The emphasis will be on stamina next weekend at Gulfstream Park with renewals of the $150,000 Pan American Stakes (G3) on Saturday and $150,000 Orchid Stakes (G3) on Sunday, companion events to be run at 1 ½ miles on turf, the latter for fillies and mares.
Leading the list of nominees and a probable starter in the 48th edition of the Pan American is Patricia Generazio’s 6-year-old gelding Presious Passion, winner of the race last year before scoring the biggest victory of his career in the United Nations Handicap at Monmouth Park over the summer for trainer Mary Hartmann.
Also notable on the Pan American roster is J. Paul Reddam’s 6-year-old Irish-bred Red Rocks, an international star that scored the biggest victory of his career in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs in 2006 when invading from England for trainer Brian Meehan.
Red Rocks was back across the Atlantic last summer from England to capture the Man o’ War Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park in July, but disappointed in another run at the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita on Oct. 25 when 10th of 11 behind Conduit.
A son of Galileo, Red Rocks has been based at Payson Park this winter with trainer Mark Hennig and was somewhat of a disappointment again finishing eighth behind 2007 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) hero Kip Deville, although the 1 1/8 miles distance was likely well short of Red Rocks’ preferred trip.
Leading the list of candidates for the 46th running of the Orchid is Darley Stable’s 5-year-old English-bred mare Criticism, an emerging star in the division after three starts in the U.S. since arriving from France last year, most recently winning The Very One Stakes (G3) going 11 furlongs over the Gulfstream course on Feb. 22 for trainer Tom Albertrani.
Criticism is an impeccably-bred daughter of Machiavellian out of Group 1 winner Innuendo and finished a game second in the Athenia Handicap (G3) at Belmont Park in October in her American debut after showing moderate form in France. She obviously appreciated the longer 12-furlong distance winning the Long Island Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct on Nov. 1 before shipping south for the season.
Trainer Christophe Clement has won the Orchid a remarkable six times previously and has four nominated for this renewal, including Haras du Mezeray’s 4-year-old French-bred filly Astrologie, who finished third in the Long Island in her American debut behind Criticism.
Leading Gulfstream Jockeys Out of Town Saturday
The lure of riding a potential Kentucky Derby (G1) prospect will have seven of the top nine jockeys in the Gulfstream Park standings in action on the road Saturday at Fair Grounds in New Orleans with mounts in the $600,000 Louisiana Derby (G2) or upstate at Tampa Bay Downs for a ride in the $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G3).
Kent Desormeaux, Julien Leparoux and John R. Velazquez rank one-two-three on the Gulfstream leader board (38-37-36 wins) and will ride Free Country, Terrain and Flying Pegasus in the Louisiana Derby, respectively.
Edgar Prado and Jermaine Bridgmohan also went along for the trip to Fair Grounds with mounts in other stakes on the Louisiana Derby Day program.
Alan Garcia, Eibar Coa and Elvis Trujillo rank fourth, tied for sixth and tied for eighth in the Gulfstream standings with 34, 31 and 30 tallies, respectively; and those three have mounts in the Tampa Bay Derby. Garcia rides Nowhere to Hide, Coa aboard Hello Broadway and Trujillo has the mount on Join in the Dance.
All of the top riders are due back at Gulfstream for mounts on Sunday.
Flashy Pair Work Fast for Tagg on Friday
Trainer Barclay Tagg sent out Lael Stables’ Rollers and Alan Cook’s Jockey Ridge for fast workouts in company Friday morning at Gulfstream Park as the two prepare for sprint race assignments in the near future.
Rollers, a 4-year-old son of Stormy Atlantic and runner-up in the Mr. Prospector Stakes (G3) here on Jan. 17, worked five furlongs in a ‘bullet’ 58. He was in company with Jockey Ridge, a 4-year-old son of Broken Vow, who tracked home in 58 3/5, the second-fastest of the morning of a dozen working that distance.
As a New York-bred, Rollers will likely head north shortly to race at Aqueduct.
“We’re looking for a spot for him,” said Tagg. “There will be lots of options going long and short up there for him. He’s doing really well right now. It was a brilliant work and we need to find something for him soon.”
Jockey Ridge was an impressive maiden winner at Gulfstream last year before going on to a third-place finish in the Bay Shore Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct last April. He finished sixth in his 2009 debut here on Jan. 11 going 6½ furlongs and Tagg is looking to run him back in another allowance.