HRI Edited Release — Stronach Stables’ homebred Green Light Go, a graded-stakes winner in his second career start, is set to launch his highly anticipated 3-year-old campaign Saturday at Gulfstream Park in the $200,000 Swale (G3).
The seven-furlong Swale is one of five stakes for sophomores, four graded, worth $750,000 in purses on a 12-race program highlighted by the $250,000 Holy Bull (G3). First-race post time is noon.
Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, Green Light Go is the 2-1 program favorite in the Swale and will carry topweight of 124 pounds, including Hall of Fame rider Javier Castellano, from Post 5 in the field of eight.
Green Light Go, a bay son of Grade 1-winning multimillionaire Hard Spun, has not raced since finishing second to Holy Bull favorite Tiz the Law in the one-mile Champagne Oct. 5 at Belmont Park.
He has been on a steady work pattern for his return, showing six timed breezes since mid-December at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County.
“He’s been pretty willing in his works. Sometimes he can be lazy by himself but he’s been working steady every week for quite a while,” Jerkens said Thursday morning. “He looks fit looking at him. We gave him a good stretch gallop today, a mini-blowout this morning, so that’ll be it.”
Jerkens nominated Green Light Go to both the Swale and the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull, but opted to keep him around one turn for the time being. Hard Spun won the seven-furlong King’s Bishop (G1) in 2007 after running second in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and third in the Preakness (G1).
“A two-turn race first-time out of the box would be tough. If his race in the Champagne was a little more evenly run I would have considered it, but this made a little more sense,” Jerkens said.
“I didn’t expect him to be on the lead like that. He did falter a little but it was a big track against the speed bias that day and I thought he ran very well to hang on for second.
“It seemed like Mr. [Frank] Stronach wanted to see him go seven-eighths so it’s something he can build off of. We’ll find out soon enough if he can get the distance later on,” he added.
“His dam was a sprinter and she was by Pleasantly Perfect, which is kind of strange. He’s got real easy natural speed. I’ve had a lot of Hard Spuns that did well going a distance. On the dam side, even though she was a sprinter, Pleasantly Perfect you certainly don’t think of as a speed sire.”
Green Light Go debuted with a front-running maiden special weight triumph going 5 ½ furlongs last July 4 at Belmont, winning by 3 ¼ lengths, then followed up by coming from off the pace for an equally dominant 3 ¾-length score in the 6 ½-furlong Saratoga Special (G2). The Swale will be just his fourth lifetime start.
“It was surprising that he came to hand so quickly. I’m not usually known for starting 2-year-olds that early, but he didn’t give me any reason not to run him,” Jerkens said. “He just came to hand quickly, and in the right way, too.
“You get a lot of horses that are precocious but a lot of horses that do that; they get precocious and they show you good speed and then they don’t develop anymore after that. But I think he’s a quality horse, that’s for sure.”