Sunday, May 26, 2024
Scores by 6 lengths . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH -  Arindel’s Octane asserted his class in Saturday’s $100,000 Big Drama Handicap at Gulfstream Park, where the graded stakes-winning millionaire carried high-weight of 124 pounds to an overpowering 6 ¼-length victory.

    The Big Drama, a seven-furlong handicap for 3-year-olds and up, co-headlined an 11-race program with the $95,000 Mr. Steele, a 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-olds and up on turf.

     Octane, the 4-5 favorite in a field of six, captured the 1 1/16-mile, Gr. III Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park two starts back. The 5-year-old gelded son of Brethren’s performance Saturday was hardly negatively impacted by Saturday’s cutback to seven furlongs around one turn.

    Octane broke on top before jockey Emisael Jaramillo opted to let speedster Vivir Con Alegria show the way along the backstretch and into the far turn. After pressing fractions of :22.61 and :45.51 seconds for a half-mile, the Arindel homebred took the lead midway on the turn without need of encouragement from Jaramillo. The Florida-bred gelding, who conceded between four and six pounds to his rivals, took complete control of the Big Drama the rest of the way.

    “He broke very well. I wasn’t surprised because he has so much talent, but I was a little surprised about how fast he went to the lead because he was coming from longer races,” Jaramillo said. “I could have won wire-to-wire, but I knew there was a horse (Vivir Con Alegria) with a lot of speed inside, so I just waited.”

    Octane, who finished off-the-board in the 1 1/8-mile, Gr. II Oaklawn Park Handicap in his prior start, ran seven furlongs in 1:22.33 while winning for the ninth time in 20 career starts. Loco Abarrio, who saved ground while tracking the pace, finished second, a neck ahead of Shaq Diesel.

    Jaramillo hadn’t ridden Octane since scoring a front-running victory in a mile optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream in April 2023, but he has a long history with the Juan Alvarado trainee. Jaramillo, who was Venezuela’s winningest jockey of all time before venturing to South Florida in 2015, guided Octane to a maiden score in his second career start in 2021 before coming right back to capture the last two legs of the Florida Sire Stakes series, the $200,000 Affirmed at seven furlongs and the $400,000 In Reality at 1 1/16 miles. Octane has earned $1,101,640 on a record of 9-4-1 in 20 starts.

Win for The Money Gets the Money 

    Live Oak Plantation’s Win for the Money got the money while proving much the best in the $95,000 Mr. Steele. The 3-2 favorite took advantage of a perfect setup to begin his 2024 season with a 6 ¾-length victory under Edwin Gonzalez – with an assist from his Mark Casse stablemate Eyes On the King.

    Main Event, who registered a front-running victory in theGr. II Fort Lauderdale during the Championship Meet, broke well from the starting gate but was denied the early lead in the 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds and up by Eyes On the King, who was hustled to the front by Jaramillo. Eyes On the King showed the way around the first turn and on the backstretch, chased closely by Main Event. Win for the Money settled nicely in third following fractions of :22.58 and :46.50 seconds for the first half mile.

    As Eyes On the King and Main Event began to tire from their early efforts, Win for the Money swept to the lead on the turn into the homestretch and drew off to win convincingly.

    “Honestly, we don’t give instructions. It’s more of how they break and go from there,” Casse’s long-time assistant trainer Nick Tomlinson said. “Obviously, the race set up really nice for this horse. He’d been training extremely well, and he showed it today.”

    Win for the Money ran 1 1/16 miles on a firm turf in 1:38.51. Eldon’s Prince closed from last to finish second, a half-length ahead of Me and Mr. C. Main Event finished fourth, while Eyes On the King faded to last in the eight-horse field.

    Win for the Money flirted with graded stakes success in his final two starts of 2023 while finishing second in the Gr. II Autumn and third in the Gr. III Valedictory at Woodbine.

Friday, May 24, 2024
Co-headlines with $100,000 Big Drama . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Mark Casse looks doubly tough to beat in Saturday’s $95,000 Mr. Steele, in which the Hall of Fame trainer will be represented by a multiple graded stakes-placed veteran campaigner and a maturing in-form 4-year-old colt.

    The Mr. Steele, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds and up, will co-headline Saturday’s 11-race program at Gulfstream Park with the $100,000 Big Drama, a seven-furlong test for 3-year-olds and up.

    Win for the Money will make his 2024 debut after finishing his 2023 campaign with a second-place finish in the Autumn (G2) and a third-place finish in the Valedictory (G3) over Woodbine’s Tapeta course. The 5-year-old gelded son of Mohaymen, who is owned by Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation, started twice at Gulfstream last year, losing a photo finish over the Tapeta Course before winning an optional claiming allowance on turf. He went on to win an optional claiming allowance and finish fifth in the Arlington Million (G1) at Colonial Downs before closing out his season at Woodbine.

    “Mrs. Weber likes to give her horses time. We just gave him some time,” Casse said. “He ran very hard in the Valedictory and he ran well in the Autumn. His race in the Arlington Million was pretty good, I thought. Our thoughts were to give him a little break and bring him back fresh. This is a way to stay in Florida and get a race into him.”

    M Racing Group LLC’s Eyes On the King, multiple stakes-placed at 3, has made a strong impression this year in three starts at Tampa Bay Downs, where the son of Street Sense lost a photo before scoring back-to-back optional claiming allowances on turf.

    “His races over at Tampa were very good. He’s a beautiful horse on the cusp of showing us that he’s a really good horse,” Casse said. “This will be a big challenge that he’ll partake in.”

    Edwin Gonzalez is scheduled to ride Win for the Money for the first time, while Emisael Jaramillo will get reacquainted with Eyes On the King.Harrell Ventures’s Main Event is expected to be involved in the early pace Saturday while trying to duplicate a front-running victory in the Fort Lauderdale (G2) at Gulfstream Dec. 30.  The 5-year-old son of Bernardini, who went on to finish off the board in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) and Mac Diarmida (G2), is set to make his first start for trainer Fernando Abreu. Edgard Zayas has the call on Main Event.

    Me and Mr. C, a three-time stakes winner on turf and Tapeta last season, will seek to recapture his winning form in the Mr. Steele for trainer Michael Maker. Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher’s 7-year-old gelding is coming off a third-place finish in the Turf Classic for Florida-breds at Tampa Bay Downs. Hector Diaz Jr. is slated to ride Me and Mr. C for the first time Saturday.

    Gentry Farm’s Eldon’s Prince, a multiple-stakes winner on Gulfstream turf; Rachid Racing LLC’s Marwad, who seeks relief following three straight graded-stakes appearances; in addition to Gods Glory Stables and Matthew Ciamei’s Love Me Not and Abel Rangel’s Benvolio, a pair of last-out optional claiming allowance winners; round out the field. 

Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Estimated at $225,00

    The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool is expected to grow to an estimated $225,000 Friday at Gulfstream Park.  The Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 4-9, featuring a seemingly wide-open five-furlong optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds and up on turf in Race 8, followed by a five-furlong maiden special weight race on Tapeta for 3-year-olds and up.

    Amador Sanchez-trained Abrir Caminos, a multiple stakes-winning Chilean-bred 4-year-old, is scheduled to make his U.S. debut while facing eight rivals, including Joe Orseno-trained Portofino, the 8-5 morning-line favorite who lost his last in a photo finish.

    Morplay Racing, Rosedown Racing Stables and Kerri Radcliffe’s Urban Legend will make his first start for trainer Jose D’Angelo while making his 2024 debut. The 3-year-old son of Into Mischief, who was purchased for $1.3 million at the 2023 OBS April sale, made three starts for Hall of Fame trainer Bab Baffert in Southern California, including a pair of runner-up finishes. One of those was behind undefeated Nysos.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Super Chow gets third graded stakes win . . .
    Lea Farms’s Super Chow (Lord Nelson – Bonita Mia) shot right to the lead in Saturday’s $100,000, Gr. III Maryland Sprint Stakes at Pimlico and was never headed, cruising to victory by a length and three quarters. It’s the third graded stakes win for the 4-year-old colt by Lord Nelson, purchased for $75,000 out of the Eisaman Equine consignment at the 2022 OBS Spring Sale after breezing an eighth in :10 flat at the Under Tack Show. Trained by Jorge Delgado, he has compiled a 19-9-4-5 career record and earned $782,900. 

    Tameem Binhamad KH. H. Al-Thani’s Crimson Advocate (Nyquist – Citizen Advocate) earned a trip to Ascot at two with a victory in Gulfstream’s Royal Palm Juvenile Fillies Stakes and won the Gr. II Queen Mary Stakes. She made her 3-year-old debut on Saturday against the boys in Gulfstream’s $81,000 Roar Stakes and scored by a length, with fellow OBS graduate Sir Flash (Not This Time – Meadow Bride) checking in third. George Weaver trains the daughter of Nyquist, purchased for $100,000 out of the Beth Bayer consignment at the 2022 OBS October Selected Yearling Sale.  She now boasts a 5-3-0-1 record has earned $202,147.       

    Gary Barber’s Witwatersrand (Connect – Carta deOro), last of five early in Woodbine’s $120,000 Ruling Angel Stakes, swung out for the drive, collared the leaders a furlong from home, blew right on by and was best by four lengths. It’s the second stakes victory for the 3-year-old graded stakes-winning filly by Connect, consigned by White Lilac (Katie Miranda), Agent, to the 2023 OBS March Sale, where she went through the ring after breezing an Under Tack eighth in :10 2/5. Now 6-3-0-1 for trainer Mark Casse, she has earned $152,360.  

    Randy Howg, John Holleman, Norman Tremblay, Surging Sky Ventures, Brian McGinnis and Selman Shaby’s Mr Fillip (Mitole – Filibustin), just off the pace early in Saturday’s $50,000 Golden Circle Stakes at Prairie Meadows, took over turning for home and romped away to win by 13 1/4 lengths. Fellow OBS graduate Desperate Man (Practical Joke – Tap Tap Taparoo) set the pace and settled for third. It’s the first stakes win for the 3-year-old son of champion OBS graduate Mitole, purchased for $300,000 out of the Oak Creek Thoroughbreds consignment at the 2023 OBS Spring Sale after turning in an Under Tack eighth in :10 flat. Trained by Matt Williams, he’s now 5-2-1-1 and has earned $137,075.  

    Hong Kyung Pyo’s Ssonsal (Adios Charlie–Wink At the Boys) became the latest OBS millionaire after leading a 1-2-3 OBS sweep of the $516,740 Chairman’s Cup Sprint Stakes (G2-KOR) at Seoul on Sunday. He was best by a neck over 7-year-old 2019 OBS June graduate Eoma Eoma (Algorithms-Lignite), with 9-year-old 2017 OBS Spring graduate Morfhis (Stephen Got Even – Chinchilla), a length back in third. The 8-year-old Florida-bred son of Adios Charlie, now 39-14-5-5 with earnings of $1,096,212, was purchased for $8,500 out of the T-Square Stud consignment at the 2017 October Yearling Sale.
Sunday, May 12, 2024
McPeek says it's a go . . .

    BALTIMORE - Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan will run in the 149th Preakness Stakes on May 18 at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course, trainer Kenny McPeek announced Saturday morning. “All systems go,” McPeek said. “He’ll ship out in the morning.”

    Mystik Dan had a routine 1 1/2-mile gallop at Churchill Downs under retired jockey Robby Albarado, who will be part of the Derby winner’s travel team to Baltimore, much as he was in 2020 when he rode the filly Swiss Skydiver to victory for McPeek. The difference this time is that Brian Hernandez Jr. rides Mystik Dan in his races.

    Mystik Dan underwent an endoscopic exam and had bloodwork analyzed just to ensure everything was normal. When everything came back clean, McPeek confirmed everything was a go for the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.

     “The horse is doing fantastic,” he said after Mystik Dan trained. “I’ve already kind of arranged the logistics of it all.”

    Mystik Dan will get a rematch in the 1 3/16-mile Preakness with Arkansas Derby winner Muth. Mystik Dan finished third that day, his first race in seven weeks after he was a romping winner of Oaklawn Park’s Gr. III Southwest Stakes in the slop.

    “He was ready for the Arkansas Derby,” McPeek said. “I’m not going to use that as an excuse. But he did get turned sideways in that turn, and Brian felt that cost him three or four lengths. But the horse fought back, fortunately…. I’m optimistic we can give (Muth) another run.

Sunday, May 12, 2024
Gabaldon gives Gone Astray first Florida stallion with a 2yo stakes-winner this season . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - D. J. Stable’s Bullet gave Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse a return trip to Royal Ascot, closing from far back to capture the $120,000 Royal Palm Juvenile Fillies Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

    Soldi Stable’s Gabaldon earned trainer Jose D’Angelo his first visit to Great Britain’s most prestigious meeting two races later while registering a front-running triumph in the $120,000 Royal Palm Juvenile.

    The Royal Palm Juvenile Fillies, a five-furlong turf test for 2-year-old fillies, co-headlined a 10-race program with the Royal Palm Juvenile, a five-furlong turf race for all 2-year-olds. The winners of both races earned automatic berths in one of six stakes during the Royal Ascot meet that runs June 18 through June 24, as well as $25,000 travel stipends.

    Emisael Jaramillo rode both winners.

    Casse-trained Bullet broke slowly from the starting gate to race far behind a strong early pace, set by first-time starter You Need Me, a 44-1 shot ridden by Leonel Reyes, and pressed by Unchained Elaine on the outside with 8-5 favorite Perfect Shances chasing along the rail. You Need Me shook off all challenges to take her lead into the stretch, where she was able to repel a bid by Casse-trained My Emmy. But the David Braddy-trained daughter of St. Patrick’s Day was no match for the impressive late surge by Bullet, who made a wide sweep on the turn before kicking in through the stretch.

    “The crazy thing is she usually breaks like a shot. I used a few choice words when she broke,” said Casse, who watched from his Ocala home. “It’s one thing to break bad. It’s another thing when you break bad and circle everyone in the field. You’ll have a tough time finding a more impressive race than the one she gave us.”

    Bullet, a daughter of War Front who was saddled by longtime Casse assistant Nick Tomlinson, scored by 2 ¼ lengths, completing five furlongs in :56.80 seconds while closing off fractions of :22.01 and :44.84.

    Casse had a most enjoyable first visit to Royal Ascot, where he saddled champion Tepin for a victory over the boys in the 2016, Gr. I Queen Anne Stakes.

    “My wife describes it the best. She said Royal Ascot is like the Kentucky Derby on steroids,” Casse said. “It’s something I’ll never forget. The prestige. We got to meet the Queen, which was very special for us.”

    D’Angelo-trained Gabaldon ($35.00) was making his debut in the Royal Palm Juvenile following a series of strong workouts that included a sharp half-mile breeze over the turf course at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training center in Palm Beach County. Unlike Bullet, Gabaldon broke like a bullet to grab an early lead, challenged on his outside by Governor Sam along the backstretch. After shaking his early challenge, the son of Gone Astray opened a clear lead at the top of the stretch on his way to a 1 ¼-length victory. He completed five furlongs in :56.20 seconds after putting up fractions of :21.33 and :43.80.

    “The horse showed class from the first day. He’s never missed a workout,” D’Angelo said. “We were looking for a horse to run in this race. Now, we are looking for a [top) hat.” Reach for the Rose rallied along the rail to finish second, a neck ahead of Bright Skittle and Casse-trained Garden of War, who finished in a dead-heat for third.

    Last year, trainer George Weaver was unable to repeat his amazing accomplishment during the inaugural 2023 Royal Palm Series. He saddled Crimson Advocate for a victory in the Royal Palm Juvenile Fillies and No Nay Mets for a win in the Royal Palm Juvenile, and Crimson Advocate went on to beat 25 fillies in the Gr. II Queen Mary (G2), but No Nay Mets finished off the board in the Gr. II Norfolk.