Gary Barber’s Lookin to Strike came running late to edge Grupo 7C Racing Stable’s Star Juancho in the shadow of the wire to win the $125,000 OBS Sprint by a nose, with Michael Dubb’s Yummy Bear a length back in third. Triple bug rider Declan Carroll picked up the first stakes victory of his career aboard the graded stakes- winning 3-year-old colt by Lookin At Lucky.
The winner is a two-time OBS graduate, consigned by Select Sales to the 2016 Selected Yearling Sale and then sold at the 2017 April Sale by SBM Training & Sales, Agent, for $210,000 after turning in an under tack eighth in :10 flat. The victory leaves the winner with a 10-5-0-0 record and earnings of $195,644.
In the $125,000 OBS Filly and Mare Sprint, Bill and Vicki Poston Racing’s Southern Sis came flying in the final sixteenth to beat Averill Racing et al’s R Happy Ending by two lengths, with Westbury Stables’ Sierra Aleone a nose back in third. It’s the first stakes score for the 4-year-old Florida-bred daughter of Kantharos, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione. The time for the six furlongs was 1:09 2/5. The two-time OBS graduate was sold by Southern Cypress, Agent at the 2015 August Yearling Sale to the winning connections for $35,000. Consigned by Grassroots Training & Sales to the 2016 April Sale, she was bought back for $50,000 after breezing an under tack eighth in :10 flat. Now 12-4-3-0, she has earned $194,432.
The first six races of the 10-race card were for quarter horses. In the first, Rocio Lopez’s Eyes Have a Fortune was the winner by a nose, running the 220 yards in a track record :21.727. Trained by his owner, the 6-year-old gelding was ridden by Ruben Serna.
Despite delaying the start by his reluctance to enter the starting gate, Howard and Kelly Kleinberg’s Mr So So Comment was a one-length winner of the second race, racing 330 yards in :17.207. The 6-year-old gelding, trained by Howard Kleinberg, was ridden by Natasha Fritz.
The third race went to Myron McKinnon’s Toast to Clever Two by three quarters of a length, with David Boraco aboard for trainer Walter Lee Graham, getting the 330 yards in :17.204.
The combination of McKinnon and Graham made it two in a row in the fourth, with DLJ Royal Flow scoring by a head. The 4-year-old horse, ridden by Reynier Arrieta, ran 330 yards in :17.041.
The same connections scored their third win in a row in the fifth, with One Way Flight racing 220 yards in :12.19 and winning by a head. Reynier Arrieta was aboard the 4-year-old gelding.
Owner Rocio Lopez picked up her second victory of the day in the sixth race, as Hesa Trickie Lad won by a length and survived a claim of foul, getting the 220 yards in :12.006. Ruben Serna rode the 9-year-old gelding.
The seventh was a six-furlong race for maiden thoroughbreds, and it went to Jack Treadway and Ken Westlye’s Tellbuffy, who caught front-running Silver Springs in the final furlong and scored by a 4 1/2 lengths. The 4-year-old Florida-bred daughter of Telling, trained by Ken Westlye and ridden by Odilon Martinez, was clocked in 1:13.
Race eight, a six-furlong thoroughbred starter allowance, was won by Michaelle Bordis’ Circle Away, who rallied in deep stretch and won going away by a length and a quarter, running the distance in 1:11 4/5. The 4-year-old gelding by Circular Quay, trained by Robert W. Bordis, was ridden by Raymond Torres.
Live racing returns to Ocala on Tuesday, Nov. 20 with a 10-race card highlighted by a pair of $125,000 OBS Sprint Stakes, both at six furlongs. First post is at noon, and there will be pari-mutuel wagering on the card’s first eight races. The races will be streamed live on the OBS website at obssales.com. Admission and parking are free and the gates will open at 10:00 a.m.
The first six are races for Quarter Horses at distances of 220, 330 and 440 yards. The seventh race is a six- furlong dash for thoroughbred maidens and the eighth is a six-furlong thoroughbred starter allowance.
Races nine and 10 are non-wagering events. The ninth is the $125,000 OBS Filly and Mare Sprint, to be run at six furlongs for fillies and mares, three and up, which have gone through the ring at an OBS Sale.
Winds of Change Racing Stable’s graded stakes-winning Rich Mommy gets top billing in the field of eight, bringing earnings of $244,185 into the race. Victor Barboza Jr. trains the 4-year-old daughter of Algorithms, winner of Gulftream’s Gr. III Sugar Swirl Stakes, and Emisael Jaramillo will ride.
The horses and riders in post position order: Lawrence Dalton and Joan Lawrence’s Exotic Gold, 114, Federico Mata; Bill and Vicki Poston Racing’s Southern Sis, 117, Tyler Gaffalione; Zollie Durr’s Weekend Appeal, 117, Augusto Marin; Barry Kirkham’s Seminara, 119, Ronnie Allen; Anthony J. Russo’s Money or Love, 121, Manoel Cruz; Averill Racing , CCF Racing Stable, Silver Oaks Stable and K Lauren Racing’s R Happy Ending, 116, Paco Lopez; Westbury Stable’s Sierra Aleone, 116, Tyler Gaffalione; Rich Mommy, Spring in the Wind and Orecchiette were early scratches.
The 10th race is the $125,000 OBS Sprint Stakes for three-year-olds and up which have gone through the ring at an OBS Sale.
Trainer Mark Casse brings a pair of Gary Barber-owned graded stakes-winners to the field of 13, with Tyler Gaffalione named on both.
Conquest Panthera, winner of the Gr. I Woodbine Mile last year, is the leading earner in the field with a $355,275 bankroll. The 6-year-old gelding by Kitten’s Joy, who will carry 121 pounds, was also on the board in a pair of graded stakes in 2018.
Lookin To Strike comes into the race off a victory in the Gr. III Ontario Derby at Woodbine in October. The 3-year-old son of Lookin At Lucky, with $147,644 in earnings, will carry 120 pounds.
The field in post position order: Conquest Panthera; Marcy Brooks and David Diamond’s Gone Diesel, 114, Gary Wales; Lookin To Strike; K. E. Racing Stable’s D’Rock, 114, Odilon Martinez; The Four Horsemen Racing Stable and Lady Lindsay Racing Stables’ Sweetontheladies, 121, Marcos Meneses; Lawrence Dalton and Roberta Russell’s Bertiesbeauboaz, 114, Federico Mata; Flea Market Racing’s Successful Roman, 117, Jose Alvarez; Thoroughbred Champions Training Center’s My Chinumado, 116, Aby Medina; Flying Dragon Stable’s Rhombus, 114, Raymond Torres; Midwest Thoroughbreds’ Quijote, 121, Paco Lopez; Michael Dubb’s Yummy Bear, 121, Jeffrey Sanchez; Grupo 7C Racing Stable’s Star Juancho, 116, Emisael Jaramillo; George Santis’ Invasors Wind, 117, Roberto Alvarado, Jr.
In this age of the infamous "bounce," the fake news which claims that horses who have run a tough race are said to need weeks off to recover before they can compete again, comes the old warrior named Gold Man.
This 9-year-old gelding by little-known stallion Agnes Gold, was bred by the late superb turf writer, race track publicist and OBS marketing director David Goldman and was foaled on March 15 of 2009. He was the last horse bred by Dave in his long career as a breeder; the best was the multiple graded stakes-winner Caltech, winner of the Washington D. C. International and Lawrence Realization and earner of more than $700,000 racing for his friend, attorney David Romanik.
Gold Man will make the 78th start of his career tomorrow in the fifth race at Laurel, a starter allowance at 1 1/16 miles on the grass with a purse of $25,000. It's for 3-year-olds and up who have started for a price of $8,000 or less in 2017 and 2018. And Gold Man has started for every claiming tag from $8,000 and up in his long career, which has resulted in earnings of $362,535 while campaigning for more barns than anyone can count without a calculator. He's been so tough in his own element for so long he might be in the running for "most claims by one horse in a lifetime."
The gelding's record is 20-16-8 in his 77 tries and how many horses win 20 times in their career?
This will be his 15th start of 2018 - his last before this came on Nov. 4 at Laurel, and he won it by 1 1/2 lengths. In fact, he's won four of his last five with previous victories at Laurel, Timonium and Penn National. He has also made stops at Gulfstream, Delaware Park, Charles Town, Pimlico and Meadowlands along the way, after breaking his maiden at Calder Race Course in Romanik's silks in his long-ago debut on Sept. 16 of 2012
What makes this one more special is that it will be just the fifth time in those 77 races that Gold Man will try the grass. His record on the green stuff? Oh for four. The last turf try came in 2016 - before that, it was three times in 2013.
But his latest trainer, Hugh McMahon, may have run out of options. Or, a dirt race that fits his conditions may not be coming up for a few weeks, and he doesn't want his machine to be sitting around doing nothing when there's money to be made. Or he thinks his bread-and-butter horse is in such good form that the surface won't matter.
One thing we do know - the bounce won't have anything to do with the outcome. It should be interesting.
MIAMI GARDENS - Jerry Bozzo, who passed away Sunday at the age of 98, will be remembered as the oldest winning thoroughbred trainer in history, as well as a gentleman and a scholar.
“He was a great gentleman. It was a pleasure to ride for him, but it was also a pleasure to know him,” said jockey Luca Panici, who rode frequently for Bozzo, including back-to-back victories aboard homebred Gusty Wind during Gulfstream Park’s Summer Meet this year. “I’ve known him since I began riding here at Calder. He was a good horseman and a really, really good gentleman.”
Bozzo, who was a graduate of Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, became the oldest trainer to win a race on June 3, 2017 when he sent out Cotton Tooyah for a 4 ½-length victory at Gulfstream Park. He surpassed the record of the late Noble Threewitt, who visited the winner’s circle for the last time two months after celebrating his 95th birthday. Threewitt, who was born Feb. 24, 1911, was credited with being the oldest trainer to win a race when Threeatonce captured a maiden claiming race at Santa Anita on April 22, 2006.
Bozzo had already become the oldest trainer ever to saddle a stakes-winner when homebred Flutterby won the Sea Lily at Gulfstream on May 30, 2015 before going on to finish second in the Gr. II Princess Rooney and win two more stakes. Panici, who rode Flutterby to three stakes victories in 2015, enjoyed Bozzo’s company as much as riding horses for him.
“I was more happy for him than for me when we won a race,” Panici said. “Training a horse, having a winner, kept him in good shape. He had an amazing history, being in World War II and his business. He was always a pleasure to be around. More than business, it was a pleasure to talk with him and have a conversation in the mornings.”
The retired aeronautical engineer, industrialist and World War II veteran. sold his Pennsylvania bottle manufacturing company in 1969. He had been breeding and training thoroughbreds in South Florida since the 1970s.
“My favorite times with Jerry had nothing to do with the horses," said trainer and longtime friend Phil Combest. "We were baseball fans and we talked baseball right up to a month ago. He was as sharp as a tack right up to the end. It’s hard to be a Marlins fan, but we both kind of hung in there with them.”
Bozzo celebrated his 98th birthday on Oct. 25, two weeks after winning the fifth race at Gulfstream Park West with his record-breaker, Cotton Tooyah.
At Bozzo’s request, a memorial service has not been scheduled.
MIAMI GARDENS - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 was solved at Gulfstream Park West Friday when a single ticket with all six winners was worth a $71,152.16 jackpot payoff. The combination of Friday’s winning ticket was 8-3-6-3-4-9.?
The multi-race wager was last solved Oct. 27 for a $162,143.62 jackpot payoff.
The Rainbow 6 starts anew today, when the six-race sequence will span Races 6-11 on the Millions Preview card (Noon first-race post time).
The $75,000 Juvenile Sprint will kick off the sequence in Race 6, followed by a maiden special weight race, the $75,000 Juvenile Fillies Turf, the $75,000 Millions Distaff, the $75,000 Juvenile Turf and another maiden special weight race.
There will be a Super Hi-5 Carryover of $1,110.54 heading into today’s program.
Clasico Candidates Arrive from Panama, Venezuela, Puerto Rico
Horses from Venezuela, Panama and Puerto Rico arrived at Gulfstream Park Friday to begin preparations for planned starts in the Clasico Internacional del Caribe Saturday, Dec. 8.
Gulfstream, which became the first pari-mutuel facility last year outside Latin America or the Caribbean to the host the event since its inception in 1966, will once again play host to five races for horses from eight Latin American and Caribbean countries with purses totaling more than $700,000. The highlight of the day will be the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe for 3-year-olds.
A horse from Ecuador is scheduled to arrive today, while a strong contingent from Mexico, including defending Classic del Caribe champion Jala Jala, is slated to arrive next Thursday.
MIAMI GARDENS - A winner of nine races, six stakes and more than $780,000 in purses, Mr. Jordan commands respect wherever he races, but nowhere does the flashy gray 6-year-old gelding have more ‘cred’ than at Gulfstream Park West.
The Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained veteran stakes performer will bring an undefeated record at Gulfstream Park West into Saturday’s Millions Classic Preview.
The 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-olds and up will be one of nine races for Florida-breds worth a total $675,000 in purses on a Millions Preview Day card that will serve as an early prep for Jan. 19 Sunshine Millions card at Gulfstream Park for many of the entrants.
Owned by David Melin, Leon Ellman and Laurie Plesa, Mr. Jordan is 4-for-4 at Gulfstream Park West, all in stakes competition. He is not only undefeated, the son of Kantharos is also untested at the Miami Gardens track while romping to four straight stakes victories by a total of 22 ¾ lengths. After breaking his maiden at first asking at Monmouth Park, Mr. Jordan captured the 2014 Juvenile Sprint Stakes by three lengths and the Smooth Air Stakes by 4 ½ lengths back-to-back. He returned to Gulfstream Park West to capture the 2016 Millions Classic Preview by 3 ¾ lengths before defending his title last year by 11 ½ lengths.
Paco Lopez will become reacquainted with Mr. Jordan Saturday. Lopez, who rode Roy H. to victory in last Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Sprin at Churchill Downs, was aboard Mr. Jordan for victories in the 2014 Juvenile Sprint Stakes and the 2016 Millions Classic Preview, as well as the 2015 Pegasus at Monmouth Park.
Mr. Jordan is scheduled to face four rivals, including Deland and Noble Drama, who have both registered recent victories over the Plesa trainee at Gulfstream.
Ricardo Vallejo’s Deland enters the Classic Preview off impressive back-to-back stakes victories, taking the July 22 Coast Is Clear by two lengths and the Sept. 7 Mo Exception by eight lengths.
“The horse is in very good condition at the moment,” Barboza said. “My plan is to run in the Classic Preview Saturday, the Grade 3 (Dec. 15 Harlan’s Holiday) and the Sunshine Millions (Classic) at Gulfstream.”
The son of Gottcha Gold, a Gr. 1 winner in Puerto Rico, came to Gulfstream last fall to compete in the Caribbean Classic, only to be sidelined with a hoof injury before the race. The 6-year-old gelding stumbled and lost his rider at the start of his U.S. debut Feb. 10 at Tampa Bay Downs but showed promise while finishing second behind Imperial Hint in a Tampa sprint stakes. Deland was transferred to trainer Victor Barboza Jr. two starts later and finished second in the Big Drama Stakes at Gulfstream prior to winning his two most recent races.
Both of his recent victories were achieved at a mile around one turn, but Barboza isn’t concerned with the addition of a turn and distance.
“I don’t think it is a problem for the horse. The horse has won at a mile and a quarter in Puerto Rico,” said Barboza, referring to Deland’s triumph in the 2016 Copa Barbosa (G1) at Camarero.
Emisael Jaramillo has the return mount.
Harold Queen’s Noble Drama is coming off a victory in the $150,000 Florida Sire Stakes Wildcat Heir at Gulfstream Sept. 29, prevailing by a neck over Mo Cash and nearly two lengths ahead of a troubled-trip Mr. Jordan.
“He’s a good little horse. It took him a couple races to get him focused, but he’s doing great,” said trainer David Fawkes.
The son of Gone Astray is out of Queen Drama, a full sister to 2010 Eclipse sprint champion Big Drama and multiple Gr. 1 stakes winner Sheer Drama.
“He came back from that race in good order and he’s been working good,” Fawkes said.
Queen’s homebred 3-year-old gelding’s most recent victory was achieved at a mile around one turn.
“Two turns is no problem. He won two turns at Tampa,” said Fawkes, referring to Noble Drama’s triumph in the 1/16-mile Florida Sire Stakes Silver Charm on May 5. “He’s already won against older horses.”
Nik Juarez has the return mount.
Midwest Thoroughbreds’ Jay’s Way is scheduled to return from an eight-month layoff for the Classic Preview. The 5-year-old son of Gone Astray won the Sunshine Millions last year, stubbornly holding off Mr. Jordan by a half-length.
Trained by Armand De La Cerda, Jay’s Way hasn’t raced since finishing sixth in the Challenger Stakes at Tampa March 10.
Hector Berrios has been named to ride Jay’s Way.
Arindel’s Weisser, who set the pace before fading to fourth in the Wildcat Heir, rounds out the field. Edgard Zayas has the mount.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Accelerate, runner-up Gunnevera, Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Monomoy Girl and Florida Derby winner Audible are all strong possibilities to compete in the richest race in North America – the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park.
Other horses considering the third running of the Pegasus include Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner City of Light and runner-up Seeking the Soul. Arklow, fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, is a possibility for the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational , the richest turf race in North America, also being run on Jan. 26.
In just two years, the Pegasus has become one of the sport’s biggest events. In 2017, the race brought together two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome and 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Arrogate, who won the inagural running by 4 ¾ lengths. Earlier this year, Horse of the Year Gun Runner ended his career with a 2 ½-length victory in the Pegasus over West Coast and third-place finisher Gunnevera.
Trainer John Sadler, who saddled Accelerate to a length victory over Gunnevera in Saturday’s $6 million Classic, said the 5-year-old, a winner of four consecutive Gr. I races, will be shown as a stallion in Lexington before being sent back to his stable in California.
“If all is good, we’ll probably go in the Pegasus, kind of our all-out Gun Runner of last year, and then he’ll go off to stud,” Sadler said.
Gunnevera, trained at Gulfstream by Antonio Sano and a winner of more than $4 million, is also targeting the Pegasus after finishing second in Saturday’s Classic. “He’s going to race in 2019 and will point to the Pegasus,” Sano said.
After watching their filly win the Distaff for her ninth victory in 11 starts, the connections of Monomoy Girl said they would consider running against the boys in the Pegasus.
“I think we will take a look at the Pegasus,” said co-owner Sol Kumin. “I think it’s a good distance for her . . . speed-favoring track at Gulfstream. She’ll get obviously a little bit of a weight break. I think that would be the only race that we would probably look at.”
Brad Cox, trainer of Monomoy Girl, said; “Really, right now, in the near future that would be the race we would target. Beyond that, it will be the Breeders’ Cup next year at Santa Anita. We would have plenty of time to come back and prepare for the Distaff if there is a run in January in the Pegasus. She’s worthy of a break and some time. When we give that to her it will be up to what we decide to do with the Pegasus.”
Cox also said Arklow, fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, will be considered for the inaugural running of the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational. “We might also might take a look at the Pegasus turf race with him as well. We’ll give him a few days to come out of his race and we’ll go from there.”
Florida Derby winner Audible, who was sidelined earlier this year after finishing third in the Kentucky Derby, returned from a six-month layoff for trainer Todd Pletcher to impressively win the Cherokee Run on Breeders’ Cup Day. After the 3-year-old’s performance, Elliott Walden, president and racing manager of WinStar Farm, said; “I think Audible could be Pegasus-bound after that.”
Conrad Farms’ Shamrock Rose was 14th and last in the early going of the $1-million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, but charged between horses under Irad Ortiz Jr. in the stretch and was best by a head in a four-horse blanket finish.
It’s the fourth straight stakes victory for the 3-year-old daughter of First Dude, who is trained by Ocalan Mark Casse. She's now 10-5-2-1 with $917,687 in earnings after collecting a check for $550,000. She was sold for $120,000 by Best A Luck Farm LLC, Agent, at the 2017 OBS April Sale after breezing an Under Tack eighth in :10 flat. The second OBS graduate to win the Filly and Mare Sprint,, Shamrock Rose follows in the footsteps of April Sale graduate Musical Romance, who captured the 2011 renewal.
Double Diamond Farm's First Dude is Florida's leading sire with more than $4.5 million in 2018 progeny earnings, and now holds a big lead over deceased Wildcat Heir.
October 31, 2018
Friday’s Stronach 5
Five Races, Two on the Turf, Four Tracks, 52 Entries
Past Performances and Preview Show
LAUREL, MD – Friday’s Stronach 5, a national wager featuring an industry-low 12-percent takeout, will kick off Friday at Santa Anita Park and go cross-country with stops at Gulfstream Park West, Laurel Park and Golden Gate Fields
Past performances for Friday’s Stronach 5, which features two turf races and 52 entries, are available at:
The Stronach 5 Preview Show, hosted by Jason Blewitt and featuring Millie Ball, Ron Nicoletti, Stan Salter and Matt Dinerman is available at:
The sequence begins with Santa Anita’s fourth race, a 5 ½ furlong event for 2-year-old fillies, before heading cross-country to Gulfstream West for a turf event with 16 3-year-olds entered to go a mile on the turf. After a stop in Maryland for Laurel’s 10th race featuring fillies and mares going a mile, the sequence heads west for Santa Anita’s fifth race, a mile turf event for fillies and mares, before concluding at Golden Gate Fields with a field of 10 juvenile claimers going 5 ½ furlongs on the all-weather surface.
Friday’s Stronach 5 sequence
? Leg One - Santa Anita Fourth Race (nine horses, main), 4:53 ET, 1:53 PT
? Leg Two – Gulfstream West Ninth Race (16 horses, turf), 5:02 ET, 2:02 PT
? Leg Three – Laurel Park 10th Race (10 horses, main), 5:16 ET, 2:16 PT
? Leg Four – Santa Anita Fifth Race (10 horses, turf), 5:35 ET, 2:35 PT
? Leg Five – Golden Gate Fifth Race (10 horses, all-weather), 5:50 ET, 2:50 PT
Five bettors won $15,765.50 on last week’s Stronach 5.
The Stronach 5, hit Oct. 19 by one bettor who took home $88,286, has offered bettors a good return on investment. The national Pick 5 rewarded 14 bettors Sept. 28 with $9,888 while the Oct. 5 payoff was $1,161 with the highest payoff being $12. The Oct. 12 Stronach 5 returned $3,629 to 25 bettors with the highest payoff in the sequence being $14.
The minimum wager on the multi-race, multi-track Stronach 5 is $1. If there are no tickets with five winners, the entire pool will be carried over to the next Friday.
For the Stronach 5, if a change in racing surface is made after the wagering closes, each selection on any ticket will be considered a winning selection. If a betting interest is scratched, that selection will be substituted with the favorite in the win pool when wagering closes.
The Maryland Jockey Club serves as host of the Stronach 5.
Final preparations are being made for the Saturday, Nov. 24 opening day card as Tampa Bay Downs resumes its 93rd anniversary season, which began July 1 during the track’s Summer Festival ofRacing.
Meanwhile, Peter Berube, the Vice President-General Manager of Tampa Bay Downs, announced the addition of two new race sponsors for the 17th annual Florida Cup, which will be contested Sunday, March 31.
Touch Vodka, a Tampa-based company which offers an Artisan vodka distilled from Florida wildflower honey and three citrus-infused selections, will sponsor the $115,000 Touch Vodka Turf Classic. Touch Vodka is distilled by Fat Dog Spirits, LLC in Ybor City.
Zaxby’s, a chain of fast-food restaurants offering chicken wings, chicken fingers, sandwiches and salads, will sponsor the $115,000 Zaxby’s Sprint. Now in 18 states, Zaxby’s has numerous locations throughout Tampa, Hillsborough County, the greater Tampa Bay area and Ocala.
The 2018-2019 Tampa Bay Downs stakes schedule consists of 28 races worth a track-record $3.74 million in purse money.
“We are delighted to add Touch Vodka and Zaxby’s to our group of sponsors for the upcoming season,” Berube said. “We are grateful for their support and look forward to long, rewarding partnerships.”
Horses will ship into Tampa Bay Downs on a daily basis throughout the next few weeks, including those from many of the track’s perennial top stables. The top 11 trainers (by number of winners) from 2017-2018 are returning: Gerald Bennett; Kathleen O’Connell; Arnaud Delacour; Keith Nations; Michael Stidham; Dennis Ward; Victor Carrasco Jr.; Derek Ryan; Monte Thomas; Anthony Granitz and Darien Rodriguez.
The main track will open for training on Monday, Nov. 5.
Tampa Bay Downs will simulcast the 35th Breeders’ Cup from Churchill Downs on Friday and Saturday. Five Breeders’ Cup races for 2-year-olds will be run Friday beginning at 3:21 p.m. The first of nine Breeders’ Cup races Saturday goes off at noon.
LAUREL, MD - Friday’s Stronach 5, which concluded with a $20.20 winner at Golden Gate Fields, returned $15,765.50 to five bettors.
There was $89,630 bet into the pool for the national wager with a guaranteed $50,000 and an industry-low 12-percent takeout. The second leg produced the $16.80 winner Take a Leap at Santa Anita.
The sequence and winners were:
?Leg One – Gulfstream West, Seventh Race - Hollywood Overdogs $4.60
?Leg Two – Santa Anita, Third Race - Take a Leap $16.80
?Leg Three – Gulfstream West, Eighth Race - Green Mansions $9.60
?Leg Four – Laurel, 10th Race - Silver Dagger $4.60
?Leg Five – Golden Gate, Fifth Race - Kid Cantina $20.20
The minimum wager on the multi-race, multi-track Stronach 5 is $1. If there are no tickets with five winners, the entire pool is carried over to the next Friday.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Multiple graded stakes-winner Gunnevera heads a strong Gulfstream Park contingent pre-entered for the 35th Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs Nov. 2-3.
The Antonio Sano-trained Gunnevera, who has earned more than $3 million during an 18-race career than includes great success at Gulfstream, was among the pre-entries announced Wednesday for the $6 million Classic. The 4-year-old son of Dialed In, who finished second in the Woodward at Saratoga last time out, finished third in the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational and won an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream this year. The stretch-running colt captured the Fountain of Youth last year.
Gunnevera, who is listed second on the list of alternates, is expected to draw into the Classic field since two horses above him – City of Light and Bravazo – both have first-preference for the $1 million Dirt Mile.
Irad Ortiz Jr. has the mount aboard Gunnevera. The Classic field of pre-entries includes four other participants in the Pegasus World Cup – runner-up West Coast, Collected, Seeking the Soul and Toast of New York. Catholic Boy, who finished fourth in the Florida Derby before going on to win the Travers at Saratoga, was also pre-entered in the Classic. Mind Your Biscuits, who was the runner-up in an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream before defending his title in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, was also pre-entered in the Classic, as well as the $2 million Sprint.
Stormy Embrace, Well Defined, Cookie Dough and Pay Any Price, all South Florida-based stakes-winners during Gulfstream’s Spring/Summer Meet, were also pre-entered in various Breeders’ Cup stakes.
Trainer Kathleen O’Connell pre-entered Stormy Embrace in the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint and Well Defined in the $2 million Juvenile.
Matalona Thoroughbreds’ Stormy Embrace captured the $250,000 Princess Rooney, a seven-furlong ‘Win & You’re In’ sprint on the June 30 Summit of Speed program. Stonehedge LLC’s Well Defined registered a dominating 7 ½-length victory in the $400,000 In Reality, the 1 1/16-mile finale of the Florida Sire Stakes series Sept. 29. Trainer Juan Avila’s Trophy Chaser, who broke his maiden at Gulfstream by 15 ¾ lengths on Aug. 25 before finishing fifth in the Champagne at Belmont, was also pre-entered in the Juvenile.
Stanley Gold-trained Cookie Dough was pre-entered in the $2 million Juvenile Fillies. The Arindel homebred, who breezed five furlongs in 1:00.10 Tuesday, overcame traffic to capture the $400,000 FSS My Dear Girl at 1 1/16 miles by 7 ½ lengths. Gold saddled Awesome Feather for a triumph in the 2010 Juvenile Fillies.
Pay Any Price, who breezed a half-mile Wednesday morning in 49.97 seconds for trainer Georgina Baxter, was pre-entered in the $1 million Turf Sprint. The 8-year-old gelded son of Wildcat Heir, who is owned by Averill Racing and Matties Racing Stable, won four turf sprints during the Spring/Summer Meet, including the Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint on the Summit of Speed program.
Stakes-winners during Gulfstream’s 2017-2018 Championship Meet that were also pre-entered for Breeders’ Cup races were Promises Fulfilled and X Y Jet.
Robert J. Baron’s Promises Fulfilled, who launched his 2018 campaign with a victory in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth, was pre-entered for the Sprint and the Dirt Mile. The Dale Romans-trained 3-year-old has won three straight graded stakes, including the Allen Jerkens at Saratoga.
Jorge Navarro-trained X Y Jet, who captured the Smile Sprint on the Summit of Speed program and who won the Mr. Prospector and Sunshine Million Sprint during the Championship Meet, was pre-entered in the Sprint.
Others pre-entered in Breeders’ Cup races who competed during Gulfstream’s Championship Meet: Channel Maker, Hi Happy and Sadler’s Joy ($4 million Turf); Giant Expectations and Seeking the Soul (Dirt Mile); Extravagant Kid, Blind Ambition, Bucchero, Rainbow Heir, Richard’s Boy and Vision Perfect (Turf Sprint); Fuhriously Kissed and Verve’s Tale ($2 million Distaff); and Marley’s Freedom (Filly & Mare Sprint).
HALLANDALE BEACH – Florida Sire Stakes star Cookie Dough is being pointed toward a start in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs Nov. 2, trainer Stanley Gold confirmed today.
“She’s doing great," Gold said. "She’ll breeze again next week. We’ll leave on the 26th, and off we go,” said Gold, whose multiple stakes-winning trainee returned to the Gulfstream Park worktab last Saturday with a five-furlong breeze in 1:00.65, the third fastest of 31 recorded at the distance.
Cookie Dough is coming off back-to-back scores in the Florida Sire Stakes series, having captured the $200,000 Susan’s Girl by 6 ½ lengths at seven furlongs before successfully negotiating two turns while winning the $400,000 My Dear Girl by 7 ½ lengths at 1 1/16 miles.
“I think we haven’t seen the best of this filly yet. Hopefully, we’ll see it on the second of November,” Gold said.
In the My Dear Girl, Cookie Dough was forced to race extremely wide around the first turn after breaking from the No. 12 post position and was slow to settle into stride along the backstretch under jockey Jeffrey Sanchez. Arindel’s homebred daughter of Brethren advanced along the backstretch before making a sweeping move to the lead on the far turn. She drew away through the stretch to win comfortably.
“She could have had a better trip, but she didn’t," Gold said. "She overcame it. She didn’t get hit with the stick. She was under a hand ride. There was plenty of gas in the tank and she came back good. I was pleased, and, as I said, I don’t think we’ve seen her best race yet.”
Gold has fared well with two previous Juvenile Fillies starters. He saddled Awesome Feather for a victory in 2010 following a sweep of the Florida Sire Stakes series. Last year, Arindel’s Blonde Bomber finished third behind Caledonia Road.
The $150,000, Gr. III Tempted at Aqueduct Nov. 2 had been under consideration, before it was decided Cookie Dough had earned the opportunity to run in the Juvenile Fillies.
With 2 1/2 months remaining in the battle for various titles, the Florida freshman sire race has more or less sorted itself out. While Stonehedge Farm South's Cajun Breeze and Ocala Stud's Uncaptured began quickly as far as number of winners is concerned, Woodford Thoroughbreds' He's Had Enough and Get Away Farm's Drill have come from behind and moved to the forefront.
He's Had Enough now leads the way with eight winners, followed by Drill, with six. Pleasant Acres' Handsome Mike has also made a good late run and has five. Uncaptured has four and Cajun Breeze three.
In the money earned column, however, Uncaptured is still on top with $389,816, mainly due to talented Catherinethegreat ($138,939), but He's Had Enough is striving for that title, too, with $375,132 in the till. Drill is still very much in the hunt with $353,662. The son of Lawyer Ron has the biggest money-winner in the group - two-time stakes-winner Drillit has earned $175,500. Cajun Breeze is not out of it, either, with $311,270 in his bank.
BUCCHERO TO PLEASANT ACRES - Two-time Woodford Stakes winner Bucchero will take up residence at Pleasant Acres for the 2019 breeding season as new stallions begin to trickle in to Marion County. Earlier, Neolithic joined the roster, and the new pair make up for the loss of Anthony's Cross, who has moved to California, and ultra-successful Poseidon's Warrior, now a resident of Kentucky.
Bucchero is the first son of former Ocala Stud star Kantharos to go to stud, and he'll stand for $5,000. He's still campaigning, and is being pointed for the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3.
Other new stallions imported thus far for 2019 are Ami's Flatter and Girvin at Ocala Stud, and Wait, at Arindel Farm.
Hip No. 516, Our Time, a chestnut colt by Kantharos consigned by Summerfield (Francis & Barbara Vanlangendonck), Agent, went to Stonestreet Stables LLC for $190,000 to top the first Open session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2017 October Yearling Sale. He’s out of Golden Trumpet, by Formal Gold, from the family of Gr. I winner Wilderness Song.
Hip No. 311, a son of Kitten’s Joy consigned by Woodford Thoroughbreds, Agent, was purchased by Ann Maher-Springman, Agent for Rashed Yousef Bouresly, for $100,000. The dark bay or brown colt, a full brother to stakes-winner Kuwait Currency, is out of Thebignbadestbunny, by Smart Strike.
Hip No. 341, a son of Mark Valeski consigned by Magnolia Point Thoroughbreds, Agent, went to Tracy Farmer for $85,000. Out of Vindi Princess, by Vindication, the bay colt is a half-brother to stakes-winner Big Drink of Water, who picked up his third stakes victory in the Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial Stakes at Presque Isle last Thursday.
Smokey Willow Farm paid $80,000 for Hip No. 458, a son of Cairo Prince consigned by Stephens Thoroughbreds LLC, Agent. The dark bay or brown colt is out of Day of Obligation, by Deputy Minister, from the family of Gr. I stakes-winner Confessional.
Hip No. 489, a son of The Big Beast consigned by Beth Bayer, Agent, went to S G V Thoroughbreds LLC for $70,000. The bay colt is out of Faith Hall, by High Cotton, a half-sister to graded stakes-placed Show Me the Bling.
For the session, 143 yearlings sold for $1,967,300, averaging $13,757, with a $7,000 median figure. The buyback percentage was 27%.
The sale continues Today at noon with Hip No.’s 551 – 789 selling in the second Open session.
There is no way to look at Amendment 3 as anything but an anti-gambling measure.
Yet, the main financial supporter - to the tune of nearly $20 million so far - is the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Yes, the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the same folks that we all know already conduct the largest casino gambling operation in the state and have for many years. In fact, the revenue from the Seminole Tribe’s Hard Rock Casino in Tampa - by itself - dwarfs the revenue of all the pari-mutuel facilities in Florida combined, meaning the billions that the Seminole Tribe makes from its six other casinos in Florida is just icing on its already gigantic cake.
So, inquiring minds might ask: Why would Florida’s largest gambling company be supporting an anti-gambling constitutional amendment?
The answer to this question is easy: It is a universal truism that no one is more vehemently opposed to any expansion of gambling than those already in the gambling business. Here, the Seminole Tribe, through the clever wording of Amendment 3, has dealt with its hypocritical stance on gambling by specifically EXEMPTING itself from all of the amendment's anti-gambling provisions. As one of the creators of Amendment 3, this was rather easy for the Seminole Tribe to accomplish.
Since Amendment 3’s anti-gambling provisions were intentionally designed by the Seminole Tribe to apply ONLY to the state’s pari-mutuel facilities, while leaving the Seminole Tribes’ enormous gambling empire intact, the most obvious impact from the adoption of Amendment 3 is that it will perpetuate the monopoly the Seminole Tribe already has on gambling in Florida. In fact, it is not a stretch to say that the Seminole Tribe already has it ALL, and now it wants even more.
More importantly to anyone involved in Florida’s once prospering thoroughbred industry, if Amendment 3 passes, the industry’s current downward spiral will become a death spiral. Just look at California, another state where gambling is 100% controlled by Indian tribes. Within the last few years, Hollywood Park and Bay Meadows were permanently closed, and Golden Gate Fields is on a death watch. Why is that? Because the California tribes, with their millions (or billions) in campaign contributions, have blocked the race tracks from ever receiving a slot machine license. This, in turn, has caused the tracks to be unable to compete with California’s many Indian casinos.
If this sounds familiar, there is a reason for it: Exactly what has happened in California has started to happen in Florida. We have already lost Hialeah Park as a thoroughbred track because it couldn’t compete, and now Calder has announced it will no longer conduct thoroughbred racing after 2020.
We can't let what happened to thoroughbred racing in California happen in Florida.
While Amendment 3 may be cleverly worded to make it sound both pro-citizen and pro-democratic, in reality it’s just the opposite. Amendment 3 is simply another special interest CON JOB - the same as the bogus Solar Energy Amendment of 2016 that was soundly defeated once the voters figured out that only the big power companies, i.e., FP&L, Florida Power and Duke Energy, benefited from the amendment’s adoption, and not the citizens as the pro-Solar amendment propaganda asserted.
As with the Solar scam, one can search all the pro-Amendment 3 propaganda and not find any reference to the fact that one of the amendment's sponsors and primary supporters (to the tune of nearly $20 million), is Florida’s largest and most profitable casino operator, the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
Amendment 3 is totally misleading and hypocritical, yet very typical of the way sponsors of scam amendments like this one try to trick the voters.
If Amendment 3 is adopted, the Seminole Tribe and its 4,000 multimillionaire members will become even richer - while everyone associated with the billion-dollar thoroughbred industry will be obliterated.
Amendment 3 is nothing but a well-funded, anti-competitive CON JOB. Save the thoroughbred horse racing industry in Florida by voting NO on Amendment 3.
One of the most unique stallions on this year's Florida general sire list is Two Step Salsa, the son of Petionville whose sixth crop reached the races this year.
The Get Away Farm sire began his career with two graded stakes-winners from his first crop (2011), Blue Grass Stakes winner Dance With Fate and Palos Verdes Stakes winner Conquest Two Step. In his first year, Two Step Salsa's progeny earnings hit $620,716. For the next four years, he was very consistent - from a low of $1,601,980 to a high of $1,695,866.
Last year was his high water mark, with a personal best of 58 winners and earnings of $1,909,980. With three months remaining on the schedule, Two Step Salsa has achieved new highs, 59 winners and earnings less than $6,000 from breaking $2 million. With Salsa Dog running today at Presque Isle Downs and Flying Emerald at Thistledown, that milestone could be reached before midnight.
What makes the feat so much more surprising is that Two Step Salsa doesn't have even one stakes-winner this year. What he does have is 24 runners who have earned more than $100,000, led by Dance With Fate at $680,050.
One who has no regrets sending mares to Two Step Salsa is Dennis J. Federico, who has bred full siblings Maddy's Salsa (3-year-old filly) and Maddy's Last Dance (2-year-old colt), both out of his stakes-winning Dance With Ravens mare Maddy's Dance. Now eight, Maddy's Dance has just the two foals following a racing career during which she compiled a record of 5-1-3 in 15 starts with earnings of $165,940. She broke her maiden for Federico in her Suffolk Downs debut in 2012, won the Maryland Million Distaff Handicap at three, and closed out her career with victories at Delaware Park and in the Million.
Maddy's Salsa raced in Federico's colors 13 times before being claimed out of a winning race by Bruno Schickedanz for $10,000. She's now 2-4-1 in 15 tries with earnings of $54,650.
Maddy's Last Dance finished second in his Sept. 3 debut at Gulfstream Park and collected $8,590, then came back and scored in a $50,000 claimer on Sept. 27 and earned $26,150, a total of $34,740. He'll earn a bunch more before he's finished, as will Maddy's Salsa, along with several more of the stallion's solid runners.
And Two Step Salsa's numbers will continue to reach new heights for the next 90 days.
HALLANDALE BEACH – Well Defined parlayed an easy early lead into an easy victory in the $400,000 In Reality Division of the 2018 Florida Sire Stakes series Saturday at Gulfstream Park, providing Stonehedge Farm’s Gil Campbell and trainer Kathleen O’Connell with their 11th victories in the series for juveniles sired by stallions standing in Florida.
“I don’t keep count, because they’re all very special,” said O’Connell after her first success in the 1 1/16-mile FSS open division finale. The race co-headlined the eight stakes program worth $1.325 million, along with the $400,000 My Dear Girl, the 1 1/16-mile FSS finale for fillies.
Well Defined went right to the lead under Carlos Montalvo and set comfortable fractions of 24.57 and 48.33 seconds for the first half-mile. Garter and Tie, who caught Well Defined by a half-length in the seven-furlong Affirmed last time out, progressed along the backstretch to enter contention heading into the far turn. Emisael Jaramillo sent Garter and Tie after the pacesetter on the turn but was never able to make a serious threat as Campbell’s homebred gelding drew off to a 7 ½-length score in 1:44.47.
“Unbelievable horse," Montalvo said. "For the distance he relaxed even more. Miss O’Connell did an amazing job with him in the morning teaching him to relax with the pony. When we got to the backside he let me set to cruise control and catch our breath, so when we got to the front side it was over. I didn’t have to ask him, it was an amazing ride.”
Garter and Tie, the 7-5 favorite, finished second, 14 ½ lengths ahead of Gump.
Well Defined is a son of With Distinction and broke his maiden at first asking at 4 ½ furlongs on June 2 before finishing third in an optional claiming allowance, then second in the Affirmed. He's been a work in progress. “He’s always shown he has a lot of talent," O'Connell said. "He was like a mischievous Dennis the Menace. It’s just getting it all together at the right time." Well Defined raised his earnings to $317,600 on a record of 2-1-1 in his four starts.
Although Well Defined was unable to hold off Garter and Tie in the second leg of the FSS series, O’Connell had no qualms about his ability to carry his speed around two turns. “I actually liked him better going farther," she said. "To me it’s so much easier on a horse rather all the hoopla going short." O’Connell recently saddled the 2,000th winner of her career to rank second all-time among women trainers.
She was noncommittal when asked if Well Defined could be headed to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3. “I’m going to enjoy today, as I’m sure [Mr. Campbell] will, and go from there,” she said. “We’ll see how he comes out of the race and come up with a plan that makes sense.”
HALLANDALE BEACH – Jockey Emisael Jaramillo, trainers Victor Barboza Jr. and Armando De La Cerda, and owner Arindel were honored at Gulfstream Park Sunday on closing day of the Summer Meet.
Jaramillo topped the jockey standings with 64 winners. The 41-year-old veteran, who was the winningest rider in Venezuelan history before moving to South Florida in 2015, has ridden 671 winners in North America. He also won the 2017 Gulfstream Park West title.
Barboza Jr. and De La Cerda tied for first in the trainer’s race after De La Cerda saddled Cool Mover ($3) for a victory in Sunday’s sixth race. Barboza Jr., who finished in a three-way tie for the Spring Meet Title with Oscar Gonzalez and Todd Pletcher, also captured the 2017 Summer Meet title.
Arindel, which captured Saturday’s $400,000 My Dear Girl with Cookie Dough, repeated as Summer Meet leading owner with 13 winners and $1 million in purse earnings. Arindel also topped the Spring Meet standings.
Racing resumes Wednesday at Gulfstream Park West. First-race post time is set for 1:15 p.m.
Gulfstream Park West’s Fall Turf Festival will be highlighted by the Sunshine Millions Preview program on Nov. 10, when eight stakes for Florida-bred horses will be contested for purses of $75,000. The Showing Up for 3-year-olds and the Cellars Shiraz for 3-year-old fillies will both be run at a mile on turf Nov. 3.
The 2018-2019 Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park will get under way Dec. 1.Rainbow 6 Mandatory
Payout Marks Summer Meet End
Closing Day of the Summer Meet was marked by a mandatory payout of the 20-cent Rainbow 6. Betting on the popular multi-race wager started with a carryover jackpot of $137,215, generating an additional handle of $807,047. Multiple tickets with all six winners in the six-race sequence that spanned Races 6-11 were each worth $71.31.
The Rainbow 6 had gone unsolved for eight racing days after the multi-race wager was hit Sept. 15 for a $244,778.08 jackpot payoff.
The Rainbow 6 will start anew on Wednesday’s opening-day program at Gulfstream West with a six-race sequence that will span races 3-8 including an optional claiming allowance in race 7. Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained Apostle, a 3-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro who was purchased for $900,000 at the 2017 OBS March sale, came off a sixth-month layoff to break his maiden at a mile at Gulfstream Aug. 23 in his third lifetime start. Edgard Zayas has the return mount.
HALLANDALE BEACH – Gulfstream Park’s Summer Meet will close this weekend with more than $1 million in stakes purses, the finals of the Florida Sire Stakes, mandatory payouts, the inaugural running of The Stronach 5, and a celebration of bourbons, local craft beers, and barbeque bites and sliders.
The action begins today with the introduction of The Stronach 5, a national $1 wager featuring five races at four tracks with a guaranteed pool of $50,000 and an industry-low takeout of 12 percent. The opening leg of The Stronach 5 begins at 5:26 p.m. with Race 9 at Laurel. The sequence includes two races from Gulfstream, one from Santa Anita and one from Golden Gate Fields.
Saturday’s 14-race program begins at noon and includes the finals of the Florida Sire Stakes with the $400,000 In Reality and $400,000 My Dear Girl. The program includes eight stakes races and 152 entries (including also eligibles).
Gulfstream will also play host to its final Taste of the Track in Ten Palms Restaurant featuring tastings of hand selected bourbons, local craft beers and BBQ bites and sliders. For more information go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bourbon-beer-bbq-tickets-49909343189
Gulfstream will close its summer meet Sunday with mandatory payouts of its Rainbow 6, Late Pick 5 and Super Hi 5.
Live racing moves to Gulfstream Park West Wednesday with a 1:15 p.m. first race post.
HALLANDALE BEACH – Bob Baffert doesn’t know who he may saddle in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational or $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf, but one thing is for certain. “I’ll be there with something,” Baffert said.
Baffert isn’t the only one who plans on being at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 26 for the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series. Trainer Todd Pletcher is hoping to bring Florida Derby and Holy Bull winner Audible back to South Florida for the Pegasus and possibly Man o’War and Pan American winner Hi Happy for the World Cup Turf.
Chad Brown, who saddled the filly Stellar Wind in the 2018 edition of the Pegasus, said he would “love to have horses in both races.”
In just two years, the Pegasus has grown into a major racing event – “It’s very positive they’re having it and it’s still a lot of money,” Baffert said, and the addition of the Pegasus World Cup Turf is expected to turn the day into an international day of racing.
“The new turf race is exciting,” said Brown, who set a record for most wins by a trainer this summer at Saratoga. “I think the timing of the race and the distance (1 3/16 miles) makes a lot of sense. I have some prospects in mind, but there’s a lot of time between now and then and we’ll have to hope those horses stay healthy and continue to develop.”
The addition of the World Turf Cup “can hopefully bring some European and international runners and, between the two races, multiply who shows up,” Pletcher said. But he also says both of the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational races are contested at the right time on the calendar. “If you look at a horse like [2018 Pegasus winner] Gun Runner, it gives them one more opportunity to run a race before they go to stud for a significant purse. It also ties in well with the Dubai World Cup.”
“It gives you an opportunity for a horse that’s maybe not had such a long campaign, maybe a horse who got started a little later in the year who’s rounding into form and it gives them an opportunity for a good purse,” Brown said. “For horses who have had a long season there is a little bit of a dilemma. Do you keep going or give them the rest you had planned? They’re awfully big races, both of them are, and with huge prize money at stake. So if you have a horse good enough, you would almost have to keep him going and point toward the race. It would be really hard to sit out with one of the main contenders.”
Along with a day of world-class racing, the Pegasus has also become one of sport’s most colorful days, attracting new fans, celebrities, and major entertainment. “It’s a fun day,” said Baffert, who saddled inaugural Pegasus winner Arrogate. “You can tell everyone in the grandstand is having fun. It’s a good crowd. Plus, [The Stronach Group’s Chairman and President] Belinda [Stronach] brought in [multi-platinum recording artist] Post Malone. They had a tent and I got to hang out there. It’s a big deal. It’s an event. I think it’s very important these things get off the ground.”
Pletcher agreed Pegasus has been a success. “You can tell by the crowds it’s attracted, the handle it’s attracted. It’s something the racing world is watching,” he said. “Any time you bring a huge purse like that it attracts attention in the community. It brings people to the races that could just be casual race goers. They want to show up for those marquee events. It certainly attracts a new crowd, a different crowd that you normally don’t get, which is important because you want new people to go to the races."
The new position on the calendar provides horsemen a stakes opportunity before the kickoff of the Gulfstream Park Championship meeting and the Tampa Bay Downs opening. The two OBS stakes are non-wagering events, but there will be pari-mutuel wagering available on eight additional races. Entries will be taken on Tuesday, Nov. 13.
The stakes races for OBS graduates will be run over six furlongs with a guaranteed purse of $125,000 each. The OBS Sprint and the OBS Filly and Mare Sprint are for 3-year-olds and up. All starters finishing fifth through last will earn $5,000. Supplementary nominations of $500 may be made at time of entry for those horses missing the free nomination deadline. There is a fee of $1,250 to enter and $2,500 to start.
The eight pari-mutuel races will feature quarter horse races for 2-year-olds as well as for 3-year-olds and up at distances from 220 yards to 440 yards. Up to four thoroughbred maiden and starter allowance races may be used as substitute races. Purses range from $4,000 to $7,000 with all starters guaranteed a minimum of $200.
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.