Hello Broadway Crew Happy With Hutcheson Performance

Elizabeth Valando’s 3-year-old homebred Hello Broadway was tired but looking good the morning after his second-place finish behind Capt. Candyman Can in Friday’s $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park.

Trainer Barclay Tagg was concerned about starting the strapping son of Broken Vow’s season off in a seven-furlong race, but his connections were happy with the colt’s effort and where it could lead.

“He came out of it pretty good,” said Robin Smullen, assistant trainer to Tagg Saturday morning at Gulfstream. “He was a little tired, but he’s not a seven-furlong horse and he still put in a good effort.”

Smullen said they were surprised by Hello Broadway’s sharpness out of the starting gate in his first start since finishing second in the Nashua Stakes (G3) on Nov. 2 at Aqueduct.

“We didn’t expect him to break like that,” she said. “The only other time he broke like that was in his maiden race. We expected him to be three or four lengths back, but in that case he was up there and he just had to roll with the punches. Considering that, it was a game effort.”

Tagg had previously indicated the $250,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2), at one mile at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 28, would be the next stop with the eventual goal of racing in the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) four weeks later on Mar. 28.

Tallahassee & Marion County Stakes Highlight Racing Next Weekend

The $75,000 Tallahassee Stakes and $75,000 Marion County Stakes are companion events for Florida-bred older horses to be run at one mile on turf, the latter for fillies and mares, and will highlight the racing action at Gulfstream Park next Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Leading prospects for the Tallahassee include Mount Joy Stable’s 4-year-old Smooth Air, ready for his first start since finishing seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita in October, and Dennis Punches’ 6-year-old gelding Jet Propulsion, a sharp allowance winner over the course last out.

Trainer Bennie Stutts Jr. had considered running Smooth Air in the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic on Jan. 24 for his season debut, but decided the homebred Smooth Jazz colt wasn’t quite ready for that assignment with a long season ahead. In his only previous appearance on turf, Smooth Air won the Needles Stakes at Calder by 3¾ lengths in late September.

Jet Propulsion was a game neck winner going a mile over the Gulfstream course on Jan. 21 for trainer Dan Hurtak after a four-length allowance tally at Calder on Dec. 21. The son of Double Honor shows 10 wins and 10 seconds from 38 career starts, including a Grade 3 victory in the Calder’s Miami Mile in 2007.

Marion Montanari’s 4-year-old homebred filly Julia Tuttle is prominent on the roster of nominees for the Marion County after a good showing finishing fourth behind Wild Promises in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf. Trained by Ferris Allen, the daughter of Giant’s Causeway won the Twin Lights Stakes over the Monmouth Park course last summer.

Leparoux Wins Four on Friday Card at Gulfstream Park

Jockey Julien Leparoux is riding his first full season this winter at Gulfstream Park after a record-setting performance leading the fall meet standings at Churchill Downs, and he had his best day so far Friday winning four races, including Joseph Rauch and David Zell’s 3-year-old Capt. Candyman Can in the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (G2) for trainer Ian Wilkes.

Leparoux moved up to seventh in this season’s highly-competitive title chase with 13 victories, trailing Jose Lezcano’s leading total of 18 by only five. In between them, John R. Velazquez and Kent Desormeaux are tied for second with 16 wins apiece, followed by Cornelio Velasquez, Alan Garcia and Eibar Coa in a three-way tie for fourth at 14 tallies each.

Lezcano goes into Saturday card still two wins short of the 1,000 career victory milestone.

Leparoux is named on mounts in eight races today, including Lally Farm’s 3-year-old Saratoga Sinner in the $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3) and Midnight Cry Stable’s 7-year-old Einstein, morning-line favorite in the $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1).

With a quiet weekend ahead on the stakes calendar at Gulfstream on Feb. 7-8, Leparoux will be out of town on Saturday to ride Tim Brown and Phil Gahm’s 3-year-old Au Moon in the $200,000 Risen Star Stakes (G3) at Fair Grounds in New Orleans. Jockey Edgar Prado also will make that trip to ride Virginia Tarra Trust’s Giant Oak in that race for trainer Chris Block.

Trainer Marty Wolfson won two races on Friday’s Gulfstream program, including the $150,000 Forward Gal Stakes (G2) with Dare To Dream Stable’s 3-year-old filly Frolic’s Dream, and moved into third in the standings with six wins at the session, three less than Ken McPeek on the lead with nine and Peter Walder second with seven.