The 2007 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winner and 2008 runner-up Kip Deville worked out Friday morning at Gulfstream Park for his IEAH Stables partners and trainer Rick Dutrow as he prepares for his 2009 seasonal debut in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) on Feb. 1.

“‘Kip’ was on his game this morning,” said Dutrow after the six-furlong breeze on the main track in 1:15 4/5 under regular jockey Cornelio Velasquez. The 6-year-old gray son of Kipling has worked twice since returning from a ninth-place finish in the Hong Kong Mile (G1) on Dec. 14.

“He didn’t have any kind of a problem coming back (from Hong Kong),” said Dutrow. “He came back in good shape and we gave him a strong breeze at Aqueduct and he came back today the same way. He hasn’t lost any of his weight from the trip. We’re very happy with him right now.”

The poor performance by Kip Deville in the Far East was in marked contrast to the success Dutrow had earlier last year in Dubai where IEAH’s Benny the Bull won the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) and Four Roses Thoroughbreds’ Diamond Stripes won the Godolphin Mile (G2). Dutrow had a simple answer for what he learned about finding success during and after long trips to international races.

“We have to stay the heck out of Hong Kong and spend more time in Dubai,” he said. “Kip didn’t like going the opposite way (right-hand turn) over there. We trained him going that way and it seemed like he was getting it, but in the race he just got in there and lost all interest.”

Back home on a left-handed course, Kip Deville is nearly cranked up for the top turf event of the South Florida season at the start of next month with Dutrow especially keen this year with the distance of the race shortening to 1 1/8 miles from 1 3/8 miles.

“We certainly have to look at that race,” said Dutrow. “I would say with the way he’s training right now, that would most likely be the way we would go, and if he runs big, we could go over to Dubai for the mile race (Dubai Duty Free (G1) at1 1/8 miles) or go to Keeneland with him if we decide not to go over there.”

Dutrow will be busy over a nine-day span from Jan. 24 through Feb. 1, starting with the Sunshine Millions on Jan. 24 when he plans to send Zayat Stables’ Zee Zee in the $500,000 Filly and Mare Turf and Gilbert Campbell’s This Ones for Phil in the $250,000 Dash for 3-year-old sprinters.

The Eclipse Awards dinner will be presented on Mon., Jan. 26 at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach where Dutrow-trained Big Brown, last year’s Kentucky Derby (G1) and Florida Derby (G1) winner, is expected to pick up a trophy as 3-year-old champion; and Benny the Bull is among three finalists for champion sprinter.

Zee Zee, a 4-year-old Florida-bred daughter of Exchange Rate, will be making his first start for Dutrow after a 10th-place finish in the Pebbles Stakes at Belmont Park on Oct. 13.

“She’s doing very good,” said Dutrow, who has secured Robby Albarado for the Filly and Mare Turf. “She came to us the right way and she’s trained the right way since. I haven’t seen anything that might explain what happened in her last race and she’s been training really well.”

This Ones for Phil, a 3-year-old homebred gelding by Untuttable, faded to third in his most recent start in the Appleton Juvenile Turf against fellow Florida-breds at Calder on Nov. 8. Dutrow indicated he was also training well.

Dutrow, who won the Sunshine Millions Sprint last year with Benny the Bull in the annual Florida vs. California showdown held at Gulfstream and sister track Santa Anita Park, said IEAH’s 4-year-old Acai, a nominee to the $1 million Classic, had been retired after suffering an injury in an allowance race at Aqueduct last month.

Hello Broadway Posts ‘Bullet’ Workout at Gulfstream

Elizabeth Valando’s leading 3-year-old prospect Hello Broadway breezed Friday morning at Gulfstream Park for trainer Barclay Tagg as the Nashua Stakes (G2) runner-up continues to progress toward his season debut in the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (G2) at seven furlongs on Fri., Jan. 30.

“He went right around the time I wanted from him today,” said Tagg after clockers registered a five-furlong ‘bullet’ drill in 1:00. “All the people I’ve asked who had watches out had about the same time. It was a pretty good work.”

Tagg hopes to have Hello Broadway register two more five-furlong works before Hutcheson. The plan from there would be to make the one-mile $250,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) on Feb. 28 and the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) at 1 1/8 miles on Mar. 28.

“I can’t ramp him up too much,” said Tagg of Hello Broadway’s looming schedule. “He’s had a couple easy half-mile workouts. I think I can get two more five-furlong works before the next race. The ‘Hutch’ is a sprint, so I can let that race do some of the work for me. He’s a natural distance horse and there’s a grind coming up. It’s six major races in less than six months.”

The colt’s full brother, Nobiz Like Shobiz, won the 2007 Holy Bull Stakes (G3) here before taking the Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct. He finished third in the Fountain of Youth between those wins and eventually finished 10th in the Kentucky Derby (G1) in the worst finish of his career. Tagg, with the help of the stakes schedule here this winter, has tweaked the outline for Hello Broadway.

“I never fully stopped on him. I just went awhile without giving him a breeze,” he said. “The schedule is nicer this year. The only drawback would be having to start in a sprint, but at least it lets us stretch him out leading up to the spring.”

Pick Six in Blowout Ahead of Fort Lauderdale Test

Phipps Stable’s 5-year-old Pick Six sharpened his speed Friday morning for trainer Shug McGaughey the day before he takes on the $100,000 Fort Lauderdale Stakes on the turf at Gulfstream Park.

“It will be a step up for him,” said McGaughey after the Kentucky homebred son of Dynaformer posted a ‘blowout’ three-furlong workout in 35 3/5. “I think if he runs his race, it won’t take too much to put him right there with the horses in there.”

Pick Six exits a runner-up finish in the Four Bases overnight stakes at Aqueduct on Nov. 19. His only previous stakes attempt was a sixth-place finish when ambitiously placed in the Dixie Stakes (G2) at Pimlico on the Preakness Day undercard last May.

Friday’s work was the horse’s second straight ‘bullet’ after breezing five furlongs on the Gulfstream turf course last Sunday in 1:02 3/5. McGaughey indicated the blowout should help Pick Six run the kind of race needed to be a factor Saturday.

“He’s going to be pretty close,” he said. “I’d expect him to be about the middle and then try and kick. He won’t be too far back. He went into his last race training good and got behind a horse who won on the lead the whole way. He’s going into this race doing just as well.”

Pick Six finished in the money in two photo-finish allowance losses at Gulfstream in 2008. McGaughey has already had two runner-up finishers on the turf in allowance races in the first four days of this meet.

‘J.R.’ & Leparoux Out of Town for Stakes Mounts Saturday

Jockey John R. Velazquez has gotten off to a fast start after four days of the Gulfstream Park meet with six wins, one more than Eibar Coa and Jose Lezcano with five each, but will miss Saturday’s card as he travels to Santa Anita for the mount on Bob and Janice McNair’s 4-year-old Cowboy Cal in the $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap (G3).

Velazquez is the regular rider for Cowboy Cal, who won the Tropical Park Derby (G3) at Calder and second to Todd-Pletcher-trained stablemate Why Tonto in the Hallandale Beach Stakes in two South Florida starts early last year. A Kentucky homebred by Giant’s Causeway went on to finish second in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland and ninth in the Kentucky Derby (G1) after contesting the pace to the far turn.

After winning the Bryan Station Stakes (G3) on turf at Keeneland on a disqualification in October in his first start after the Derby, Pletcher sent him to his Southern California division at Santa Anita and he finished a game second last out in the Hollywood Derby (G1) at Hollywood Park on Nov. 30.

Pletcher also sends out Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s 8-year-old gelding Ball Four in the San Pasqual and jockey Chris DeCarlo will go along for the mount. The son of Grand Slam finished a good third in the Native Diver Handicap (G3) at Hollywood on Dec. 6 in his first start after being placed with Pletcher.

Another top rider based this season at Gulfstream but on the road Saturday is Julien Leparoux, who will be in New Orleans at Fair Grounds with mounts in several stakes races. Leparoux is based at Gulfstream for the first time this winter after a record meet leading the standings at Churchill Downs in the fall.

Who is Big Country?

Silver Wing Farm’s 3-year-old Free Country was impressive winning the sixth race Thursday at Gulfstream Park with Kent Desormeaux aboard for trainer Ken McPeek to remain undefeated in two career starts, stamping himself as a potential Florida Derby (G1) and Kentucky Derby (G1) prospect.

Free Country won his career debut going six furlongs on a ‘sloppy’ track at Churchill Downs on Nov. 15 in his only outing prior to Thursday’s victory in the ‘a other than’ allowance run 1 1/8 miles, defeating George and Lori Hall’s Atomic Rain, who had finished second last out in the Remsen Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct.

Naturally, attention turns to Free Country’s background and pedigree. He is a son of freshman sire Big Country, a regally bred son of A.P. Indy out Eclipse champion Flanders, who won two of 13 starts for owner-breeder Overbrook Farm and trainer D. Wayne Lukas. He was sent to stud in 2005 after four poor tries in 2004 attempting to get past his ‘two other than’ allowance condition at Belmont and Saratoga.

Big Country took up stud duty at Bona Terra Farm in Georgetown, Ky. for an advertised fee of $7,500 and Free Country is listed as purchased for $10,500 as a weanling at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock sales in 2006.