Mr. and Mrs. Leverett Miller’s So Glitzy has been tracking some of the leading females at Gulfstream Park this winter with mild success, and will try to put her name among the distaff division’s elite in Sunday’s $150,000 Rampart Stakes (G2).
Trained by Hall of Famer Allen Jerkens, the 5-year-old Florida homebred daughter of Gilded Time has lost her last eight races, but is going around two turns and traveling 1 1/8 miles in the Rampart – just like she did in her last victory last July at Saratoga.
So Glitzy will need all her size and maturity to deal with the undefeated One Caroline, Queen’s Plate runner-up Ginger Brew and the streaking Striking Tomisue.
“She is what she is,” said Jerkens. “She just hasn’t been quite good enough. Hopefully, she can put it together against them this time.”
Jerkens is also excited about the prospect of watching his son challenge for the Florida Derby (G1) on Saturday. Jimmy Jerkens will send out Edward P. Evans’ Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) winner Quality Road as the co-favorite in Gulfstream’s signature event. Having served as his father’s assistant for two decades, Jimmy Jerkens has yet to reach out for advice about traveling down the Kentucky Derby (G1) trail.
“He hasn’t needed any help from me in a long time,” said Allen Jerkens with a proud grin on his face. “Twenty-two years as my assistant with any kind of horse imaginable has given him all the experience you could want. I sure am happy for him. We’ll see what happens.”
Cannonball Out to Avoid Bounce in the Appleton
Trainer Wesley Ward is an expert reader of speed ratings and form cycles. His knowing eye and training style has him concerned about sending Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Cannonball into Saturday’s $100,000 Appleton Stakes (G3) on turf.
The 4-year-old gelding by Catienus finished fourth in his first start of the year in a five-furlong turf sprint here on Feb. 26. The result might not have stood out, but the way Cannonball performed bodes well for the future. As for Saturday’s race, Ward has trepidation.
“He was only fourth, but all the figures say it was one of the best races of his career,” he said. “I usually like to have a little space after a race like that. It’s been four weeks. We will see.”
You may think Ward might be down-playing expectations for Cannonball, but it stems from the way events unfolded in the gelding’s 2-year-old campaign and the frustration of a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Monmouth Park.
“He was an alternate for the (Breeders’ Cup) and so I ran him in a smaller stakes at Belmont a week before,” said Ward, referring to Cannonball’s nose victory in the King Cugat Stakes. “Then there’s a defection and we end up running in the race. He finished third, but in my mind, I could have won the Breeders’ Cup if I hadn’t raced the week before.”
Cannonball was 1-for-7 last year with a victory in the Pebo Guy Stakes against fellow New York-breds at Belmont Park in May. He’s seen action in some graded stakes before with only minor success, but Ward is excited about what this year promises.
“The only frustrating thing about him ever was that 2-year-old thing,” said Ward. “He’s done more than we’ve ever expected from him. He’s done everything like a good horse the whole time I’ve had him and he looks like short turf races are going to be his thing. I think we can knock out a few stakes with him this year.”
Finallymadeit & Da’ Tara Prominent on Skip Away Roster
Robert LaPenta’s 4-year-old Da’Tara, upset winner of the Belmont Stakes (G1) last spring, and Rolbea Thoroughbred Racing’s remarkable 5-year-old Finallymadeit are notable among nearly 20 older horses nominated for next Saturday’s (Apr. 4) renewal of the $100,000 Skip Away Stakes (G3) going 1 3/16 miles at Gulfstream Park.
Trained by Nick Zito, Da’ Tara drew off to win the Belmont in early June by 5 ¼ lengths as Big Brown was being eased in the stretch as he bid for a Triple Crown sweep. A son of Tiznow, Da’ Tara hasn’t won in five starts since, but ran well finishing second in a seven-furlong allowance here on Feb. 28.
Finallymadeit is expected to make his sixth start of the meet in the Skip Away for trainer Javier Negrete, sustaining his reputation as Florida’s ‘Iron Horse’ the last several seasons. The Florida homebred chestnut by Concerto made 19 starts as a 3-year-old in 2007 and 15 last year at four.
Although Finallymadeit hasn’t won this year, he continues to make his presence felt in major events, finishing second by a half-length to Albertus Maximus in the Donn Handicap (G1) on Jan. 31 at 30-1 and runner-up again last out behind Smooth Air in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) on Mar. 14 at 10-1. His career record stands at 41-14-7-4 for earnings of $871,000.
Another highly-accomplished nominee for the Skip Away is Edmund Gann’s 6-year-old It’s a Bird, 5 ¼ lengths winner of the Sunshine Millions Classic here on Jan. 24 for trainer Marty Wolfson. In one start since then, the son of Birdonthewire finished a good third in the New Orleans Handicap (G2) at Fair Grounds on Mar. 14.