Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Late Pick 4 has $1 million guarantee . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Saturday’s 12-race program at Gulfstream Park, highlighted by the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series, will offer guaranteed pools for the Late Pick 4, the Late Pick 5 and the Rainbow 6.

    The pool for the Late Pick 4 (Races 9-12) will be guaranteed at $1 million, while the Late Pick 5 (races 8-12) and the 20-cent Rainbow 6 (races 7-12) will offer guaranteed pools of $750,000. The Rainbow 6 pool will be guaranteed as long as the multi-race wager isn’t solved before Saturday.

     The multi-race sequences for all three wagers will include the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational, North America’s richest race; and the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, North America’s richest turf race.

    The third running of the Pegasus World Cup field will be headlined by $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic winner and 2018 Horse of the Year finalist Accelerate. The Pegasus World Cup Turf will feature an international field of grass stars, including Yoshida, a Gr. 1 winner on turf and dirt, and Aerolithe, a multiple graded stakes-winning mare in Japan making her first start in the U.S.

    Should the Rainbow 6 go unsolved through Saturday’s program, there will be a mandatory payout of the entire pool of the popular multi-race wager on Sunday.

    Saturday’s card will offer seven other stakes, including four additional graded stakes: the $200,000, Gr. III W. L. McKnight; $200,000, Gr. III La Prevoyante; $150,000, Gr. III Fred Hooper; $150,000, Gr. III Fasig-Tipton Hurricane
Bertie, $150,000 Gulfstream Turf Sprint; $150,000 Ladies Turf Sprint, and the $125,000 South Beach.
Sunday, January 20, 2019
Win Win Win aptly named . . .
     OLDSMAR - Michael Trombetta, the trainer of 3-year-old colt Win Win Win, had a helpless feeling after Gladiator King broke through the gate as the field for the $125,000 Pasco Stakes was being loaded, delaying the start. But a horse with the kind of talent Win Win Win displayed in setting a 7-furlong track record has a way of making his connections feel like they’re just along for the ride, anyway.

    After breaking slowly from the No. 2 post, Win Win Win was taken in hand for the first part of the race before jockey Julian Pimentel launched his bid from the outside at the ¼-mile pole. Win Win Win surged past Gladiator King and Overdeliver, speeding to a seven-and-a-quarter length victory in track and stakes-record time of 1:20.89. Overdeliver finished second, followed by Cave Run and War Bridle, who was racing for the track’s fantasy-based “Tampa Bay Owners Club.” Jackson and Zenden were late scratches.

    It was a record-setting Skyway Festival Day at Tampa Bay Downs, where 3-year-old filly Molto Bella set a stakes record of 1:22.20 in winning the $125,000, 7-furlong Gasparilla Stakes and 5-year-old mare Tapa Tapa Tapa established a stakes standard of 1:43.27 in the $50,000, mile-and-a-sixteenth Wayward Lass.

    Bred in Florida by Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Stud and owned by her Live Oak Plantation, Win Win Win improved to 3-for-4, and Trombetta’s coy reply of “maybe” when asked if the horse would be nominated to the Gr. III Sam F. Davis Stakes on Feb. 9 had a definitive air to it.

    “We’ve always liked this guy, and we’re very happy with him,” Trombetta said. “They left the two inside horses in there while they were chasing the loose horse, and I think he might have fallen asleep in there. He broke flat-footed, but Julian knows him really well. He had a nice little pace to run at (22.10 for the first quarter-mile and 44.52 for the half) and he showed what he can do.” Despite being forced to go wide on the turn, Win Win Win left his four rivals behind in a few quick, powerful strides in the 20th edition of the Pasco.

    “I didn’t panic (at the start) because he did the same thing last time,” Pimentel said of Win Win Win’s awkward beginning in a runner-up effort in the Heft Stakes at Laurel on Dec. 29. “He’s very quick, so I just took my time and let him do his thing. I had so much horse and when I asked him to run, he took off.”

    The winner’s share of $56,000 boosted Win Win Win’s earnings to $127,300. The son of Hat Trick-Miss Smarty Pants, by Smarty Jones, broke the stakes and track mark set in 2015 by subsequent Gr. II winner Catalina Red as a 2-year-old (the Pasco was run that season on Dec. 27, 2014). El Grande Rojo had equaled the track mark the following year as a 7-year-old gelding.

    HIGH ROLLERS - Dennis Scott won the inaugural “High Rollers Handicapping Contest” with a final bankroll$1,150, earning first-place money of $5,000. Jim Tipps finished second with a bankroll of $910 to earn $2,000. Scott and Tipps also receive their choice of a seat at the 2019 or 2020 National Thoroughbred Racing Association Handicapping World Series.

    Rich Averill and Wadie Khalaf tied for third with final bankrolls of $840, each earning $1,250. Finishing fifth with an $810 bankroll was Brendan Fay, who earned $500.

A total of 40 players participated.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Travel time was more than 21 hours . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Sunday Racing Co. Ltd.’s Grade I-winning mare Aerolithe arrived at Gulfstream Park this morning at approximately 3:15 a.m. to prepare for the $7 million, Gr. I Pegasus World Turf Cup Invitational, North America’s richest grass race, on Jan. 26.

    The mare’s excellent adventure began in Tokyo, then to South Korea to Anchorage to Miami. Total travel time, including layovers, was 21 hours and 25 minutes. “She traveled really well, much better than expected,” said Kate Hunter, Pegasus World Cup field representative for the Japan Racing Association.

    Aerolithe, winner of the Gr. I NHK Mile Cup as a 3-year-old, has finished first or second in nine of 13 career starts, including a victory Oct. 7 in the Gr. II Mainichi Okan and a second-place finish on June 3 in the Gr. I Yasuda Kinen. The 5-year-old daughter of Kurofune, a son of French Deputy, is trained by Takanori Kikuzawa. Hunter confirmed that Florent Geroux will ride the mare. She will remain in quarantine at Gulfstream for approximately 42 hours.

    “She’s going to stay inside the barn until her 42-hour quarantine is finished,” Hunter said. “But once that’s done, she’ll spend the day walking and the trainer, who is also going to be riding her in the mornings, gets in on the morning of the 20th, so he will be riding her on the morning of the 20th on the track.”

    Hunter said there is a great deal of excitement regarding Aerolithe’s participation in the Turf Invitational. “To be able to bring over a Japanese horse to America, especially with the recent issues with Japanese cargo companies not being able to fly in or out of Japan, it’s a huge get,” she said. “The filly really wanted to go to the Breeders’ Cup but we were denied because of airplane issues. So they were really keen on coming to America and giving it a go. She’s a really game filly with good speed and a lot of heart so they were really keen on giving her a chance in the United States.”

    Aerolithe is not the only international competitor on Pegasus World Cup Invitational day. Kukulkan, Mexico’s undefeated Triple Crown winner who was victorious in the Clasico del Caribe at Gulfstream in December, will return to compete in the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus while Ireland’s Magic Wand will compete in the inaugural running of the World Turf Cup. 
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Breezed 5 furlongs at Palm Beach Downs . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Audible, the 2018 Florida Derby winner, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.91 Saturday morning at Palm Beach Downs in preparation for the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 26.

    “Audible’s training really well," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "I’ve been pleased with all of his works, particularly this morning. It was a good, solid five-eighths with a strong gallop-out that we were looking for. All indications are he’s in good form and coming up to the race very well.”

    Audible worked in company inside Impact Player before drawing clear in the stretch and galloping out well ahead of his workmate.

    Owned by China Horse Club, WinStar Farm, Head of Plains Partners LLC and Starlight Racing, Audible followed up his Florida Derby triumph with a troubled third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby before going to the sideline for six months. The son of Into Mischief fired fresh to win the seven-furlong Cherokee Run on the Breeders’ Cup undercard at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3 but faltered in his most recent start, finishing second in the 1 1/16-mile Harlan’s Holiday on Dec. 15 over a sloppy Gulfstream track.

    “It wasn’t what we were hoping for," Pletcher said. "We needed a race to build him up for the Pegasus. It didn’t go as planned. He was a prohibitive favorite. Unfortunately, before the race, the skies opened and we got a downpour into a harrowed track. They tried to seal it after that but it was too late. I think, more than anything, he didn’t like the condition of the track. He didn’t fire his best shot. He came out of it well and has trained better than ever coming into the Pegasus. It served its purpose in terms of conditioning.”

    Pletcher noted that the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus will be Audible’s third start off a layoff, widely viewed as a positive from handicapping and conditioning perspectives. “We eased back into it after the Harlan’s Holiday," Pletcher said. "We’ve put some good, solid five-eighths into him and I’ve been particularly pleased with the way he’s galloped out. This will be his third start off the layoff. I think a mile and an eighth is ideal for him, especially if there’s a good contested pace. That’s important for him. He likes to settle early. If we can get some good solid fractions. Some of the main contenders have a lot of speed. If they mix it up a little bit, I think he’ll benefit from that.”

Gunnevera ‘a Different Horse’ Heading into the Pegasus      

    Gunnevera continues to please trainer Antonio Sano with his preparation for the Pegasus World Cup. The 5-year-old son of Dialed In breezed six furlongs in 1:15.80 under Irad Ortiz Jr. Saturday morning at Gulfstream Park West. “I feel very happy with him,” said Sano, whose trainee finished third in last year’s Pegasus. “He’s a different horse. He’s a stronger horse.”

    Gunnevera, who concluded his 2018 campaign with a runner-up finish behind Pegasus contender Accelerate in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, worked in company with stablemate Cometin.

    “He worked really good," Ortiz said. "He’s doing everything right. Hopefully, he comes back to racing the way he is right now.” Ortiz has the return mount on Gunnevera after guiding him to his runner-up finish in the Classic. Gunnevera, who has $4.1 million in career earnings, captured the 2017 Fountain of Youth. He also won the 2016 Saratoga Special and the $1 million Delta Jackpot and has been Gr. 1 stakes-placed in the 2017 Travers  and the 2018 Woodward at Saratoga, as well as the Classic.

Thursday, January 10, 2019
$50,000 guarantee, 12 percent takeout . . .

    LAUREL, MD – The Stronach 5, featuring a $50,000 guaranteed pool and industry-low 12-percent takeout, will travel from Maryland to South Florida to California Friday afternoon.

    The national pick 5 will offer turf races from Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita Park with the sequence beginning at Laurel Park at 4:35 p.m. with a 10-horse field going a mile and ending at Golden Gate Fields at 5:47 p.m. with eight horses going a mile on the all-weather surface.

            Past Performances for Stronach 5: http://www.laurelpark.com/handicapping/stronach-pick-5

      Friday’s Stronach 5 sequence

 ?   Leg One – Laurel Park 9th Race – (10 horses, one mile) 4:35 ET, 1:36 PT

?   Leg Two – Gulfstream Park 9th Race –(9 horses, six furlongs) 4:41 ET, 1:41 PT

?   Leg Three – Santa Anita 4th Race – (11 horses, 1 1/8th mile turf) 5 ET, 2 PT

?   Leg Four – Gulfstream Park 10th Race – (12 horses, 1 1 1/16th miles turf) 5:12 ET, 2:12 PT

?   Leg Five – Golden Gate Fields 5th Race – (8 horses, one mile) 5:47 ET, 2:47 PT

     Five bettors each received $29,027.90 last week for hitting the Stronach 5. Four bettors each cashed for $29,068.30 on Dec. 28 and 37 players each won $2,916.90 on Dec. 21.

    The minimum wager on the multi-race, multi-track Stronach 5 is $1. If there are no tickets with five winners, the entire pool will be carried over to the next Friday.

    For the Stronach 5, if a change in racing surface is made after the wagering closes, each selection on any ticket will be considered a winning selection. If a betting interest is scratched, that selection will be substituted with the favorite in the win pool when wagering closes.