching the Ian Wilkes-trained pacesetter.

Pompay Happy to be Back

Trainer Terri Pompay was particularly pleased to ship to Gulfstream Park this year while leaving behind Hurricane Sandy-stricken New Jersey.

“I survived the hurricane and I’m happy to be here,” she said. “My basement was flooded, but on my street, there were three houses that were ruined. I was lucky.”

The Oceanport, N.J. resident will have 24 horses stabled at Gulfstream Park, including Zero Rate Policy and, eventually, Grade 1 winner Currency Swap.

Currency Swap, who won the 2011 Hopeful (G1), returned to Saratoga this summer to capture the Amsterdam (G2). The 3-year-old son of High Cotton finished second behind then-undefeated Gemologist in an allowance at Gulfstream on March 16. Currency Swap recently underwent surgery to repair an entrapped epiglottis and is expected to join Pompay’s barn in February.

Zero Rate Policy, who won the Sunshine State and was nosed out by Apriority in the Mr. Prospector (G2) at Gulfstream last season, has been unsuccessful in regaining that form after falling in a stakes at Monmouth Park in May.

“I’d like to get him in a spot to get his confidence back,” Pompay said.

Her stable will include a pair of 2-year-old fillies who broke their maidens at Saratoga, Over the Counter and Insolvent.

“My stable is mostly young horses,” Pompay said, noting that she has some unraced 2-year-olds that will debut at Gulfstream.