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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


Edited Gulfstream Staff Release – Jockey Luis Saez took F Five to the front and never relinquished the lead to win Sunday’s $100,000 H. Allen Jerkens Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

Trained by Brian Lynch and owned by Ferro Family Trust, Larry Connor and Bruno Deberdt, F Five covered the two miles in 3:20.81. Team Valor International’s McLovin was second, a neck behind the winner, and Six Minus was third.

F Five entered the Jerkens after a 10th place finish in the River City (G3) in November, his first start off a 2 ½ month layoff after two consecutive victories over the turf at Ellis Park and Churchill Downs. The 4-year-old son of Not This Time won those races at 1 1/8th mile and 1 3/8th mile. Lynch said the plan was to put F Five on the front.

“You would have to bend him in half to take him back in a race like that, and Luis was almost having to do that to walk the dog on the front end,” Lynch said. “But just an unbelievable ride. It’s always a lot of fun for me to run these kind of distances…it’s always fun to get one to go two miles.”

After going a half in :51.24, a mile in 1:43.53, and 1 ¼ miles in 2:09.49, McLovin drew alongside F Five entering the stretch, but the winner gamely held off the challenge.

Lynch said F Five could return Jan. 27 on Pegasus World Cup Day in the $200,000 W.L. McKnight (G3) at 1 ½ miles on the turf.

                        Romagna Mia ‘Exciting’ Favorite for Tuesday’s Via Borghese         

Team Valor International LLC’s Romagna has been installed as the 6-5 morning-line favorite for Tuesday’s $125,000 Via Borghese at Gulfstream Park, where the 1 3/8-mile turf stakes for fillies and mares could well turn out to be a steppingstone for the $500,000 Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf Jan. 27.

The 4-year-old daughter, who was a Grade 2 winner in Europe, has gotten off to a solid start in the U.S., finishing third in the Beverly D (G1) at Colonial Downs and a victory in the Dowager (G3) at Keeneland.

“The goal was to try to get a Grade 1 placing, which we did. That was a big score,” trainer Graham Motion said. “Then she came back to win really comfortably at Keeneland.”

Romagna Mia settled off the pace in the 1 ½-mile Dowager before surging in the stretch to win by three lengths.

“I think she’s pretty exciting,” Motion said. “Just watching her breeze and train, she seems to do things very easily. I thought her win was very impressive.”

Hall of Famer John Velazquez has the return call on the daughter of Mastercraftsman.

Roger Keith Long Revocable Trust’s Miss Yearwood enters the Via Borghese off a seven-month layoff in her search for her third straight victory. The 4-year-old daughter of Will Take Charge, who is rated second at 9-5 on the morning line, captured the 1 ½-mile Keertana Stakes at Churchill Downs in May.

Chris Landeros has the return call on the Ian Wilkes-trained graded stakes-placed homebred.

AMO Racing USA’s Maman Joon is slated to make her U.S. debut after competing in group races in Europe. The Jorge Delgado-trained daughter of Sea The Stars will be ridden by Miguel Vasquez.

Indicia, Viva La Red, Sensitivity, Coco, and Tass round out the field.

            Castellano Makes Himself at ‘Home’ at Gulfstream Park

Jockey Javier Castellano made his 2023-2024 Championship Meet debut Saturday at Gulfstream Park, looking to build on a remarkable 2023 season that placed the popular Hall of Fame jockey back in the Thoroughbred racing’s spotlight.

The 56-year-old veteran rider made sure that his presence was immediately felt Saturday while riding both ends of the early daily double on his first two mounts.

“It’s good to start this way,” Castellano said. “I’m very blessed and grateful for all the opportunities.”

Castellano earned the distinction of winning a pair of Triple Crown races on two different horses while completing his own personal Triple Crown, guiding Mage to victory in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Arcangelo for a triumph in the Belmont Stakes (G1). He went on to ride Arcangelo to victory in the Travers (G1), one of seven Grade 1 successes of Castellano’s inspiring 2023 season.

“I’m very happy and grateful to win the Kentucky Derby and win the Belmont and win the Travers for the seventh time in my career,” said Castellano, whose victories in the Derby and Belmont were firsts in a career that includes wins in the Preakness Stakes (G1) aboard Bernardini (2006) and Cloud Computing (2017). “All the credit to my agent P.J. Campo, the owners and trainers who give me support.”

Castellano, who has won 5,237 races and $395 million in purses, ventured from Venezuela to South Florida in 1997. He won five straight Championship Meet titles from 2011-2012 to 2015-2016 while earning four consecutive Eclipse Awards from 2013-2016.

“I’m always grateful for my opportunities, especially at Gulfstream Park. That’s where I started my career, This is home for me,” said Castellano, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017.

                        Pegasus Preps Next Weekend with Mandatory Rainbow 6

            Looking ahead, Gulfstream will reopen for live racing Tuesday, Dec. 26, close Wednesday, and then run Thursday through Sunday.

            On Saturday, Dec. 30, Gulfstream will offer four stakes races, three graded, including the $150,000 Harlan’s Holiday (G3), a prep for the Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), and the $200,000 Fort Lauderdale (G3), a prep for the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1). There will also be a mandatory Rainbow 6 Saturday with the Harlan’s Holiday and Fort Lauderdale part of the sequence.

            The Harlan’s Holiday, contested at 1 1/16 miles, drew a field of 11 including Fayette (G2) winner O’Connor, Remsen (G2) winner Dubyuhnell, and multiple graded stakes placed Ny Traffic.

            The Fort Lauderdale, at 1 1/8-mile on the turf, has 10 entered including Calumet Farm’s Running Bee, multiple graded stakes placed Grand Sonata, and Stone Age, runner-up in the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1)

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