The connections of the Kentucky homebred son of Catienus will point him for the $250,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) to be run at one mile here on Feb. 28.
Notonthesamepage had lost three straight stakes to close his 2-year-old campaign. Respiratory bleeding problems became progressively worse as Ward tried the colt at longer distances, culminating in a last-place finish in the 1 1/16 mile Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland on Oct. 4.
He showed no signs of those problems Saturday, rolling to an 8¼-length victory under jockey Elvis Trujillo in 1:08.48, missing the track record for six furlongs by .02 of a second.
“I’d always thought of him as a really good sprinter,” said Ward, “but once he got those problems behind him, he’s just started training so well. The Fountain of Youth lets us stretch him out and see how far he wants to go.”
Ride of a Lifetime Continues for Hal’s Hope Winner Delightful Kiss
Hobeau Farm’s Delightful Kiss has taken 78-year-old trainer Pete Anderson from one end of the country to the other with the roll continuing Saturday when the 5-year-old son of Kissin Kris rallied to a three-length victory in the $100,000 Hal’s Hope Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Anderson reported everything was looking good the morning after while taking in congratulations outside his friend and Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens’ barn. Delightful Kiss is stabled at Calder.
“He stood under a hose for about 45 minutes yesterday after the race and ate up all his dinner,” said Anderson Sunday. “The day he doesn’t eat up is the day I’ll call 10 veterinarians to come check him out. He’s been more than good to me.”
The next start for Delightful Kiss comes in the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic here on Sat. Jan. 24. The gray gelding will try to become 3-for-3 at Gulfstream. It was an allowance win here as a 3-year-old that propelled him to victories in the Ohio Derby (G2) and Iowa Derby that season prior to another good campaign in 2008, finishing second to Einstein in the Clark Handicap (G2) at Churchill Downs in late November in his last start before the Hal’s Hope.
Anderson, a former jockey who won the 1958 Belmont Stakes aboard Cavan, insists he loves the travel and willingly puts up with quite a bit from the star of his one-horse stable.
“He kicked me in the leg one time,” said Anderson. “He’s slammed me around. He had me bleeding down my face one time, but I wouldn’t trade it. I say he can keep on doing it.”
Capuano Sets up Gulfstream Camp Again
After a year’s absence trainer Dale Capuano has 23 horses based at Gulfstream Park in 2009 including Skeedattle Stable’s Fast Talking, who was briefly on the 3-year-old scene last season and now on the road to recovery from a fractured pelvis.
The 4-year-old son of Hennessy worked six furlongs Sunday morning in 1:14 1/5, and while he is nominated to Saturday’s $100,000 Fort Lauderdale here, Capuano says that race is coming up a bit too quickly.
“I think it’s a little soon,” said Capuano, who took over training last fall a few months after the Maryland-bred injured himself in the Peter Pan Stakes (G2) at Belmont last May. “He seems to have healed up nicely from the injury and he’s looking like a pretty nice horse.”
Capuano hopes an allowance race might materialize for Fast Talking as he looks to gauge just how much the colt might have improved since last spring. The horse should be a good barometer of how the perennial Maryland leader fares here in 2009.
“I know what he’d be able to do in Maryland,” he said. “Around here I think we need to find a spot and see how he does, even though some of the allowance races can be just as tough as stakes. He’s like a lot of the horses I’ve got. Time will tell.”
Capuano’s star turf sprinter Heros Reward will arrive in his Florida barn in about 10 days. A winter vacation followed a fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.
“I’m not sure there’s anything here for him,” said Capuano. “We started in a stakes at Calder last year and finished third. That might be where we start this year as well, although I wish we could get a race here because he loves this turf course.”
Smooth Air, Another Ohio Derby Winner, Breezes for Sunshine Millions Classic
Mount Joy Stable’s 4-year-old Florida homebred colt Smooth Air worked seven furlongs in 1:29 Sunday morning at Calder Race Course for trainer Bennie Stutts, Jr. in preparation for his next likely start in the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park on Sat., Jan. 24.
The move was his third recorded workout since returning from California where he finished a respectable seventh last out in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita Park on Oct. 25, beaten only 5 ¼ lengths for it all by Raven’s Pass.
“He’s right on schedule so far,” said Stutts. “We’ll set him down next weekend to go a strong three-quarters, and if that goes well, then we should be all set with just an easy mile work after that before the race. He’s run well after a lengthy layoff before. When he was third in the Pennsylvania Derby (G2), it was his first start in three months and he was giving the two that finished ahead of him eight pounds each.”
The son of Smooth Jazz was beaten 1¾ lengths in the Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 1 by Anak Nakal in his first start since winning the Ohio Derby (G2) at Thistledown on May 31. In two starts over the Gulfstream track last year he won the Hutcheson Stakes (G2) and finished second to Big Brown in the Florida Derby (G1).
Three-Year-Olds Stretch Out for Thursday Allowance Features
A pair of ‘money’ allowance races scheduled for Thursday at Gulfstream Park at 1 1/8 miles with a purse of $42,000 each will almost certainly produce contenders of the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) here at the same distance on Mar. 28.
Lori and George Hall’s Atomic Rain may rule the choice in the sixth race with jockey John R. Velazquez aboard in his first start since finishing second to Old Fashioned in the Remsen Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct on Nov. 29. Trained by Kelly Breen, the son of Smart Strike had broken his maiden at Monmouth Park after a second-place debut on two previous outings.
Thomas Conway and partners’ Pressure Point will also have support in the field of eight with Julien Leparoux aboard for trainer Mike Maker. The son of Point Given was a $200,000 OBS March 2-year-old purchase and won his only start going seven furlongs at Churchill Downs on Nov. 29.
Another contender to watch is New Life Stable’s homebred Stately Character with Herb McCauley. The son of Pleasant Tap rallied to victory in the Foolish Pleasure Stakes going a mile and 70 yards at Calder last out on Sept. 27, breaking his maiden in the race after three good tries in shorter races.
A field of nine was drawn for the eighth race, trainer Ken McPeek appears to have a strong hand with Lansdon Robbins III and Sam Delaney’s Danger Society, and Samotowka Stable’s Theregoesjojo, with Robby Albarado and Kent Desormeaux aboard, respectively.
Danger to Society is a Harlan’s Holiday colt purchased for $300,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky yearling sales and won his only start going a mile at Churchill on Nov. 19. Theregoesjojo won his debut at Churchill in late May and finished fourth in the Bashford Manor Stakes (G3) there last out on July 5.
Gulfstream Park aerial view from opening day. While a crowd of more than 15,000 came out, this view, taken at 3:30 Saturday, shows extra parking space on south end of the property.
Positive Reviews Coming In From All Quarters After Opening Day
Both the Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel quoted positive reviews from guests coming to Gulfstream Park, many of whom were coming for the first time.
· “It’s a beautiful place to come and hang out even though I’m not into horse racing. It’s my first time out,” said Janine Rubio, 32, from Miami. “I’ve really enjoyed seeing all the different people here and soaking in how the people react. Yeah, that’s kind of cool.”
· “My boyfriend suggested we come out this morning and I’m kind of digging it so far,” said Emily Mendez, 38 of Fort Lauderdale. “He said I should dress up so I put on my best digs.”
· “Oh, the races keep bringing me out here,” said Harry Frank, 68, who drove from Miami Beach. “They do a good job of putting quality races together.”
· “I don’t anything about horses but we’re having a good time,” said Vicky Bernstein, 27, from New York. “We’re on our way up to Broward and one of the girls thought it be a good idea to stop in here and drink and eat some. There’s a lot of interesting people here – that’s for sure. I like the mix.”