Friday, September 23, 2022
HALLANDALE BEACH - Back from his working summer vacation in California, David Berman, Jeffrey Lambert, and Robert Fetkin’s Lure Him In is scheduled to return to Gulfstream Park’s familiar Tapeta course for Saturday’s $55,000 Pembroke Park.
The Bob Hess-trained 5-year-old gelding, a most impressive winner on the all-weather surface during the Championship Meet, will clash with six talented rivals in the 1 1/16-mile overnight handicap for 3-year-olds and up.
Lure Him In demonstrated an affinity for Gulfstream’s Tapeta surface with a dominating 2 ½-length victory in the Jan. 27 Sunshine Turf that was taken off the turf and transferred to the all-weather surface.
“I loved the way he got over it that day. I thought that was one of his better if not best race,” trainer Bob Hess Jr. said.
Lure Him In ran twice more on turf before heading to California, where he finished sixth in the All American over Golden Gate Fields’ all-weather track before running twice over Del Mar’s turf, including a close-up second in an optional claiming allowance last time out.
“I thought he would run better at Golden Gate, not that he ran poorly, but I think he especially likes the Tapeta at Gulfstream Park,” Hess said.
Lure Him In has been assigned highweight of 123 pounds, between one and nine pounds more than his rivals. He is rated second at 3-1 in the morning line, along with graded-stakes winner Sole Volante, behind Lamplighter Jack, who is 2-1.
“We’re excited for that spot,” Hess said. “He arrived by plane [Wednesday] night. He ate everything and we’ll give him some light training [Friday] and we’ll hope to get the ‘W’ Saturday.”
Leading rider Miguel Vasquez has the call on Lure Him In.
Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Andie Biancone’s Sole Volante, a stakes-winner on turf and dirt, is scheduled to make his debut on Tapeta in the Pembroke Park while coming off a five-month layoff.
“I don’t know if he’ll like it or not, but it gives him an opportunity for a comeback race,” trainer Patrick Biancone said.
Sole Volante, who won the Pulpit on Gulfstream’s turf course and Sam F. Davis (G3) on Tampa’s main track before running in the 2020 Belmont Stakes and Kentucky Derby, was turned out after finishing fifth in the April 22 Elkhorn over Keeneland’s turf course.
“We sent him to the farm for three months to relax and a well-deserved vacation because he hasn’t had a vacation since he was a 2-year-old,” Biancone said. “We’re hoping to have him well for the end of this year.”
Although Biancone isn’t sure how the 5-year-old son of Karakontie will handle the Tapeta surface, he is looking forward to getting him back in action.
“He’s training better than ever. The break has done him a lot of good. He’s got a good spirit; he’s happy,” Biancone said. “This race is the first step for, hopefully, a fruitful winter. It’s not easy to come back running against horses that have been running every three weeks. The key in this race is to bring him back to competition.”
Romero Maragh is scheduled to ride Sole Volante for the first time Saturday.
Melvin Simonovich’s Lamplighter Jack will return to the Gulfstream Tapeta course, over which had won four races in a row quite impressively prior to fifth-place finish on turf in an allowance at Kentucky Downs.
“It was a little disappointing because the horse was really sharp and doing well,” trainer Joe Orseno said. “The fractions on the front-end were just too fast. No way, the horse could sustain that run. It was just a different race. He only got beat four lengths and he was trying to the end.
Prior to shipping to Kentucky, the 4-year-old gelding was a front-running winner in his four Tapeta victories, winning by a combined 13 lengths.
“He took to that surface, although he likes grass also,” Orseno said. “He sure likes it here.”
Edgar Perez, who has been aboard for his four Tapeta wins and his loss on turf at Kentucky Downs, has the return mount on Lamplighter Jack.
Sonata Stable’s Calibrator, trainer Dan Hurtak’s Mamba Laker, Victory Racing Partner’s Kahiko, and Ivette Perez Chambless’ Journeyman round out the field.
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