Trainer Terri Pompay says she’s always known she has a good horse in Klaravich Stables, Inc. and William Lawrence’s Printing Press.
Now, she says, it’s time for the 3-year-old son of Tapit to step up and show it.
The Holy Bull kicks off the Preakness 5.5, which will award a $5.5 million bonus to the connections of a horse who wins a series of 3-year-old races, including the Holy Bull and $1 million Florida Derby (G1), and then goes on to win the May 21 Preakness Stakes (G1)
“We think he’s a nice horse,” Pompay said of Printing Press. “But now he has to step up and show he can take his game to the next level. He’s done everything right so far and is training great so now it’s up to him to prove what he can do in this kind of race.”
Unlike many of the expected top contenders for Sunday’s Holy Bull, Printing Press already has a race over the Gulfstream Park surface – a second-place effort in a first-level allowance on January 7.
“We were very pleased with that race,” Pompay said. “That being his first start off a bit of a layoff, he should have gotten a lot of it.”
Printing Press already has plenty of experience in stakes races in his young career having competed in the Sapling (G3) and two ungraded events at Monmouth Park last fall.
Pompay realizes, however, this will be the toughest race of her young colt’s career.
“Boys at Tosconova is a really good horse and some of the others look tough in there too,” Pompay said. “But it’s Gulfstream Park and pretty much any stakes race you run in down here is going to have a star in it. [Printing Press] is going to have to prove himself one way or the other and we’re going to take our shot in this race to see what he can do.”
Where Printing Press goes from the Holy Bull depends on how highly he raises his game against the likes of Boys at Tosconova. But Pompay is confident, when the time comes, he will be able to handle two turns.
“I’ve always thought he will go two turns,” Pompay said. “I’m sure there will come a time when he will get to try.”
SACCO BARN HOPING FOR BIG SUNSHINE MILLIONS SATURDAY
The Greg Sacco barn will be represented in two of the three Sunshine Millions races run at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.
And if things go according to plan, there could be one heck of a party in Barn No. 1 on the Gulfstream Park backstretch Sunday morning.
Sacco will send out a pair of Florida breds owned by Red Oak Stable in Saturday’s Sunshine Millions – Feel That Fire, who exits a local allowance win on Jan. 7, in the $200,000 Filly & Mare Sprint and Grade 3 winner Unbridled Essence in the $300,000 Filly & Mare Turf.
“Feel That Fire is training super and is on target for Saturday,” Sacco said. “She’s lightly raced but she keeps on improving.”
Feel That Fire will be spotting the rest of the 11-horse Sprint field some experience when she breaks from post No. 11 with jockey Elvis Trujillo aboard.
The 4-year-old daughter of Lightnin N Thunder has only raced three times in her career. Feel That Fire broke her maiden against the boys at Monmouth Park in her second career start before taking a first-level allowance on Jan. 7 at Gulfstream.
“She has a world of talent,” Sacco said. “I usually don’t have them cranked up all the way in their first starts so I hope she would continue to improve.”
In the Filly & Mare Sprint, Feel That Fire will have to deal with graded stakes winner Amen Hallelujah, who is coming back from a seven-month layoff but captured the Davona Dale (G2) last winter at Gulfstream.
Unbridled Essence will enter the Filly & Mare Turf without having raced since the Revidere Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sept. 11.
In her previous start, the 5-year-old daughter of Essence of Dubai upset Monmouth’s Matchmaker Stakes (G3) at odds of 41-1.
“Coming off that kind of a layoff is always a question mark,” Sacco said. “She’s had some foot issues, but seems to be over them now and is training as good as I could hope for.”
Unbridled Essence will once again be ridden by Paco Lopez – currently leading rider at Gulfstream Park – when she breaks from post position No. 3 in the 14-horse Filly & Mare Turf field.
Florida-Trained ‘Sunshine’ Team California-Bound
Four South Florida-trained stakes runners were boarded on a Tex Sutton Forwarding charter out of Opa Locka Airport at about 10 a.m. near Miami Wednesday bound for Los Angeles where they will compete in the three Sunshine Million races to be run Saturday afternoon at Santa Anita.
On the flight due to arrive into Ontario Airport east of Santa Anita at about 1:30 PT were a pair for trainer Marty Wolfson (Farnsworth Stable’s 5-year-old mare Amazing for the $300,000 Distaff and Martin Cherry’s 7-year-old gelding Pickapocket for the $300,000 Turf), David Fawkes (Donald Dizney’s 4-year-old Apriority in the $200,000 Sprint) and Mary Hartmann (Patricia Generazio’s 8-year-old gelding Presious Passion for the Turf.
Seven horses entered in the three Sunshine Millions races to be run Saturday at Gulfstream Park arrived on the Tex Sutton charter that touched down at Opa Locka early Tuesday afternoon that originated in California with a stop in Dallas, Tx.
Trainer Vladimir Cerin sent Ron Manzani and Russell Sarno’s 6-year-old gelding Cigar Man for the $500,000 Classic; trainer Peter Eurton has a pair of fillies and mares in the $300,000 Filly & Mare Turf – Frank Alesia and partners’ pair of 6-year-old Bran Jammas and 4-year-old filly Jet Blue Girl; and trainer Tom Proctor brought in Glen Hill Farm’s 5-year-oold mare Broken Dreams for the $200,000 Filly & Mare Sprint.
Boarding in Dallas were Class Racing Stable’s 7-year-old gelding Black Hills for trainer Bart Hone to contest the Classic and Ron McCauley’s 4-year-old filly Wildcat Heiress for the Filly & Mare Sprint for trainer Tevis McCauley.
Four-Way Tie for Lead in Gulfstream Trainer Standings
Trainer Ken McPeek sent out three winners on Saturday’s program at Gulfstream Park, including 3-year-old filly star Kathmanblu in the $100,000 Sweetest Chant Stakes, to join Todd Pletcher and Wesley Ward atop the trainers’ leader board after three weeks of the meet at seven victories apiece.
Trainer Nick Canani has a large stable campaigning here for leading owner Frank Calabrese and joined the party Sunday winning the second race to move into a four-way tie for the lead. The top four are followed by three others tied for fifth with five victories each – Nick Zito, Davis Fawkes and Giuseppe Iadisernia.
While there is a logjam atop the trainers’ standings, 26-year-old Paco Lopez holds a lead of five over his closest rival in the jockey standings with 19 wins over Julien Leparoux second with 14, Javier Castellano third at 11 and four others tied for fourth with 10 apiece. However, Lopez and John R. Velazquez, who is among those with 10 tallies, are both serving three-day suspensions and won’t ride again until Friday.