Clement has a trio of fillies and mares eligible for the South Beach to be run at 7 ½ furlongs on the turf course – Oak Bluff Stable’s 4-year-old filly Akalina, Jon and Sarah Kelly’s 5-year-old Irish-bred mare Carribean Sunset and Waratah Thoroughbreds’ 4-year-old filly Miss World.
Akilina is a daughter of Langfuhr and finished third in the Honey Fox Stakes (G3) over the Gulfstream course on Feb. 20 in her first appearance since shipping to Louisiana to score in the Pago Hop Stakes at Fair Grounds on Dec. 5. Miss World posted a 13-to-1 upset winning the Garden City Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park in September.
Dania Beach Winner Nordic Truce in Transylvania Friday
There are plenty of familiar names to South Florida racing fans on Friday’s opening day program at Keeneland – horses, jockeys and trainers – including six of the nine 3-year-olds entered in the $100,000 Transylvania Stakes (G3) at 1 1/16 miles on turf that made their last starts at Gulfsteam Park.
Leading that group are Ammerland Stud’s Nordic Truce and Gary and Mary West’s Call Shot, first and third, respectively, in the $100,000 Dania Beach Stakes over the Gulfstream course on Jan. 16. Trained by Christophe Clement, Nordic Truce is a son of Yes It’s True and had won his only previous start breaking his maiden on turf at Calder in mid-November.
Call Shot is a Tale of the Cat colt trained by Wayne Catalano and was beaten only a length for it all in the Dania Beach and came back to finish third going a mile on the main track behind Radiohead and Homeboykris on Feb. 27.
Three jockeys riding in the Transylvania remain in the top five in the Gulfstream rider standings going into Thursday’s program with Javier Castellano still on top with 50 victories, one more than Paco Lopez second at 49, followed by John Velazquez third at 46, Elvis Trujillo fourth at 42 and Rajiv Maragh fifth with 39.
Only Lopez and Trujillo are staying on at Gulfstream. Castellano rides Michael Bruder’s Guys Reward for trainer Dale Romans in the Transylvania, Velazquez will be aboard owner-trainer Wesley Ward and partners’ Strike the Tiger and Maragh named on Silverton Hill Farm’s King Ledley for trainer Darrin Miller.
Quality Road Back to Work at Palm Meadows
Edward P. Evans’ 4-year-old Quality Road breezed an easy three furlongs in 38 4/5 Thursday morning at Palm Meadows for trainer Todd Pletcher in his first recorded workout since drawing off to a 12 ¾ lengths victory in the $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 6.
The Virginia homebred son of Elusive Quality won the $100,000 Hal’s Hope Stakes (G3) here on opening day Jan. 3 in his season debut. Quality Road won the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) and Florida Derby (G1) here last year when trained by Jimmy Jerkens.
Plans set out before this campaign began by owner-breeder Evans and Pletcher called for Quality Road to run in the Hal’s Hope and Donn before taking a break and getting ready for returning to competition in the $500,000 Metropolitan Handicap (G1) at Belmont Park on May 31.
Also notable on the Thursday morning tab at Palm Meadows was Ol’ Memorial Stable and C.E. Glasscock’s 3-year-old Soaring Empire timed a half-mile in 50 flat for trainer Cam Gambolati in his first workout since finishing eighth with a rough trip in the stretch of this year’s Florida Derby on Mar. 20.
The son of Empire Maker was making his second start this year and first around two turns. Last season Soaring Empire was impressive winning his debut going 5 ½ furlongs at Monmouth Park in late September and finishing third in the one-mile Iroquois Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 1. In his only outing this season before the Florida Derby he won a seven-furlong allowance race on Feb. 25.