HALLANDALE BEACH - The Stronach Group, owners of the Pegasus World Cup, announced today an exciting new element to what has become one of the premier events on the thoroughbred racing calendar. The Pegasus World Cup 2019, to be held on Jan. 26, will be adding a Gr. 1 turf stakes to this year’s race-day festivities.
The addition of the turf race, which will be run at 1 3/16 miles, aims to attract and showcase 12 of the best older turf horses from around the world turning the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational into a Championship Invitational Series. The total purse for the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational will be $7 million with $3 million awarded to the winner. The Pegasus World Cup Invitational, to be contested on the dirt at 1 1/8 miles, will offer a $9 million purse with a $4 million prize waiting the winner in the 12-horse field.
Any owner who purchases a spot in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational will be given preference to purchase a spot in the Turf Invitational. The cost to secure an entry spot and enter a horse is $500,000 per race.
“As an international owner I am thrilled that the Pegasus World Cup will include a turf race,” said John Magnier, Founder of Coolmore. “Coolmore, like The Stronach Group, believes in growing our sport and there is no better way to do that than to provide a new platform to showcase the world’s best thoroughbreds.”
As an added incentive and as part of the commitment to provide new, lucrative opportunities for horse owners, The Stronach Group will offer a $1 million bonus to an owner who wins both the Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the Turf Invitational.
The Stronach Group will also introduce a new wager, the Pegasus Pick 24. It will offer the chance to bet on the exact order of finish for both the Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the Turf Invitational. A $5 million bonus awaits the lucky fan who hits the Pegasus Pick 24
HALLANDALE BEACH – Gulfstream Park announced it has received more than 5,000 stall applications for the approximately 3,100 stalls available at Gulfstream, Palm Meadows and Gulfstream Park West for its Championship Meet.
The Championship Meet, which begins Nov. 30, will feature the Pegasus World Cup Invitational, Florida Derby, Clasico Internacional del Caribe, Eclipse Awards, Claiming Crown, Fountain of Youth and world-championship turf and dirt racing through March.
There are 274 trainers who applied for stalls. Among those applying include Todd Pletcher, who has won the Championship Meet trainer’s title an unprecedented 15 times, Bill Mott, Shug McGaughey, Kiaran McLaughlin, Dale Romans, Chad Brown, James Jerkens, Graham Motion, Mike Maker, Michael Matz, Ken McPeek, Wesley Ward, Jason Servis, Mark and Norm Casse, Rick Violette, Kelly Breen, Bob Hess, Jeremiah Englehart, Mark Hennig, Eddie Kenneally, Brendan Walsh, Mary Eppler, Michael Trombetta, Jorge Navarro and Jane Cibelli.
Trainers who will participate in the Championship Meet who are stabled in South Florida year-round include Eddie Plesa Jr., David Fawkes, Stanley Gold, Kathy Ritvo, Antonio Sano, Ralph Nicks, Jena Antonucci, Henry Collazo, Michelle Nihei, Joe Orseno, Gustavo Delgado, Armando De La Cerda, Elizabeth Dobles, Kathleen O’Connell, Peter Walder and Victor Barboza Jr.
“We are delighted with the response from so many of the top trainers in North America and Latin America who would like to winter in South Florida for our legendary Championship meet,” said Gulfstream General Manager Bill Badgett. “Along with world-class racing, The Stronach Group is also redefining the experience of attending the races with relevant and exciting entertainment. We believe this Championship Meet will be the most exciting in Gulfstream’s 80-year history.”
The current meeting at Kentucky Downs is probably the most unique of any track in North America.
No. 1 - There are 10 races on today's program and the least number of entrants in any race is 10, in the third. The total for the entire program is 153, an average of 15.3 per race. What management at Gulfstream Park, Saratoga and Del Mar wouldn't give for numbers like that.
No. 2 - Like every day, the purses in almost every race are supplemented by money earned from the track's historical races, and the figures are from another world. Here's a race-by-race breakdown of the total purse money for each race, and the amount generated by wagering on the historical races:
1st - $55,000 - $44,550.
2nd - $130,000 - $113,100.
3rd - $145,000 - $124,700.
4th - $130,000 - $113,100.
5th - $130,000 - $113,100.
6th - $140,000 - $120,400.
7th - $130,000 - $113,100.
8th - Franklin Simpson Stakes: $300,000 - $258,000.
9th - Ramsey Farm Stakes: $400,000.
10th - $50,000 - $40,500.
Totals - $1,610,000 in purses - $1,040,550 generated from historical races.
I have often read comments by the legion of pessimists that racing has to be buoyed by outside sources in order to stay afloat (like casinos). My answer is: tell that to the owners and trainers who have showed up for this meeting. I'm sure they will be embarrassed to accept their winnings.
HALLANDALE BEACH –Emisael Jaramillo took the lead in the Summer Meet jockey race at Gulfstream Park Saturday with a five-win day. He then added two more winners on Sunday.
In addition to his winning the $75,000 Trinniberg aboard Cautious Giant in Race 5, Venezuela’s all-time winningest jockey scored aboard Master Rory ($4.20) in Race 3, Lady Magica ($3.80) in Race 7, Red Crescent ($11.20) in Race 10, and Piloting ($6.60) in Race 10. On Sunday he won with Song of Melody ($4.80) and Golden Alina ($2.40).
Jaramillo holds a 50-44 lead over Tyler Gaffalione, who rode at Kentucky Downs Saturday and has ridden several programs out of town during the Summer Meet.
Thursday’s Rainbow 6 Carryover will be $120,801, with a post time of 2 p. m. Sunday's multiple winners received $2,150.
THIS IS SO NIFTY - Leverett and Linda Miller, former owners of T-Square Stud, have added another winner produced by their incredible broodmare, So Ritzy. So Nifty, a 2-year-old colt owned and bred by the Millers, scored at Gulfstream Sunday in his second start, a $50,600 maiden special. He's the 12th of So Ritzy's 13 foals to run and the 10th to win. The 13th foal is named So Dears, a yearling filly by Fury Kapcori.
Among her runners, So Ritzy has produced Silver Wagon, an earner of $1,162,193, Rehoboth ($727,215), So Glitzy ($179,405), So Swanky ($166,315) and Ritzy Jones ($111,000). The 12 have combined to win 46 races, led by Rehoboth, who won 16 times during a 77-race career, and Silver Wagon and So Swanky, who won seven times each. as a group, they have earned $2,563,464.
HALLANDALE BEACH –Cookie Dough broke through with her first win in four career starts in Saturday’s $200,000, 7-furlong Susan’s Girl Division of the Florida Sire Stakes, providing trainer Stanley Gold with his record-extending 19th triumph in the series for 2-year-olds sired by accredited stallions standing in Florida.
Arindel Farm’s homebred filly paid $26 after she dominated eight rivals by 6 ½ lengths under Jeffrey Sanchez. She graduated after a pair of trouble-filled third-place finishes in maiden races and a sixth-place finish in the $100,000 Desert Vixen, the first leg of the FSS Aug. 4 in which she was involved in a blazing early speed duel.
“We’ve always been in trouble with her," Gold said. "The first time out she got knocked into the rail and got hurt pretty bad and had to go home and have some time off. The second time she ran she got pushed into the rail. She got banged up but didn’t have to go home. We just never had a clean trip, and I thought she was one of our two best fillies. She had a clean trip today, brought her A Game and did it.”
Cookie Dough broke alertly from her No. 10 post position and rated well while pressing pacesetter Nancysaidso along the backstretch past fractions of 22.93 and 46.48 for the first four furlongs. Under confident handling by Sanchez, Cookie Dough responded when asked for her kick leaving the turn and into the stretch, quickly opening up on the field and drawing off to a commanding victory.
“Last time she got the lead and I didn’t want to take her back," Sanchez said. "But she runs better when she has one horse in front. When you’re ready, when she has a horse in front, and you ask her to run, she gives everything.”
Cookie Dough, a daughter of red-hot second-crop sire Brethren, ran seven furlongs in 1:24.46, giving her trainer his first FSS win for Arindel Farms after saddling 18 winners for a former client, Jacks or Better Farm.
“I don’t really think about that, but it’s exciting to win the first because it is No. 19,” Gold said. “It’s nice not to fade away and not win any for a long time.”
Starship Nala, fifth in the six-furlong Desert Vixen, finished second after stalking the pace. Blazing Brook finished another length back in third. Capture Your Dream, the 3-5 favorite who won the Desert Vixen, faded to sixth after being forwardly placed into the stretch.
Gold said Cookie Dough would be pointed to the $400,000 My Dear Girl, the 1 1/16-mile FSS finale for fillies on Sept. 29.
LAUREL, MD– The Stronach Group announced today it will begin offering a new national Pick 5 wager – the Stronach 5 – beginning Friday, Sept. 28.
The first week will offer a guaranteed pool of $50,000 on the multi-race, multi-track wager with an industry-low 12-percent takeout.
The minimum wager on the Stronach 5 will be $1. The Stronach 5 will feature races from Laurel Park, Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields. If there are no tickets with five winners, the entire pool will be carried over to the next Friday.
The Stronach 5 will be an action-packed wager that will take less than 60 minutes. The Maryland Jockey Club will serve as host and offer the multi-race bet as a separate wagering program. Past performances will be available in programs at all Stronach Group tracks and in the Daily Racing Form.
The first 100 fans who buy a program Sept. 28 at Gulfstream, Santa Anita, Maryland or Golden Gate will be awarded a Quick Pick ticket on the Stronach 5.
While The Stronach Group had a similar cross-country wager in the Magna 5 from 2004-2010, there are significant differences with the Stronach 5. The Magna 5 had a 22 percent takeout, and if there were no winning tickets 75 percent of the pool was carried over.
For the Stronach 5, if a change in racing surface is made after the wagering closes, each selection in that race 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.
HALLANDALE BEACH – Cajun Firecracker got the money in the $100,000 Dr. Fager Division of the Florida Sire Stakes at Gulfstream on Aug. 4. His breeder/owner/trainer got a pile of cash after the homebred colt’s triumph in the first leg of the lucrative series for 2-year-olds sired by accredited stallions standing in Florida.
Bred and owned by trainer Michael Yates’ Shadybrook Farm, Cajun Firecracker is scheduled to return in the $200,000 Affirmed Division of the FSS for new connections Saturday.
“We’re in this business to make money,” Yates said. “Our goal this year was to win a [sire] stakes. We accomplished that and then we had an offer that was too good to refuse.”
The undefeated son of Cajun Breeze was purchased by Heiligbrodt Racing Stable, a long-time client of Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, and transferred to the barn of trainer Ralph Nicks to prepare for the seven-furlong Affirmed.
Cajun Firecracker became the first winner for first-year sire Cajun Breeze on April 13, capturing his debut by two lengths. Yates had campaigned the hard-knocking Cajun Breeze during a 33-race career that yielded four victories and $246,860 in earnings before his retirement in 2015.
“Cajun Breeze is doing very well. It’s very rewarding,” Yates said. “I have 14 yearlings and 15 mares in foal to him this year. I’m all-in.”
Cajun Breeze, a son of Congrats, is a half-brother to Cajun Delta Dawn, who captured two legs of the 2016 Florida Sire Stakes, the Desert Vixen and the Susan’s Girl, before finishing second in the Gr. III Delta Downs Princess.
Cajun Firecracker, who will be ridden back by Miguel Vasquez, closed from off a contested pace to prevail by a neck over odds-on favorite Fully Loaded in the six-furlong Dr. Fager after a seven-week layoff.
For this one, Yates will be trying to upset Cajun Firecracker with Cajun Embers, another son of Cajun Breeze, who closed from last to fifth in the Dr. Fager.
“I thought it was a productive race. Our goal was to try to make sure he was running at the end,” said Yates, who will also be represented by Nancysaidso, a two-time winner by Cajun Breeze, in Saturday’s $200,000 Susan’s Girl for fillies. “The further the races go for him, we feel like the better chance we’ll have.” Jesus Rios has the mount aboard Cajun Embers.
Calypso Stable and Rousseau Racing’s Fully Loaded, who was disqualified and placed third in the Dr. Fager for interference in the stretch after pressing a strong pace, looms as the horse to beat again in the Affirmed. The Jose Pinchin-trained colt sustained his first loss in the Dr. Fager after winning his first two starts impressively. Nik Juarez has the mount aboard the son of Two Step Salsa.
Garter and Tie, who finished third and was placed second in the Dr. Fager, returns in the Affirmed for owner/breeder Jacks or Better Farm, which has notched a record 18 FSS victories. The son of Brooks ’N Down made a strong stretch run to fall short of graduating in the Dr. Fager by two necks. Emisael Jaramillo has been named to ride the Nicks-trained Garter and Tie.
Trainer Stanley Gold, who saddled all of the Jacks or Better’s winners, will seek to add to his personal record total with a pair of Arindel homebred sons of Brethren – Nacho Papa and Homeboy. Nacho Papa, who won his May 12 debut and finished second behind Fully Loaded in a July 6 optional claiming allowance, showed brief speed before fading to eighth at the finish of the Dr. Fager.
“He just didn’t show up. He had no excuses,” Gold said. “He came back to breeze two weeks ago in 47 (seconds), which was the fastest of 92.”
Homeboy closed from far back to capture a six-furlong maiden race on Aug. 18 by 1 ¼ lengths to graduate in his fourth career start. “He won very workmanlike. He kept coming. He’s definitely getting better,” Gold said. “He wants to run two turns.”
Jeffrey Sanchez has the return mount aboard Nacho Papa, while Jonathan Gonzalez will ride Homeboy.
HALLANDALE BEACH – John Oxley and Kathy Machesky’s Capture Your Dream is poised for a bid to win back-to-back divisions of the Florida Sire Stakes series Saturday in the $200,000 Susan’s Girl at Gulfstream Park.
The daughter of Ocala Stud Farm's Uncaptured, who captured the $100,000 Desert Vixen at six-furlongs on Aug. 4, is scheduled to meet nine other fillies in the seven-furlong second leg of the series for 2-year-old fillies sired by accredited stallions standing in Florida.
Trainer Mark Casse isn't too concerned about the added distance in Capture Your Dream’s quest to win her third straight race in her third career start.
“Her dad won going 4 ½ and won running a mile and three-sixteenths,” said Casse, who trained Uncaptured, a highly promising first-year sire whose multiple stakes victories include a triumph in the 1 3/16-mile Prince of Wales at Fort Erie in 2013. “She looks like her dad, just a little smaller version of him.”
Bred by Machesky, Capture Your Dream produced a flashy debut at Gulfstream on May 13, scoring by 10 ½ lengths in a performance that caught the eye of Oxley, who owned her multiple graded stakes-winning sire. Oxley struck a deal with Machesky, who maintained an ownership interest, and transferred the Anna Varsi-trained filly to Casse to prepare her for the Desert Vixen.
“She won the race very impressively and we were fortunate enough to make a deal,” Casse said. “I kind of backed off on her, because it was two months [between races]. I thought she might be vulnerable but she still got it done.”
Emisael Jaramillo is named to ride Capture Your Dream, replacing Tyler Gaffalione, who has mounts at Kentucky Downs Saturday.
The seven-furlong distance of the Susan’s Girl is also of no concern for David Fawkes, the trainer of Desert Vixen runner-up Select Friday.
The Kales Company LLC’s daughter of Kantharos, who debuted with an off-the-pace 3 ¼-length victory on July 1, broke slowly from the starting gate in the Desert Vixen before closing to finish 1 ¼ lengths behind Capture Your Dream. “I expect the added distance will help us a lot,” Fawkes said. “I thought she ran huge. I was actually disappointed she didn’t win the first leg, but it didn’t set up well for her.” Nik Juarez has the return mount aboard Select Friday.
Shadybrook Farm’s Nancysaidso, who brought a two-race winning streak into the Desert Vixen, will seek to rebound from a fourth-place finish in the first leg of the series.
“She’s training good. Her last race, although she was beaten about three lengths, was a good effort. Yet it was a little disappointing,” said breeder/owner/trainer Michael Yates. “I think there’s a little bit more there than we got last time.” Yates is hoping for a less stressful trip in the Susan’s Girl than she had last time.
“It was a big field, so my rider was forced to go a little bit. I really don’t think she wants to be sent, but that remains to be seen also. He had to chase the pace a bit due to the field size to keep from getting covered up by a bunch of horses,” Yates said. “If the pace is a little softer than the three-quarters race, I think she’ll run well.”
Nancysaidso surprised her trainer during a ‘maintenance work’ last Saturday when she breezed a half mile in 47.54 seconds, the fastest of 102 workouts at the distance.
“She’s been a filly that looked like she wanted a little more ground to begin with. She got her maiden broke going 5 ½, which was somewhat of a surprise and something that makes me feel better about her,” said Yates, who named Richard Mitchell to ride Nancysaidso for the first time.
Yates is also scheduled to saddle Jessica for a start in the Desert Vixen. Purchased by Yates’ Shadybrook Farm for $8,000 at the 2017 OBS October sale, the daughter of Prospective debuted with a 1 ¼-length victory at Gulfstream on July 28. Samy Camacho has the return mount.
Trainer Stanley Gold, who has saddled the winners of a record 18 FSS races, will be represented by three Arindel homebred fillies, Cookie Dough, Snowzilla and Samoa, in the Susan’s Girl. The three, who are all by Brethren, finished a neck and a head apart while finishing sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively, in the Desert Vixen.
Although Cookie Dough is still looking to graduate, Gold remains confident that she is worthy of competing with the best Florida-bred fillies. She finished third in her first two races after being pushed into the inside rail both times, before setting a pressured pace and fading to sixth under Jeffrey Sanchez in the Desert Vixen.
“She had tough luck twice and then Jeffrey had to send her to get out of there and was pushed by two legit speed horses. She went 45 and change and got tired from her efforts.” Gold said. “She doesn’t need to be there. She needs to be tactically close to the lead and to put in her run when it’s time.”
Snowzilla won one of three start prior to making a strong late run to close from 13th to eighth in the stretch. Samoa, who broke her maiden in her second career start, lagged early in the Desert Vixen before making a belated rally. “She raced wide. She could never get in, but she gave a good kick at the end,” Gold said. “There will be plenty of speed in this race.”
Sanchez will retain the mount on Cookie Dough, while Jonathan Gonzalez and Luca Panici have been named to ride Snowzilla and Samoa, respectively.
Also entered in the Susan’s Girl: Starship Nala, who finished an even fifth in the Desert Vixen, Blazing Brook and Gerry’s Big Win.
Ocala tax specialist Judy White, who plys her trade from two offices, one in the Golden Hills complex and another in town, is part of a partnership called 'In To Win Racing' that owns the Oklahoma-bred 3-year-old Wolfzing. The ridgling trained by Lynn Chieborad was a $4,900 RNA at the Oklahoma yearling sale in 2016.
Wolfzing has raced six times and hasn't won yet, but it's just a matter of time. He has two seconds and three thirds on his resume and is getting better each week. That resume includes a recent third in the Iowa Stallion Stakes. Yesterday, in a maiden special at Remington Park for 3, 4 and 5-year-olds bred in Oklahoma, Alex Birzer got Wolfzing home second, 1 1/4 lengths behind Daaher's Success, in a swift 1:10.37 for six furlongs.
Wolfzing sat close to a pace of :22.15, :45.15 and :57.46 and was still there at the end, collecting a check of $9,203. That raised his total to a nifty $30,186, not bad for a horse who has raced just six times without visiting the winner's circle.
THEY NEED HELP - Even after all this time, several of the people at TVG still drive me nuts, mostly by what they have to say and how they say it. Joaquin Jaime is a nice kid, good-looking, great voice, but he's the king of redundancy. When the horses are getting into the gate, he constantly tells us who the 'post-time' favorite is, I guess so we won't get it mixed up with who the favorite was with five minutes to post time, or 10 minutes.
When I thought there were two horses who came out of the same race, Joaquin told us that "these two horses came out of the 'exact' same race." He also mentioned that in the H. Allen Jerkens Stakes Firenze Fire "flattened out" in the stretch; anybody watching the late run of the son of Poseidon's Warrior knows he finished fastest of all.
And, of course, my No. 1 pet peeve, the 12-year mispronunciation of Leparoux by all the TVG-ites. Yesterday, Julien won the Gr. I Sword Dancer Handicap by daylight and track announcer Larry Collmus, as he always does, gave us the correct pronunciation of Le-paroux. Trainer Ron Ellis quickly chimed in with Leh-paroux, and Scott Hazelton with the infamous Lay-paroux.
EXCHANGE IT FOR A REAL BET - In New Jersey, they're still trumpeting exchange wagering, the "new" type of wagering introduced by Betfair that was supposed to put the oomph back in racing and save it from extinction. Some keep calling it "popular" but it certainly hasn't helped the handle at Monmouth Park. Look at the results from the Jersey shore, they're miserable.
GIVE ME A BREAK - It's anybody's guess why The Jockey Club has allowed breeders and owners to name horses after others who raced before them fairly recently. Something about running out of names. Phooey.
At least put in a rule that you can't name a horse after a recent millionaire, as in why is there a new Revved Up to conflict with Live Oak Stud's son of Sultry Song who is one of the four millionaires produced by the great broodmare Win Approval. It makes no sense, so I guess that's why they allow it.
Despite the lack of a great many names on the 2018 Florida freshman sire list, the battle for leadership in two important categories - number of winners and earnings - appears to be going down to the wire based on the latest standings.
In the winners' department, it's Pleasant Acres Stallions' Handsome Mike, Ocala Stud Farm's Uncaptured and Woodford Thoroughbreds' He's Had Enough, all with four.
By earnings, it's Uncaptured with $337,287, followed by Stonehedge Farm South's surprising Cajun Breeze with $282,520, He's Had Enough with $202,716, Handsome Mike with $138,240 and Get Away Farm's Drill, who has three winners, with $107,426.
The whole earnings picture can change on Sept. 1 with the running of the second legs of the Florida Sire Stakes - the Affirmed for colts and geldings and the Susan's Girl for fillies.
HALLANDALE BEACH – Nacho Mama made her debut a memorable one Sunday at Gulfstream Park, setting a track record on her way to a two-length victory in the fourth race, a $65,000 maiden special weight allowance.
The juvenile daughter of Brethren ran 4 ½ furlongs in 50.86 seconds, eclipsing the mark of 51.07 set by Awesome Banner on June 5, 2015.
Arindel Farm’s homebred filly stalked the early pace set by Abuela’s Love, a first-time starter by Cairo Prince trained by Eddie Plesa Jr. who set sharp half-mile fractions of 21 and 44. Nacho Mama, under Jeffrey Sanchez, made a three-wide move on the turn into the homestretch and kicked in through the lane to win going away over Abuela’s Love.
Stanley Gold trains Nacho Mama and also trained Awesome Banner, who went on to become a multiple graded stakes-winner.
“She breezed good and galloped very good,” Sanchez said. “She broke good. I didn’t want to use her too early. When I asked her to go, she finished very, very strong.”
One race after Nacho Mama set the track record, her 3-year-old multiple staked-placed full sister, Awesome Mass, won a hard-fought victory by a nose in a $47,000 second-level optional claiming allowance at 6 ½-furlongs. The Gold-trained Arindel homebred was also ridden by Sanchez.
Nacho Mama is eligible for the FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes series. The $200,000 Susan’s Girl for fillies, and the $200,000 Affirmed, are scheduled for Sept. 1.
HALLANDALE BEACH – Capture Your Dream lived up to her 3-5 favoritism Saturday at Gulfstream Park while winning the $100,000 Desert Vixen Division of the FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes, proving to be a smart purchase for owner John Oxley and trainer Mark Casse.
Capture Your Dream had captured her May 13 debut at Gulfstream Park by 10 ½ lengths for owner/breeder Kathy Machesky and trainer Anna Varsi before Oxley bought into the juvenile daughter of Uncaptured. The stallion was a multiple graded-stakes winner whom Oxley campaigned during his racing career and who now stands at Ocala Stud Farm.
Following the purchase, Capture Your Dream joined Casse’s Palm Meadows stable that already housed another talented daughter of Uncaptured, Catherinethegreat, who would go on to break her maiden easily at Gulfstream Park before winning the Gr. III Schuylerville at Saratoga.
“Working with her and Catherinethegreat, Uncaptured’s horses seem to be really smart. They know what they’re doing. It’s like it’s bred in them,” said Allen Hardy, Casse’s assistant trainer at Palm Meadows.
Capture Your Dream broke alertly under Tyler Gaffalione to press a quick early pace set by Cookie Dough, who registered fractions of 21.94 and 45.37 for the first half mile of the six-furlong race. Capture Your Dream grabbed the lead on the turn and into the stretch and kicked in through the lane to win by 1 ¼ lengths.
“The filly broke real good today and put herself in a good spot," Gaffalione said. She showed she could relax and when I asked her to run she showed a nice turn of foot. I don’t see seven furlongs being a problem.” The rider was looking ahead to the second leg of the Florida Sire Stakes on Sept. 1, when the $200,000 Susan’s Girl for fillies and the $200,000 Affirmed will be run at seven furlongs.
Capture Your Dream ran six furlongs in 1:11.31 to finish clear of late-running Select Friday.
HALLANDALE BEACH – Shadybrook Farm’s Cajun Firecracker upset heavily favored Fully Loaded in Saturday’s $100,000 Dr. Fager Division of the FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes. Trainer Michael Yates’ homebred colt scored at odds of 7-1, a small price compared to the odds that were stacked against a successful stallion career for his sire, Cajun Breeze.
A tough-as-nails warrior who amassed earnings of nearly $250,000 prior to his 2015 retirement, Cajun Breeze never won a stakes during his 32-race career. But he became a stakes-winning sire Saturday when his son crossed the finish line a neck ahead of the 3-5 favorite in the six-furlong race for 2-year-olds sired by accredited stallions standing in Florida.
Yates, who campaigned Cajun Breeze, took a chance at giving the son of Congrats a career at stud, sending him to Stonehedge Farm South in Williston and breeding many of his mares to him, including Clara Bow, Cajun Firecracker's dam.
“We owned the mare – she ran a little up the east coast – she’s a pretty mare. She had some talent but had some issues as a race horse so we just bred her,” Yates said.
Cajun Firecracker's only experience was a two-length triumph in an April 13 maiden special weight race at Gulfstream. He stalked the pace set by Jackson, who was pressed by Fully Loaded along the backstretch. then began advancing on the far turn. Fully Loaded took over the lead under Edgard Zayas leaving the turn and into the stretch as his pacesetting stablemate Jackson tired, and the colt by Two Step Salsa appeared to be on his way to his third victory in three starts. However, Cajun Firecracker kicked in through the stretch under Miguel Vasquez and wore down the tiring favorite, who drifted out into the Yates homebred nearing the finish.
“I thought we would stalk the speed because she was on the outside," Yates said. "I was thankful to be outside of it because [Fully Loaded] is a pretty good horse.” The racing gods were with us today.”
Before the race became official, Cajun Firecracker had to survive a foul claim by Tyler Gaffalione, who finished a fast-closing third aboard Garter and Tie. Although Cajun Firecracker drifted into the path of Garter and Tie, the stewards determined that Fully Loaded had initiated the incident and disqualified the favorite and placed him third.
Cajun Firecracker ran six furlongs in 1:09.94, after fractions of 22:08, 44.80 and 56.96.
The next leg of the Florida Sires Stakes is set for Sept. 1, when the $200,000 Affirmed and the $200,000 Susan’s Girl for fillies will be contested at seven furlongs.
Note: Total handle on Gulfstream’s Sire Stakes program was $9.576 million, a 13-percent increase over last year’s handle of $8.433. Handle on the opening day of the Sire Stakes has risen each of the last four years after $6.244 million was wagered in 2015.
Spinning Round kicked off her racing career for Kinsman Farm in 1991 and campaigned in the Steinbrenner colors until 1994. In that span, she became a multiple graded stakes-winner, compiled a record of 8-10-5 in 31 starts, and earned $639,225. Her record wound up being the second biggest highlight of her career. The first came later when she foaled Dream Supreme in 1997.
Dream Supreme, a daughter of Seeking the Gold, enjoyed a sterling racing career of her own - 9-2-2 in 16 starts with earnings of $1,007,680, including Gr. I victories in the Test and Ballerina, along with two Gr. II's and two Gr. III's. She took up occupancy in the breeding shed in 2002 and went to the best stallions money could buy, foaling six colts and four fillies over the next 12 years by A P Indy (4), Giants Causeway, El Prado, Medaglia d' Oro (2), Tiznow and Unbridled's Song. All 10 reached the races and have had various degrees of success.
Her first foal was Crystal Current, an A P Indy filly who raced 14 times and earned $109,380. Two years later, she produced Majestic Warrior, who made headlines early with a victory in the Gr. I Hopeful at Saratoga but never really fulfilled his promise, racing just seven times while earning $239,229. But that son of A P Indy has turned into a top 50 stallion over the past several years even after moving from Ashford Stud to Japan.
Dream Supreme's next best runner was Gold Shield, a 2012 son of Medaglia d'Oro who is still racing and has earnings of $261,405, best of all his dam's runners.
Her last foal, born in 2014, is Silver Shield, another son of Medaglia d'Oro who made his last start this week in a $42,000 maiden special at Ellis Park. Racing a flat mile on the grass, the 4-year-old sat comfortably in third early, went three wide on the turn, then got banged around several times in mid-stretch and lost all momentum, finishing fifth. Silver Shield is 0-1-0 in five starts and is the only one of the 10 foals who hasn't won.
All told, Dream Supreme's runners have gone 19-10-16 in 101 starts with earnings of more than $1 million and it will be interesting to see if Silver Shield can become winner No. 10 and make a meaningful contribution to her legacy.
NUGGETS OF CORN - The first Corn Off the Cob was born in 1967, a son of Khaled-Meticulous, by Bully Boy. He was bred by Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Winick and W. J. Fowler and had a solid career, going 7-8-0 in 27 tries with earnings of $220,144. He was a formidable 3-year-old in 1970 and along the way he won the Fountain of Youth and Arlington Classic, and was second in the Flamingo, Florida Derby, Blue Grass, Jersey Derby and Hollywood Derby.
Unlike so many others, there hadn't been a second Corn Off the Cob until 2016, when the name was given to a filly who broke her maiden racing for $35,000 at Gulfstream on Saturday. This Corn Off the Cob, by Kettle Corn out of the Tale of the Cat mare Dear to All, raced 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:05.09 and scored by 6 1/2 lengths. Bred by James J. Justiss, she's earned $18,800.
HALLANDALE BEACH – The $1.4 million FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes – a series which has produced some of Florida racing’s biggest stars over the past 37 summers – kicks off Saturday at Gulfstream Park with the $100,000 Dr. Fager for 2-year-old colts and geldings and $100,000 Desert Vixen for 2-year-old fillies.
The six-furlong events, for juveniles sired by nominated Florida stallions, begin the rich, three-race series that continues with the $200,000, seven-furlong Affirmed and Susan's Girl on Sept. 1, and culminates with the $400,000, 1 1/16-mile In Reality and My Dear Girl on Sept. 29.
Saturday’s 13-race Sire Stakes program will have a first-race post time of 12:15 p.m.
The Sire Stakes, formerly the Florida Stallion Stakes, dates back to 1982 and was created by Ocala breeder and owner Dan Lasater, who was the country's leading owner by money won for four consecutive years from 1973-1976, and by number of winners from 1974-1977.
In 1974, Lasater set a single-season money record of $3,022,960, which stood until 1984 when it was broken by John Franks, who, ironically, had earlier purchased Lasater Farm. In '74, Lasater also broke the record for number of winners with 494, a record which lasted until 2012 when it was broken by Midwest Thoroughbreds, with 542.
Sire Stakes participants have included Awesome Feather, Jackson Bend, Smile, Brave Raj, Mecke, Early Lunch, Three Ring, Blazing Sword, Sugar’s Image, Rexson’s Hope and Three Rules, who last year became the fourth colt to sweep the series. Awesome Feather, Brave Raj and Smile all went on to win Breeders' Cup races.
Jose Pinchin, who trained Three Rules, will likely have the favorite in Saturday’s Dr. Fager in Fully Loaded, a son of Two Step Salsa who is undefeated in his only two starts.
The Sire Stakes continue to grow in popularity. For the 2019 editions, 740 foals of 2017 have paid a May yearling fee, according to the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association. This is up by 13 percent compared to 651 foals of 2016.
Gulfstream will also host the first Taste of the Track Saturday in the Ten Palms restaurant. The Taste of the Track will feature unlimited cheese and wine tastings for $25 per person online and $30 per person at the door.
Thursday’s Rainbow 6 Carryover Nearly $600,000
When racing resumes Thursday at Gulfstream bettors will have a 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover of $589.483.52. Multiple winning tickets Sunday returned $6,379.92. There was $148,149 bet into Sunday’s Rainbow 6 pool.
The Rainbow 6 has gone unsolved for 16 straight racing days following the June 30 mandatory payout of a pool in excess of $4 million that yielded a $196,953.84 payoff for each ticket with all six winners.
NOTE: First Mondays, a Maryland-bred son of Curlin who brought $450,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2016 Yearling sale, drew away from his opponents to win Sunday’s ninth race, an optional claimer. First Mondays is undefeated in his two starts. The 3-year-old colt, trained by Jason Servis, covered the mile in 1:37.12…Trainer Jena Antonucci swept Sunday’s early double with Fame Galore ($24) in the first and Motivate ($33) in the second.
HALLANDALE BEACH – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved at Gulfstream Park Sunday, producing a $449,228 carryover jackpot for Thursday’s 10-race twilight program. First-race post time is 2 p.m.
Multiple tickets with all six winners Sunday were each worth $1,212.18.
The Rainbow 6 has gone unsolved for 12 straight racing days following the June 30 mandatory payout of a pool in excess of $4 million that yielded a $196,953.84 payoff for each ticket with all six winners.
Gaffalione Still On Fire
Tyler Gaffalione rode three winners on Sunday’s program. The 23-year-old rising star, who captured the Spring Meet jockey title, scored aboard Scorched Earth ($6.80) in the second race, Big Clue ($5.80) in the seventh and Bargainaire ($4.40) in the eighth.
Apprentice jockey Kevin Carmona, who notched his first career victory Saturday, came right back Sunday to win aboard Pretty Shea D. ($3.60) in Race 4.
SHE'S THE QUEEN - Congratulations to everybody connected with Monomoy Girl, who was awesome in winning the Gr. I Coaching Club American Oaks Saturday at Belmont Park. She has won five in a row, has four Gr. I victories and a Gr. II, and has posted a record of 8-1-0 in nine starts with earnings of $1,660,750.
Monomoy Girl was a $100,000 Keeneland September yearling and she was sent to Paul Sharp at his willow Creek Ranch west of Ocala. Paul broke and trained her and he must have done something right. Her lone loss came by a neck in November's Gr. II Golden Rod at Churchill Downs.
Haven't written this for a long time - one of my all-time pet peeves. For decades, industry stake-holders have complained that the people who put on the shows at the nation's racetracks lack vision and imagination, the vision and imagination needed to find ways to put bodies back in the seats.
For a while, Betfair crowed that it had implemented exchange wagering in New Jersey, a supposedly innovative idea that I constantly rapped because I knew it had no chance. Where is exchange wagering now, many months later? I don't hear a peep about it.
I always said that the lack of imagination always pops up in the various types of press releases emanating from the tracks. Whenever there's a new employee announced, or a new position, or any kind of novel idea, the track publicity offices always resort to the same old tired cliches. Actually, I don't know if it's the publicity offices or the speakers themselves who write in cliches. They all love "thrilled, delighted, excited and pleased," when describing the event.
Recent case in point. A few days ago, Blood-Horse reported the news that Fasig-Tipton was stepping in to the California sales ring as Barretts goes out of business.
Here are the quotes from the principals. From my friend Tim Ritvo, The Stronach Group COO: "We're THRILLED to have Fasig-Tipton back in California . . . etc."
From Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning Jr., "We are very EXCITED to be returning to the auction marketplace in California."
From Miguel A. Santana, president and CEO of Fairplex, where Barretts used to hold its auctions. "We are PLEASED that Santa Anita and Fasig-Tipton are joining the auction arena . . . etc."
If there was one more exec making a statement, we could have added "delighted" and hit the superfecta.
Surely there's somebody out there who's sharp enough to bury my pet peeve forever. Please.
ALMOST A DEAD-HEAT - The general sire leader in Florida has been bouncing back and forth all season between Double Diamond Farm's First Dude and deceased Wildcat Heir, former Journeyman Stud stallion who led the list for so many years, even after his passing in 2015. As of today, the pair are less than $1,000 apart for 2018 and it looks like it will go down to the wire.
In third place is Songandaprayer, who took up residence at Journeyman this year after a career in Kentucky. He's 20. Fourth is High Cotton, who is now pensioned at Ocala Stud Farm.
That means Two Step Salsa is in fifth place, but Get Away Farm's son of Petionville is second among those still active, and who have been here since the beginning. Two Step is remarkable: he had his best year in 2017 - more than $1.9 million, and he's closing in on $1.2 million already this year, so a record is on the horizon. In addition, he has 23 runners who have surpassed $100,000 in earnings, and his colt, Fully Loaded, is headed for the $100,000 Dr. Fager in the Florida Sire Stakes series and it looks like he'll be the favorite. Exciting times for Manny Andrade, who also has seen freshman sire Drill get off to a good start with three winners, one of them stakes-placed.
He's Had Enough, from Woodford Thoroughbreds, became the sixth of eight Florida freshman sires to get his first winner when Garbar Boy broke his maiden at Gulfstream Park on July 8. The gelding was bred by Karen Silva.
Even with only eight frosh, as a group the Floridians are showing great promise. The most surprising, of course, is Stonehedge Farm South's Cajun Breeze, who is not only the Florida leader with progeny earnings of $212,770, the son of Congrats leads the country as well. He has just eight 2-year-olds, five of whom have started, with three winners.
All of the Cajun Breezes who have helped contribute to the earnings total are the product of Shadybrook Farm and owner/trainer/breeder Michael (Bo) Yates. Bo, who owns an interest in the stallion, took a page out of Wesley Ward's book and had his string of Cajun Breezes ready to roll when the first 2-year-old races were programmed at Gulfsteam three months ago. There are three winners and one repeat winner, Nancysaidso, who leads the money-winners with $89,700.
In second place with $175,600 is Ocala Stud Farm's Uncaptured, a son of Lion Heart who has the most Florida winners with four, and is second nationally behind Spendthrift Farm's Goldencents, who has 119 2-year-olds and six winners.
Pleasant Acres Stallions Handsome Mike is next in Florida with $62,500 and two winners. But the son of Scat Daddy is likely to have another in the near future since his filly, Here Comes Jackie, finished a fast-closing fourth on the Monmouth grass on Sunday. She was off last going five furlongs after being destroyed leaving the gate, and was some 14 1/2 lengths behind after three-eighths. With a huge move on the turn, she was seventh in the stretch, 9 1/2 lengths behind, and a monster late run put her in fourth place at the wire, a nose out of third, and just 4 1/2 lengths from the winner.
The other two Floridians with at least one winner are Drill, from Get Away Farm, who has two, including stakes-placed Drillit, and Global Response, from CoCo Ranch. Black Onyx (Stonewall Prestige Stallions) and Fort Loudon (Ocala Stud) are the two who have been blanked so far although the latter has had just one starter.
The individual money leader nationally is New Mexico's Hustle Up (by Abstraction) who has earned $150,537 and is 4-for-4 at Sunland Park and Ruidoso Downs, with a stakes victory at each.
HALLANDALE BEACH – Gulfstream Park’s Spring meet, which concluded Saturday with the Summit of Speed, set new standards for total and average handle despite six fewer days of racing.
Gulfstream’s total handle for the Spring was a record $334 million, up $22 million over 2017. Total handle on the Spring meet has climbed approximately $88 million since 2015.
Average daily handle topped $6 million ($6.312) for the first time since Gulfstream began running in the spring. This year’s average was up $1.012 million from 2017 and $2.1 million since 2015.
Highlights of the Spring Meet included victories by Stormy Embrace in the $250,000 Princess Rooney (G2), a ‘Win & You’re In’ Breeders’ Cup race, X Y Jet winning the Smile Sprint, and a three-way tie for leading trainer among Todd Pletcher, Oscar Gonzalez and Victor Barboza Jr.
“We continue building and shaping Florida racing’s Spring and Summer meets,” said Bill Badgett, General Manager of Gulfstream Park. “We’re building a strong, year-round program with quality racing and full fields, and fans and horsemen are supporting our program. There is still more to do and much more to accomplish as we continue to combine racing with entertainment events. We’re looking forward to a wonderful summer at Gulfstream starting with Wednesday’s free July 4th celebration and the Florida Sire Stakes.”
HALLANDALE BEACH – Gulfstream Park’s Spring meet ended Saturday with longshot Stormy Embrace winning the $250,000 Princess Rooney (G2), X Y Jet running away with the $250,000 Smile Sprint (G3), and a mandatory payout in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 which resulted in multiple winners earning $196,953.84.
There was $3,468,161 of new money bet into the Rainbow 6 Saturday.
The mandatory payout of the Late Pick 5 returned $21,309.25.
In other stakes races on Summit of Speed Day, highlights on Summit of Speed included Alter Moon’s easy victory in the $75,000 Azalea Stakes, Pay Any Price winning the $75,000 Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint for his eighth victory in last 11 starts, and War Giant impressed when winning the $75,000 Carry Back.
The standings for the Spring meet ended with jockey Tyler Gaffalione winning the riding title while Arindel took home the leading owner award.
The trainer’s title ended with a three-way tie at the top with 17 wins between Todd Pletcher, Victor Barboza Jr., and Oscar Gonzalez.
Gaffalione, a Florida native who had 63 wins, finished third in the rider standings during the Championship Meet and has won two previous summer titles. Arindel, which finished with 14 wins this spring, won last year’s summer title.
HALLANDALE BEACH – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot at Gulfstream Park went unsolved for the 26th consecutive racing program Sunday, producing a carryover jackpot of $801,668.76 for Thursday’s program.
Multiple tickets with six winners Saturday were each worth $2,917.40.
There was a $755,719 carryover jackpot going into Sunday’s six-race sequence that spanned Races 7-12, generating a handle of $191,508 on the multi-race wager.
RACES DOWN TO THE WIRE
The jockey and trainer races are both going down to the wire for Gulfstream’s Spring Meet, which concludes with Saturday’s Summit of Speed program.
Defending Spring Meet champion Tyler Gaffalione tops the jockey standings with 59 wins, with four other riders in hot pursuit. Emisael Jaramillo ranks second with 56 wins, one more than Edgard Zayas and Miguel Vasquez, who have both ridden 55 winners. Nik Juarez ranks fifth with 53 trips to the winner’s circle.
As hotly contested as the jockey race is, the race for the training title is even more competitive with eight trainers separated by one win. Victor Barboza Jr. and Oscar Gonzalez share a tenuous lead with 16 winners each, one more than defending champion Todd Pletcher, Stanley Gold, Ralph Nicks, Armando De la cerda, Antonio Sano and Ralph Ziadie.
Two of the most notable siblings of two of the most famous American runners in recent years broke their maidens yesterday at tracks about 3,000 miles apart.
Osare, a half-sister to Arrogate, won at Belmont Park for Ocala's Bridlewood Farm, while Faversham, a full brother to California Chrome, won at Santa Anita for Perry an Denise Martin.
Osare (Medaglia d'Oro-Bubbler, by Distorted Humor) was a $300,000 Keeneland September yearling and she finished fourth in her mile and one-sixteenth grass debut at Tampa Bay Downs, at odds of 7/2. Yesterday, racing 1 1/4 miles on the turf in her second try, the 3-year-old filly closed four lengths in deep stretch to get up by a head, with Javier Castellano riding. She paid $14.
Faversham (Lucky Pulpit-Love the Chase, by Not For Love), a 3-year-old ridgling, has been a big disappointment for the Martins, with only a pair of seconds to show for his first five starts. He won at a mile on the grass under Tiago Pereira and paid $36.40, coming from off the pace and scoring easily, by 3 1/4 lengths.
Aarrogate retired with earnings of $17,422,600; California Chrome with $14,752,650.
HALLANDALE BEACH – Bettors will return to live racing Thursday at Gulfstream Park with a 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover of $637,676.94.
There was no single winning ticket Sunday for the 22nd consecutive race program. Multiple tickets with six winners returned $2,342.44.
Racing resumes Thursday with a 10-race program beginning at 1:15 p.m. The Rainbow 6 sequence kicks off with the fifth race, a maiden claiming event going six furlongs on the main track.
For the session, 176 youngsters sold for a total of $5,673,500, averaging $32,236 with a $13,000 median price. The buyback percentage was $25.7%. There was no corresponding session in 2017. Five older horses sold for $96,500 compared to four bringing a total of $77,000 in 2017. The average was $19,300 compared to $19,250 a year ago, while the median was $11,000 compared with $13,500 a year ago. The buyback percentage was $37.5%; it was 42.9% in 2017.
For the entire sale, 520 2-year-olds sold for $17,125,500 in three sessions, compared with 434 horses grossing $14,999,900 in two sessions a year ago. The average was $32,934 compared to $34,562 a year ago while the median price was $15,000 compared with $18,500 in 2017. The buyback percentage was 21.8%; it was 16.9% last year.
The overall sale topper was Hip No. 211, a son of Scat Daddy consigned by Top Line Sales LLC, Agent, sold to Carlo Vaccarezza for $650,000. The dark bay or brown colt, whose eighth in :9 4/5 at last Thursday’s Under Tack session was the sale’s co-fastest at the distance, is out of Satulah, by Gone West, a daughter of graded stakes-winner War Thief.
HALLANDALE BEACH – Gulfstream Park’s 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover for today’s program has hit the half-million mark.
The multi-race wager went unsolved for the 19th consecutive racing day Thursday, producing a carryover jackpot of $502,508.48 for today’s program. The twilight program begins with a 2:15 p.m. first-race post. The Rainbow 6 sequence will begin with 2-year-old maidens going 4 ½ furlongs on the main track.
Multiple tickets with six winners Thursday were each worth $6,587. There was $138,468 bet into the Rainbow 6.
The carryover jackpot is only paid out when there is a single unique ticket sold with all six winners. On days when there is no unique ticket, 70 percent of that day’s pool goes back to those bettors holding tickets with the most winners, while 30 percent is carried over to the jackpot pool.
Note: Jockey Jesus Rios, out since the first week of April after breaking his collarbone in a morning training mishap, won his first race back since returning, guiding favored Flashing Diamond to victory in the seventh race, a $30,000 claiming event.
HALLANDALE BEACH – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 17th straight racing day at Gulfstream Park Saturday producing a carryover jackpot of $427,284.72 for Sunday’s 12-race program. Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $41,990.48.
Today's Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 6-11 and will include the $75.000 Nicole’s Dream, a five-furlong turf stakes for fillies and mares carded as Race 7. Miz Mayhem, who won the Cedar Key Stakes by 1 ¼ lengths last time out, is slated to seek her fourth straight victory. Trained by Eddie Plesa Jr., the 3-year-old daughter of Yesbyjimminy has been rated as the 9-5 favorite in a field of eight.
FIRST DUDE ON TOP - FOR NOW
First Dude has taken the lead again on Florida's general sire list in his ding-dong battle with deceased Wildcat Heir. Dude, a son of Stephen Got Even, is poised to break the $2 million mark - at $1,976,445. Wildcat Heir, who died in 2015 and is currently relying on his 3-year-olds and up, is next at $1,911,065. Last week, First Dude had dropped to second briefly and it could keep changing weekly since First Dude has 112 runners and Wildcat Heir 146.
So far, four Florida stallions have passed the $1 million mark, with recent Journeyman Stud arrival Songandaprayer in third at $1.185 million and pensioned High Cotton (Ocala Stud Farm) fourth at $1,064,285. Get Away Farm's Two Step Salsa is fifth and could reach $1 million next - he's at $839,446, which is remarkable since his top earner this year is Salsalida with just $47,960.
Solid seasons are being turned in by Pleasant Acres' Poseidon's Warrior, Ocala Stud's Prospective and Solera Farm's Field Commission, all over $500,000 and all three with less than 36 runners.
SOLID PICKS - The myriad of TV analysts and handicappers, for the most part, who chimed in with their Belmont selections, got buried in the Belmont Stakes in their eternal quest to beat the favorite.
On TVG, the comments were plentiful on why Justify was not up to the Triple Crown task and a slew of other names popped up as the first choices. One sharpie even went so far as to bet a 5-horse trifecta box for $1 and he left Justify out, as in, not in the top 5. In my own expert analysis, I'm guessing he didn't win that one.
HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 13th straight racing day at Gulfstream Park Sunday, producing a carryover jackpot of $296,620 for Wednesday’s nine-race program.
Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $327.88.
Wednesday’s Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 4-9, including a six-furlong optional claiming allowance in Race 6, which will serve as a prep for the June 30 Smile Sprint for Three Rules, Cautious Giant and Splash Rules, and the $75,000 Liza Jane Stakes for 3-year-old fillies in Race 8.
First-race post time for Wednesday is set for 1:15 p.m.
ON A ROLL - Tyler Gaffalione, who captured the $200,000 Penn Oaks aboard Got Stormy at Penn National Saturday, returned to Gulfstream Sunday to score four victories, including an eye-catching triumph aboard multiple graded stakes-winner Curlin’s Approval in the $75,000 Ana T. Stakes. He also won aboard Transitive ($3.20) in Race 1, Juenesse Doree ($7) in Race 6 and Treasure For Gold ($5.40) in Race 8.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Twilight Friday Racing returns to Gulfstream Park today with a 2:15 p.m. first-race post, drink specials throughout the property, and free concerts at Sport of Kings.
Along with the nine races – five scheduled over the turf – Gulfstream will feature $1 domestic drafts and $5 well drinks from 4-7 p.m. Ten Palms will offer pints of craft beer and glasses of house wine for $3 during the same time. Sport of Kings will open at 6:30 p.m. with Mr. Nice Guy scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Sport of Kings will offer $3 domestic beer bottles and house wine and $5 well drinks from 6:30-8 p.m.
Twilight Friday Racing runs through Aug. 31 with featured performers, including the Valerie Tyson Band (June 15), Studio 54 Tribute (June 22), Turnstiles (June 29) and the Tobacco Road Reunion with Albert Castiglia and Iko Iko (July 6).
Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Grows to $187,917
The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 10th consecutive program Thursday, producing a carryover jackpot of $187,917.30 for Friday’s twilight card.
Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $3,417.81.
With so many of the northern trainers leaving town after Gulfstream's Championship Meeting, owners and breeders from Ocala have been in a good position to rake in cash by winning races, collecting breeders' awards and enhancing stallions' records. Thursday was a prime example.
The first race was won by Antoaneta, owned by Reid Nagle's Big Lick Farm in Morriston. Nagle prospered to the tune of $19,800 and doesn't have to fork over 10 percent to a trainer since he trains the filly himself.
The second race didn't help former Ocala Stud stallion High Cotton. He's been pensioned, but is fourth on the Florida money list with nearly $1 million this year.
Christmas Magic won the third race and earned a check for $21,500. He's by former Journeyman Stud stallion J P's Gusto, who's now at Bridlewood Farm, and picked up a juicy breeders' award (13.33 percent of $30,000) for Journeyman owners Brent and Crystal Fernung.
Race No. 4 was won by Cootie Alert, a filly by little-known Mount McKinley, a stallion owned by Tampa Bay Downs owner Stella Thayer. Mount McKinley stands at Ups and Downs Farm in Citra and owners Monte and Catherine Thomas breed a mare or two to him every year. They are the owners and breeders of Cootie Alert, and earned $9,100 for the victory, plus the breeders' award.
Sixth-race winner C. A. C. Chaquira is by retired Ocala Stud stallion Overdriven, currently 11th on the Florida sire list. The 2-year-old filly's breeders' award goes to Randell and Lucy Edwards; Randell is the long-time controller for the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.
Taylor's in Orbit won the seventh race, and he's by Bridlewood Farm stallion Corfu, 24th on the Florida list.
Double Diamond Farm's First Dude is the Florida sire leader with earnings of more than $1.7 million, and he's the sire of the 8th-race winner, Mystic Magnolia, good for a check of $16,600.
The finale was won by Belle's Cachet, a 3-year-old filly by Treasure Beach, one of the highly-successful second-crop stallions at Pleasant Acres in Morriston. Belle's Cachet is her sire's ninth winner this year and sent Treasure Beach over the $300,000 mark.
It's no secret that the amount of space devoted to thoroughbred racing in the country's newspapers has diminished significantly in recent years. There are various theories for the slight to the sport of kings, but one of the major problems that nobody disputes is the decided lack of sports editors who grew up spending time at the local tracks with their fathers, or mothers, as the case may be.
Several decades ago, the New York press boxes were not only inhabited by one or more racing writers for each of the city's papers, but also by the sports editors of those papers. On any given day, Belmont, Aqueduct or Jamaica might be the hangout for such as Mike Lee of the Long Island Press, Ed Comerford of Newsday, Ike Gellis of the New York Post, or several others. Those denizens made sure racing was prominent in their respective papers.
With the passing of the old guard. the new sports editors are more interested in the NFL, and Major League Baseball, and the NBA, and (ugh!) NASCAR. With less overall space devoted to sports sections these days, racing is the sport that has taken the biggest hit.
The problem has not only resulted in less racing news, but a lack of expertise exhibited in the little space allowed. Unfortunately, the Ocala Star Banner, once a place where racing columns and racing news were plentiful, has a bunch of amateurs trying to keep Ocala's huge thoroughbred community updated. Not only is the news doled out sparsely, the way it is presented thrusts the amateurs into the spotlight.
I could devote paragraphs to the Star Banner's lack of expertise, but I'll use just one instance, a caption under a picture of Justify winning the Preakness in yesterdays edition. Here it is:
"Justify, with Mike Smith atop, wins the 143rd Preakness Stakes horse race at Pimlico race track, Saturday in Baltimore. Bravazo, with Luis Saez aboard, wins second while Tenfold, with Ricardo Santana Jr. atop, places."
I was in awe upon learning that Bravazo won second and that Tenfold placed. It's enough to make one want to barf, and wonder where this guy (or girl) learned his or her trade. Hopefully, sports editor Paul Kardasz will keep the culprit far from the racing scene from now on.
DRILLING IT HOME - Get Away Farm's freshman sire, the Lawyer Ron stallion Drill, celebrated his first winner yesterday when Drill Time went wire-to-wire in a 4 1/2-furlong, $27,785 maiden special at Golden Gate Fields. The Florida colt bred by Jennifer and Gillian Johnson put up :22.32 for the first quarter and went on to score by two lengths in :52.72. Drill Time collected $15,600 for the effort.
Five of Florida's seven freshman sires of 2018 now have at least one winner. Ocala Stud's Uncaptured has two.
Eight holdovers from the Kentucky Derby are lined up for the 1 3/16-mile Preakness at Pimlico, with Derby winner Justify sitting as the 1/2 morning line choice. The big question, as always, is, "After his commanding performance in Louisville, can Justify win the Triple Crown?"
Seventeen of the 20 runners last time were Kentucky-breds, this time all eight are from the blue grass.
Aside from Justify, the other holdovers are Good Magic, who nabbed second by a head from Audible at odds of 9-1; Lone Sailor, who was 24-1 and finished eighth, and Bravazo, who was sixth at 66-1.
Good Magic lost by 2 1/2 lengths with Jose Ortiz and has his services again. He's the second choice at 3-1.
Lone Sailor has brother Irad Ortiz after finishing 9 1/4 lengths behind under James Graham and experiencing serious problems along the inside. He's listed at 15-1.
Bravazo was bumped at the start with Luis Contreras aboard, raced in mid-pack, and was four or five wide most of the trip. He lost by eight lengths, and was only a length out of fifth, the final money spot. He switches to Luis Saez this time and is listed at 20-1.
The purse is $1.5 million and all will carry 126 pounds. D. Wayne Lukas has two entrants, Bravazo and Sporting Chance, who goes with Contreras. Third choice on the line at 12-1 is Brisset, who leaves from the rail with Florent Geroux.
Did the sloppy track at Churchill Downs cost most of the participants, or was Justify just too good?
Ocala Stud Farm's Uncaptured has the distinction of becoming the first freshman sire of 2018 to get two winners. After Bye Bye J gave the stallion by Lion Heart his first winner, No. 2 came at Gulfstream Park yesterday when Capture Your Dream romped at 4 1/2 furlongs by 10 1/2 lengths under Luca Panici.
The filly owned and bred by Kathy Machesky was clocked in :52.08 and collected a check of $42,000. That raised Uncaptured's earnings to $66,000, third best among all frosh sires. Cajun Breeze, from Stonehedge Farm South, is the nation's leader with one winner, several runner-up finishers, and earnings of $97,400.
Florida has two other frosh sires with a winner - CoCo Ranch's Global Response (Global Beauty) and Pleasant Acres Stallions Handsome Mike (Saint Michael).
HALLANDALE BEACH – Gulfstream Park’s 20-cent Rainbow 6 was hit Thursday afternoon for $1,214,280.62. The winning ticket was played in Lewiston, Maine.
Thursday’s Rainbow 6 sequence started with Love and Lemons ($3.60) winning the fifth race and Wild Chatter ($11.40) the sixth. But after Global Beauty Coco won the third leg and returned $151.40 the live tickets were trimmed to a precious few. There were just five live tickets going into the 10th and final race of the day, and Delicious Pursuit ($18.20) was one of those live tickets.
Racing returns Friday with a 10-race program beginning at 1:15 p.m. There will be a Super Hi 5 carryover of $3,887.63.
Three Rules Returns Saturday in $100,000 Big Drama
Graded stakes-winner Three Rules, who swept the 2016 Florida Sire Stakes, returns to the races after a five-month layoff Saturday in Gulfstream’s $100,000 Big Drama.
The seven-furlong event drew a field of seven including graded stakes-winner Mr. Jordan, Gulfstream Park Sprint runner-up Sweetontheladies, Tampa Bay’s Sprint Stakes runner-up Deland and 2017 Sunshine Millions Classic winner Hy Riverside.
First race post Saturday is 12:45 p.m.
Three Rules, trained by Jose Pinchin, became a fan favorite during the summer of 2016 when the son of Gone Astray swept the rich FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes program for owner-breeder Bert Pilcher and his partners. “This horse took us places and we’ve done stuff we never thought possible,” said Pilcher Wednesday afternoon.
After finishing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita, Three Rules returned in 2017 and finished second in the Swale (G2), third in the Fountain of Youth (G2), fifth in the Florida Derby (G1), and third in the Chick Lang at Pimlico. Since winning the Carry Back (G3) last summer, Three Rules’ lone start was a second-place finish Dec. 16 at Tampa in the Marion County Florida Sire Stakes.
“He had a couple little things…really was just off his feed a little bit and not as good as he had been so we just went ahead and let him be a horse for a while,” Pilcher said. “He came back to the farm but he wasn’t as happy as he usually is so he went back to the track. We just did less with him. He likes being there. He’s happy in that environment.”
Three Rules will go into the Big Drama on six works, two of them bullets over Gulfstream’s main track. “He’s doing really well,” Pilcher added. “He’s been working great. I know Jose is high on him putting in a big year and we hope it all translates this year to having a lot more fun.”
Nik Juarez is named to ride Three Rules.
Mr. Jordan, trained by Eddie Plesa Jr., takes a considerable drop in class after finishing fifth in the Gulfstream Park Hardacre Mile (G2) March 31 and fourth in the Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3) March 3. While the gelded son of Kantheros has won eight of 20 starts and $677,000, Mr. Jordan is winless in 12 tries at Gulfstream. The 6-year-old, who has finished second five times at Gulfstream, will have Edgard Zayas in the saddle.
HALLANDALE BEACH – Bettors will have something special to look forward to at Gulfstream Park when racing resumes with a 10-race program Thursday – a 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover of $1,006,359.41,
There was no single winner of the wager Sunday. Multiple tickets with all six winners returned $2,771.88. There was $299,789 of new money bet into the Rainbow 6 Sunday.
Thursday’s Rainbow 6 sequence will begin with a five furlong turf event for fillies and mares that drew a field of 12.
NOTE: Jockey Nik Juarez rode four winners Sunday. Juarez won the first aboard Paco Ensaco ($12.60), the fourth with Oola Gal ($23.20), the ninth on Proper Princess ($7) and the 11th and final race with Flowmotion ($6.40).
The entries are in for, perhaps, the most wide open Kentucky Derby we've seen in decades. All that's left is for would-be handicappers to sort through the maze of information and figure out which horses to wager on based on Beyer numbers, Ragozins, Thorographs, personal observations and anything else they can find to throw into the mix.
Here's a quick rundown of some tidbits concerning the 20 runners:
(1) There are 17 Kentucky-breds entered. The lone "others" are Firenze Fire (Florida), Audible (New York) and Flameaway (Ontario).
(2) Scat Daddy has the most runners - 4 (Flameaway, Justify, Mendelssohn, Combatant). Curlin is second with 3 (Good Magic, Solomini, Vino Rosso). Medaglia d'Oro has 2 (Bolt D'Oro, Enticed). So 9 of 20 competitors are by three stallions.
(3) Only one horse has won more than four races - Flameaway with 5. Those with four are Firenze Fire, Audible, Bolt D'Oro, Mendelssohn and Magnum Moon.
(4) The only unbeaten horses in the race are Magnum Moon, at 4-for4 and Justify, at 3-for-3.
(5) There are four with just a maiden score (Lone Sailor, Hofburg, Solomini, Combatant).
(6) There are four who are already millionaires (Good Magic, $1,855,000); Bolt D'Oro ($1,016,000); Mendelssohn ($1,961,137); Magnum Moon ($1,177,800).
(7) One horse has made 10 starts (My Boy Jack); two have made nine (Firenze Fire, Flameaway): three have made eight (Free Drop Billy, Lone Sailor, Bravazo).
HALLANDALE BEACH – Gulfstream Park’s 20-cent Rainbow 6 will be $795,987.53 when racing resumes Thursday.
Multiple winning tickets Sunday returned $48,864.92. There were three live tickets going into the last leg of the Rainbow 6, but all three failed to hit board. There will also be a Super Hi 5 carryover Thursday of $3,123.56.
Racing resumes Thursday with a nine-race program and a first race post of 1:10 p.m.
Let’s Go Stable’s Wooderson, a 3-year-old half-brother to Hall of Fame member and Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, finished second in his career debut.
For the session, 161 two-year-olds sold for a total of $17,230,500, compared with 144 horses bringing $13,142,200 at the corresponding session last year. The average price was $107,022, up 17.2% compared to $91,265 in 2017 while the median was $57,000, rising 11.8% compared with $51,000 a year ago. The buyback percentage was 20.3%; it was 22.9% a year ago.
For the entire sale, 707 horses grossed a sale record $69,429,500, compared with 678 youngsters bringing $60,935,900 a year ago, the previous record total. The average price was a sale record $98,203, besting last year’s sale previous record $89,876. The median was a record $55,000, up 15.8% above 2017’s sale record $47,500. The buyback percentage was 17.9%; it was 17% a year ago. Sixty-six horses brought $250,000 or more compared to 60 in 2017.
Hip No. 352, a son of Tapit consigned by Niall Brennan Stables, Agent, went to Robert E. & Lawana Low for $750,000 to top the second session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2018 Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training. The gray or roan colt, who breezed an eighth in :10 2/5 at Tuesday’s Under Tack session, is a half brother to graded stakes-winner Commissioner out of graded stakes winner Flaming Heart, by Touch Gold, a half-sister to the dam of Vino Rosso, one of the favorites for the Kentucky Derby after his victory in the recent Wood Memorial Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct
For the day, 180 horses brought a total of $18,932,500, a Spring Sale session record, compared with 167 selling for a total of $14,111,500 at last year’s second session. The average price was $105,181, up 24.5% compared to $84,500 in 2017 while the median price was $56,000, a 40% rise compared with $40,000 a year ago. The buyback percentage was 22.4%; it was 20.8% last year.
Stonehedge Farm South's Cajun Breeze has the honor of becoming the first Florida freshman stallion of 2018 to sire a winner, and the son of Congrats also added a second-place finisher out of the same race.
The milestone came at Gulfstream Park, where Cajun Firecracker captured a $64,000 maiden special under Nik Juarez, winning by two lengths over Mardi Gras Girl, who is also by Cajun Breeze. Cajun Firecracker, a colt, earned a juicy check for $43,000 for the score, while the filly Mardi Gras Girl collected $12,800 for second. The winner raced 4 1/2 furlongs in :52.58 and paid $12.20.
Another daughter of Cajun Breeze, Nancysaidso, finished second in a $63,000 maiden special at Gulfstream and earned $12,400. The filly led into deep stretch under Miguel Vasquez, succumbing at the wire by three-quarters of a length in a race that went in :51.79.
All three runners are owned and bred by Shadybrook Farm, and trained by Michael Yates, the farm's owner. Yates took a page out of the book of Wesley Ward, who has become well-known for his ability to get his 2-year-olds ready early and taking down a slew of the money given out at Gulfstream and Keeneland in April, May and June.
The three Shadybrook runners collected a total of $68,200 for their efforts to propel Cajun Breeze into an easy lead in the Florida freshman race. The stallion is listed as having eight current 2-year-old runners.
Two other Florida freshmen have had starters, CoCo Ranch's Global Beauty, a son of A. P. Indy (10 current 2yos) and Woodford Thoroughbreds' He's Had Enough, a son of Tapit (77 current 2yos), but as yet neither has one who finished in the money.
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL– The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot for Thursday’s program at Gulfstream Park grew to $572,287.06 Sunday when the popular multi-race wager went unsolved for the 13thconsecutive racing day.
Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $4,833.22.
Juddmonte Farms’ Hofburg breezed five furlongs in company at Payson Park in Indiantown Sunday morning in preparation for a scheduled start in the May 5 Kentucky Derby. The Bill Mott-trained colt was timed in 1:01.40 after breezing for the second time since finishing second in the $1 million XpressBet.com Florida Derby at Gulfstream March 31.
Hofburg is scheduled to be shipped to Churchill Downs Monday.
The 3-year-old son of Tapit raced once as a 2-year-old, finishing fourth after a slow start in a seven-furlong maiden race at Saratoga Sept. 2. In his 3-year-old debut March 3 at Gulfstream, he overcame the No. 11 post position to capture a 1 1/16-mile maiden test. He came right back to finish second in the Florida Derby, three lengths behind victorious Audible and 7 ¾ lengths ahead of third-place finisher Mississippi.
HALLANDALE BEACH – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot grew to $377,314.63 for today's’s program at Gulfstream Park when the multi-race wager went unsolved Sunday for the ninth straight racing day.
Multiple tickets with all six winners were worth $14,437.32.
First-race post time for today's’s 10-race card is set for 1:10 p.m.
FRENCHIE'S BACK - The tale of Kathy Taylor's rescue of 23 horses from the failing Eddie Martin Stable South eight years ago, and the nine she brought back to her small farm and rejuvenated, has been documented often. One of the results of that rescue, the gelding French Quarter, is now seven and still very much in action.
Kathy bred the emaciated rescued French mare Cent Nouvelles to Shakespeare and eventually sold French Quarter privately for $9,000. He has since been a source of great pride, originally racing for trainer John Mattine in Canada and at Gulfstream Park, and now in the barn of Domino Enterprises with trainer David Fawkes, who has seen him become stakes-placed on several occasions.
French Quarter recently took a much-needed vacation and returned to finish sixth on the grass in his first try. But that's no surprise as grass has not been kind to him and this was no doubt a tightener. He's back at Gulfstream tomorrow in the eighth race, a $62,500 allowance optional claimer at six furlongs with Edgard Zayas aboard. Frenchie has earned a bit more than $300,000 and still appears to be fit and ready. He's 6-1 in the morning line in a field of six.
HALLANDALE BEACH – Todd Pletcher-trained Valkyrie Gold stamped herself as a strong prospect for the 2018 Florida Sire Stakes series Thursday at Gulfstream Park while capturing the first race of the year for 2-year-olds.
The daughter of Florida stallion Exclusive Quality broke alertly under Tyler Gaffalione to press the pace set by Nancysaidso through fractions of 21.93 seconds and 45.50 before launching a late drive to prevail by three-quarters of a length. Kenneth English and Alan Braun’s homebred filly ran 4 ½ furlongs in a solid :51.79 seconds as the even-money favorite.
“In these type of races you need to break well and she did that and got away good. I thought she was very professional,” Pletcher said. He said the primary goal for Valkyrie Gold is the Florida Sire Stakes series that gets under way with the $100,000 Desert Vixen Aug. 4.
“We’ll leave her down here and point to those races,” Pletcher said.
Nancysaidso held on for second, well clear of Cookie Dough.
The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot rose to $229,955 for Friday’s 10-race program at Gulfstream Park when the multi-race wager went unsolved for the sixth straight racing day. Multiple tickets with all six winners were worth $3,481.10.
OLDSMAR - Tampa Bay Downs will celebrate the world’s greatest horse race on Saturday, May 5, simulcasting the 144th edition of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve from Churchill Downs in Louisville. At least four horses that have competed in Oldsmar this year are expected to be part of the likely 20-horse field.
That quartet includes Saturday’s Gr. II Wood Memorial Stakes presented by NYRA Bets winner, Vino Rosso, who won an allowance/optional claiming race here on Dec. 22, then finished third in the Gr. III Sam F. Davis Stakes and fourth in the Gr. II Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby.
Also, Gr. II Toyota Blue Grass runner-up Flameaway, who won the Sam F. Davis Stakes and finished second in the Tampa Bay Derby; Tampa Bay Derby winner Quip, expected to start in Saturday’s Gr. I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park; and unbeaten Magnum Moon, who won the Gr. II Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn after capturing an allowance/optional claiming race here on Feb. 15 and is also expected to try the Arkansas Derby.
Vino Rosso and Magnum Moon are trained by Todd Pletcher, whose two Kentucky Derby victories have been with horses that competed at Tampa Bay Downs: Super Saver in 2010 and Always Dreaming last year.
Mark Casse trains Flameaway and Rodolphe Brisset conditions Quip.
In addition to the festivities surrounding the Run for the Roses, Tampa Bay Downs will present two new stakes on the first Saturday in May, both valued at $100,000: the FTBOA Silver Charm Florida Sire Stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings and the FTBOA Ivanavinalot Florida Sire Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
Both races are for FTBOA-registered Florida-bred horses sired by FTBOA-registered stallions which are FSS-eligible and will be contested on the main track at a distance of a mile and 40 yards.
HALLANDALE BEACH – Trainer Jason Servis notched his 1,000th career victory Sunday at Gulfstream Park, reaching the milestone with Meant Tobe Mine in the ninth race.
The 61-year-old native of Charles Town, WV, was not present to witness Meant Tobe Mine’s win, but he has been a frequent visitor to winners' circles since the day in March 2002 that he saddled his first winner (Hattab Be You) at Aqueduct. The brother of trainer John Servis has scored at a 23-percent win rate from 4,273 starters.
Meant Tobe Mine, the 2-5-favorite ridden by Nik Juarez, sped five furlongs on the grass in :56.07 seconds to win the optional claiming allowance by 10 ½ lengths. Meant Tobe Mine was the second winner for the Spring/Summer Meet for Servis, who won at a 34-percent clip during the Championship Meet by scoring with 18 of 53 starters.
Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Grows
The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot rose to $185,512 for Thursday’s nine-race program when the multi-race wager went unsolved Sunday for the fifth straight racing day.
Multiple tickets with all six winners were worth $1,796.28.
Thursday’s six-race Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 4-9, anchored by the Spring/Summer Meet’s first race for 2-year-olds. A field of 10 juvenile fillies (and two also-eligible entrants) will debut at 4 ½ furlongs.
There are seven Florida-breds in the field, along with two Kentucky-breds and one Pennsylvania-bred. The Florida-breds are by Brethren, Cajun Breeze, Rattlesnake Bridge, Exclusive Quality, Factum, Concord Point and Global Response.
HALLANDALE BEACH – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot climbed to $148,704 for Sunday’s 10-race program at Gulfstream Park when the multi-race wager went unsolved for the fourth straight racing day Saturday. Multiple tickets with all six winners were worth $12,548.40.
Today'y’s six-race Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 5-10. First-race post time is set for 1 p.m.
Juarez Off to Flying Start
Nik Juarez rode three winners on Saturday’s program, continuing his fast start for the Spring/Summer Meet with his third-straight multi-win day.
Riding full time for this first time during the Spring/Summer Meet, the 24-year-old Maryland native scored aboard Cosita Rica ($7.20) in the first race, Our Sarge ($8.60) in the fifth race and May Ty One On in the sixth race.
The leading rider at Monmouth Park last year, Juarez finds himself at the top of the rider standings at Gulfstream after winning two races the first two days of the Spring/Summer Meet before adding three more Saturday.
HALLANDALE BEACH – Super Super Stable’s Hidden to Win ($14.20) was a hard-fought front-running winner of Sunday’s second race at Gulfstream Park to give Chilean champion jockey Jaime Medina his first victory in the United States.
A 6-year-old Ontario-bred mare, Hidden to Win dueled for the lead with Indian Chaser through fractions of 24.32 and 47.35 seconds before putting that rival away after six furlongs in 1:12.12, then held off a late bid from Beautyofaday to win in 1:38.93 for one mile over a fast main track.
It was the third mount in the U.S. for Medina, 30, who finished off the board in two starts March 29 at Gulfstream. He spent the weekend in South Florida to get a feel for American racing before returning to Chile today.
According to Medina, he has ridden in Chile for 12 years with more than 2,200 wins. He earned his 2,000th victory on July 31, 2016 and rode the winner of the 2011 El Derby (G1) at Valparaiso Sporting Club.
LIVE RACING RETURNS THURSDAY
Gulfstream Park will host an eight-race program Thursday, April 5 to kick off a 110-day spring-summer meet that runs through Sunday, Sept. 30. First race post time Thursday is 1 p.m. The spring-summer schedule includes 34 stakes worth $4.175 million in purses highlighted by the Summit of Speed Saturday, June 30 and FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes series Aug. 4, Sept. 1 and 29.
Live racing will be conducted primarily Thursday through Sunday with special programs Monday, May 28 (Memorial Day); Wednesday, June 6; Wednesday, July 4 (Independence Day); Wednesday, Aug. 22 and Monday, Sept. 3 (Labor Day).
WHO'S HOT: Jockey Tyler Gaffalione closed the Championship Meet with three winners, aboard Asked and Answered ($4.40) in the third race, O.K. Kay ($5) in the sixth and Nikki’s Cause ($9.80) in the ninth. Leader Luis Saez won with Disruptor ($8.20) in the fifth and Bow Tie Affair ($5.40), bringing his record total to 137 for the meet. Nik Juarez also had a riding double with Forty Fathoms ($5.60) in the seventh and Heading Home ($11.80) in the 12th.
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez and trainer Todd Pletcher, who joined forces to win the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby Saturday with Audible, teamed up for back-to-back wins with Slot ($3) in the 10th race and Bold Daddy ($5.60) in the 11th. Pletcher claimed his 15th consecutive training title with 69 wins.
Rainbow 6 Carryover:$43,972.44
HALLANDALE BEACH – Gulfstream Park’s 67th running of the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby, won by Audible by three lengths, generated a record total handle of $49,909,070.
The previous record for the highest single-day handle at Gulfstream excluding Breeders’ Cup came earlier this year on Pegasus World Cup Day when Horse of the Year Gun Runner won and fans wagered $41.9 million. Saturday’s handle was also a Florida Derby Day record, eclipsing the record in 2017 of $32.082 million.
Saturday’s handle, up 63.03 percent over last year’s Derby Day handle, was helped by a mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 that generated a North American record $16,583,425 in new money and a total Pick 6 handle of $21.336 million. That eclipsed both records set Jan. 28 at Gulfstream when a total Pick 6 handle of $19.779 million was paid out and $15.788 million of new money was wagered.
Audible’s victory was a record fifth Florida Derby for trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez. They won last year’s Florida Derby with eventual Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming.
The Rainbow 6 paid $9,018 to a slew of winners, who all might have used the same modus operandi to forge their tickets. That is, just include all of Gulfstream's top riders in each race.
Here is the winning sequence, with the prices and riders for each winner:
Race 9 - Outback Bob - $31.60, Jose Ortiz.
Race 10 - Outplay - $6, John Velazquez.
Race 11 - Lull - $8.60, Jose Ortiz.
Race 12 - Coach Rocks - $7.60, Luis Saez.
Race 13 - Hi Happy - $6.80, Luis Saez.
Race 14 - Audible - $5.20, John Velazquez.
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - A mandatory Rainbow 6 payout with the potential to yield a life-changing payoff will be held on Saturday’s Florida Derby Day program at Gulfstream Park.
The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot grew to $4,753,154 today, when the multi-race wager went unsolved for the 43rd consecutive racing day. The total pool is expected to approach $20 million Saturday due to the promise of producing a big-money score through a mandatory payout.
First-race post time is set for 11:30 a.m. Silks simulcast facility will be open at 8 a.m. for wagering on the Dubai World Cup program.
Guaranteed multi-race pools will also be offered for the Late Pick 4 ($750,000) and the Late Pick 5 ($500,000). The Late Pick 4 will span Races 11-14, while the Late Pick 5 will cover Races 10-14.
Saturday’s six-race Rainbow 6 sequence (Races 9-14) will be anchored by the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1), featuring a showdown between Holy Bull (G2) winner Audible and Fountain of Youth victor Promises Fulfilled in a nine-horse field that will also include highly regarded graded-stakes winners Catholic Boy and Strike Power.
The record Rainbow 6 payoff was $6.6 million won by Palm Beach bettor Daniel Borislow on May 25, 2014, the day before a scheduled mandatory payout.
A total of $641,888 was wagered into the Rainbow 6 today, adding to a carryover of $4,599,159.48 from Thursday’s program. Multiple tickets with all six winners each returned $13,714.56.
HALLANDALE BEACH – After scoring a resounding triumph in the Feb. 3 Holy Bull, Audible will seek to make even more noise on the Triple Crown trail Saturday in the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.
Owned by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International, Starlight Racing and Head of Plains 2018, the 9-5 morning-line favorite will be on a quest to give trainer Todd Pletcher his fifth career success in the 1 1/8-mile Triple Crown prep that will headline a card with seven stakes (five graded) worth $2.4 million in purses.
Pletcher, who has clinched his 15th consecutive Championship Meet training title, saddled Always Dreaming for a dominating five-length victory in last year’s Florida Derby that was followed by a 2 ¾-length score in the Kentucky Derby, which was won the previous year by Doug O’Neill-trained Florida Derby winner Nyquist.
The Florida Derby has produced the winners of 59 Triple Crown events from 44 starters in the 66 runnings of Gulfstream’s signature race for 3-year-olds.
The Florida Derby, which drew a field of nine 3-year-olds, will take on even more significance for handicappers and bettors in search of a life-changing score Saturday, when the 67th running of the historic Triple Crown prep is included in the six-race sequence (Races 9-14) for the Rainbow 6. A mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot pool, which currently stands at $4.4 million, is scheduled for Saturday, and if Gulfstream’s innovative wager continues to go unsolved today and Friday, the total pool is expected to approach $20 million.
Guaranteed pools of $750,000 for the Late Pick 4 (Races 11-14) and $500,000 for the Late Pick 5 (Races 10-14) have also been scheduled.
John Velazquez, who rode Audible for a victory in a New York-bred maiden race at Aqueduct in November, replaces Javier Castellano aboard the Holy Bull winner, who drew Post Position No. 8.
There is no lack of speed for Audible to stalk early in the Florida Derby field, especially with the presence of Promised Fulfilled, who captured the March 3 Fountain of Youth with a dominating front-running performance. Trained by Dale Romans for Robert Baron, the son of Shackleford scored by 2 ¼ lengths over previously undefeated Strike Power and 4 ½ lengths ahead of third-place finisher Good Magic, the 2017 juvenile Eclipse Award winner.
Promises Fulfilled has set the pace in each of his four lifetime starts, including back-to-back victories to launch his career and a third-place finish in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs last year. Robby Albarado, who was aboard for his first two career wins, returns to the saddle on the Kentucky-bred colt, who has been rated second in the morning line at 3-1 after drawing post position No. 4.
Romans is also scheduled to saddle Storm Runner after a disastrous trip in the Fountain of Youth, in which he finished seventh. Tyler Gaffalione has been named to ride the son of Get Stormy who previously won an optional claiming allowance race at Gulfstream Feb. 4. Storm Runner, rated at 20-1, drew post No. 5.
Courtlandt Farm’s Strike Power is another entrant who is likely to ensure a lively pace. The son of Speightstown debuted Dec. 23 with a spectacular eighth-length score at Gulfstream, recording a rare 100-plus debut Beyer Speed Figure while setting the pace in the 5 ½-furlong maiden test. The Mark Hennig-trained-colt came right back to win the seven-furlong Swale in front-running fashion Feb. 3.
Strike Power failed to get the lead in the Fountain of Youth, in which he chased Promises Fulfilled to the wire but finished 2 ¼ lengths ahead of heavily favored Good Magic. Strike Power was rated at 4-1 in the morning line after drawing the No. 1 Post Position. Luis Saez, who clinched his second straight Championship Meet title, has the return mount aboard Strike Power.
Robert LaPenta, Madaket Stables and Siena Farm’s Catholic Boy would be a likely beneficiary should a hotly-contested early pace develop. The stretch-running son of More Than Ready has excelled on both turf and dirt while doing his best running late. After breaking his maiden at Gulfstream Park in July and winning the With Anticipation at Saratoga in August, the Jonathan Thomas-trained colt finished a troubled fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. He closed out his 2-year-old campaign with a dominating 4 ¾-length triumph in the 1 1/8-mile Remsen at Aqueduct in his first start on dirt.
Catholic Boy finished second, a half-length behind front-running Flameaway, in the Feb. 10 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs in his 3-year-old debut. Irad Ortiz Jr. is set to ride Catholic Boy, rated third at 7-2 in the morning line after drawing post No. 6 for the first time Saturday.
Mississippi is scheduled to make his stakes debut in the Florida Derby after being nosed ut by Storm Runner in a Feb. 4 optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream. In his previous start, the son of Pioneerof the Nile finished second in a Feb. 4 optional claiming allowance, three-quarters of a length behind Noble Indy, who went on to capture last Saturday’s Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds.
The Mark Casse-trained colt, who will be ridden by Julien Leparoux from post No. 9, was a Fasig Tipton March sale at Gulfstream last year for $700,000 by John Oxley, M.V. Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Michael Jooste.
Juddmonte Farms’ Hofburg, a son of Tapit who broke his maiden in front-running fashion in his 2018 debut for trainer Bill Mott at Gulfstream March 3; Arindel’s Tip Sheet, who finished sixth in the Holy Bull after a wide trip; and Thoroughbred Champions Training Center’s Millionaire Runner round out the field.
OLDSMAR – While their value to handicappers is arguable, the following fun facts about Florida Cup Day at Tampa Bay Downs are certain to add to racing fans’ enjoyment of Sunday’s 16thannual celebration of the state’s breeding and racing industries.
Sunday’s Florida Cup action begins with the second race, the Horse Races NOW Sprint. The 7th-through-11th races, all Florida Cup events, comprise an all-stakes Pick-5 wager, with a beckoning 15-percent takeout.
Those races, in order, are the Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Fillies; the EG Vodka Turf Classic; the DRF Bets Sophomore Turf; the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Sophomore; and the Pleasant Acres Stallions Distaff Turf.
Here are a few Florida Cup tidbits:
· Glen Hill Farm, the Ocala breeding and racing showcase started in 1966 by the late Leonard Lavin, leads all owners with eight Florida Cup victories. Glen Hill also leads the breeders’ list with seven triumphs (2011 Sophomore Turf winner Extensive was bred by Lavin’s grandson, Glen Hill President Craig Bernick).
Tom Proctor, who followed in the footsteps of his late father Willard Proctor as a Glen Hill trainer, leads the Florida Cup trainer standings with eight victories. Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott and Eddie Plesa Jr. are next with six.
The longest-priced winner in Florida Cup history occurred in the first year, 2003, when Robert M. Dubois’ Mychampion won the Sophomore Colts & Geldings and paid $126.40.
The 4-year-old filly It’s Me Mom established the track’s current 6-furlong record of 1:08.67 in winning the 2012 Sprint while defeating males.
Two-time Florida Cup winners include World Approval (2017 Turf Classic, 2015 Sophomore Turf); Old Time Hockey (2014 and 2015 Turf Classic); Hooh Why (2012 and 2013 Distaff Turf); Sneaking Uponyou (2011 and 2014 Sprint); and Nightmare Affair (2005 and 2006 Sprint).
Six-time Oldsmar champion Daniel Centeno is atop the jockeys’ list with eight victories, including three in the Sophomore Turf.
The biggest margin of victory was achieved by Repenting, who won the 2008 Sophomore by 10 ½ lengths.
You know why they call it the Florida Cup? Well, there’s another reason: It has been conducted all 15 years on a fast main track and all but one year on a firm turf course.
The first-ever Florida Cup race, the 2003 Sophomore Fillies, was won by Just Bill Me. Bred and owned by Denis A. Dwyer and John Reynolds and trained by Enrique Alonso, she was ridden by Rosemary Homeister Jr.
Breeder-owner Peter Vegso, the publisher of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, has won the Turf Classic three times – with Silver Tree (2006), Go Between (2007) and Go Around (2016).
HALLANDALE BEACH – Rigney Racing’s Madison’s Luna conceded considerable experience Saturday at Gulfstream Park while making his stakes debut in only his second lifetime start, but the 3-year-old son of Tapit possessed more than enough class and talent to run away from his five rivals to capture the $100,000, Gr. III Hutcheson.
Madison’s Luna ($11), an impressive debut winner at Tampa Bay Downs Feb. 10, romped to victory by five lengths while running six furlongs in 1:10.45 to give trainer Philip Bauer his first victory at Gulfstream Park.
“It was ambitious but we thought it was worth a try,” Bauer said.
Madison’s Luna broke well from the starting gate to stalk the early pace while saving ground along the backstretch before being eased to the outside by jockey Julien Leparoux approaching the far turn. The Kentucky-bred colt advanced three wide to pull alongside dueling pacesetters Belle Tapisserie and Tricks to Doo on the turn into the homestretch before drawing off to win the 64thrunning of the Hutcheson comfortably.
Bauer said he will point Madison’s Luna toward the Pat Day Mile (G3), a one-turn mile at Churchill Downs on the Kentucky Derby undercard May 5. “I think he’ll stretch out. We saw how he can relax behind horses,” Bauer said. “He does everything the right way, especially for a Tapit – sometimes they can be temperamental.”
Madison’s Luna was purchased for $400,000 at the 2016 Keeneland September Sale.
Soutache, who was making his first start since winning the $400,000 Florida Sire Stakes In Reality at Gulfstream Park Sept. 30, closed from off the pace to finish second under Tyler Gaffalione. Tricks to Doo held on for third under Irad Ortiz.
HALLANDALE BEACH – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot for Sunday’s program at Gulfstream Park swelled to $4,287,715 when the multi-race wager went unsolved today for the 40th consecutive racing day. The Rainbow 6 was last hit Jan. 28.
A total of $751,729 was wagered into the Rainbow 6, adding to a carryover of $4,107,364 from Friday’s program. Multiple tickets with all six winners each returned $35,126.72.
WHO'S Hot: Irad Ortiz Jr. enjoyed his fourth straight multi-win day, making three visits to the winner’s circle with Samurai’sfirstlady ($2.10) in Race 5, Imprimis ($4.20) in Race 9, and Break the Rules ($19.40) in Race 10.
Jockey Luis Saez added two more wins to his meet-leading total with back-to-back victories aboard Elevenses ($2.20) in race 6 and Zefiro ($4.20) in race 7. The defending Championship Meet titlist has ridden 122 winners, 10 shy of Javier Castellano’s 2013-2014 record.
HALLANDALE BEACH – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot for Wednesday’s program at Gulfstream Park grew to $3,792,365 when the multi-race wager went unsolved Sunday for the 36th consecutive racing day.
A total of $716,415 was wagered into the pool Sunday, adding to a carryover of $3,620,485 from Saturday’s program. Multiple tickets with all six winners each returned $5,511.98.
DERBY PREP NEXT FOR KING ZACHARY
Trainer Dale Romans plans to run King Zachary next in a Kentucky Derby prep following the 3-year-old son of Curlin’s 7 ¾-length maiden-breaking romp in Sunday’s fifth race.
King Zachary graduated in his third lifetime start while making his first start around two turns in the 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight test. The Kentucky-bred colt stalked pacesetting stablemate New Legend around the first turn and along the backstretch before taking over the lead on the turn into the stretch. The 4-5 favorite drew away from his five rivals to complete the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.19 under jockey Robby Albarado.
“He’s the real deal here. He’ll come back in one of the preps,” said Romans, who already has plans to run Fountain of Youth winner Promises Fulfilled and Storm Runner in the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby on March 31. “We have one chance to get some points. We’ll sit down and figure out where to go.”
King Zachary, who was purchased for $550,000 by Thomas Conway at the 2016 Keeneland September sale, had previously run twice, both times finishing third in seven-furlong races.
WHO'S HOT: Jockey Nik Juarez guided four horses into the Gulfstream winner’s circle Sunday, scoring aboard Arch Legacy ($13) in race 3, Inside Trip ($4.60) in race 6, Liquid Aloha ($6) in race 8, and Mean Tobe Mine ($4.40) in race 12.
A Strong Mandate colt and filly by Uncle Mo each brought $775,000 to top the second and final session of the 2018 OBS March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training.
Carolyn Wilson (Bay Tree Farm) purchased Hip No. 447, a son of Strong Mandate consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent. The bay colt, whose eighth in :9 4/5 was co-fastest at the distance at Saturday’s Under Tack session, is out of Magestic Stinger, by Majestic Warrior, a half sister to stakes winner Tiz Blessed.
Hip No. 459, a daughter of Uncle Mo consigned by Eddie Woods, Agent, also brought $775,000, going to the team of Solis / Litt. The bay filly, who breezed a quarter in :21 2/5 on Saturday, is a half sister to graded stakes winner Southern Honey, out of Mama Tia, by Carson City.
Hip No. 439, a daughter of Quality Road consigned by Eddie Woods, Agent, was sold for $750,000 to White Birch Farm, Inc. The dark bay or brown filly, who turned in an Under Tack quarter on Saturday in :20 4/5, is out of Love This Kitty, by Not For Love, a three quarter sister to grade one stakes winner Hootenanny.
Hip No. 479, a bay colt by Real Solution consigned by Hoppel’s Horse & Cattle Co., Inc., Agent, was sold to Mark Casse, Agent, for $675,000. A half brother to graded stakes winning OBS graduate Noble Beauty out of Money Huntress, by Mineshaft, he worked an Under Tack quarter in :21 2/5 on Saturday.
Hip No. 289, a son of Awesome Again consigned by Bobby Dodd, Agent, was purchased by Live Oak Plantation for $650,000. The chestnut colt, whose eighth in 9: 4/5 was co-fastest at the distance at Friday’s Under Tack Session, is a half brother to both champion Essence Hit Man and newly stakes placed Eight Town, out of graded stakes winner El Prado Essence, by El Prado (IRE).
Hip No. 420, a daughter of More Than Ready consigned by Ocala Stud, Agent, was sold to Phoenix Thoroughbreds III for $625,000. The dark bay or brown filly, who breezed a quarter on Saturday in :20 3/5, is out of graded stakes placed La Song, by Unbridled’s Song.
Hip No. 460, a son of Malibu Moon consigned by King’s Equine, Agent, was sold to Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Repole Stable for $500,000. The dark bay or brown colt, who worked an Under Tack eighth in :10 flat on Saturday, is out of graded stakes winner Mamma Kimbo, by Discreet Cat, and is a half brother to stakes winning OBS graduate Balandeen.
For the session, 126 horses sold for a total of $21,980,000, compared with 153 horses bringing $29,743,500 at last year’s second session. The average price was $174,444, compared with $194,402 last year while the median price was $120,000 compared with $87,500 in 2017. The buyback percentage was 29.2%; it was 25.7% a year ago.
For the entire sale, 254 horses sold for $42,592,000 compared with 301 bringing a March sale record gross $56,510,000 last year. The average price was $167,685 compared with last year’s sale record $187,741 while the median price was $110,000, the highest for the expanded format March Sale; it was compared with $95,000 a year ago. The buyback percentage was 30%; it was 27.3% in 2017.
The sale topper was Hip No. 141, a daughter of Scat Daddy consigned by Hartley / DeRenzo Thoroughbreds LLC, Agent, was sold to Phoenix Thoroughbreds III for $875,000. The dark bay or brown filly, whose eighth in :9 4/5 was co-fastest at the distance at Thursday’s Under Tack session, is a half sister to graded stakes winner Sharp Sensation, out of Accusation, by Royal Academy.
“We won a lot of big races with the Mott team, and you learn how to handle the feeling,” Brisset said after his 3-year-old colt Quip sprang a major upset in the 38th edition of the Tampa Bay Downs showcase. “But maybe it’s a little sweeter because it’s my name.”
The 34-year-old Brisset, a former jockey who rides Quip for most of his workouts, did a good job containing his emotions after Quip’s 1-length victory over Sam F. Davis Stakes winner Flameaway.
The pace-setter, World of Trouble, held on bravely for third, with Vino Rosso a non-threatening fourth in the nine-horse field.
The victory was the third in four starts for the Kentucky-bred son of Distorted Humor-Princess Ash, by Indian Charlie. He paid $40.20 to win after completing the mile-and-a-sixteenth in 1:44.72.
Ridden by Florent Geroux in all his races, Quip was bred by WinStar Farm and is owned by WinStar in partnership with China Horse Club International and SF Racing. WinStar Farm also won the 2015 Tampa Bay Derby with Carpe Diem in partnership with Stonestreet Stables.
The Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby was the centerpiece of a sterling 12-race Festival Day 38 card that generated a track-record, all-sources handle figure of $14,859,632.98, which was a 21 percent increase over the former record established on Festival Day 2016. Attendance was 10,232.
In the other graded-stakes action, 6-year-old Fourstar Crook staged a whirlwind rally to win the Gr. II, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes on the turf under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., triumphing by a head over Proctor’s Ledge; and 3-year-old filly Andina Del Sur and jockey Julien Leparoux prevailed in a three-horse photo finish to capture the Gr. III, $200,000 Florida Oaks on the turf.
Two other stakes were conducted. The classy 6-year-old gelding War Story powered away late to win the $100,000 Challenger Stakes by five-and-three-quarter lengths from Rafting, with Ortiz riding War Story.
In the $75,000 Columbia Stakes for 3-year-olds on the turf, Irish-bred Gidu lived up to his 3-5 favoritism, winning by a length-and-three-quarters over Captivating Moon under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez.
Quip was basically ignored in the betting because of his seventh-place performance in last November’s Gr. II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs. But he had been training sharply, with Geroux riding him once at Fair Grounds in New Orleans three weeks ago before a subsequent 5-furlong bullet work in 59 4/5. His final move, at Tampa Bay Downs on Monday in 48 seconds flat for a half-mile, set him up perfectly for his Derby effort.
After stalking World of Trouble through most of the early going, Quip wore down that rival inside the eighth pole, then had enough left to stave off Flameaway’s challenge.
WinStar President and CEO of Racing Operations Elliott Walden said the victory planted Quip on the Kentucky Derby trail (he earned 50 qualifying points for the victory), but it is too early to speculate on his next start. “We’re going to enjoy this one and go from there,” said Walden after Quip earned first-place money of $210,000.
In the 35thFlorida Oaks, Andina Del Sur came from near the rear of the 11-horse field and stuck her head in front of runner-up Goodthingstaketime and Altea at the wire to prevail under Leparoux. Winning for the second time in four starts, Andina Del Sur paid $28.20.
HALLANDALE BEACH – For the 31st consecutive program Sunday at Gulfstream Park, the 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved to push the jackpot carryover to $3,102.399.48 for Wednesday’s program.
A total of $641,541 was wagered into the multi-race wager, adding to a carryover of $2,946,550.06 from Saturday’s program. Multiple tickets with all six winners each returned $30,870.
WHO'S HOT - Leading jockey Luis Saez notched a four-win day Sunday, connecting with Plein Air ($4) in the fourth and Burton ($3.40) in the seventh before lighting up the tote board with first-time starter Lalibela ($65) in the eighth. The 25-year-old defending Championship Meet titlist came right back in the ninth to win aboard Milbra ($17.80).
OLDSMAR – Eleven 3-year-olds will attempt to take a major step toward the First Saturday in May Saturday in the Gr. II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, the centerpiece of Festival Day 38 at Tampa Bay Downs.
The Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, which is a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” prep race awarding 50 points to the winner and 20, 10 and 5 points to the next three finishers toward eligibility for the May 5 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, is the 11th race on a 12-race program.
Post time for the first race is 12:12 p.m. The first 7,500 fans through the gates will receive a beach-style cooler bag with paid admission.
The 38th edition of the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, a mile-and-a-sixteenth race on the main dirt track, is one of three graded stakes on the program and five stakes overall. Total stakes purse money is $1 million, a Tampa Bay Downs record.
The Gr. II, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes, a mile-and-an-eighth event on the turf for fillies and mares 4-years-old-and-upward, has drawn a field of 10. It is scheduled as the ninth race.
Saturday’s other graded stakes is the Gr. III, $200,000 Florida Oaks for 3-year-old fillies, to be run at a distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf. There are 12 horses entered for the Florida Oaks, which is the 10th race.
Four graded stakes-winners are entered in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, including Gr. I winner Free Drop Billy, who is also entered in the Gr. III Gotham at Aqueduct in New York. Owned by Albaugh Family Stables and trained by Dale Romans, Free Drop Billy won the Gr. I Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity in October at Keeneland.
The other graded stakes-winning entrants include Gr. II winner Enticed (also entered in the Gotham), from the barn of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin; Untamed Domain, who won the Gr. II Summer Stakes last September at Woodbine on the turf, trained by H. Graham Motion; and Flameaway, a dual Gr. III winner trained by Mark Casse who captured the Gr. III Sam F. Davis Stakes on Feb. 10 at Tampa Bay Downs.
The Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby has produced two winners of the Kentucky Derby: Street Sense in 2007 and Super Saver (third in the Tampa Bay Derby) in 2010.
Here is the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby field in post position order, with trainers and jockeys:
1.Arazi Like Move, Aldana Gonzalez, Scott Spieth; 2. Tiz Mischief, Dale Romans, Joel Rosario; 3. Vino Rosso, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez; 4. Grandpa Knows Best, Kenneth McPeek, Julien Leparoux; 5. Flameaway, Mark Casse, Jose Lezcano; 6. Enticed, Kiaran McLaughlin, Antonio Gallardo; 7. Free Drop Billy, Dale Romans, rider unnamed; 8. World of Trouble, Jason Servis, Irad Ortiz, Jr.; 9. Untamed Domain, H. Graham Motion, Jose Ortiz; 10. Quip, Rodolphe Brisset, Florent Geroux; 11. Caloric, Michelle Winters, rider unnamed.
Tampa Bay Downs will offer a Festival Pick-5 wager on the five stakes, scheduled as races 7-through-11.
HALLANDALE BEACH – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot grew to $2,577,533 for Thursday’s program at Gulfstream Park after going unsolved for the 26th straight program today.
A total of $390,547 was wagered into the pool for the multi-race wager, which offered a $2,483,855 carryover jackpot heading into today’s card. Multiple tickets with all six winners each returned $1,260.94.
The wager was last hit Jan. 28, when the mandatory payout of a North American record $19.779 million pool produced multiple winning tickets worth $15,566.
JUAREZ PLANS TO STAY AT GULFSTREAM
Jockey Nik Juarez and agent Jay Rushing are making plans to be based at Gulfstream Park during the spring and summer meets for the first time. The 24-year-old Maryland native, who has ridden 29 winners during the Championship Meet, has been based at Monmouth Park during the past few years during the spring and summer months. Last year, he won the riding title with 75 winners at the New Jersey racetrack, where he finished second in 2016 with 69 winners.
“I think there is more opportunity to ride here with more racing days in the week, as opposed to Monmouth, where in May and June there will only be two days a week. July they go to three. August they go to four, but they’re done by Sept. 9,” Juarez said. “It took a lot for me and my agent Jay Rushing to consider, but being down here with more racing days a week and the more money they’re going to have here, I think it will be a more stable location with year-round racing.”
Juarez, who has a house in South Florida, said he put on 37,000 miles on his car last year from driving to other Mid-Atlantic and New York tracks on Monmouth’s dark days.
OLDSMAR – Tampa Bay Downs has reached agreements with Horse Races NOW and DRF Bets to be title sponsors of Florida Cup Day races, giving the 16th annual event on Sunday, March 25 a full complement of six title sponsors. Each of the races for registered Florida-breds offers purse money of $100,000.
The Horse Races NOW Sprint is for 4-years-old-and-upward at a distance of 6 furlongs on the main track. The DRF Bets Sophomore Turf is for 3-year-olds at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf course.
Horse Races NOW is a mobile application that provides live racing and video replays, as well as comprehensive news and data, for horse racing enthusiasts. Fans can customize the app to follow their favorite horses, tracks, jockeys and trainers.
DRF Bets is a service which allows DRF.com members to wager at DRF.com using the XpressBet wagering platform. Account holders can watch and wager on an extensive menu of thoroughbred, harness and Quarter Horse races online and by phone.
The other Florida Cup races are the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Sophomore, for 3-year-olds going 7 furlongs on the main track; the Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Fillies, for 3-year-old fillies at 7 furlongs on the main; the Pleasant Acres Stallions Distaff Turf, for fillies and mares 3-years-old-and-upward at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf; and the EG Vodka Turf Classic, for 4-years-old-and-upward at a mile-and-an-eighth on the turf.
HALLANDALE BEACH – Robert Baron’s Promises Fulfilled demonstrated promise for the spring classics Saturday at Gulfstream Park, registering a dominating front-running victory in the $400,000, Gr. II Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth and upsetting Eclipse Award-winner Good Magic in the process.
The 72nd running of the Fountain of Youth, a 1 1/16-mile prep for the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby on March 31, headlined a 14-race program that offered nine stakes, including eight graded stakes, worth $1.5 million in purses.
Promises Fulfilled, an 18-1 shot ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., earned 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points with his 2 ¼-length triumph to clinch a spot in the field for the first leg of the Triple Crown at Churchill Downs May 5.
The Dale Romans-trained son of Shackleford broke alertly from his outside post position to grab the early lead on the first turn, chased by Strike Power, the 7-2 second choice in the field of nine 3-year-olds. He was stalked by Good Magic, the 3-5 favorite making his first start since capturing the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar last November.
Promises Fulfilled set fractions of :23.80 and :48.39 for the half mile as he showed the way along the backstretch, challenged briefly by Storm Runner, a stablemate in the Romans Stable who dropped out of contention soon after. The pacesetter was challenged on the outside by Strike Power on the turn into the homestretch but kicked away to win by a comfortable margin.
Romans had entered three horses in the Fountain of Youth but scratched Free Drop Billy Saturday morning while opting to run the Gr. 1 stakes-winner in the Gr. III Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct next Saturday. Promises Fulfilled, who won his first two races before finishing third in the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs last year, proved up to the task of getting his trainer to the winner’s circle while making his 2018 debut.
Strike Power, who won his debut and the Gr. III Swale Stakes, tasted defeated for the first time while finishing 2 ¼ lengths clear of Good Magic, who finished two lengths clear of Machismo after racing evenly.
Promises Fulfillied ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.17 while stamping himself as a strong contender for the Florida Derby, which has been won the past two years by Always Dreaming and Nyquist, who both went on the win the Kentucky Derby.
“If a horse runs good here, you keep them here,” Romans said.
BIG DAY AT THE WINDOWS - Saturday's handle produced a Fountain of Youth day record of $28,541,305, up 6.92% from last year's previous record of $26,693,000.
HALLANDALE BEACH – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot swelled to $1,868.834.90 for today's’s program after going unsolved for the 21st straight program Wednesday at Gulfstream Park.
A total of $376,040 was wagered into the pool for the multi-race wager, which offered a $1,788,601 carryover jackpot heading into Wednesday’s card. Multiple tickets with all six winners each returned $55,699.92.
Today's Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 6-11, including an optional claiming race that will feature the 2018 debut of multiple Grade 1 stakes-placed Salty in Race 10. The Mark Casse-trained Salty captured the 2017 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) before going on to finish second in the Acorn (G1) and third in both the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) and Alabama (G1).
In addition to the burgeoning Rainbow 6 carryover, there will be a Late Pick 5 carryover of $116,249.69 for the five-race sequence that will span Races 7-11. There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $11,881.91.
HALLANDALE BEACH – Gulfstream Park will increase overnight purses 10 percent beginning Wednesday, March 7 through the end of the Championship Meet on Sunday, April 1.
“We’re happy to provide this increase at Gulfstream due to our Championship Meet handle being up approximately 9 percent,” said Gulfstream General Manager Bill Badgett. “We want to extend our appreciation to the fans and horsemen who continue to support our Championship meet and year-round program. The last five weeks of our Championship meet will feature some incredible races including the $400,000 Fountain of Youth, $200,000 Davona Dale and $200,000 Inside Information, and, of course, Florida Derby Day with seven stakes and the $1 million Florida Derby.”
Proof of the great success of this meeting came over the weekend. The handle for Saturday reached $17,987,509, and for Sunday it was $11,989,707, buoyed by the pools for the ever-soaring Rainbow Pick 6.
The 6 wasn't hit either day and the carryover to Wednesday is $1,778,601. Another millionaire will soon be crowned. The pools were $732,685 on Saturday and $578,544 on Sunday.
HALLANDALE BEACH – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot swelled to $1,639,779.62 for today's 13-race program after going unsolved for the 20th straight program Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
A total of $732,685 was wagered into the pool for the multi-race wager, which easily topped its $2 million guarantee. Multiple tickets with all six winners Saturday each returned $34,182.
Today’s Rainbow 6 spans Races 8-13 and includes the $75,000 Melody of Colors Stakes, a five-furlong turf sprint for 3-year-old fillies, in Race 11.
Irad Ortiz Jr. Wins Four Consecutive Races
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., spending his first full winter in South Florida, rode the winner of four straight races on Saturday, capped by Economic Model’s triumph in the $100,000 Hal’s Hope (G3). Ortiz began his streak aboard Ousby ($8.60) in the ninth race, and followed with wins on Penalty ($29.80) in the 10th and Uncle B ($4) in the 11th.
Despite missing the first month of the Championship Meet, Ortiz ranks third in wins (60) and fifth in purses earned ($3,010,691) from 259 mounts. He owns 12 stakes victories, three of them coming on the Clasico Internacional del Caribe program Dec. 9, including the featured Clasico del Caribe.
HALLANDALE BEACH – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 18th consecutive program today at Gulfstream Park, producing a carryover jackpot of $1,359,959.93 for Friday’s card. Multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $25,034.42
Albarado Honored to be Hall of Fame Finalist
Jockey Robby Albarado, who had a pair of mounts today on his first day of becoming a full-time member of the Gulfstream Park jockey colony for the remainder of the Championship Meet, has been named one of 10 finalists for the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018.
Other finalists for the Hall of Fame include jockeys Corey Nakatani and Craig Perret, trainers Mark Casse of Ocala, John Shirreffs and David Whiteley, and horses Havre de Grace, Heavenly Prize, Gio Ponti and Blink Luck. All finalists that receive at least 50.1 percent of the vote will be elected to the Hall of Fame.
“It’s something very special,” Albarado said. “It’s kind of an almost sacred, special thing. It’s one of those things jockeys want to accomplish.” The 44-year-old native of Lafayette, LA has ridden the winners of 5115 races and $213 million in purses since launching his career in 1990.
Albarado’s career highlights came aboard Curlin, the two-time Horse of the Year who won the 2007 Preakness (G1) and 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), along with the 2007 and 2008 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) and the 2008 Dubai World Cup (G1). Albarado was also the regular rider of 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft.
The $100,000 Hal’s Hope (G3), showcasing the 2018 debut of Irish War Cry in Race 12, will be included the sequences of all three multi-race wagers.
Who’s Hot: Irad Ortiz Jr. rode four winners on Thursday’s card, scoring aboard New Atlas ($3.60) in the first, Mr. Sultana ($5.20) in the third, What Power ($9.60) in the seventh and The Dow ($13.20) in the 11th.
Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot: $1,359,959.93
HALLANDALE BEACH – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 17th consecutive program Wednesday at Gulfstream Park, producing a carryover jackpot of $1,265,651.66 for today's’s card. Multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $382.08.
A total of $319,467 was wagered into the Rainbow 6 pool, spurred by a carryover of $1,188,992.55.
The multi-race wager was last hit Jan. 28, when the mandatory payout of a North American record $19.779 million pool produced multiple winning tickets worth $15,566.
GUARANTEED POOLS OFFERED
Guaranteed pools will be offered Saturday for the Rainbow 6 (Races 8-13), the Late Pick 4 (Races 10-13) and the Late Pick 5 (Races 9-13).
If the Rainbow 6 continues to go unsolved through Friday, the wager will carry a guaranteed pool of $2 million. The Late Pick 4 will offer a $300,000 guaranteed pool, and the Late Pick 5 will have a $250,000 guaranteed pool.
The $100,000, Gr. III Hal’s Hope, showcasing the 2018 debut of Irish War Cry in Race 12, will be included in the sequences of all three multi-race wagers.
HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 16th consecutive program Monday at Gulfstream Park, producing a carryover jackpot of $1,188,992.55 for Wednesday’s card. Multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $67,986.40.
A total of $485,898 was wagered Monday into the Rainbow 6, spurred by a carryover of $1,072,444.40 .
MARCONI LIKELY FOR FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH - Marconi, a half-brother to Mucho Macho Man, is a likely candidate for the $400,000, Gr. II Fountain of Youth, trainer Todd Pletcher said Monday.
“Right now, I think I’m going to run Marconi," Pletcher said. "He had a good work the other day. He seems to have settled in. A mile and a sixteenth might be a little short for him but the race looks like it should have some pace.”
Marconi was a $2 million purchase at the 2016 Keeneland September sale, and most recently finished third behind Avery Island and Firenze Fire in the 1 1/8-mile, Gr. III Withers at Aqueduct. The son of Tapit, who is owned by Bridlewood Farm, Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor, broke his maiden in a 1 1/8-mile maiden race in his second career start at Aqueduct.
OLDSMAR - X Y Jet was already home free in the $100,000 Pelican Stakes when jockey Emisael Jaramillo tapped the strapping gray 6-year-old gelding with his stick at the 1/8-mile pole.
“It’s not because the horse was getting tired. This horse wants competition,” said trainer Jorge Navarro after X Y Jet’s 7-length victory over Jaguar Poz in 1:09.17, just .03 seconds off the stakes record. “Once he puts them away, that’s when he gets lazy on us.
The victory was the ninth in 20 career starts for the Florida-bred son of Kantharos-Soldiersingsblues, by Lost Soldier, who is owned by Rockingham Ranch and Gelfenstein Farm. The winner’s share of $70,000 raised his career earnings to $990,813.
It also gave X Y Jet a 1-for-2 record at Tampa Bay Downs, where he lost the 2014 Pasco Stakes by a neck to Catalina Red. Most important, the authoritative triumph may have stamped X Y Jet’s ticket to the United Arab Emirates for the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen on March 31. X Y Jet finished second by a neck to Muarrab in that race two years ago.
X Y Jet paid $2.80 as the heavy favorite in the 34th edition of the Pelican. He had the crowd buzzing before, during and after the race, speeding to the lead from the outset and blazing the opening quarter in :21.81 seconds and the half in :44.41, almost running his six rivals off their feet.
X Y Jet had been off for more than a year after undergoing three surgical procedures on his left front knee. He won the Gr. III Mr. Prospector Stakes on Dec. 23 at Gulfstream in his return, then captured the Sunshine Millions Sprint on Jan. 20 by 5 1/2 lengths.
HALLANDALE BEACH – Gulfstream Park hosts a special Presidents Day program today highlighted by the $200,000, Gr. II Royal Delta for fillies and mares going one mile and a 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover of $1,072,444.40.
The 12-race program begins at noon with the Royal Delta the 11th race on the card.
There was no single winner in Sunday’s Rainbow 6. Multiple winning tickets returned $1,445.90. There was $431,318 of fresh money wagered into the pool.
Today's Rainbow 6 sequence begins with the seventh race, a 1 1/16-mile turf event for 3-year-old fillies. The sequence will also include a maiden special weight event for 3-year-old fillies going 5 ½ furlongs and the Royal Delta.
The popular multi-race wager was last hit Jan. 28, when the mandatory payout of a North American record $19.779 million pool produced multiple winning tickets worth $15,566.
SHARP IN WILLISTON - Congratulations to Paul Sharp, owner of Willow Creek Ranch in Williston, who broke and trained Monomoy Girl, winner of the Gr. II Rachel Alexandra Stakes at Fair Grounds Saturday.
The 3-year-old Tapit filly broke outward, hit the gate, and was settled into seventh (and last) place in the mile and one-sixteenth race. Florent Geroux began to move her up after a half mile and the strangely-named filly proved to be a ton the best, winning by 2 1/2 lengths and adding $120,000 to her spiraling bankroll, which now stands at $256,550.
Monomoy Girl is 4-1-0 in five starts, previously winning the Rags to Riches Stakes at Churchill Downs and finishing second in the Gr. II Golden Rod. The $100,000 Keeneland September yearling could be headed for the Ashland at Keeneland prior to the Kentucky Oaks.
Zenyatta remains without a winner.
The great racemare's best runner (out of two), Ziconic, contested a $54,345 maiden race at Santa Anita and finished fourth in a field of six, beaten 6 1/2 lengths. The time for the mile on the grass was a good 1:34.51, so the effort wasn't as bad as it appears. Ziconic did close a big gap along the way; he was 19 lengths behind after a quarter of a mile, and 12 1/2 back at the half.
The Kentucky-bred has now started 12 times and compiled a record of 0-2-6. The $3,240 check for fourth raised his earnings to $70,465 for Jerry and Ann Moss and trainer John Shirreffs, so, as they say, he's still better than an empty stall.
CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR - It certainly doesn't compare to a trainer winning his first race with the first horse he saddles, but Norm Casse can't really complain that his first runner finished second.
Norm is the son of Ocalan Mark Casse, who has blossomed into one of the best trainers in North America, and the grandson of the late Norman Casse, one of the founders and guiding forces of the Ocala Breeders Sales Co. for more than four decades.
Norm has been an assistant to his dad for years, and recently made the big move and went out on his own. His first runner was the 3-year-old maiden filly Rate of Return at Gulfstream Park, and the daughter of Eskendereya was the 4-1 third choice in a 1 1/16th-mile turf race with a claiming price of $50,000 and a purse of $35,000.
Julien Leparoux, who is one of his father's go-to riders, was aboard Rate of Return, and she led every step of the way until nearing the wire, where she was passed by 15-1 shot Hazana, with John Velazquez. The runner-up check was worth $6,000, lifting Rate of Return's earnings to $11,900 on a record of 3-0-1-1.
OLDSMAR – World Approval had already established himself as a heavyweight champion before his victory in the Gr. III, $175,000 Tampa Bay Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. But trainer Mark Casse learned he has a 3-year-old in his barn who can trade punches with some of the best of his age group.
“He’s a fighter,” Casse said after his 3-year-old colt Flameaway fought back in deep stretch under jockey Jose Lezcano to defeat 7-10 favorite Catholic Boy by a half-length in the Gr. III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes, a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points race. “If you’ve ever watched him, you’ve seen that.
Flameaway, an Ontario-bred son of Scat Daddy-Vulcan Rose, by Fusaichi Pegasus, completed the mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track in 1:42.44 to establish a stakes record, .01 seconds faster than McCraken’s winning time last year.
Flameaway, who improved to 5-for-7 lifetime, is owned by John C. Oxley. He paid $22.60 to win. Vino Rosso rallied for third, three-quarters of a length behind Catholic Boy, with Hollywood Star fourth.
The Sam F. Davis was the highlight of an outstanding Festival Preview Day Presented by Lambholm South afternoon of action that saw the 2017 Champion Turf Male, 6-year-old World Approval, hold on for a half-length victory over Forge in the Tampa Bay Stakes.
John Velazquez was aboard the gelding, owner/breeder Charlotte Weber’s pride and joy who has four consecutive victories and could be headed to Dubai for a $6-million race next month. World Approval paid $2.40 to win while racing the mile-and-a-sixteenth on grass in 1:40.66.
In the Sam F. Davis, Catholic Boy, under jockey Manuel Franco, stuck his head in front at the 1/8-mile pole, but Flameaway dug in on the rail and persevered for the victory.
Flameaway broke his maiden as a 2-year-old on the all-weather surface at Woodbine, won the Skidmore at Saratoga on a sloppy track, captured the Gr. III Dixiana Bourbon at Keeneland on a sloppy track in a race taken off the turf and won the Kitten’s Joy at Gulfstream in his 3-year-old debut on the turf.
“I told Jose he was going to like this track,” Casse said. “As long as the track is fairly firm, I think he’ll run on anything. I would say there is a good chance (to return for the Gr. II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 10), but it’s something I have to talk to Mr. Oxley about.
A crowd of 5,147 got what they came to see in World Approval, the Eclipse winner who is now 3-for-3 over the Tampa Bay Downs turf course.
World Approval improved to 12-2-4 in 25 lifetime starts and the winner’s share of $115,000 raised his career earnings to $3,052,363. He's the biggest money-earner for his dam, Win Approval, who has also produced millionaires Miesque's Approval ($2,648,879), Revved Up ($1,548,653) and Za Approval ($1,904,666).
Total all-sources wagering handle was $9,504,283.45, making it the second-highest Festival Preview Day Presented by Lambholm South betting card in track history.
HALLANDALE BEACH – With Gulfstream Park offering guarantees on its Rainbow 6, Late Pick 5 and Late Pick 4 – sequences that include the Gr. I, $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf and Gr. I, $150,000 Suwannee River - hosts and analysts Ron Nicoletti, Acacia Courtney and Jason Blewitt preview their tickets for Saturday's big day of racing.
Ron Nicoletti on the $750,000 Rainbow 6
Using three in the opener. ORBED stretches out to a mile and a sixteenth. SLOT will break from an ultra-tough outside post (13) after a solid sophomore debut in which he finished second. HE TAKES CHARGE finished an improved third behind Slot last out.
I also went three deep in second leg with longshot Admiral’s Cove, dropdown Miles of Humor, and Harlan’s Hunch, for the hot Danny Gargan barn.
I’m using two horses in the G1 Gulfstream Park Turf. MONEY MULTIPLIER, who won the Monmouth (G2) at the distance, turns back after ending his 2017 campaign with a late-closing fourth in the Red Smith Handicap (G3). Trainer Chad Brown has Javier Castellano looking to sit the ‘trip’ behind the speed, which surely includes HEART TO HEART. The speedy son of English Channel breaks from the rail, and is reunited with jockey Julien Leparoux, after losing his best chance when he reared at the start and was forced to sit behind the pace in the Fort Lauderdale (G2).
I’m using three horses in the very competitive Suwannee River (G3). DREAM DANCING is stretching out after returning to run second in the mile and a sixteenth Marshua’s River (G3). KITTEN’S ROAR is making her local return after a stellar 2017 campaign in which she was second in the E P Taylor (G1), and won the Goldikova (G2) at Del Mar. ELYSEA’S WORLD is making her local return after a frustrating 2017 campaign in which she amassed a 9-0-4-2 record, including the narrow defeat in the Frankel (G3) at Santa Anita in her last.
Also using three in in the next leg. With POWER OF ATTORNEY, MOJOVATION, who proved he could handle the turf last out, and CEEVEE, who breaks from the rail with that always-dangerous commodity – speed.
Only using two in the finale with best bet LAYTHATPISTOLDOWN, and saver CONQUEST SANDMAN.
Cost - $64.60 (20-cent wager)
Acacia Courtney on the $300,000 Late Pick 4
The 50 cent Late Pick 4, with a $300,000 guaranteed pool, starts in style with the Gulfstream Park Turf (G1). HEART TO HEART, with four wins at Gulfstream from six starts, is a must-use, but will have to deal with other speed types. As a result, I’ll also use closers MONEY MULTIPLIER and CHANNEL MAKER, both of whom have recently been facing top graded stakes competition.
The Suwannee River (G3) is next in the sequence, and I wanted coverage here. ULTRA BRAT and DREAM DANCING will renew their rivalry from their last meeting in the Marshua’s River (G3), but I’m very interested in ELYSEA’S WORLD, who has a good record at this track. I’ll also use the classy KITTEN’S ROAR from the outside post.
I’m using two horses in each of the final legs, with MOJOVATION and POWER OF ATTORNEY in Race 11, both coming out of the Kitten’s Joy, and LAYTHATPISTOLDOWN and CONQUEST SANDMAN in the finale, giving me coverage from top barns and riders to close out the day.
Cost – $24
Jason Blewitt on the $400,000 Lake Pick 5
Love these mega-money guaranteed Late Pick 5s this time of year at Gulfstream Park. Today's sequence is a good one, led by the Gulfstream Park Turf (G1) and Suwannee River (G3).I’m using two to start in race 8, the first-time-tagged Robusto for leading trainer Todd Pletcher and fresh Danny Gargan claim, Harlan’s Hunch.
Then it’s three-deep in the GP Turf – the second of three Gr. 1s this meet – with Heart to Heart (no shot last time after a disastrous start), Hi Happy (first-time Pletcher) and Money Multiplier. I like Money Multiplier the most and it really is incredible looking at the career he has had for trainer Chad Brown; this is a tough veteran who just goes out there and runs hard.
Speaking of Chad, I’m using his Elysea’s World in the Suwannee River along with major stakes winners Kitten’s Roar and Dream Dancing. Today's single belongs to Power of Attorney in race 10. I’m giving him one more chance off a narrow seventh-place finish (I’m serious!) in a weirdly run Kitten’s Joy last month.
And I’ll be lining up at the window to cash (I’ll be happy to save you a spot in line) with Laythatpistoldown and Conquest Sandman in race 12. Best of luck!
Cost - $18
OLDSMAR – Tampa Bay Downs trainer Michele Boyce says her 7-year-old mare Lovely Loyree will tell her when it’s time to leave the racetrack. Judging by the way she’s acted this winter, that day isn’t coming any time soon.
The Illinois-bred Lovely Loyree, who breezed 6 furlongs Sunday in 1:15.20 under Daniel Centeno, is one of eight entrants for Saturday's Gr. III, $175,000 Lambholm South Endeavour, which is the ninth race on the Festival Preview Day Presented by Lambholm South card. She will break from the No. 5 post.
“I just hope I’m not overmatching her,” said Boyce, knowing full well Lovely Loyree will need an outstanding effort to compete against the likes of Group/Grade I winners Dona Bruja and La Coronel. “There are some really nice fillies in there, and I have no prep races in her, which makes me feel as if I might not have her quite as tight as I would like her.”
On the flip side, Lovely Loyree will enter the starting gate with fresh legs, having last raced at September in Arlington. And Boyce is also buoyed by the outcome the previous times Lovely Loyree raced at Tampa Bay Downs two years ago, when she finished third in both the Lambholm South Endeavour and the Gr. II Hillsborough Stakes, both won by that year’s Eclipse Award-winning Grass Female, Tepin.
“When you’re on the board against Tepin, it’s a mark of accomplishment,” Boyce said, chuckling at the memory. “She’s as good a racehorse as you’ll see in many a year. “(Lovely Loyree) put in a good effort in those races. I don’t know if she still has that ability, but she’s training well, and I’m very happy with that. I just haven’t had enough opportunity this year to run her.”
Lovely Loyree, who will be ridden by Centeno, is owned by Boyce’s Cherrywood Racing Stables II in partnership with Marty Nixon’s Feel The Thunder Stable, Margaret Burlingham’s Oak Rock Racing and Terry Biondo. In addition to her two graded-stakes placings here, she has won stakes at Hawthorne, Indiana Grand and Arlington. The daughter of Cactus Ridge prefers to run on or near the lead, and has a lifetime mark of seven victories, four seconds and five thirds from 19 starts, with earnings of $293,948. All but three of her starts have come on turf, where she is 6-for-16 with one out-of-the-money finish.
Boyce, who has saddled more than 500 winners, won the 2006 Grade III Hawthorne Derby on the turf with Best of Buddies for breeder-owner Barr Three, LLC, also the breeder of Lovely Loyree. She also trained Saint Leon, who raced until age 10 and won three consecutive editions of the Arlington Sprint Stakes from 2012-2014.
Nothing negatively affects the handle more than off-the-turf races that produce several scratches with no also-eligibles listed to fill the lost spots. The only beneficiaries are the owners of the runners left in the race, any breeders who might be in line for awards, and pick 3, 4 or 5 bettors who can take an "all" in the race if need be without killing their bankroll.
The seventh race at Tampa yesterday was an optional allowance claimer at a mile on the grass, with seven entered. When the race was taken off the turf, only three remained to race a mile and 40 yards on the main track.
The winner was Passion Plus, a 3-year-old Florida-bred filly from the first crop of former Pleasant Acres stallion Passion for Gold, a son of Medaglia d'Oro. Manny Cruz settled her into second leaving the gate and after a perfect stalking trip, she just Cruz-ed away in the stretch to win by nearly four lengths. Considering the circumstances, her clocking of 1:42.84 wasn't bad - the track record is 1:39.07.
Calvin Johnson is the owner of the filly, who earned a welcomed $13,750 without working up a sweat. Johnson had purchased Passion Plus for a bargain $11,000 at the OBS August yearling sale in 2016 and it has paid off well. The filly broke her maiden at Indiana Grand before shipping to Tampa, and she has now won 3-of-4 races. In the lone off-the-board effort, she finished fourth in the Gasparilla Stakes. She's earned $48,200 and appears headed for better things.
Elite Equine and Carol Hershe, who bred Passion Plus, will never earn an easier breeders' award. The filly, by the way, was born on Feb. 8 of 2015.
It's been 21 years since a Florida-bred won the Kentucky Derby - Silver Charm in 1997. In fact, Florida-breds even entered in the 20-horse fields of the Run for the Roses has become more and more of a rarity every year.
It's no mystery why: just peruse the pages of the Florida Horse Stallion Register. The number of stallions commanding any kind of price in Florida are as rare as the Derby entrants.
Firenze Fire could be the one to reverse the trend. He has, at least, an excellent chance to make the starting gate on the first Saturday in May. The 3-year-old son of Pleasant Acres Stallions Poseidon's Warrior finished second yesterday in the Gr. III Withers at Aqueduct, and the four points he earned raised his total to 24, tied at the top of the list with Good Magic.
Granted, there are many preps still to be run, but 30 points usually gets a horse into the starting gate. Owner Ron Lombardi expects to enter his colt in the March 10 Gotham at Aqueduct, then the Wood Memorial in April. With his closing ability, Firenze Fire can easily pick up the points needed to accomplish his goal. And that closing ability could get him some piece of the purse in Louisville. Stranger things have happened.
Firenze Fire has competed in six stakes during his seven-race career. He's won the Gr. I Champagne, the Gr. III Sanford and the non-graded Jerome, has been second in the Gr. III Withers, fourth in the Gr. I Hopeful, and, in his lone poor effort, seventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He's earned $589,100 and could accomplish something unique in Florida - reaching millionaire status for Poseidon's Warrior, a first-crop stallion. It would be a great feather in the cap of Pleasant Acres' owners Joe and Helen Barbazon, who have jumped into the stallion game full force when so many others in Ocala have headed in the other direction.
The only way the Pegasus World Cup Invitational could have produced more of a blockbuster experience was if the old monster grandstand was still intact and the 16,000-plus attendance had been more than 30,000, as it was for the Florida Derby in days gone by.
Here are the records that were smashed on this memorable weekend:
*The combined handle for Saturday and Sunday topped $70 million: the previous record for a two-program handle was $48,792,000, on Florida Derby weekend last year.
*Saturday's Pegasus Cup day handle - $41,983,881 - was the largest single-day handle in the track's 79-year-history, excluding Breeders' Cup days:
Sunday's program produced a handle of $28,079,000, with $15,788,000 wagered on the Rainbow Pick 6.
And, of course, anybody who doubted that Gun Runner is a very special horse changed his tune as the champ rolled down the stretch with West Coast straining to stay within hailing distance.
The Rainbow 6 didn't produce a multi-millionaire, but everybody who struck for six winners hit for $15,566, not a bad afternoon's pay.
The possibilities are endless today as Gulfstream Park presents one of the premier programs on the American racing calendar, headlined by the second edition of the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational.
Aside from the 1 1/8-mile race, featuring a standout 12-horse field including Champion Gun Runner (4/5), Sharp Azteca (6-1), West Coast (8-1) and Collected (8-1), there are seven other major stakes races - the $200,000 La Prevoyante H., $175,000 Ladies Turf Sprint S., $175,000 Fred W. Hooper S., $200,000 William L. McKnight H., $175,000 Hurricane Bertie S., $175,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint S., and $125,000 South Beach S.
They all end up with the World Cup, slated for 5:35 p. m. The best riders in the country - Javier Castellano, Joel Rosario, Mike Smith, John Velazquez, Jose and Irad Ortiz, Luis Saez, Florent Geroux, Gary Stevens, Tyler Gaffalione and even Frankie Dettori - are lined up for the program, which promises to attract wagering somewhere in the range of the stratosphere. In the trainers' category are Todd Pletcher, Chad Brown, Dale Romans, Bob Baffert, Steve Asmussen and many more, along with every major stable from Florida to California to New York to Ontario.
Not lost in the intrigue is the Rainbow Pick 6. The bet that has produced so many many millionaires since its inception has gone 38 days without being solved by just one winner, and the carryover going into the Pegasus program is $3,620,453. There could be a record amount wagered into it today. On Friday, everyone who picked six winners received $1,502.
Adding to that intrigue is the fact that if the Rainbow doesn't get a single winner today, there will be a mandatory payout of the carryover pool on Sunday, which will include an expected bonanza in the Sunday wagering.
There isn't likely to be an empty space in any corner of Gulfstream Park today.
Excitement is already at a fever pitch for the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational set for Saturday at Gulfstream Park, and the possibility of a $4 million-or-more carryover in the Rainbow Pick 6 makes it all the more enticing.
Entries for the World Cup will be taken at 11:30 a. m. tomorrow morning in the Stronach Group VIP Cabana, which was created especially for this event. As Gulfstream's press releases have trumpeted, the inaugural World Cup in 2017 set a new benchmark for entertainment and excitement in thoroughbred racing, featuring the highly-anticipated match-up between Arrogate and California Chrome, with Arrogate taking home the $7 million first prize from the world's richest race, worth "just" $12 million for the inaugural.
Despite the appearance of Horse of the Year cinch Gun Runner, stranger things have happened in races with this kind of horsepower. And, with the Rainbow carryover sitting at $3,129,358 for tomorrow's program, Saturday could turn out to be a millionaire's bonanza for a lone winning player, something that has happened often in the past.
Gates open at 9 a. m. Saturday and tickets are available at PegasusWorldCup.com.
Considering his flop in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in November, it's hard to get a solid take on Firenze Fire, the Florida-bred colt by Poseidon's Warrior who won the Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct on Saturday. Was that the real Firenze Fire, or is the real edition the guy who won the Gr. I Champagne and Gr. III Sanford last year and now has three stakes victories and 20 points on the road to Louisville?
The colt's Jerome score wasn't achieved against killers, but it was accomplished with such professionalism he has to be taken seriously, even at this early date. Firenze Fire broke last with Manny Franco and was four or five wide all the way down the backstretch in the one-mile race run in the mud. He remained that wide on the turn and into the stretch, making his powerful late run that resulted in a head victory that much more believable.
Ron Lombardi, who owns and bred the colt, plans to go for the Gr. III Gotham on March 10 and then the Gr. II Wood Memorial on April 7. If Firenze Fire is still standing by then, it will be a big boon for Florida breeding, which has suffered in recent seasons as the big horses who make it to the various rich Derby preps are 99 percent by Kentucky stallions. It would also be a big feather in the cap of Joe and Helen Barbazon's Pleasant Acres stallions, where Poseidon's Warrior stands.
NO SUCCESS: YET - Coming on the heels of the third-place finish a couple of weeks ago of Zenyatta's colt, Ziconic, two more celebrated runners were in action over the holiday weekend. At Santa Anita yesterday, California Chrome's 3-year-old full brother, Faversham, made his career debut in a maiden special at 6 furlongs, and on Saturday, Mandy Pope's Tapability (Tapit-Groupie Doll) made his first start at the same distance at Fair Grounds.
Faversham made by far the best showing of the pair, despite his 8-1 odds. Off last, Stewart Elliott guided him carefully around the turn after fractions of :21.87 and :45.33 and the colt responded with a solid run up to second at the wire, 1 1/4 lengths behind, in 1:11.17. A very promising debut.
It was another story in Louisiana, where Tapability, also 8-1, broke last, and followed the pack more than 10 lengths behind down the backstretch. He made somewhat of a run on the turn but was never a threat thereafter. Pope paid $3.1 million for Groupie Doll at Keeneland November in 2013.
RAINBOW 6 SOARING - Gulfstream's Rainbow Pick 6 is well beyond the serious range and they'll be shooting for $2,292,790-plus when the gates open tomorrow.
ASTOUNDING - How about the 7-year-old Ontario-bred mare Chella? On Saturday, the daughter of Where's the Ring won the first race at Tampa Bay Downs and she's 2-for-2 at the meeting. She's also 25-2-5 in 40 career starts, has earned $298,198, and is 11-0-2 in her last 13. In 2015 she had one eight-race winning streak. Chella was 3/5 Saturday and won by a length.
An ultra-lucky Powerball player in New Hampshire hit the jackpot Saturday night for a life-changing score for himself/herself, family and friends and, hopefully, some worthwhile charities. Wouldn't it be nice if the person was a horse lover and opts to bring Rockingham Park back to life?
A Gulfstream Park player, who could be anywhere, will soon achieve millionaire status, too, since the Rainbow Pick 6 jackpot will open at $1,464,551 for Wednesday's program. Santa Anita's jackpot will open at $213,717 on Thursday.
FILLING UP - The $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational has amassed a stalwart group of runners for its second edition on Jan. 27, including Sharp Azteca, Gun Runner, West Coast, Collected, Stellar Wind, Toast of New York, Giant Expectations, War Story, Seeking the Soul and Gunnevera. Despite Gun Runner's great form, this one is wide open. Almost as exciting as the actual race has been the constant deal-making to fill the 12 spots.
CHANGES COMING - Brent and Crystal Fernung at Journeyman Stud were devastated when Wildcat Heir died early in 2015, and rightfully so. The son of Forest Wildcat has been the leading sire in Florida for about six years, and in the season that just ended, was head and shoulders above the rest with progeny earnings of more than $6.3 million. Double Diamond's First Dude was next with $3.6 million but that will change this year since the Dude has another full book of 2-year-olds coming up while Wildcat Heir will have none for the first time.
Ocala Stud is the unquestioned leader among the farms, with High Cotton, Adios Charlie, In Summation, Overdriven and Awesome of Course all in the top 12 in Florida. High Cotton and Overdriven aren't breeding anymore, but their impact will still be felt for a couple of years. Prospective, No. 31 as a freshman in 2017, will move well up the ladder this year. Expect Get Away Farm's Two Step Salsa and Northwest Stud's Gone Astray to have banner seasons, along with Pleasant Acres' leading freshmen, Poseidon's Warrior and Treasure Beach.
It seems like such a short time ago that Zenyatta was thrilling the world via her 19-race winning streak and unforgettable stretch runs, and anticipation surrounding her impending breeding career was high. Thus far, that career has been a major dud.
Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Moss have bred their pride to superstars Bernardini, Tapit and War Front, and they're still awaiting victory No. 1.
Zenyatta's first foal, born in 2012, was Cozmic One. The gelding by Bernardini raced five times, and, amazingly, finished 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th. He earned $5,770. Foal No. 3 was the War Front filly Z Princess, and she was euthanized after a paddock accident at Lane's End Farm in October of her weanling year.
Foal No. 2 is the Tapit colt Ziconic, who made his 11th start yesterday at Santa Anita in a mile and one-sixteenth race over the main track. Victor Espinoza got some run out of him late and Ziconic finished third as the $2.90-1 favorite, beaten 5 1/4 lengths. He now has two seconds and six thirds to show from those 11 tries, with earnings of $67,225.
Three foals, very little success. But that's always subject to change.
FIRST TWO WINNERS - With very few tracks open on New Year's Day due to the horrendous weather in the north and east, Gulfstream Park's handle reached $11,317,111. Santa Anita was even higher. The first two winners of 2018 by Florida sires both came at Gulfstream, with the victories of Hard Way Winner and Capt. Overdrive.
The former is a 3-year-old colt by Songandaprayer, who recently took up residence at Journeyman Stud after many years at Walmac and the last several in Louisiana. Hard Way Winner scored by 5 1/2 lengths racing 6 1/2 furlongs, and earned $13,200. And, he was claimed for $16,000.
Capt. Overdrive is a 3-year-old colt by Ocala Stud Farm's former stallion Overdriven, and Ocala Stud is the breeder. He won by three-quarters and collected $13,200.
So Ritzy holds a unique place in the Florida breeding arena. She enjoyed a brief racing career in the late '90s, compiling a record of 3-2-1 in eight starts with earnings of $50,455, but as a broodmare, she has been more productive than most.
So Ritzy's latest winner is So Sublime, who won a maiden special at Gulfstream Park yesterday in his career debut for Leverett and Linda Miller, who have been the mare's owners from the beginning. For those who recognized So Sublime's pedigree, they profited to the tune of a $13 win payoff, and the Millers picked up the winner's share of $31,200 plus the breeder's award.
So Sublime is the eighth winner from 12 foals for So Ritzy, the first being So Snazzy, a gelding by Ghazi born in 2000 and who won just twice. It got infinitely better after that, with the mare producing multiple graded stakes-winner Silver Wagon, a full brother to So Sublime by Wagon Limit and an earner of $1,162,193. Also, Rehoboth, another full brother who earned $727,215; So Glitzy, a Gilded Time filly with earnings of $179,405; Ritzy Jones, a Smarty Jones colt who earned $111,000, and So Swanky, a son of Fly So Free who banked $166,315.
So Sublime, under red-hot Luis Saez, won by 4 1/4 lengths with seven furlongs in 1:26:02. The colt's debut impressed, making him a good candidate for another $100,000 earner to add to the family. (There's no foal of 2016, but there is an about-to-turn yearling named So Dear, by Fury Kapcori).
With snow blanketing the north, Gulfstream's handle on Friday reached $10,245,951. The Rainbow Pick 6 carryover is $531,275.
The Pegasus World Cup is just a month away and the field is slowly filling up for the $16 million event, the richest race anywhere.
Included among the probables for the 1 1/8-mile race are the first five finishers from the Breeders' Cup Classic: Gun Runner, Collected, West Coast, War Story and Gunnevera. And if Gun Runner appears to be unbeatable, remember California Chrome and Arrogate. Also in the discussion are Clark Handicap winner Seeking the Soul, Conditions Stakes winner Toast of New York and Stellar Wind, eighth in the Breeders' Cup Distaff.
Toast of New York is a 6-year-old who finished second behind Bayern in the 2014 Classic, then retired until recently when he returned to win his comeback race in England. Stellar Wind is a 5-year-old mare who was the champion 3-year-old filly of 2015.
On the 'possibles' list are Mind Your Biscuits, Fear the Cowboy, Guiseppe the Great, Game Over, Prime Attraction and Destin. All depending on who can make late deals, etc.
FROSH LEAD STILL ON HOLD - Just a week remaining to determine Florida's freshman sire leader and the top three are set, although not necessarily in this order: Treasure Beach, Soldat, Prospective. Treasure Beach has 13 winners, Soldat picked up No. 12 this week when Pferd Soldat won at Laurel and Prospective, who will wind up third, grabbed No. 9 with the victory of John Oxley's Lovely Sunset at Gulfstream yesterday. Pleasant Acres Stallions' Poseidon's Warrior and Treasure Beach will finish 1-2 in the progeny earnings category.
ANOTHER BONANZA NEARS - The Rainbow Six jackpot at Gulfstream has grown to $346,394, so somebody has the opportunity to cash in a juicy payoff just in time for the new year. There have been a slew of them already this year.
Lost in the midst of the excellent racing programs at Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs over the weekend, perhaps, was the success of current or former stallions from Ocala Stud Farm. And not lost in examining the results is just how big a loss it was when Kantharos followed a decades-long pattern, leaving town and relocating to Hill 'N' Dale Farms in Lexington.
The exodus that began when Mr. Prospector scooted off to Kentucky about 40 years ago continues to this day, and the Blood-Horse's top 150 general sires list contains stallions who made their name in Florida years ago and are still hitting home runs. Congrats, Yes It's True, Successful Appeal, Northern Afleet, Macho Uno and Stormy Atlantic are going strong. But Kantharos may eclipse them all.
The Ocala Stud onslaught began on Friday at Gulfstream with the initial victory of Harry's Gone Gray, by In Summation. At Tampa the same day, Koko Swag, by Awesome of Course, broke his maiden by 11 lengths.
On Saturday, Catharsis, a 2-year-old filly by Kantharos, broke her maiden on the Gulfstream grass, an hour after the Kantharos gelding Go to Win won the first race at Tampa to post his first victory. It became an all-Ocala Stud double when Surprise Wedding, a 3-year-old filly by High Cotton owned and bred by Bill and Lyn Rainbow, captured the $125,000 FTBOA City of Ocala Florida Sire Stakes.
In the third race, the Adios Charlie up-and-coming star, Mo Cash, turned the tables on Carry Back Stakes-winner Three Rules by taking the $125,000 FTBOA Marion County Florida Sire Stakes by three-quarters of a length over his rival. That made three in a row on the card for Ocala Stud. (Three Rules, by Northwest Stud's Gone Astray, picked up $25,000 for second and is less than $36,000 from becoming Florida's next millionaire).
After a one-race break, Tampa's fifth race was won by Kantharos first-time starter Mister Bister, who broke his maiden by nearly five lengths with six furlongs in 1:10.97. The four winners in five races was worth $174,680 in purse money.
On Sunday, Gulfstream's first race was won by Reed Kan, a 2-year-old Kantharos colt who paid $44.20 in winning a $50,000 allowance optional claimer with five furlongs on the grass in :55.48.
One Kantharos who didn't win but was a strong second in the $100,000, Gr. III Harlan's Holiday Stakes at Gulfstream was Mr. Jordan. The big white 5-year-old has been ultra consistent since his first season in 2014 and is a sensational 8-5-6 in 25 starts with earnings of $624,540.
Kantharos is 65th on the money list with 2017 earnings of $3,886,084 and only four crops at the races. He has six stakes-winners this year, and nine stakes victories, one graded.
HE'S BACK - The above list of former Ocala stallions doesn't include Songandaprayer, who left town many moons ago and wound up for the last four seasons in Louisiana. Now, ready to turn 20, he's back at Journeyman Stud, joining Exclusive Quality, Fury Kapcori, Gentlemen's Bet, Khozan and Winslow Homer. The son of Unbridled's Song has $2,174,292 in progeny earnings this year, and is closing in on $50 million lifetime.
ON TOP AGAIN - Treasure Beach, who has been on top of the Florida's freshman sire winners' list all season, or at least tied for the lead, broke his deadlock with Soldat by getting No. 12 at Gulfstream. Beach Waltz, who finished second in her debut in November, captured a $48,000 maiden special at a mile and one-sixteenth on the grass. The Kentucky-bred shot to the lead from the No. 3 post, battled Jasmine's Gem every step of the way, and held her off by a head at the wire. She's earned $30,000 for Ken and Sarah Ramsey, her owners and breeders.
The long-awaited return of Three Rules highlights a huge stakes-filled Saturday at Florida's tracks, with four of the rich events slated for Tampa Bay Downs and five at Gulfstream Park.
Three Rules is a son of Gone Astray who won his first five starts at two in 2016, while adding his name to the list of winners of all three divisions of the Florida Sire Stakes series. At three, he was second in the Gr. II Swale, third in the Gr. II Fountain of Youth, fifth in the Florida Derby, third in the Chick Lang and first in the Gr. III Carry Back at Gulfstream in his last start on July 1.
Three Rules has earned $939,160 and can become Florida's latest millionaire with a victory in the $125,000 FTBOA Marion County Florida Sire Stakes at seven furlongs. The colt bred by his owners, Shade Tree Thoroughbreds, Geoff Roy and Tom Fitzgerald, has Emisael Jaramillo aboard and is listed at 3/2 in a field of seven in the third race on the program.
Next at 8/5 with Antonio Gallardo is the gelding Mo Cash, a son of Ocala Stud's Adios Charlie who finished second to Three Rules in the Carry Back. Mo Cash led every step of the way before Three Rules nailed him at the wire by a neck. Previously he had won the American Fabius and OBS Sophomore Stakes and was second in the Big Drama.
The other stakes are the $125,000 FTBOA City of Ocala Florida Sire for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs with R Angel Katelyn (High Cotton) listed at 2-1 with Gallardo; the $100,000 Sandpiper for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs and the $100,000 Inaugural for 2-year-olds at six furlongs. Aside from the two $125,000 races, the rest of the Tampa program features 2-year-olds.
With just 15 days left in the calendar year after Saturday, leading sire lists in several categories can be decided by both the Tampa and Gulfstream races.
Most of Florida's leading sires and leading freshman sires are represented on the Saturday cards, and Ocala Stud has a slew of them. At Tampa alone, the venerable farm is represented by In Summation, Awesome of Course, Adios Charlie, Hear No Evil, Prospective, repatriated Kantharos and pensioned High Cotton. Ocala Stud has brought in several new stallions for the 2018 season, the latest being Rainbow Heir, who they hope will be an able replacement for his sire, the late Wildcat Heir, the unquestioned Florida leader for the last six years or so, including this one, in which he has progeny earnings of more than $6 million.
Frosh sires represented are Anthony's Cross, Poseidon's Warrior, Winslow Homer, the surprising Passion for Gold, Rattlesnake Bridge and Beau Choix. Aside from Adios Charlie, High Cotton, In Summation and Awesome of Course, other top 10 Florida sires in the mix are Wildcat Heir, With Distinction, First Dude, Gone Astray and Two Step Salsa.
When it comes to innovations in the Sport of Kings, let nobody say that Gulfstream Park's management doesn't stand at the top of the list. The track that is giving us the $16 million Pegasus World Cup, the Rainbow Pick 6 and much more, has now come up with six 2-year-old stakes worth $75,000 each, plus $600,000 worth of races for horses "bred in a Representative Country of the Confederacion Hipica Del Caribe." The whole shebang tomorrow is called the Clasico Internacional del Caribe.
Topped off by the $300,000 Caribbean Classic Stakes at 1 1/8 miles, which drew a field of 12 3-year-olds, the countries represented are Panama, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Ecuador. At 7/2 in the morning line is Justiciero, a Kentucky-bred who has won eight of 13 starts, including the Puerto Rico Triple Crown.
Two of the 2-year-old races preceding the Caribbean will be run at six furlongs, two at one mile, and two on the grass. There are 14 Florida-breds entered in the six, but only 10 are by current or recent past Florida stallions.
In the Hut Hut Stakes for fillies are Mariealena, by Ocala Stud's High Cotton, who will no longer be breeding, and Weekend Mischief, by Into Mischief.
The Wait a While, also for fillies, includes Unstablenthemornin, by Double Diamond's First Dude, Florida's leading active sire, and Homemade Salsa, Get Away Farm's daughter of Two Step Salsa who won the Juvenile Fillies Turf at Gulfstream West and is 2-1-0 in three starts. Two Step Salsa has surpassed all of his personal records this year for earnings, winners and 2-year-old winners, and is headed toward $1.9 million in progeny earnings. Also entered is Gift of Glory, by Lookin At Lucky.
The Buffalo Man Stakes features Silent Tiger, by Hartley/DeRenzo's With Distinction, who has been in the top two or three on the Florida lists for five or six years.
The House Party Stakes for fillies has four Florida-breds - Lil B. Quick, by former Winding Oaks sire Graeme Hall; Frau Riley, one of the winners in the first crop of Brethren, who moves from Pleasant Acres to Arindel Farm for the new breeding season; Florida Fuego, by former Ocala Stud stalwart Kantharos, and Writer's Almanac, by Mineshaft.
Tip Sheet, a two-time winner by Brethren and second behind Soutache in the $400,000 In Reality Stakes, will contest the Smooth Air Stakes, along with Winking at Thedude, a son of First Dude.
The Pulpit Stakes will include Seattle Treasure, one of 11 winners by Pleasant Acres' freshman Treasure Beach, and Nauti Boy, by Mizzen Mast. Seattle Treasure finished third in the Juvenile Turf Stakes at Gulfstream West.
The handle will be in the blockbuster range again for Gulfstream, and the races should provide some legitimate contenders for the upcoming 3-year-old races in Florida.
There are just 31 days left in the race to become Florida's leading freshman sire of 2017, with one of the two major categories possibly decided, and the other a tossup between two sires from Pleasant Acres Stallions.
Heading into the weekend, Poseidon's Warrior leads in the earnings category at $576,404, with another Pleasant Acres stallion, Treasure Beach, at $513,429. In third place is Brethren, who began the year at Pleasant Acres but who will ply his trade in 2018 at Arindel, the farm of his owners, the Cohen family.
The most winners title is up for grabs between Treasure Beach and Woodford Thoroughbreds' Soldat, both with 11. In third place is Ocala Stud's Prospective, with seven.
Brethren is the unquestioned leader in the blacktype runners category with four, two more than Treasure Beach.
Poseidon's Warrior has the most accomplished 2-year-old in Firenze Fire, winner of the Gr. I Champagne and the Gr. III Sanford, with earnings of $449,100.
With Gulfstream Park opening tomorrow, and Tampa Bay Downs heading into its second weekend, all the stats lists are eligible to change before Jan. 1.
Four months into the state's pari-mutuel fiscal year, it has become readily apparent that there have been two major changes in the racino landscape in South Florida.
The first is that Pompano Park has (maybe temporarily) lost its position as the No. 1 money-churner down south. Through Oct. 31, the "credits in" column at Pompano reached $444,981,563; Flagler dog track, the perennial second-place entity, checked in with $453,587,913. It's the first time that has happened since Flagler's slots parlor opened in mid-October of 2009.
It isn't so much that Flagler's business has ballooned; "credits in" from this period in 2017 reached $453.5 million, last year's was $435 million. But Pompano's business is way down - in July from $148 million to $129 million; August from $141 million to $114 million; September from $135 million to $90 million, and October from $139 million to $110 million. It's easy to see how Flagler took over the top spot.
I don't know what has precipitated the change, but I will attempt to find out.
The second change down south is that when all the facilities closed down for anywhere from four to eight days due to the hurricane in September, Hollywood dog track (Mardi Gras) never reopened. It's reportedly to make renovations needed after extensive hurricane damage. The track that has benefited most is Gulfstream, Hollywood's nearest geographical competitor. Last year, Gulfstream's "credits in" from October totaled $57.6 million; this year it jumped to just under $72 million.
Finally, to put a stamp on just how much casino takeout affects slots payouts, digest this. Even though Pompano trailed Flagler in the "credits in" department, the trotting track's net slots revenue totaled $37,588,392 to $27,149,956 for Flagler. Why such a big disparity? Pompano's takeout rate is 9.64 percent; Flagler's is 6.42 percent. But factoring in Pompano's decline in business, maybe the slots fanciers are beginning to catch on.
Tampa Bay Downs opened yesterday and 4,212 showed up even though there was no stakes race carded on the initial program. On-track handle was $317,112, and the per capita $75, about average for the track, and continuing to show that the Bay area bettors like to show up, but they don't come with their wallets or purses bulging.
Despite field sizes that continually eclipse most of the other venues, ITW handle (what was bet around the state) was minute - $180,884 - but ISW (everywhere else) reached $2,612,606, putting the total handle at more than $3.1 million. It will get better.
True to its abandoning racing in recent months and years, the Tampa Bay Times didn't have one word on the Tampa opening in Saturday's edition, other than the entries.
NO PLAY - Mardi Gras (Hollywood dogs) has been inactive since the hurricane - closed for renovations. The effect on surrounding racinos, mainly Gulfstream Park and Dania Jai Alai, has been very apparent. More on that tomorrow.
BAD BEAT RECORD - Andy Beyer wrote a column several years ago about a man who was supposed to win a big racetrack jackpot, but a weird quirk in the rules prevented him from collecting. He called it the worst "bad beat"of all time. That one has to take a back seat to one that's infinitely better.
A woman named Katrina Bookman, playing the slots early this month at Resorts World Casino New York (at Aqueduct), thought she had made that life-changing score when the screen popped up with the news that she had hit for $42.9 million. Casino employees rushed over to her, but no prize voucher was printed out. The casino people said the machine was broken.
The New York State Gaming Commission removed the machine from the floor and after examination, announced that the proper payoff should have been $2.25 and the display of $42.9 million"was clearly a malfunction."
The woman's lawyer answered: "Does that mean that a casino can always say a machine is broken whenever someone hits and hits big?"
The commission said that the penny slot machine Bookman was playing has a max payout of $6,500. The highest possible prize payout at Resorts World Casino is $500,000.
But all was not lost - as a consolation the casino offered the woman a steak dinner. You can bet we haven't heard the last of this sad tale.
What promises to be a blockbuster winter racing season in Florida kicks off Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs, followed by the opening of Gulfstream Park one week later. And, as usual, it will be interesting to see if the Ocala Star-Banner deems either event important enough to include a line or two.
Of course, the newspaper that didn't feel the $12 million Pegasus World Cup, hosted by one of Marion County's biggest landowners, and which cut Monday racing columnist Bill Giauque's contribution to every other Monday, can hardly be expected to give a hoot about either opening. We'll soon see. Oh, by the way, I went to check on Sunday's Gulfstream results in the Monday paper . . . there were none.
The Gulfstream opening will be highlighted by the 19th edition of the popular Claiming Crown. This will mark the sixth straight year the event will be held at Gulfstream and it's worth $1.11 million. There are 294 nominations to the nine-race event which is topped off by the $200,000 Jewel at 1 1/8 miles. Ken and Sarah Ramsey are the Claiming Crown leaders with 15 victories, the same number as the trainers' leader, Mike Maker. The Ramseys have seven nominated, while Maker has 29, which include the Ramseys seven.
Handle for Claiming Crown days has been huge - more than $10 million each of the last three years - with a record $11.1 million wagered in 2016. There are four defending champions among the nominations, Super spender in the $110,000 Canterbury at five furlongs on the grass, Tormenta de Oro in the $110,000 Glass Slipper at one mile, Chepstow in the $110,000 Iron Horse at 1 1/16 miles, and Shaft of Light in the $110,000 Rapid Transit at seven furlongs.
The second edition of the Pegasus World Cup will be held on Jan. 27 and the purse has been elevated to $16 million. Among the entrants will be Gun Runner, the Breeders' Cup Classic runaway winner who is a cinch for Horse of the Year honors. Gun Runner is 11-3-2 in 18 starts and his earnings are nearing $9 million. He was slated to campaign again in 2018 at the age of five, but the plans have changed and the Pegasus will be his final race before shipping off to stud at Three Chimneys Farm in Lexington.
Among the other highlights of the Hallandale Beach meeting will be the appearance of Puerto Rico's Triple Crown winner, Justiciero, in the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe on Dec. 9. Gulfstream will be the first track outside Latin Ameridca to host the race which has been contested for more than 50 years. The Puerto Rican-bred son of Coach Billy G. hasn't raced since he won the Gr. II Antonio Mongil Jr. Stakes on Aug. 20, due to Hurricane Maria. He did compete in an exhibition race to keep fit on Oct. 29 at still-shuttered Camarero.
Another winter highlight will be the return of Three Rules, the Gone Astray colt who swept all three divisions of the Florida Sire Stakes last year. Three Rules has earned $939,160 for Shade Tree Farm, Geoff Roy and Tom Fitzgerald and has turned in some super works in preparation for his return, including a bullet 59:95 for five furlongs on Sunday. He's expected to make his return in the $125,000 FTBOA Marion County Florida Sire Stakes at Tampa on Dec. 16.
Not long after Three Rules worked, a player in New York hit Gulfstream's Rainbow Pick 6 for $141,853. The previous hit had come on Nov. 9 when the lone winning ticket paid $52,137.
The training track at Tampa Bay Downs opened for business on Nov. 6 and Saturday's opener will really be the second day of the meeting - the first was July 1.
Tampa will be the host of a new four-race FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes series with $450,000 in purse money up for grabs. The first two $125,000 races - the Marion County FSS for 3-year-old colts and geldings (with Three Rules) and the City of Ocala for 3-year-old fillies - will debut on Dec. 16, Cotillion Festival Day, both at seven furlongs. Also on that program will be the $100,000 Inaugural for 2-year-olds, and the $100,000 Sandpiper for 2-year-old fillies.
The other two races in the series will be run on Kentucky Derby day - May 5. They are the $100,000 Silver Charm for 3-year-old colts and geldings and the $100,000 Ivanavinalot (dam of Songbird) for 3-year-old fillies, both at one mile and 40 yards.
Highlight of the meeting, of course, is the Tampa Bay Derby in March, a race that has been a major contributor as far as sending runners to the Kentucky Derby for more than a decade. The list of quality runners who have come out of the race includes Kentucky Derby winners Street Sense and Super Saver, Belmont Stakes winner Tapwrit, and Musket Man, Bluegrass Cat, Brethren, Destin, Golden Ticket, Any Given Saturday, Burning Roma, Verrazano and Carpe Diem. Then there's Always Dreaming, who broke his maiden at Tampa earlier this year, then went on to win the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby.
Sunshine Millions Preview day at Gulfstream West was a huge success, with the eight stakes - each worth $75,000 - resulting in a solid handle of $6,271,389. There were many bullet points gleaned from the program, from the standpoint of horses, breeders, owners, jockeys, etc. Here's a rundown:
JUVENILE FILLIES SPRINT - Tyler Gaffalione picked up his first victory on the card with Silver Bay, who became the first stakes-winner for Ocala Stud Farm's freshman sire, Currency Swap. The gray filly had just broken her maiden for Richlyn Farms 15 days earlier.
TURF PREVIEW STAKES STAKES - Emisael Jaramillo, Gaffalione's No. 1 rival in the South Florida jockeys' colony, came from last place after three quarters with even-money Enterprising to nail Galleon Mist in deep stretch. Gaffalione was aboard the runner-up. The winner, a gelding by Elusive Quality, was bred by the late Leonard Lavin's Glen Hill Farm, one of only a handful of the pioneering Marion County farms still in operation, and shipped in from Woodbine for the race.
JUVENILE SPRINT STAKES - Edgard Zayas, Gaffalione's No. 2 rival, steered 3/5 favorite Wildcat's Legacy to a 3 1/4-length score over second choice Highborn, with Jaramillo aboard. The winner is from the last crop of Journeyman Stud's perennial leading Florida sire Wildcat Heir, who died early in 2015 and is set to win another leading sire title this season with progeny earnings of more than $5 million.
JUVENILE TURF STAKES - Zayas made it two in a row with Laurel shipper Nauti Boy, at the direct expense of Gaffalione and The X, who came in from Keeneland. Nauti Boy, a son of Mizzen Mast, had to survive a claim of foul by the runner-up before the prices were posted. The third horse was Seattle Treasure, one of 11 winners from the first crop of Pleasant Acres Stallions' Treasure Beach, the Florida leader in that category.
SPRINT PREVIEW STAKES - Jose Batista broke the string of winners by the top jocks with Quijote, owned by Midwest Thoroughbreds, always on the list of leading owners in North America. The gelding by Pomeroy hadn't raced since July 1 at Gulfstream and vied for the lead between horses for most of the six furlongs before proving to be best in deep stretch.
DISTAFF STAKES - Gaffalione was unable to get any response in the stretch from 2-1 favorite Mama Joyce, and the race proved to be a long shot player's dream. Lirica (10-1), a 3-year-old filly by former Ocala Stud leading sire Kantharos, was up at the wire to win by one-half length over Monmouth shipper April Gaze, who was 11-1 with Zayas aboard. Pacesetter Stormy Embrace, in from Laurel and off at 13-1, held on for third. The $2 exacta paid $200 and the $1 trifecta $925.10.
JUVENILE FILLIES TURF STAKES - It was an all Get Away Farm finish, with Homemade Salsa and Gaffalione coming from off the pace and scoring by two lengths as the 9/10 favorite. The filly was bred by her owner, Manny Andrade's Get Away Farm, and is a daughter of the farm's bread-and-butter stallion, Two Step Salsa. Homemade Salsa is 2-1-0 in three starts and looked very sharp in all three. With the victory and the winner's check of $44,175, Two Step Salsa surpassed $1.7 million in progeny earnings, his best season ever. Homemade Salsa is one of her sire's 13 juvenile winners this year, which leads all Florida stallions.
CLASSIC PREVIEW STAKES - It was a repeat performance for Mr. Jordan, the 5-year-old by Kantharos who won the race last year by 3 3/4 lengths at odds of 1/2. This time around, with Zayas in the saddle, the bettors weren't as sure and the gelding went off at 9/5. He took the lead passing the half-mile marker, galloped away from the field, and had plenty left as he hit the wire 11 1/2 lengths in front. The $45,105 winner's check bumped his career total to $605,340 on a fabulous record of 8-4-6 in 24 starts.
Like I said the other day, betting on favorites in the 13 Breeders' Cup races Friday and Saturday is never good for the pocket, and this time around the devastation was more pronounced than in most of the past.
Not only did the faves fall like trees during a hurricane, in most cases they failed to hit the board. So, not only did the win and exotics players suffer an excruciating weekend, the place and show devotees followed them right down the tubes.
On Friday's four-race program, the only favorite to win was Mendelssohn in the Juvenile Turf, and he paid $11.60. Battle of Midway paid $30.40 in the Dirt Mile, where favorite Mor Spirit ($2.40-1) finished eighth. Rushing Fall returned $8 in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, and favorite Happily was 14th and last. In the Distaff, it was Forever Unbridled ($9.40), while favored Elate wound up fourth at 2-1. Opening-day ledger: one winning favorite, one favorite in the money.
Florida-bred Caledonia Road ($36.60) began day two on a strong note for the fave-haters, while the people's choice, Moonshine Memories finished seventh. Florida-bred Blonde Bomber was third at 30-1.
The Turf Sprint produced a $62.40 payoff for Stormy Liberal, while Lady Aurelia, at 9/10, was 10th.
The big bomber of the afternoon came in the Filly & Mare Sprint, where New York-bred Bar of Gold galloped home at $135.40 and fave Unique Bella was seventh at even money.
Next it was Wuhelda ($24.40), bred in Great Britain, with Lady Eli struggling home in seventh at odds of 3/2.
The 1-2 finishers in the Sprint didn't light up the board, but Roy H. ($11.80) and Florida-bred Imperial Hint (4-1) were both highly playable. Drefong ($1.40-1), who was no doubt singled on many exotic tickets, was never in the hunt and finished sixth.
The bettors weren't fooled by the morning line-maker in the Mile, making Florida-bred World Approval the 5/2 favorite, and the son of Northern Afleet didn't disappoint. With a strong ride by John Velazquez, the white horse from Live Oak Stud is now the biggest money-winner among the four millionaires produced by the farm's magnificent mare, Win Approval. Morning line fave Ribchester went off at 7/2 and finished fifth.
The Juvenile was another race where many pundits expected unbeaten Bolt d'Oro to be a single on many exotics tickets and they no doubt were right. But he went off at 7/10 and was all out to finish a never-threatening third behind Good Magic ($25), who was a ton the best.
Talismatic continued the the light-up-the-board onslaught, winning the Turf and paying $30.20. Highland Reel finished third at $1.40-1.
Gun Runner righted the ship for the players who felt he should have been favored by winning the Classic, assuming any of them had any cash left. He was the $2.40-1 second choice when the gates opened, compared to Arrogate's $2.10-1. Arrogate couldn't find his old form once again and finished in a dead-heat for fifth.
Thirteen races, two winning favorites, two others finishing third. What a country!
The most important weekend of racing is upon us once again, and once again the wagering opportunities are more than enough to make even the most laid-back adventurers salivate over the possibilities. The two days of the Breeders' Cup are infamous for making a mockery of the morning lines, although those subjective numbers, as the years have passed, have more and more reflected the difficulties of isolating winners.
There are just two races where the linemaker ventured below 5/2, the Juvenile and the Classic, and the latter has to be viewed with an asterisk.
In the Juvenile, Kentucky-bred Bold d'Oro is listed at 9/5 off his perfect 3-for-3 ledger. The colt by Medaglia d'Oro won both the early Grade I's in California, the Del Mar Futurity and FrontRunner, and, as usual, the California pundits have convinced themselves that anything that races out west is better in most years than the denizens of the east. That, of course, remains to be seen.
There are just seven Florida-breds entered over the two days, but one of them is Firenze Fire, the colt by Pleasant Acres Stallions freshman sire Poseidon's Warrior. Although garnering little respect along the way, Firenze Fire has won 3-of-4, including the Gr. I Champagne at Belmont Park and the Gr. III Sanford at Saratoga. He's listed at a generous 6-1 with talented Irad Ortiz aboard.
The Classic is loaded with the best older horses still standing and it will be interesting to see if Arrogate (2-1) still has enough fan approval to get the nod over Gun Runner (9/5). After winning seven in a row, and being acclaimed the horse of a lifetime, Arrogate bombed in the San Diego Handicap, then came within half a length of catching Collected in the Pacific Classic, and he lost much of his luster.
Gun Runner is 5-3-0 in his last eight starts, and is on a three-race winning streak - the Woodward, Whitney and Stephen Foster. Collected is in the 11-horse field, too, and he's listed at 6-1, as is late-bloomer West Coast.
Live Oak Plantation's World Approval drew the No. 5 post in the Mile on the turf, seeking to go over the $2 million mark for owner/breeder Charlotte Weber. The 5-year-old gelding's dam is Win Approval, possibly the only broodmare in history to have produced four millionaires - Miesque's Approval, Revved Up and Za Approval are the other three. World Approval, trained by Ocalan Mark Casse and to be ridden by John Velazquez, is 10-2-4 in 23 lifetime starts, and has won four of his last five, including the Gr. I Ricoh Woodbine Mile and Gr. I Fourstardave in his last two.
Another Florida-bred given a good chance based on the line is Imperial Hint, who is listed at 9/2 for the Sprint with Javier Castellano. The 4-year-old colt is by former Get Away Farm stallion Imperialism and was bred by Shade Tree Thoroughbreds, same operation that gave us multiple stakes-winner Three Rules. Florida-bred Calculator, a 5-year-old by In Summation bred by Ocala Stud, drew the No. 1 post in the Sprint with Johnny V. and is listed at 20-1.
Florida has two intriguing entrants in the Juvenile Fillies, Blonde Bomber (No. 5 - 20-1) and Caledonia Road (No. 12 - 15-1). Blonde Bomber is a Fort Larned filly owned and bred by Ocala's Arindel Farm and didn't make an impression in her first four tries. Then she broke her maiden at Gulfstream and followed that with a 7 1/4-length score in the Our Dear Peggy Stakes. Caledonia Road, a Quality Road filly owned by Peter Vegso, broke her maiden at Saratoga, then finished second behind Separationofpowers in the Gr. I Frizette. Ironically, Separationofpowers drew the 13 post, right next to Caledonia Road.
Live Oak has another entrant in the Turf Sprint, Holding Gold, also in the barn of Mark Casse. The 4-year-old gelding won the Gr. II Shakertown Stakes at Keeneland and is listed at 15-1. Florida-bred Pure Sensation drew post 12 in the race; he's a 6-year-old gelding by Zensational from the Christophe Clement barn and is 10-1 for owner/breeder Patricia Generazio, who also owns the No. 1 horse, New York-bred Disco Partner.
I will mostly stick by my usual wagering pattern, taking four or five horses in an exacta box and hoping for the best. It has yielded many satisfying results in the past.
Despite any other stallion farm's fake news conclusion that it is the leading entity of its kind in Florida, just perusing the roster of Ocala Stud Farm and the state's leading sire list, is immediate proof that the nursery brought into national prominence by Joe O'Farrell in the 1960s is without parallel.
It's surprising that any Florida publication would accept advertising with such a false premise, but advertising revenue is advertising revenue at a time when it is at a premium.
Here are the facts. Ocala Stud currently has seven stallions with runners at the races: High Cotton (3rd on the money list with $3 million in progeny earnings); Adios Charlie (5th, $2.3 million); In Summation (8th, $1.5 million); Awesome of Course (9th, $1.3 million); Overdriven (second crop - 10th, $1.4 million); Hear No Evil (23rd, $404,000); Prospective (freshman - 33rd, $216,000).
In addition, the Ocala Stud roster includes Fort Loudon and Uncaptured, whose first crops will race in 2018, and The Big Beast, with first crop yearlings of 2018. Then, there are the brand new well-bred stallions who will stand for the first time in 2018 - Jess's Dream (Curlin); Greenpointcrusader (Bernardini), and millionaire Noble Bird, a son of Birdstone who just joined the group yesterday. Overdriven will no longer be breeding, so the farm now has 12 active stallions.
And, how about Joe and Helen Barbazon's Pleasant Acres Stallions, housing the top two Florida freshmen of this year, Poseidon's Warrior and Treasure Beach? Poseidon's Warrior is the sire of Firenze Fire, winner of the Gr. I Champagne and the Gr. III Sanford and the leading 2-year-old earner in the country so far. Treasure Beach is the sire of nine 2-year-old winners.
To the farm that pretends IT is the leader - stop it already! To any publication that allows it to say so in order to collect advertising revenue - stop it already!
Ralph Nicks trained the filly Hearts of Red for two seasons for owner/breeder James Spence, and the daughter of Lion Heart posted a record of 3-1-2 in 11 starts at two and three, earning $154,867. She didn't win a stakes race, but finished second in the Dream Supreme at Belmont Park and third in the Gr. III Gulfstream Park Oaks.
Following her retirement, Hearts of Red wound up in the hands of Nicks and Barry Berkelhammer, owner of AbraCadabra Farm in Ocala. They bred her to Wildcat Heir at Journeyman Stud and in 2015, she foaled a filly now named Wild in Red. For whatever their reasons, maybe because Nicks liked her dam, they never offered Wild in Red at auction.
The filly showed up for the first time at Gulfstream West today in a $20,000 claimer at five furlongs with Jose Valdivia aboard. Her two listed works were nothing to brag about, and Wild in Red went off at 6-1. She broke well, and when the two leaders bolted to the outside on the turn, Valdivia shot his filly through on the inside and she exploded to the wire, galloping home by nearly eight lengths, clocked in :58.38.
The winner's share of the purse comes to $13,200, and there's a breeders' award of more than $2,500. However, surely to the dismay of Nicks and Berkelhammer, Wild in Red was claimed by the Drawing Away Stable for the $20,000 tag. So the owners collected more than $35,000 in one shot, but they lost the filly they no doubt tried to sneak by in her debut.
What made the new owners take her? Maybe they saw her work, or liked her dam, or loved Wildcat Heir, who has been Florida's leading sire for five or six years, even after his premature death in 2015. He's way out in front this year, with his final crop at the races. Wild in Red is from that crop, and should help him keep his title for at least another year.
When details were announced for the first Pegasus World Cup last year, reaction was, understandably, mixed. Would there be enough owners to support the $1 million buy-in? Would the public support the venture? The answer was a resounding "yes" on all counts and the event, including Arrogate vs. California Chrome, turned out to be one of the most important of the year on the thoroughbred calendar.
Pegasus World Cup II will be here soon - Jan. 27, to be exact - and the $12 million purse has been raised to $16 million, a record for any race, anywhere. It promises to be bigger than PWC No. 1. Among other things, the event provides an exciting welcome to the new year after the always-present lull following the Breeders' Cup.
Tickets for the event range from $75 to $1,000 and based on last year, that doesn't pose any problems. The appearance of celebs from the entertainment and sports world certainly didn't hurt and the number should increase this time around. Mike Ditka, Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, Tony Dorsett, Gene Simmons, Usher and Bobby Flay were among them.
Tickets can be purchased online at www.pegasusworldcup.com or by calling 1-833-464-7924.
HANA IN ACTION - The Horseplayers Association of North America doesn't receive much publicity but it has proven to be a major force, especially when it comes to the takeouts at tracks around the country. HANA is a vigorous supporter of lower takeouts and whenever a track raises its percentages, HANA springs into action.
When Keeneland announced a raise in takeout before the current meeting, HANA emailed its huge base, which includes many serious bettors, and called for a boycott of the meeting. It apparently made a dent, because handle at Keeneland for the first four days was down considerably in every category, from win-place-show to exotics.
HANA execs said Keeneland would probably dismiss the boycott and say that the negative handle situation was due to poor weather and field size. It will be interesting to follow this one and see if Keeneland's management understands that big bettors are very aware of outrageous takeouts, even if some will tell them it makes no difference.
After winning the Gr. III Sanford at Saratoga, when Firenze Fire didn't fire in the Gr. I Hopeful, trainer Jason Servis took it in stride. He said the colt by Poseidon's Warrior wasn't 100 percent at the time, and Firenze Fire proved him right yesterday by winning the Gr. I Champagne at Belmont Park.
With Irad Ortiz Jr. in the irons, the colt left the gate with the pack but soon dropped back and was a good 10 lengths behind going down the backstretch in the one-mile race worth $500,000. But when the real running started, Firenze Fire blew by the pack and was up at the wire to score by half a length and earn the $300,000 that goes with it. The race had many ramifications, not the least of which is that it's a Breeders' Cup Challenge race - meaning 'Win and You're In' - so Firenze Fire is automatically eligible for the Sentient BC Juvenile if the owners of Mr. Amore Stables accept the invitation.
Firenze Fire is now the leading 2-year-old in the country with earnings of $429,100 and his sire is one of just four freshmen stallions with a graded stakes-winner. Poseidon's Warrior (Pleasant Acres Stallions) also jumped up into fifth place on the national freshman sire list with progeny earnings of $498,333, and he's first in Florida.
REALLY STEPPIN' OUT - Two Step Salsa has a potential rising star in Driven by History, who captured the $100,000 Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial Stakes at Presque Isle Downs on Thursday. The colt bred by Pedro Maestre prevailed by a head in a driving finish against favored Shekky Shebaz and is now 4-3-0 in seven starts, winning four of his last five. He's earned $126,200 and is one of five winners by Two Step Salsa in the last four days. All of Driven by History's races have come over the synthetic surface at Presque Isle, so it remains to be seen how he'll fare over a dirt strip.
SOLDAT ON TOP - Woodford Thoroughbreds' Soldat has taken over the top spot on the Florida freshman list with nine winners, one better than Pleasant Acres' Treasure Beach. Soul P Say won at Remington Park on Sept. 29 and Champagne Tequila at Delaware Park on Oct. 7. Treasure Beach's eighth winner was Treble in Paradise at Thistledown on Oct. 2.
With three months remaining for Florida's freshman sires to exert some late-season kick, unless one not in the current top four makes a strong run, the 2017 title of frosh king will come from Treasure Beach or Brethren (Pleasant Acres), Soldat (Woodford Thoroughbreds), or Prospective (Ocala Stud). Treasure Beach and Soldat have seven winners each, and Brethren and Prospective five apiece.
Thus far, 13 of the Florida group of 14 first-year stallions have recorded at least one winner. Only Beau Choix (Pleasant Acres) doesn't have one yet, but he also hasn't had a runner. The 13 who have been successful have 39 winners among them, and 18 of those have come at Gulfstream Park. Brethren's runners, in particular, love Gulfstream, with four of his five winners coming over the strip in Hallandale Beach.
Treasure Beach has had three winners at Gulfstream, while Hartley/DeRenzo's Rattlesnake Bridge is 3-for-3, all coming in the last five weeks. Soldat's ledger is the most diversified, with two winners at Maria-plagued Camarero Race Track in Puerto Rico, and one each at Mountaineer Resort & Casino, Gulfstream, Ellis Park, Arlington Park and Presque Isle Downs.
The Jockey Club's report of live foals for 2017 is disappointing once again with only Kentucky, California and Maryland reporting more live foals than last year, although only 90 percent of the reports have been received so there could be some minor changes ahead.
The disappointment resonates because this year's foal crop will not race until 2019, which bodes negatively for the future size of fields at every track, a problem that has plagued the sport for the last several years. Fields of five, six and seven have been so prevalent that they seriously impact the handles across the country. Few tracks have not been impacted in some way or another.
The latest numbers show that Maryland has the highest rise - from 411 live foals last year to 500 so far this year, a raise of 21.7 percent. But the numbers are so small that the 21.7 percent isn't nearly as important as a 21.7 percent rise would be in Kentucky, California, Florida or New York.
A major factor, of course, is the gap between the number of mares bred compared to the number of live foals. Kentucky, for instance, reported 17,912 mares bred in 2016 but only 12,184 live foals. That's 5,728 mares who will not have a runner two years from now.
There were 2,841 mares bred in Florida last year which resulted in 1,577 foals; there are 1,514 foals reported so far this year so it's possible the current number will reach 2016. But it's way down from the bread and butter years, and much of it is because there are so few stallions at the top end still in Florida. As mentioned here often, when they make a big splash early in Florida, they end up in Kentucky soon after. Ocala Stud's Kantharos is the latest example, but the previous list is quite formidable.
At the time the recession hit the country in full force in 2008, the North American thoroughbred handle was flourishing, surpassing $15 billion for seven straight years, from 2001 through 2007. It dropped to $14 billion-plus in '08, then under $13 billion in 2010, and has been stagnant in the $11 billion-plus range since. Those who didn't comprehend that there was a segment of the population that could no longer afford to go to their favorite racetrack blamed the drop on the sport itself, stressing that track managements weren't innovative enough to keep the younger set interested in the sport.
That premise was completely bogus, but the notion that the sport's leaders were living in the 19th century in many other respects was right on the mark. Track after track did help the handle by adding more exotic possibilities and bettors were bombarded with pick 3s, pick 4s, pick 5s, pick 6s, Superfectas, Super High 5s, Pick 6 Jackpots, rolling doubles and much more.
Betfair bought Hollywood Park and closed it soon after, and now owns TVG (or part of it, I'm not sure) and that European company is still trying to convince the public that exchange wagering can help the game. But Monmouth Park's exchange wagering program hasn't caught on, and never will. There's a reason why New Jersey execs mention the gimmick often but never offer any wagering statistics to prove the point.
One concrete area that highlights the futility of too many of the publicity departments at the tracks and industry organizations comes with the four words most utilized by those groups when making announcements about new appointments, new ideas, or new anything. Those words are delighted . . . proud . . . excited . . . thrilled. Have you ever noticed that all the announcements contain at least one of those words? Can't anybody come up with something else?
A few days ago, it was announced that Keeneland and Churchill Downs are partnering on two new state-of-the-art facilities in Kentucky, one in the Knox County city of Corbin and the other in the Christian County city of Oak Grove. So, of course, the principals felt it necessary not only to report the facts, but to embellish them with the age-old ho-hum comments.
Keeneland president and CEO Bill Thomason told us: "Keeneland is excited to partner with Churchill Downs on this initiative . . . "
Corbin Mayor Willard McBurney said: "Corbin is thrilled to be part of this historic venture . . . "
"We are proud of the significant investment Churchill Downs and Keeneland are committed to . . . " was Oak Grove Mayor Bea Burt's take on the issue.
HBPA executive director Marty Maline chipped in with: "The Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association is excited for what this announcement means for our sport . . . "
All that was missing was one person who was "delighted."
Congratulations to all the principals and the PR people involved. We are all delighted, excited and proud to digest your thrilling remarks. Can't wait for the next one.
WHAT'S GOING ON HERE? - When is someone at the Blood-Horse going to make the change at the top of all the leading sire lists pertaining to the closing date of the information? For instance, today is Sept. 19 yet today's lists say: "Listed below are all available Northern Hemisphere statistics through Sept. 19, 2017." Not a chance!
One of the many definitions of "through" is: "to and INCLUDING." That very specifically means you include the date in question. You can't include Sept. 19 if the races haven't been run yet. Today's lists are up to date through yesterday and should read "through Sept. 18." It's years past the time that somebody at the Blood-Horse realizes it.
Gulfstream Park came through Irma unscathed and racing will resume with two cards and 25 races on Saturday and Sunday. There were 700 horses evacuated from the track's barn area, mostly to Palm Meadows, and they began to return on Tuesday.
The Saturday program kicks off at 12:15 and consists of 13 races and 134 entrants, headlined by the $100,000 Miss Gracie Stakes for 3-year-old Florida-bred fillies at 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf, and the $50,000 Sea of Grass, an overnight handicap for fillies and mares at one mile.
Sunday's card will have 12 races and 105 entrants with a 12:45 post time and features a pair of $50,000 overnight handicaps for 3-year-olds and up.
SIXTH WINNER FOR SOLDAT - The latest Florida freshman sire to get a winner is Woodford Thoroughbreds' Soldat, who bagged No. 6 when Son Son Son scored at Camarero Race Track in Puerto Rico on Sept. 3. The filly bred in New York by Marie Bates is 1-1-1 in three starts.
Soldat is now just one winner behind Pleasant Acres' Treasure Beach, who had a second-place finisher yesterday when Treble in Paradise, at odds of 17-1, made her debut at Thistledown. Treasure Beach leads the frosh sires in Florida with seven winners and is nearing $340,000 in progeny earnings. Pleasant Acres also stands the second-place sire, Brethren, with $227,000 in earnings; he has five winners. Eleven of Florida's 14 frosh sires already have at least one winner.
BOUNCE THIS - Like so many of the younger set who believe that the world began on the day they were born, today's TV equine analysts and those writing for the major publications have taken many of the old traditional sports terms and trashed them to suit their own needs. No longer does a baseball player reach first on an error, he just "reaches." No longer is a college football player a freshman, he's a "true freshman," so as not to confuse him with a false freshman.
In racing, the old traditional "wire-to-wire" has been replaced by many with gate-to-wire, which is bogus, because in order to go gate-to-wire a horse has to have the lead on the first jump out of the gate and never relinquish it, which probably happens maybe 10 percent of the time. But the TV guys and gals see a "1" at the first quarter and automatically relate that the horse went gate-to-wire.
The "bounce" is another area that is prevalent among the TV and publication groups, the theory that if a horse runs a tough race he or she will "bounce," or run poorly, if he or she comes back too soon. The problem is that nobody has been able to come up with a time frame as to when the bounce no longer applies. Time after time, analysts - and trainers, too - discuss if a horse's next race is coming up too soon, even when the race is four weeks away.
These analysts never discuss all the runners who defy the bounce theory, because there are no rules involved. They just guess. The truth is, if you can't pin down the length of time any horse needs to recover from a hard race, then you don't have a legitimate theory. The late Dr. Ron Chak, who was the veterinarian for venerable Ocala Stud Farm for decades, told me that all you have to do for a horse is make sure he or she gets enough electrolytes into the system.
I remember a horse trained by Dick Dutrow a few years ago named Laysh Laysh Laysh. This horse once ran three times in 11 days in New York and won all three. Talk about bouncing the bounce.
I brought this all up because of a 2-year-old named Driven by History, a gelding by Two Step Salsa currently campaigning at Presque Isle Downs. While a slew of 2-year-olds haven't started yet, and many more have started once or twice, Driven by History has started six times in the span of two months and six days, the latest coming this past Monday. He went off at 70 cents to a dollar with Antonio Gallardo and scored by a length, raising his record to 3-3-0 in those six races. He's won two in a row and three of his last four while earning $66,200 without benefit of running in a stakes race. I assume he might rectify that shortly.
By the way, for the "gate-to-wire" people, if you really feel the need to be precise, the correct term should be "gate-to-mirrored image."