Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Longtime trainer passes away at 98 . . .

   MIAMI GARDENS - Jerry Bozzo, who passed away Sunday at the age of 98, will be remembered as the oldest winning thoroughbred trainer in history, as well as a gentleman and a scholar.

    “He was a great gentleman. It was a pleasure to ride for him, but it was also a pleasure to know him,” said jockey Luca Panici, who rode frequently for Bozzo, including back-to-back victories aboard homebred Gusty Wind during Gulfstream Park’s Summer Meet this year. “I’ve known him since I began riding here at Calder. He was a good horseman and a really, really good gentleman.”

    Bozzo, who was a graduate of Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, became the oldest trainer to win a race on June 3, 2017 when he sent out Cotton Tooyah for a 4 ½-length victory at Gulfstream Park. He surpassed the record of the late Noble Threewitt, who visited the winner’s circle for the last time two months after celebrating his 95th birthday. Threewitt, who was born Feb. 24, 1911, was credited with being the oldest trainer to win a race when Threeatonce captured a maiden claiming race at Santa Anita on April 22, 2006.

    Bozzo had already become the oldest trainer ever to saddle a stakes-winner when homebred Flutterby won the Sea Lily at Gulfstream on May 30, 2015 before going on to finish second in the Gr. II Princess Rooney and win two more stakes. Panici, who rode Flutterby to three stakes victories in 2015, enjoyed Bozzo’s company as much as riding horses for him.

    “I was more happy for him than for me when we won a race,” Panici said. “Training a horse, having a winner, kept him in good shape. He had an amazing history, being in World War II and his business. He was always a pleasure to be around. More than business, it was a pleasure to talk with him and have a conversation in the mornings.”

    The retired aeronautical engineer, industrialist and World War II veteran. sold his Pennsylvania bottle manufacturing company in 1969. He had been breeding and training thoroughbreds in South Florida since the 1970s.

    “My favorite times with Jerry had nothing to do with the horses," said trainer and longtime friend Phil Combest. "We were baseball fans and we talked baseball right up to a month ago. He was as sharp as a tack right up to the end. It’s hard to be a Marlins fan, but we both kind of hung in there with them.”

    Bozzo celebrated his 98th birthday on Oct. 25, two weeks after winning the fifth race at Gulfstream Park West with his record-breaker, Cotton Tooyah.

   At Bozzo’s request, a memorial service has not been scheduled.

Saturday, November 10, 2018
Millions Preview set for today . . .


    MIAMI GARDENS - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 was solved at Gulfstream Park West Friday when a single ticket with all six winners was worth a $71,152.16 jackpot payoff. The combination of Friday’s winning ticket was 8-3-6-3-4-9.?

    The multi-race wager was last solved Oct. 27 for a $162,143.62 jackpot payoff.

    The Rainbow 6 starts anew today, when the six-race sequence will span Races 6-11 on the Millions Preview card (Noon first-race post time).

    The $75,000 Juvenile Sprint will kick off the sequence in Race 6, followed by a maiden special weight race, the $75,000 Juvenile Fillies Turf, the $75,000 Millions Distaff, the $75,000 Juvenile Turf and another maiden special weight race.   

    There will be a Super Hi-5 Carryover of $1,110.54 heading into today’s program.

Clasico Candidates Arrive from Panama, Venezuela, Puerto Rico

    Horses from Venezuela, Panama and Puerto Rico arrived at Gulfstream Park Friday to begin preparations for planned starts in the Clasico Internacional del Caribe Saturday, Dec. 8.

    Gulfstream, which became the first pari-mutuel facility last year outside Latin America or the Caribbean to the host the event since its inception in 1966, will once again play host to five races for horses from eight Latin American and Caribbean countries with purses totaling more than $700,000. The highlight of the day will be the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe for 3-year-olds.

    A horse from Ecuador is scheduled to arrive today, while a strong contingent from Mexico, including defending Classic del Caribe champion Jala Jala, is slated to arrive next Thursday.





Friday, November 9, 2018
Headlines Millions Preview program . . .




MIAMI GARDENS - A winner of nine races, six stakes and more than $780,000 in purses, Mr. Jordan commands respect wherever he races, but nowhere does the flashy gray 6-year-old gelding have more ‘cred’ than at Gulfstream Park West.

The Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained veteran stakes performer will bring an undefeated record at Gulfstream Park West into Saturday’s Millions Classic Preview.

The 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-olds and up will be one of nine races for Florida-breds worth a total $675,000 in purses on a Millions Preview Day card that will serve as an early prep for Jan. 19 Sunshine Millions card at Gulfstream Park for many of the entrants.

Owned by David Melin, Leon Ellman and Laurie Plesa, Mr. Jordan is 4-for-4 at Gulfstream Park West, all in stakes competition. He is not only undefeated, the son of Kantharos is also untested at the Miami Gardens track while romping to four straight stakes victories by a total of 22 ¾ lengths. After breaking his maiden at first asking at Monmouth Park, Mr. Jordan captured the 2014 Juvenile Sprint Stakes by three lengths and the Smooth Air Stakes by 4 ½ lengths back-to-back. He returned to Gulfstream Park West to capture the 2016 Millions Classic Preview by 3 ¾ lengths before defending his title last year by 11 ½ lengths.

Paco Lopez will become reacquainted with Mr. Jordan Saturday. Lopez, who rode Roy H. to victory in last Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Sprin at Churchill Downs, was aboard Mr. Jordan for victories in the 2014 Juvenile Sprint Stakes and the 2016 Millions Classic Preview, as well as the 2015 Pegasus at Monmouth Park.

Mr. Jordan is scheduled to face four rivals, including Deland and Noble Drama, who have both registered recent victories over the Plesa trainee at Gulfstream.

Ricardo Vallejo’s Deland enters the Classic Preview off impressive back-to-back stakes victories, taking the July 22 Coast Is Clear by two lengths and the Sept. 7 Mo Exception by eight lengths.

“The horse is in very good condition at the moment,” Barboza said. “My plan is to run in the Classic Preview Saturday, the Grade 3 (Dec. 15 Harlan’s Holiday) and the Sunshine Millions (Classic) at Gulfstream.”

The son of Gottcha Gold, a Gr. 1 winner in Puerto Rico, came to Gulfstream last fall to compete in the Caribbean Classic, only to be sidelined with a hoof injury before the race. The 6-year-old gelding stumbled and lost his rider at the start of his U.S. debut Feb. 10 at Tampa Bay Downs but showed promise while finishing second behind Imperial Hint in a  Tampa sprint stakes. Deland was transferred to trainer Victor Barboza Jr. two starts later and finished second in the Big Drama Stakes at Gulfstream prior to winning his two most recent races.

Both of his recent victories were achieved at a mile around one turn, but Barboza isn’t concerned with the addition of a turn and distance.

“I don’t think it is a problem for the horse. The horse has won at a mile and a quarter in Puerto Rico,” said Barboza, referring to Deland’s triumph in the 2016 Copa Barbosa (G1) at Camarero.

Emisael Jaramillo has the return mount.

Harold Queen’s Noble Drama is coming off a victory in the $150,000 Florida Sire Stakes Wildcat Heir at Gulfstream Sept. 29, prevailing by a neck over Mo Cash and nearly two lengths ahead of a troubled-trip Mr. Jordan.

“He’s a good little horse. It took him a couple races to get him focused, but he’s doing great,” said trainer David Fawkes.

The son of Gone Astray is out of Queen Drama, a full sister to 2010 Eclipse sprint champion Big Drama and multiple Gr. 1 stakes winner Sheer Drama.

“He came back from that race in good order and he’s been working good,” Fawkes said.

Queen’s homebred 3-year-old gelding’s most recent victory was achieved at a mile around one turn.

“Two turns is no problem. He won two turns at Tampa,” said Fawkes, referring to Noble Drama’s triumph in the 1/16-mile Florida Sire Stakes Silver Charm on May 5. “He’s already won against older horses.”

Nik Juarez has the return mount.

Midwest Thoroughbreds’ Jay’s Way is scheduled to return from an eight-month layoff for the Classic Preview. The 5-year-old son of Gone Astray won the Sunshine Millions last year, stubbornly holding off Mr. Jordan by a half-length.

Trained by Armand De La Cerda, Jay’s Way hasn’t raced since finishing sixth in the Challenger Stakes at Tampa March 10.

Hector Berrios has been named to ride Jay’s Way.

Arindel’s Weisser, who set the pace before fading to fourth in the Wildcat Heir, rounds out the field. Edgard Zayas has the mount.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018
Accelerate No. 1 on list . . .

HALLANDALE BEACH - Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Accelerate, runner-up Gunnevera, Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Monomoy Girl and Florida Derby winner Audible are all strong possibilities to compete in the richest race in North America – the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park.

Other horses considering the third running of the Pegasus include Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner City of Light and runner-up Seeking the Soul. Arklow, fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, is a possibility for the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational , the richest turf race in North America, also being run on Jan. 26.

In just two years, the Pegasus has become one of the sport’s biggest events. In 2017, the race brought together two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome and 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Arrogate, who won the inagural running by 4 ¾ lengths. Earlier this year, Horse of the Year Gun Runner ended his career with a 2 ½-length victory in the Pegasus over West Coast and third-place finisher Gunnevera.

Trainer John Sadler, who saddled Accelerate to a length victory over Gunnevera in Saturday’s $6 million Classic, said the 5-year-old, a winner of four consecutive Gr. I races, will be shown as a stallion in Lexington before being sent back to his stable in California.

“If all is good, we’ll probably go in the Pegasus, kind of our all-out Gun Runner of last year, and then he’ll go off to stud,” Sadler said.

Gunnevera, trained at Gulfstream by Antonio Sano and a winner of more than $4 million, is also targeting the Pegasus after finishing second in Saturday’s Classic. “He’s going to race in 2019 and will point to the Pegasus,” Sano said.

After watching their filly win the Distaff for her ninth victory in 11 starts, the connections of Monomoy Girl said they would consider running against the boys in the Pegasus.

“I think we will take a look at the Pegasus,” said co-owner Sol Kumin. “I think it’s a good distance for her . . . speed-favoring track at Gulfstream. She’ll get obviously a little bit of a weight break. I think that would be the only race that we would probably look at.”

Brad Cox, trainer of Monomoy Girl, said; “Really, right now, in the near future that would be the race we would target. Beyond that, it will be the Breeders’ Cup next year at Santa Anita. We would have plenty of time to come back and prepare for the Distaff if there is a run in January in the Pegasus. She’s worthy of a break and some time. When we give that to her it will be up to what we decide to do with the Pegasus.”

Cox also said Arklow, fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, will be considered for the inaugural running of the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational. “We might also might take a look at the Pegasus turf race with him as well. We’ll give him a few days to come out of his race and we’ll go from there.”


Florida Derby winner Audible, who was sidelined earlier this year after finishing third in the Kentucky Derby, returned from a six-month layoff for trainer Todd Pletcher to impressively win the Cherokee Run on Breeders’ Cup Day. After the 3-year-old’s performance, Elliott Walden, president and racing manager of WinStar Farm, said; “I think Audible could be Pegasus-bound after that.”

Saturday, November 3, 2018
Shamrock Rose scores in a photo . . .

    Conrad Farms’ Shamrock Rose was 14th and last in the early going of the $1-million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, but charged between horses under Irad Ortiz Jr. in the stretch and was best by a head in a four-horse blanket finish.

    It’s the fourth straight stakes victory for the 3-year-old daughter of First Dude, who is trained by Ocalan Mark Casse. She's now 10-5-2-1 with $917,687 in earnings after collecting a check for $550,000. She was sold for $120,000 by Best A Luck Farm LLC, Agent, at the 2017 OBS April Sale after breezing an Under Tack eighth in :10 flat. The second OBS graduate to win the Filly and Mare Sprint,, Shamrock Rose follows in the footsteps of April Sale graduate Musical Romance, who captured the 2011 renewal. 

    Double Diamond Farm's First Dude is Florida's leading sire with more than $4.5 million in 2018 progeny earnings, and now holds a big lead over deceased Wildcat Heir.