Opening Day Card to Feature Pair of $100,000 Juvenile Turf Stakes

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Yes I’m Lucky has assembled a fairly impressive resume in a short period of time since making his debut in June, proving to be as versatile as he has been precocious.

The 2-year-old colt has registered four wins and a second in five career starts while establishing himself as a stakes winner on dirt and a multiple-stakes winner on turf.

“He seems to be equal on both in my opinion,” said trainer Eddie Plesa Jr., whose Kentucky-bred trainee is coming off a handy 6 ½-length victory in the $100,000 Laurel Futurity on turf.

Yes I’m Lucky’s versatility will be put to the test in Saturday’s $100,000 Pulpit Stakes, one of two $100,000 mile turf stakes for 2-year-olds on the opening-day card of Gulfstream Park’s 2013-2014 Champions Meet. The son of Yes It’s True, who’ll be ridden by Paco Lopez, will be sent around two turns for the first time to discover if he can maintain his winning ways at longer distances.

“The last time he ran, my first question to the jockey was, ‘Will he go farther?’ He said, ‘Absolutely,’” said Plesa, whose colt was ridden in the Laurel Futurity by Chris Decarlo. “And Paco is of the same opinion.

Yes I’m Lucky broke his maiden at 4 ½ furlongs over the Monmouth Park main track before shipping to South Florida to win the 5 ½-furlong Frank Gomez Memorial on dirt. Back in New Jersey, the Kentucky-bred colt made his turf debut with a victory in the five-furlong Tyro Stakes. A runner-up finish in the six-furlong Sapling (G3) on dirt was followed by his Laurel Futurity romp
Although he expected Yes I’m Lucky to be a nice racehorse, Plesa admitted that he has been pleasantly surprised by the Yes It’s True colt’s turf form.

“I’ve had two Yes It’s Trues, and if you look up the stallion, they’re two of his leading money-winning horses. Neither one of them could turf. Every Yes It’s True I’ve had – I’ve probably have had 20 of them – none of them could turf. None of them could go long,” Plesa said. “But this horse’s mother, Whenthedoveflies, won 15 or 16 races on turf. He runs on the dirt; he runs on the turf; I think he’ll go long. He’s not what you think of a typical Yes It’s True.”

Yes I’m Lucky, who is set to break from the No. 1 post, is rated second in the morning line at 5-2 in the Pulpit, carded as the seventh race on a 10-race program. Storming Inti, who captured the $100,000 Awad Stakes over the Belmont Park turf course last time out, has been installed as the 5-2 favorite in a field of nine.

Trained by Chad Brown, the son of Stormy Atlantic was forwardly placed throughout his Awad victory before prevailing from a long stretch duel by three-quarters of a length.

“He’s the kind of horse that you can place him where he wants to be,” Brown said. “We’ll do more of the same in this race and place him where he’s comfortable.”

The stakes victory followed a maiden-breaking triumph in his second lifetime race. In his debut at Saratoga in August, the Pennsylvania-bred colt finished third behind Bashart, who went on to win a Grade 2 stakes, after encountering a lot of trouble.

“He was a little bit inexperienced and he got in a little traffic in the stretch, but the race was good for him,” Brown said.

Bon Accord, who finished fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Santa Anita last time out; Perky Kitten, a Ken and Sarah Ramsey-owned homebred colt who finished second in a recent stakes at Retama Park; and Notyouraveragejoe, the winner of the $100,000 Juvenile Turf on Gulfstream’s recent Sunshine Millions Preview program; are among the strong contenders for the Pulpit.

Brown is scheduled to have double representation in the $100,000 Wait a While for 2-year-old fillies by Ready to Act and Hillhouse High. Ready to Act, the 5-2 morning-line favorite in a field of 11 (including main-track only Stately Defence), is coming off a sixth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at Santa Anita. Hillhouse High, rated third at 5-1, broke her maiden at one mile on the Belmont Park turf in her third lifetime start last time out.

Candy Kitty, trained by defending 10-time Gulfstream champion Todd Pletcher, is rated second in the morning line at 3-1 for the Wait a While, carded as Saturday’s ninth race. The 2-year-old daughter of Lemon Drop Kid, who broke her maiden at Saratoga, finished fourth in the Jessamine (G3) at Keeneland in her most recent race.

Secret Kitten, who returns to turf after suffering her first career loss in the Juvenile Filly Sprint at Gulfstream last time out; and Spring Again, a recent maiden winner on Keeneland’s Polytrack for trainer Wesley Ward; will also contest the Wait a While.

Post time for Saturday’s first race is set for 12:40 p.m.