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Bernie's Blog

Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Richest U. S. Purse Outside of Breeders' Cup . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Korea Racing Authority’s Knicks Go is scheduled to seek the biggest payday of his career in Saturday’s $3 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational at Gulfstream Park while also pursuing lucrative future considerations.

    “It’s a very prestigious race. It hasn’t been around that long, but with the likes of Gun Runner, Arrogate and City of Light, there are champions that have won this race. It means a whole lot. It’s a race that can make a stallion, and we’re still trying to do that with Knicks Go,” trainer Brad Cox said. “He’ll be a stallion at some point. This would mean a lot and do a lot for his value as a stallion. Not only is it a great purse, but it’s going to add a lot of value if he’s able to win the race.”

    The Pegasus, which will be contested at 1 1/8 miles for the richest purse for older horses in North America not associated with the Breeders’ Cup, and the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), a 1 3/16-mile turf feature for older horses, will co-headline a 12-race program that will also offer the $200,000 Inside Information (G2), $125.000 Fred W. Hooper (G3), $125,000 William. L. McKnight (G3), $125,000 La Prevoyante (G3) and the $125,000 Marsha’s River (G3). First-race post time is set for 11:40 a.m. Advance wagering on the Pegasus program will be available on Friday. The late Pick 4 and Late Pick 5 pools will both be guaranteed at $750,000.

    Knicks Go will enter the fifth running of the Pegasus off three straight victories in as many starts in 2020, including a track record-breaking triumph under Joel Rosario in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt (G2) at Keeneland. Installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite in a field of 12 after drawing Post. No. 4 Wednesday, Knicks Go will have to prove himself by trying to carry his abundant speed beyond 1 1/16-miles, the longest distance he has run during his 17-race career. 

     “I haven’t raced a lot at Gulfstream, but I think speed is always a good thing there. I’m a big believer that speed is good at a mile and an eighth and beyond - obviously it depends on how much other speed is in the race. But I think he can get it. I think he’s a horse that once he gets free and loose, he runs with a lot of confidence,” Cox said. “I’m excited. I really do think he’ll handle a mile and an eighth. In his three races with us last year, there was horse left. In the Breeders’ Cup, Joel reached up and grabbed him four or five jumps from the wire, so he was still going.”

    Knicks Go is in the middle of a career resurgence since joining Cox’s stable in 2020. The Maryland-bred son of Paynter was a top 2-year-old in 2018, capturing the 1 1/16-mile Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland by 5 ½ lengths and finishing second behind Game Winner in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Churchill Downs. However, he went winless in 10 starts after his Breeders’ Futurity score.

     Knicks Go registered a front-running 7 ½-length victory for Cox in a Feb. 22 optional claiming allowance at Oaklawn Park before heading to the sidelines for seven months. He returned to action with a sensational 10 ¼-length romp in a Oct. 4 optional claiming allowance at Keeneland, encouraging his connections to give the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile a try. Knicks Go came through with a spectacular 3 ½-length, front-running victory in the track-record time of 1:33.85. Rosario has been awarded the return call. 

     W. S. Farish’s Code of Honor, a graded-stakes winner over the Gulfstream Park track, was rated second in the morning-line at 9-2 after drawing Post. No. 10. The Shug McGaughey-trained 5-year-old captured the 2019 Fountain of Youth (G2) before finishing third behind Maximum Security in the both the Florida Derby (G1) and the Kentucky Derby (G1). He went on to win the Travers (G1) at Saratoga and the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) via the disqualification of Vino Rossi at Belmont Park.

     After winning the June 6 Westchester at Belmont to open his 2021 campaign, Code of Honor has been winless in four starts that include a third-place finish in the Met Mile (G1) at Belmont, a troubled fourth in the Whitney (G1) at Keeneland, a runner-up finish in the Kelso at Belmont, and a second-place finish in the Clark (G1) at Churchill Downs.

     “In the Clark, he was bottled up there. By the time he got loose, the race was pretty much over. Before that, going a mile, Chad’s horse [Complexity] kind of controlled what was going on. I think Javier [Castellano] knew he had to be closer and move a little sooner,” trainer Shug McGaughey said. “The Whitney was a throw out. His first race was good. I probably shouldn’t have run him in the Metropolitan Mile. He was wide and Vekoma got the trip. He’s a nice horse. Maybe this will be his day”

    Tyler Gaffalione is scheduled to ride Code of Honor for the first time. “Obviously, he rides this racetrack very well and he’s very familiar with it,” McGaughey said. “He’s a very patient rider and that’s what Code of Honor wants, so I’m pleased to have him.”

    Randy Hill, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Hugh Lynch’s Tax is set to make his second straight start in the Pegasus, in which he finished off the board after stumbling at the start last year. The 5-year-old son of Arch, one of two returning Pegasus entrants, is coming off a dominating 4 ½-length victory in the Dec. 12 Harlan’s Holiday (G3) at Gulfstream.

    “He’s better now than he’s ever been. We always knew he was a really good horse. He’s grown and developed into a better horse than he was last year. I think with age he’s getting better and getting stronger, healthier,” Gargan said. “He has a few little issues we had to work through, and he’s gotten through them. I’m expecting a big performance.”

    Luis Saez has the return mount aboard Tax, who drew Post No. 7 and was rated third at 5-1.

    Jim Bakke and Jerry Isbister’s Mr Freeze will seek to improve on a second-place finish behind Mucho Gusto in last year’s Pegasus. The Dale Romans-trained 6-year-old came right back from his big run in the Pegasus with a three-length victory in the Gulfstream Park Mile (G2). The son of To Honor and Serve has won one of six subsequent graded-stakes starts, capturing the 1 1/8-mile Fayette (G2) Oct. 10 sat Keeneland before finishing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and fifth in the Clark.

    Mr Freeze was rated at 15-1 after drawing post No. 11.

    “Mr Freeze has plenty of gas, so he can get out and settle where he needs to be. It’s a pretty fair race going a mile and an eighth here no matter where you draw,” said Romans, who named John Velazquez to ride. “He loves this racetrack.”

    Romans is also scheduled to saddle Albaugh Family Stables LLC and Helen K. Groves Revocable Trust’s Coastal Defense for the Pegasus. The 5-year-old son of Curlin finished fourth in both the Fayette and Clark in his last two starts and is also rated at 15-1. Corey Lanerie has the mount.

    "He is a grinder, so hopefully he can drop over before the first turn," Romans added.

    Thumbs Up Racing LLC’s Sleepy Eyes Todd, who is rated at 8-1 in the morning line, enters the Pegasus off a half-length victory in the seven-furlong Mr. Prospector Dec. 19 at Gulfstream, but the 5-year-old son of Paddy O’Prado was a front-running winner in the 1 1/8-mile Charles Town Classic (G2) in August.

    “I love the mile and an eighth,” trainer Miguel Silva said. “He already won at that distance and he performed really good at that distance. We’re just hoping that we have a different kind of trip. We don’t want to be on the lead and hopefully we can pick up horses at the end.”

    Jose Ortiz is scheduled to ride Sleepy Eyes Todd for the first time.

    Grupo 7C Racing Stable’s Jesus’ Team is rated at 10-1 in the morning-line for the Pegasus on the strength of a pair of Grade 1 placings last year. After winning a $32,000 maiden claiming race at Gulfstream last March, the son of Tapiture went on the road to finish third in the Preakness (G1) and second behind Knicks Go in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. The 4-year-old over-achiever returned to Gulfstream to prepare for a start in the Pegasus with a victory in the Claiming Crown Jewel Dec. 5.

    Jesus’ Team is trained by Jose D’Angelo, a former leading trainer in Venezuela before venturing to South Florida in 2019,

    “It’s very exciting. It is the most important race of our calendar in South Florida at Gulfstream Park,” D’Angelo said. “I think it’s a big test for both me and Jesus.” Irad Ortiz Jr., who rode Mucho Gusto to victory last year, is scheduled to ride Jesus’ Team for the first time Saturday.

    Trainer Michael McCarthy, who saddled City of Light for a 5 ¾-length romp in the 2019 Pegasus, is scheduled to saddle Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Twin Creek Racing Stables LLC, Robert and Kathleen Verratti’s Independence Hall. The 4-year-old son of Constitution, who finished fifth in last year’s Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream, came off a seven-month layoff to win a Nov. 8 allowance at Del Mar before finishing fifth in the seven-furlong Malibu (G1) at Santa Anita last time out.

    “There are a lot of unknowns with the horse. Can he handle a mile and an eighth? His one race at Gulfstream was just OK,” McCarthy said. “So, there are a lot of unknowns going into this.” Flavien Prat has the call.

    John Sondereker’s Kiss Today Goodbye enters the Pegasus after winning his first stakes in the Dec. 26 San Antonio (G2) at Santa Anita. The Eric Kruljac-trained 4-year-old son of Cairo Prince is rated at 12-1. Mike Smith, who rode Arrogate to victory in the 2018 Pegasus, has the call.

    Harpers First Ride, who has been privately purchased since his last start by GMP Stables LLC, Cypress Creek Equine and Arnold Bennewith, will seek his fifth stakes victory in six starts Saturday. The Claudio Gonzalez-trained 5-year-old son of Paynter will be ridden by regular jockey Angel Cruz.

    John Fanelli and partners’ Math Wizard will seek his first victory since capturing the 2019 Pennsylvania Derby (G1) in the Pegasus. The Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained 5-year-old son of Algorithms will be ridden by Edgard Zayas.

    Michael Dubb, Steve Hornstock, Bethlehem Stables LLC and Nice Guys Racing’s Last Judgment, who captured the Jan. 16 Sunshine Classic by 6 ½ lengths at Gulfstream Park, drew into the field upon the withdrawal of True Timber. The Michael Maker trainee will be ridden by Paco Lopez.
Monday, January 18, 2021
Ortiz wins five on Sunday card . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Pegasus Week at Gulfstream Park will kick off Wednesday with a guaranteed jackpot pool of $750,000 for the 20-cent Rainbow 6.

    The multi-race wager went unsolved for the sixth racing day following a Jan. 9 mandatory payout. Multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $16,505 Sunday.


    There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $5,815.

    Entries for next Saturday’s $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational and $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational will be taken on Wednesday. The post-position draw will be live-streamed at 11:45 a.m. on gulfstreampark.com.


    The Pegasus and Pegasus Turf will be featured on a 12-race program with five supporting stakes, including the $200,000, Gr. II Inside Information, the $125,000, Gr. III Fred W. Hooper, the $150,000, Gr. III W. L. McKnight, the $125,000, Gr. III Marshua’s River and the $125,000 La Prevoyante. First-race post time is set for 11:40 a.m.

    Leading up to Pegasus World Cup Day, there will be a $97,891 carryover for Friday’s Stronach 5 multi-race, multi-track wager.

WHO’S HOT:  Two-time defending Championship Meet titlist Irad Ortiz Jr. rode five winners on Sunday’s program, scoring aboard Templet ($8.40) in Race 3, Snackster ($25) in Race 6, Traffic Pattern ($3.80) in Race 7, and Zanno ($5.60) in Race 9 before capping his big day with a victory aboard Bohemian Boy ($7.40) in Race 12.
Saturday, January 16, 2021
It's also first Tampa stakes score for Ademar Santos . . .
    OLDSMAR - Leading Tampa Bay Downs jockey Samy Camacho welcomed the chance to ride the Pasco Stakes favorite, 3-year-old colt Nova Rags, for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. But when 16-1 shot Newyearsblockparty took the lead turning for home, Camacho realized translating opportunity to success was no easy bargain.

    “I was a little worried at the three-eighths pole, because (Newyearsblockparty) was going between horses and I had to start working,” Camacho said after posting a 2 ¾-length victory aboard the 13-10 favorite. “But I hit him once at the top of the stretch and he responded, and when he switched leads in the stretch it was ‘Bye.’ ”

    Nova Rags’s performance was one of numerous highlights on a partly sunny, windy Skyway Festival Day afternoon. In the previous race, the 37th running of the $125,000 Gasparilla Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, Special Princess staged a whirlwind rally on the outside to forge a dead heat with pace-setter Adios Trippi.

    Both Special Princess and Adios Trippi are Florida-breds, meaning both earned $32,500 through additional money provided by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association. Special Princess, bred and owned by Jim DiMare's J D Farms and trained by Walter Woodard, was ridden by Ademar Santos. The co-winners finished in a time of 1:24.89. Feeling Mischief, the betting favorite, flattened out through the stretch, finishing third.

    All of the winning connections were ecstatic after the Gasparilla, even though a solo victory is always preferable. It marked the first career stakes triumph for Woodard, the first stakes triumph at Tampa Bay Downs for Santos and gave Bahamian Squall, who stands at Double Diamond Farm for Donald Dizney, his first stakes-winner. 

    “This puts me on the map,” Woodard said. “I told everyone before the race they were going to know she was there, and Ademar did a hell of a job. She’s really come into herself and I was very confident coming into the race.”

    Santos was riding Special Princess for the first time, but he’d noticed she had started slowly in her two previous Oldsmar starts and suggested to Woodard they work her from the starting gate a few days before the race to put more speed into her. “She broke a lot better today and got the job done,” Santos said. “I thought we beat her, but it feels good because you don’t have too many chances to ride this kind of horse. I told the pony rider to turn her loose in the post parade and she put her head down and got busy, and I knew she had her mind on business.”

    Woodard and Santos had teamed to win the previous race on the card, the fifth, with 3-year-old claiming filly Peaceful Way, also owned by J D Farms.











Saturday, January 16, 2021
Wins Sunshine Sprint for Yates at $31.60 . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Under a well-orchestrated ride by Miguel Vasquez, 14-1 shot Cajun Brother edged defending champion and 3-2 favorite Extravagant Kid by a neck today in the Sunshine Millions Sprint at Gulfstream Park.

     Cajun Brother paid $31.60 for his first career stakes score. It was a satisfying all-in-the-family victory for trainer-owner Michael Yates, who also bred the 4-year-old gelding at his Shadybrook Farm. Yates trained and co-owns the sire Cajun Breeze and earned $70,105, which includes a $25,000 bonus for Florida Sire Stakes-eligible horses. 

     “It just looked like a place to go with him,” Yates said. “I’ve always felt he’s this caliber.” Cajun Brother is now 4-0-1 in eight starts with earnings of $163,005. 

     Cajun Brother ventured out of Florida for the first time in November and ended up a well-beaten sixth in the Perryville Stakes on the Breeders’ Cup weekend program at Keeneland. Following an encouraging performance in his most recent start on Dec. 13 at Gulfstream, Yates decided to try the Sunshine Millions Sprint.

     “We bit off little more than we could chew shipping to Kentucky,” Yates said. “His last race he ran a good race, a beaten third, but not far. He just progressed and trained well since. It was just the next step.”


     Breaking toward the outside in the eight-horse field, Vazquez was able to put Cajun Breeze in a contending inside position right behind early leader Inter Miami, who got the first quarter in :22:32 seconds. Extravagant Kid, an 8-year-old with eight stakes victories surged into the lead along the rail on the turn. Meanwhile, Vazquez and Cajun Brother settled in the fourth spot, a couple of lengths off the pace through a half-mile in :45.69.

     Extravagant Kid entered the stretch with a comfortable 1 ½-length lead, but Vazquez had already moved his horse three wide and had him poised to make a run. Cajun Brother caught and passed Extravagant Kid inside the sixteenth pole and finished the six furlongs in 1:10.97. With Verve was third.

    Cajun Brother is from the first crop of horses sired by Cajun Breeze, who was second in the 2012 Florida Sunshine Millions Sprint for Yates. The son of Congrats stands at co-owner Gilbert Campbell's Stonehedge Farm in Williston for a private fee and has done well for Campbell, too, especially in the Florida Sire Stakes with Breeze On By, winner of the 2020 Dr. Fager and Affirmed, and second in the In Reality, and the stallion's leading earner with $303,000.

    ”He’s throwing runners,” Yates said. “He’s a horse a man can make a living with. He throws a good athletic horse and they’re just runners. They’re nice horses."
Thursday, January 14, 2021
Multiple GSW pointing Gr. III Honey Fox . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Multiple Grade 1-stakes winner Got Stormy is being pointed to the $125,000, Gr. III Honey Fox Feb. 27 at Gulfstream Park after breezing ‘extremely well’ at trainer Mark Casse’s training center in Ocala Wednesday morning.

    The 6-year-old daughter of Get Stormy breezed a half-mile in 48.40 seconds while tuning up for her scheduled 2021 debut in the mile turf stakes on the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth undercard.

    “I’m going to move her to Palm Meadows soon so she can start breezing over the turf,” Casse said.

    Got Stormy, who broke her maiden over the Gulfstream turf course on Feb. 25, 2018, beat the boys in the 2019 Gr. I Fourstardave at Saratoga and went on to win the 2019 Gr. I Matriarch at Del Mar.

    Last season, Got Stormy won the Gr. III Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint and the Gr. III Franklin County at Keeneland back-to-back before completing her 2021 campaign with a fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Keeneland.

    Got Stormy, who formerly campaigned for Gary Barber, was sold for $2,750,000 to Spendthrift Farm at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Mixed Sale in November.

    “She went through the sale," Casse said. "She has a new owner – Spendthrift bought her. We brought her to Ocala, as we always do. She had time off. She’s ready. She gets so excited when she starts training and she worked extremely well this morning."

Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Guaranteed: The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $300,000 today. The  multi-race wager went unsolved for the second racing day following Saturday’s mandatory payout. Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $11,760 Wednesday.

WHO’S HOT:  Corey Lanerie made three visits to the winner’s circle after scoring aboard Fuego Caliente ($32) in Race 1, Ludington ($10) in Race 3 and Bimini ($8.40) in Race 4. Trainer Peter Walder saddled Ludington and Bimini.
Sunday, January 10, 2021
Ultimate 6 hit for $113,641 . . .
    OLDSMAR - When they discussed the Lambholm South Race of the Week Saturday morning, trainer Michael Trombetta instructed jockey Daniel Centeno to try to break sharply aboard the speedy 3-year-old colt Arzak and hustle him to the lead.

    “I told him I thought he would find himself on the lead, because he has sprinter’s speed,” Trombetta said from Maryland, where he won two races at Laurel. “But that all went out the window as soon as the doors opened.”

    However, Centeno said he wasn’t overly concerned when Arzak broke tardily from the outside, forcing the rider to play catch-up in the 1-mile allowance/optional claiming turf event.

    “I was surprised he broke a little slow, but I think that helped me,” Centeno said after Arzak rolled to a 3 ¼-length victory on the turf in a time of 1:36.02. “Coming from sprinting to going two turns for the first time, he relaxed pretty well. On the backside, he was dragging me all the way, and when I asked him at the quarter pole he responded really well and finished strong. He is an easy horse to ride and it worked out perfect."

    Joe Man Joe finished second and Major Frontier was third in the eight-horse field.

BIG SCORE: The 20-cent Ultimate 6 was hit for $113,641, with a lone bettor correctly selecting all six winners of races 5-through-10. The numbers were 7-9-3-9-8-9. Everyone else starts anew today.

    Arzak’s victory was his second in three career starts. The son of Not This Time-Delightful Melody, by Tapit, was purchased by Marc Tacher’s Sonata Stable at the 2020 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s Spring Sale of 2-year-olds for $575,000.

    After Arzak finished off the board in his career debut on Oct. 7 sprinting on the main track at Delaware, he won going wire-to-wire in a 12-horse field on Nov. 8, sprinting 6 furlongs in 1:09.84 on the synthetic Tapeta surface at Woodbine.

    “He didn’t run well on the dirt, and that’s why we went all the way to Woodbine with him,” Trombetta said. “The big questions today were how far he would go and if he would like the turf, and he sure seemed to. We might look at training him up to the Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream” (on the grass on Feb. 27).

    Being able to handle the turf and winning for fun while going around two turns for the first time are signs that racing fans will be hearing from Arzak on even bigger stages down the line.

AROUNDTHE OVAL: Count trainer Monica McGoey among those folks glad the calendar has turned to 2021. She has won with four of her five starters this month, with Clarist’s maiden-breaking victory in the seventh race giving the conditioner her third consecutive victory. The 4-year-old Florida-bred filly is owned by Jose Rosales and was ridden by Manny Jimenez.



 

 
Saturday, January 9, 2021
Gaffalione wins 3, including Tropical Turf . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Winning tickets on Gulfstream Park’s mandatory payout of the 20-cent Rainbow 6 today were each worth $14,626. There was $5,353,843 of new money bet into the pool.

    The Rainbow 6 begins anew Sunday with a $100,000 guaranteed pool beginning with the sixth race, an allowance optional claiming event at 1 1/16 miles on the turf featuring a field of six. The first race in the sequence is followed by a maiden special weight event at five furlongs on the turf for 3-year-old fillies. There were four turf races in today’s Rainbow 6.

  There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover Sunday of $8,740.

WHO’S HOT: Tyler Gaffalione rode three winners for the afternoon, capping the day with his victory aboard Ride a Comet in the Gr. III Tropical Turf.  Gaffalione also won the third race with Shadwell Stable’s first-time starter, Lamutanaatty, a 3-year-old son of Into Mischief, and the allowance optional claimer fourth race with Bluegrass Parkway.

    Trainer Bill Mott had a pair of 3-year-olds break their maidens. Frank Fletcher Racing Operations Inc.’s Candy Man Rocket, a son of Candy Ride making his second start, ran away from eight others to win over six furlongs by 9 ¼ lengths in 1:11.28. Donald Dizney’s homebred Simovitch won going a mile by 3 ½ lengths while covering the distance in 1:39.04.

Friday, January 8, 2021
Entries to be taken for Jan. 15 . . .
    BERKELEY, CA - “1/ST RACING has announced that Golden Gate Fields will resume live racing on Friday, Jan. 15. After extensive testing in collaboration with the Berkeley Public Health Division, it has been determined that the COVID-19 concerns on the campus have decreased to levels to allow the resumption of live racing.

    Golden Gate Fields is indebted to both the Berkeley Public Health Division and the Alameda County Public Health Department for their assistance and advice during the period of temporary closure.


    As the Golden Gate Fields Racing Office remains closed for in-person business, entries will be taken via telephone for racing on Friday, Jan. 15 on Tuesday, Jan. 12.

    "As part of the continued COVID-19 safety protocols in place at Golden Gate Fields, we are unable to allow owners to attend training or live racing as we begin this meet. We will continue to monitor this situation and will update the Thoroughbred Owners of California of any changes to this policy.”
Friday, January 8, 2021
Stronach 5 spans three tracks . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $1.5 million today at Gulfstream Park.

    The multi-race wager went unsolved for the 12th racing day Thursday, and multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $9,895
.

    There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $17,997.

    A mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 pool is scheduled for Saturday.

Stronach 5 Has Two on the Turf from Gulfstream:

    Today’s Stronach 5 features races from Santa Anita Park, Laurel Park and Gulfstream Park and an industry-low 12-percent takeout.

    The featured races from Gulfstream will be races nine and 10, both on the Gulfstream turf. Analysts and hosts from Laurel, Santa Anita and Gulfstream have come up with a $108 Stronach 5 ticket.

    All-Star Ticket: https://www.xbtv.com/video/stronach-5/stronach-5-all-star-ticket-for-january-8th-2021/  

WHO’S HOT: Edgard Zayas continued his breakthrough Championship Meet Thursday with two trips to the winner’s circle, scoring aboard Tonalism ($4) in Race 3 and Ninja Dust ($26.40) in Race 5.
Thursday, January 7, 2021
Nevada resident wins $1,000 in 10 Days of Festivus . . .
    OLDSMAR - The first time Frank Mazur came to Tampa Bay Downs – 57 or 58 years ago, when the track was called Sunshine Park – he made money. He took numerous vacations to the area over the years to escape the Chicago winters, and developed an enduring affection for everything the oval had to offer.

    “It felt like a home away from home. How do you explain something like that. … it was like I belonged there,” he said. “Everybody was real friendly, and I always felt comfortable there.”

    Mazur’s passion over the decades was duly rewarded when he won the track-sponsored “10 Days of Festivus” Online Handicapping Contest, finishing with a final bankroll amount of $113.30. His selection of Whispering Rose proved the difference when the (then)-3-year-old filly won the fourth race on Christmas Eve by a head, paying $8.60, $5.40 and $3.

    Before settling on Whispering Rose, he asked two friends for their input, and both told him to choose her. The victory enabled Mazur, an 81-year-old retiree now living in Henderson, Nevada with his wife Dana and son David, to edge contest runner-up Bob Diver of Niagara on the Lake in Ontario by $3.50.

    Mazur collected $1,000 for the victory and Diver won $500. They topped a field of more than 700 handicappers who competed in the event.

    “It’s a hard contest to win, and if you’re a horse player, it’s a great accomplishment,” said Mazur, who never had to use a lifeline since each of his picks finished in the money over the 10 days of the contest.

    “The racing at Tampa was very formful during that period, and I think a lot of people got eliminated going for long shots," Mazur said. "Obviously there is an element of luck involved, but for whatever reason things fell into place. There were two or three times I had to make a hard decision between horses, and I guessed right.

    Mazur looks at class and speed when handicapping and doesn’t pay much attention to the jockeys. “”When the horses start riding the jockeys and trainers, I’ll pay more attention to that. The only thing you want from the jockey is not to fall off,” he said.

    Mazur, who has entered “eight or 10” handicapping contests at Tampa Bay Downs, said it remains his favorite simulcast signal. “I’d say 90 percent of the bets I make are on Tampa. I hold my own,” he said. “My losses would be very minor, and the entertainment value would be way ahead.”

    And the memories? They are priceless.

AROUND THE OVAL - The Goddess Lyssa put on quite a show yesterday in her first start as a 4-year-old, scooting to the lead at the break in the second race and romping to a 10-length victory under jockey Daniel Centeno in 1:09.33 for 6 furlongs, .66 seconds off the track record. The race was a conditional allowance/optional claiming contest for fillies and mares 4-years-old-and-upward.

    Bred at Journeyman Stud by Brent and Crystal Fernung, The Goddess Lyssa is owned by Team Equistaff and trained by Gerald Bennett. She improved to 4-for-6, having finished third on Dec. 12 in the FTBOA City of Ocala Florida Sire Stakes.

    Centeno rode another filly who appears to have a big upside, 3-year-old Oyster Box. She had little problem dispatching of four others in the fifth race, an allowance/optional claiming race at a mile on the turf. Centeno found an opening at the top of the stretch and Oyster Box rolled right through, winning by 2 ½ lengths from Funwhileitlasted in a time of 1:36.75.

    Oyster Box, a daughter of Tapit out of the multiple graded stakes-winning Dynaformer mare Starformer, is 2-for-2 for owner Gainesway Stable and trainer H. Graham Motion.











Tuesday, January 5, 2021
Journeyman stallion's progeny earnings just short of $3.5 million . . .

    After dominating Florida's freshman sire list for 2019, Journeyman Stud's Khozan came right back and made it no contest on the state's general sire list of 2020

    The son of Distorted Humor racked up progeny earnings of $3,496,717 in a year marked by less racing days, less races, and diminished purses. Arindel Farm's Brethren was a distant second with $2,250,607, still impressive because a large majority of his runners are home-breds. 

    Third on the list is Double Diamond Farm's consistent First Dude with $2,178,255, more than $300,000 ahead of Ocala Stud Farm's Adios Charlie ($1,847,153).

    There are 12 stallions who reached earnings of more than $1 million, three of them from Ocala Stud. Pleasant Acres Stallions is next with two, and Arindel, Journeyman, Double Diamond and Northwest Stud have one each. The other three in the top 12 are Big Drama, who has no doubt set some kind of record with respect to the number of Marion County farms at which he has resided, Soldat, who is merely listed in the Blood-Horse as 'moved,' and Field Commission, who performed so respectably for Solera Farm despite a lesser number of foals, and who died recently. 

    Having to go up against the monsters in Kentucky, along with their bands of regally-bred broodmares, only four of Florida's stallions were able to get a graded stakes-winner: Brethren, Adios Charlie, Pleasant Acres' dual hemisphere ace Treasure Beach and Solera's 22-year-old Greatness. 

    Brethren's Cookie Dough won the Gr. III Royal Delta Stakes at Gulfstream Park, while Adios Charlie is the sire of the phenomenal Jean Elizabeth, who won the Gr. III Whimsical at Woodbine. She has captured her last eight in a row dating back to September 21 of 2019, amid a perfect in-the-money career record of 15-4-2 in 21 starts, with earnings of $662,786.

    Treasure Beach can boast of Raymundo's Secret, winner of five of eight career starts with earnings of $200,971, and best in the Gr. II John C. Mabee Stakes at Del Mar. However, he has a slew of Gr. I stakes-winners in Argentina.

    Lady's Island, by Greatness, won the Gr. III Sugar Swirl at Gulfstream less than one month ago and is an incredible 17-5-4 in 34 starts with earnings of $604,195. In 2020 alone, she went 4-2-1 in eight tries.

    On the winners' side, First Dude was easily best from start to finish, and wound up with 64 runners who made it to the winners' circle at least one time. Brethren was second with 53, one ahead of Khozan. Adios Charlie was next with 51, and Northwest Stud's Gone Astray fifth with 44 even though he is severely handicapped by no longer making it into any of the stallion registers. 

    There were only two real members of the freshman class, and Ocala Stud's Jess's Dream defeated Pleasant Acres' Ride On Curlin, 7 to 3. There will be several more on the list for 2021.  

          

       

    

    

Monday, January 4, 2021
12 Gr. I and Gr. II winners on list . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Bob Baffert-trained Mucho Gusto and Charlatan are among a dozen Gr. 1 and Gr. II winners on a list of 16 horses invited to the $3 million, Gr. I Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park.

    The fifth running of the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus, won previously by Longines World’s Best Racehorse Arrogate (2017), Horse of the Year Gun Runner (2018), Breeders’ Cup Mile winner City of Light and Mucho Gusto (2020), will be run Saturday, Jan. 23 along with the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1).

    Limited seating is available and tickets can be purchased at Pegasusworldcup.com.

    The Pegasus World Cup and Pegasus World Cup Turf will be part of an extraordinary program featuring seven graded stakes, four contested on the turf

     The 12 horses given first preference for the Pegasus World Cup were (in alphabetical order):
 L. McKnight (G3), $125,000 Marshua’s River (G3), $125,000 La Prevoyante (G3) and $125,000 Fred Hooper (G3).
?   Charlatan – Owned by SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Stonestreet Stables LLC, Frederick Hertrich III, John Fielding, Golconda Stables. Trained by Bob Baffert


?   Code of Honor – Owned by W.S. Farish. Trained by Shug McGaughey

?   Harpers First Ride – Owned by MCA Racing Stable LLC. Trained by Claudio Gonzalez


?   Jesus’ Team – Owned by Grupo 7C Racing Stable. Trained by Jose D’Angelo

?   Kiss Today Goodbye – Owned by John Sondereker. Trained by J. Eric Kruljac


?   Knicks Go – Owned by Korea Racing Authority. Trained by Brad Cox

?   Mr Freeze – Owned by Jim Bakke, Gerald Isbister. Trained by Dale Romans

?   Mucho Gusto – Owned by HRH Prince Faisal Bin Khaled. Trained by Bob Baffert


?   Sharp Samurai – Owned by Red Baron’s Barn LLC, Rancho Temescal LLC, Mark Glatt. Trained by Mark Glatt

?   Sleepy Eyes Todd – Owned by Thumbs Up Racing, LLC. Trained by Miguel Angel Silva


?   Tax – Owned by R.A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch. Trained by Danny Gargan

?   True Timber – Owned by Calumet Farm. Trained by Jack Sisterson.


 

            The also eligibles are (in order of preference)

?   Anothertwistafate – Owned by Peter Redekop B.C., Ltd. Trained by Peter Miller

?   Math Wizard – Owned by John Fanelli, Khalid Mishref, Cash is King LLC, LC Racing LLC, Collarmele Vitelli Stables LLC, Ioannis, Zouas, Bassett Stables. Trained by Saffie Joseph Jr.


?   King Guillermo – Owned by Victoria’s Ranch. Trained by Juan Carlos Avila

?   Idol – Owned by Calvin Nguyen. Trained by Richard Baltas


     Baffert, who won the Pegasus last year with Mucho Gusto and the inaugural running with Arrogate, has two chances for a hat trick with his defending champion and Charlatan.

    After his victory in the Pegasus last year Mucho Gusto finished fourth Feb. 29 in the Saudi Cup before Baffert gave the 5-year-old son of Mucho Macho Man time off. He returned Dec. 26 to finish fourth of six in the San Antonio (G2).

    Charlatan was regarded as one of the country’s top 3-year-olds after his performance in the May 2 Arkansas Derby (G1) but he was sidelined with an ankle injury before returning off a seven-month layoff to win the Dec. 26 Malibu Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita.

    Multiple Grade 1 winner Knicks Go enters the Pegasus off three consecutive victories since being moved to the stable of Brad Cox.  The 5-year-old Maryland-bred son of Paynter was an impressive winner last time out of the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).

    Jesus’ Team, second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile and beaten less than a length by Knicks Go, sold for $30,000 as a yearling and has earned $508,940. The Jose D’Angelo-trained 4-year-old finished third in the Preakness (G1) and Jim Dandy (G2) last year.

    Sharp Samurai was beaten a nose by Jesus’ Team for the place in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. The 7-year-old gelding, based at Santa Anita with trainer Mark Glatt, was second last year in the Pacific Classic (G1), Eddie Read (G2) and City of Hope (G2). His last victory was the 2018 City of Hope. Sharp Samurai is also on the invitation list for the Pegasus Turf.

    W.S. Farish’s homebred Code of Honor will be making his 13th consecutive start in a graded race, his ninth in a Grade 1 event. Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, Code of Honor was placed second in the 2019 Kentucky Derby (G1) and went on to win the Travers (G1) and Jockey Club (G1). Code of Honor’s 4-year-old season included a victory in the Westchester (G3) and second-place finishes in the Clark (G1) and Kelso (G2).

    Tax, claimed for $50,000 out of his second career start by trainer Danny Gargan for co-owner Hugh Lynch, will run in his second consecutive Pegasus. The 5-year-old, an impressive winner of the Harlan’s Holiday (G3) at Gulfstream Dec. 12 off a seven-month layoff, was fourth in the 2019 Belmont (G1) and won that year’s Jim Dandy (G2). The son of Arch finished ninth in last year’s Pegasus after stumbling at the start.

    Mr Freeze finished second in last year’s Pegasus World Cup, 4 ½ lengths behind winner Mucho Gusto. Trained by Dale Romans, Mr Freeze went on to win the Fayette Stakes (G2) before wide trips resulted in a sixth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Mile and fifth-place finish in the Clark last time out.

            Calumet Farm is hoping the third time is the charm for True Timber. Seventh in the 2019 edition of the Pegasus and eighth last year, the 7-year-old enters this year’s $3 million edition off a popular victory in the Cigar Mile (G1) Dec. 5 at Aqueduct. It was his first win in 13 starts, since September of 2018.

     Sleepy Eyes Todd won the Mr. Prospector Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park Dec. 19. The 5-year-old son of Paddy O’Prado, who won the Charles Town Classic (G2) in August, has been a model of consistency, winning eight of 15 races while racing at 11 different tracks for trainer Miguel Angel Silva. 

            John Sondereker’s Kiss Today Goodbye, a lightly-raced 4-year-old, upset Mucho Gusto and four others Dec. 26 in the Malibu when he closed from last. Trained by J. Eric Kruljak, Kiss Today Goodbye had finished fifth in the Del Mar Derby (G2) and fourth in the Twilight Derby (G2) earlier in the year.

    Harpers First Ride, a 5-year-old Maryland-bred, enters the Pegasus having won four of his last five starts including a victory in the Pimlico Special (G3). Maryland’s perennial leading trainer Claudio Gonzalez will saddle the son of Paynter.

            Anothertwistafate, winner of the Jan. 2 San Gabriel (G2) at Santa Anita and Sept. 10 Longacres Mile (G3), is No. 1 on the also eligible list. The son of Scat Daddy is also on the invitation list for the Pegasus Turf. Locally-based Math Wizard, a Grade 1 winner who finished second last summer to Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) show finisher Global Campaign in the Monmouth Cup, is second on the AE list while King Guillermo, owned by former Major League Baseball all-star Victor Martinez, and Idol, second in the San Antonio, round out the list.
Saturday, January 2, 2021
Potential for $20,000 in prize money . . .
    OLDSMAR - Tampa Bay Downs will turn into a proving ground for top handicappers on Saturday, Jan. 9 at the third annual High Rollers Handicapping Contest, which features a potential first-place prize of $20,000.

    The contest is open to anyone willing to put up a $1,000 stake to compete (participants may bankroll up to two entries). Each entry requires a $1,000 deposit, of which $500 serves as the player’s wagering bankroll and $500 goes to the prize pool. Any dollar amount remaining in a player’s bankroll at the conclusion of the contest goes directly to them, meaning all of the prize money is returned to the entrants.

    Wagers will be limited to win, place and/or show, with each player required to bet $100 on each of five races on the card. Anyone wagering on less or more than five races will be disqualified. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top five finishers, with $20,000 to the winner, or 50 percent of the prize pool if there are fewer than 100 entrants; $8,000/20 percent to the second-place finisher; $6,000/15 percent to third; $4,000/10 percent to fourth; and $2,000/5 percent to fifth.

    Only races at Tampa Bay Downs on Jan. 9 will be included in the contest, and players must wager at the contest site. The first and second-place finishers will claim a seat in either of the next two National Thoroughbred Racing Association National Handicapping Championships in Las Vegas (this year’s event is currently scheduled for Aug. 27-29 at Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino).

    Players can enter online the High Rollers Handicapping Contest at www.tampabaydowns.com . The entry deadline is noon on Jan. 9; players should plan on meeting in the VIP Room before noon for final instructions. For additional details, call (813) 855-4401, extension 1368.
Saturday, January 2, 2021
Friday winners received $5,195 . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $1.1 million today at Gulfstream Park.

    The multi-race wager went unsolved for the eighth racing day Friday, and multiple tickets with all six winners were worth $5,195.

    The Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 6-11, highlighted by the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man in Race 10. The one-mile stakes for 3-year-olds is the first stop on the 2021 Road to the Florida Derby.

    The Mucho Macho Man will be accompanied in the sequence by the $75,000 Limehouse in Race 7 and the $75,000 Ginger Brew in Race 9.

WHO’S HOT: No one is hotter than Irad Ortiz Jr., who rode five winners on Friday’s program and swept the three stakes. He won the $75,000 Janus aboard Imprimis ($3.60), the $75,000 Cash Run aboard Gulf Coast ($6.40), and the $75,000 Abundantia with Hear My Prayer ($21). Ortiz also won aboard Lionessofbrittany ($13.20) in the sixth race and first-time starter Luann ($3.80) in the fifth.
Thursday, December 31, 2020
First Laurel crown since 2015 . . .
     LAUREL, MD – Jockey Sheldon Russell, returning from a four-day absence, won with two of his first three mounts on today’s New Year’s Eve program at Laurel Park to clinch the 2020 fall meet riding title.

    Russell, 33, entered the day leading Jevian Toledo, 42-39, before winning with Dr. Ferber ($9.20) in Race 2 and Fast Cash ($6.40) in Race 4 to seal his eighth career riding title in Maryland and first since Laurel’s 2015 winter stand.

    Both Russell and Toledo are represented by agent Marty Leonard. Toledo had won with 10 of his previous 23 mounts (43 percent) to close the gap and make it a tight race. But he wound up winless in five races today.

    “It’s been a while since I won a title, but I’m just very happy. It’s nice to look back and come back from all the injuries and have the support that I do from some of the top trainers here,” Russell said. “To win a meet title means a lot. Thanks to my agent, who does a fantastic job, and thanks to my competitors in the room because it keeps you going. I ride with some good guys in the room and we’re all friendly in there. Unfortunately I had to have a few days off and I was a bit worried there because [Toledo] was on a roll but luckily we had a good enough cushion to keep it going.”

    Maryland’s leading rider of 2011, Russell also won Laurel’s fall meet in 2008 and 2011 as well as Laurel’s 2011, 2012 and 2015 winter stands. He topped the spring meet standings at Pimlico Race Course in 2011 and 2013.

    Russell registered 11 multi-win days during the fall meet including three-win days on Dec. 6 and 11 and a four-win afternoon on Maryland Million Day Oct. 24 led by Monday Morning Qb in the Classic, Hello Beautiful in the Distaff and Pretty Good Year in the Turf.

    On Nov. 28 Russell won stakes with Hello Beautiful in the Safely Kept and Whereshetoldmetogo in the Frank Y. Whiteley, both horses trained by his wife, Brittany. Together the Russells won with 18 of 35 starters at the meet (51 percent) and finished in the money 30 times (86 percent).

    “She keeps me busy in the mornings. There isn’t really a day where she doesn’t have workers because she’s got so many horses so it’s a big advantage that I have,” Russell said. “I get to get on them as soon as they come in and I do a lot of work with them and sort of get an idea of what their good and bad traits are. It’s a big plus.”

     Russell was leading Laurel’s 2020 summer meet standings when he suffered a broken wrist in a starting gate mishap July 16 at Delaware Park. He returned on Sept. 24, opening day of the short Preakness Meet at Pimlico, and earned the mount on sixth-place finisher Excession in the Preakness.

 

            
Monday, December 28, 2020
Zayas rides three winners . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - There will be a $600,000 guaranteed pool in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 and a Super Hi-5 carryover of $23,107.89 when racing resumes Wednesday at Gulfstream Park. First race post time is 12:35 p.m.

    Multiple winning tickets in Sunday’s Rainbow 6 returned $23,888.

    Wednesday’s Rainbow 6 begins with the fifth race, a $35,000 claiming event for 3-year-olds and up on a 1 1/8th-mile turf course. The race is scheduled to go off at 2:28 p.m. and will be the first of four turf races in the sequence. Trainer Mary Eppler has entered Strong Headed and Reliability, while Mike Maker will send out All Good.

    WHO’S HOT: Jockey Edgard Zayas rode three winners Sunday. Zayas won the early double with Seize the Hay ($4) in the first and Sidarth ($9.60) in the second, and Dr Harlan ($14.80) in the ninth.
Sunday, December 27, 2020
Here are the latest tidbits from the world of racing . . .

 (1) One of  the biggest outrages serious handicappers face daily - odds taking huge drops on the tote board while the race is in progress - continues to haunt bettors at every track in the country.

A couple of recent examples: At Charles Town, Don't Spin Me, a filly by Handsome Mike, goes into the gate at odds of  21-1, and wins like a thief in the night. Her backers discover she is 10-1 as they hit the wire and she pays $22. A nice score but less than half of what the payoff might have been.  

At Gulfstream Park, announcer Pete Aiello notes that Florida-bred What a Beaut is 8-1 entering the gate; she drops to 5-1 after they go 100 yards, and wins, naturally.

(2) Two Saturdays ago, the fourth race at Gulfstream went off at 1:31. The winner was Cowardly Act, who paid $105.80. Nine minutes later, the field in the fourth at Tampa Bay Downs left the gate and Holy Diver won and paid $120.20. Must have been something in the air floating from Hallandale Beach to Oldsmar, like the mysterious sea mist that enveloped Grant Williams in "The Incredible Shrinking Man."  

(3) 'Twas the day before Christmas, and all through the house, only two tracks (Gulfstream and Tampa) were simulcast, even for a mouse. With everybody else shuttered, Gulfstream handled $9,221,126 from all sources. Tampa's on-track handle was just $81,429 with an announced attendance of 1,307, and there was a low total of $167,225 added from around the state (ITW). But the ISW wagering from the rest of the free world reached $5,137,927, so it was a good day all around for both.

 (4) Perhaps no Florida stallion has resided at more farms than Big Drama, who is now at a new nursery called Stormborne Stallions in Citra. Hal Queen's star runner has progeny earnings of nearly $9 million, but it easily could have been twice that if he had been at one solid establishment.       

 5) The turf course at Tampa Bay Downs is the equal of any in North America, and better than most

(6) Because of early deadlines due to the holiday, the Stallion Progeny list for today in the Wire-to-Wire Racing Digest does not contain any runners listed for any Florida stallions, current or past. And, as usual, there are plenty. Today is the 27th, the list was published on the 23rd, apparently before Gulfstream's entries were available.

(7) In years to come, the most bizarre winning photos posted on the walls of just about every den or horse farm office in Marion County will feature a bunch of unidentifiable people wearing masks. Only the horse will be able to be identified.     

Saturday, December 26, 2020
Pegasus World Cup Turf may be next . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Robert and Lawana Low’s Colonel Liam overwhelmed nine rivals in the $75,000 Tropical Park Derby, making an emphatic case for being extended an invitation to the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational on Jan. 23 at Gulfstream Park.

    The Tropical Park Derby, a 1 1/16-mile turf test for 3-year-olds, highlighted today’s 11-race program along with the $75,000 Tropical Park Oaks, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies, and the $75,000 H. Allen Jerkens, a two-mile turf  race for 3-year-olds and up.

    Colonel Liam, the 6-5 favorite ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., was making his first start since Aug. 20 but showed no rust at all while pulling away to a 3 ¼- length victory. “He’d been training exceptionally well leading to this. We’re happy to get him back,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “Hopefully, that earns him a spot in the Pegasus Turf.”

    The son of Liam's Map rated several lengths behind the early pace while clear on the outside. Don Juan Kitten cut fractions of :24.30 and :48.51 seconds for the first half mile under Edgard Zayas and continued to show the way heading into the turn, but Colonel Liam launched a strong outside sweep that would carry him to the lead at the top of the stretch. The Kentucky-bred colt powered away from the field without much urging from Ortiz.

    "I had a good trip, I broke out of there and tried to get a good position,” Ortiz said. “After the three-eighths pole, I tried to move on because I have probably the best horse and let him pick it up and he responded very well. He's a very nice horse." Don Juan Kitten held second, a neck ahead of Summer to Remember.

    Colonel Liam ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.05 to record his third victory in five career start. The $1.2 million purchase at the 2019 OBS April sale graduated via the disqualification of the first-place finisher in his April 11 debut over Gulfstream’s main track before finishing third in an optional claiming allowance on May 20. Two months later, Colonel Liam scored an impressive 2 ¾-length allowance victory in his turf debut at Saratoga, before enduring a nightmare trip in a fourth-place finish in the Saratoga Derby, in which he was beaten by less than a length by Domestic Spending.

    “He’s really taken to the turf. We saw that in his allowance at Saratoga. He got in a little trouble in the Saratoga Derby,” Pletcher said. “He came back great. I thought it was an impressive race. He kind of made a little bit of an early move and kept on going.”

    Colonel Liam gives Pletcher three prime candidates for the Pegasus Turf, joining Largent, who captured the Gr. II Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 12, and Social Paranoia, a multiple graded stakes-winner and recent optional claiming allowance winner.


Thursday, December 24, 2020
Diamond Ore breaks her maiden for Minshall . . .
    OLDSMAR - Racing fans eager to welcome the new year can start turning the page by picking up the 2021 Tampa Bay Downs calendar beginning Saturday.

    The calendar will be distributed to all guests (with paid admission) through Wednesday, or while supplies last. Spectacular photography throughout the new edition is certain to kindle exciting memories and whet appetites for big races ahead, while ensuring a prominent display area within the household.

    Key racing dates are highlighted, such as Skyway Festival Day on Jan. 16, featuring the $125,000 Pasco Stakes for newly turned 3-year-olds and the $125,000 Gasparilla Stakes for 3-year-old fillies; Festival Preview Day on Feb. 6, with three graded stakes topped by the Gr. III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes for 3-year-olds; and Festival Day on March 6, an extravaganza consisting of five stakes – four graded – worth a combined $1-million, the centerpiece being the Gr. II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby.

    All areas of Tampa Bay Downs will be closed Friday, Christmas Day. The racetrack, The Downs Golf Practice Facility and The Silks Poker Room all reopen Saturday, with golf opening at 8:30 a.m. and cards being dealt at 10 a.m.

    A 10-race card on Dec. 26 begins at 12:13 p.m. Tampa Bay Downs will also simulcast the opening-day card from Santa Anita, as well as racing from Gulfstream Park, Fair Grounds, Laurel, Hawthorne and Mahoning Valley.

Around the oval - Frank Mazur won the “10 Days of Festivus” Handicapping Contest with a final bankroll amount of $113.30, $3.50 ahead of runner-up Bob Diver. Mazur earns the first-place contest prize of $1,000 and Diver earns $500.
More than 700 handicappers participated. 

    During today’s sixth race for maiden 2-year-old fillies, trainer Barbara Minshall got a workout watching Diamond Ore battle two equally-determined rivals down the stretch of the mile-and-40-yard event. “I was riding her from the quarter-mile pole home,” Minshall said jokingly after Diamond Ore’s half-length victory over Purtiz. Forbidden Dream was another neck back in third in the seven-horse field.

    Samy Camacho rode the winner, who completed the distance in 1:42.25.

    Minshall, who trains the regally-bred winner for owner Bernard Cleary’s Clearview Stable, was especially pleased with Diamond Ore’s effort in light of it being her first start on a dirt track. Her three previous tries, including a second-place finish Nov. 14 racing a mile-and-a-sixteenth, were on the all-weather surface at Woodbine.

    “She is really a nice filly who wants to go longer, and I wanted to give her a little experience,” Minshall said. “Hopefully she learned something from that. The first time she had even worked on dirt was last week (5 furlongs in 1:01 4/5 at Sequel @ Winding Oaks Farms in Ocala), and she worked really well that day.

    Minshall and Camacho teamed to win the Gr. III Tampa Bay Stakes in February on the turf with 5-year-old gelding Admiralty Pier.

    Diamond Ore is by one of the world’s leading sires, Tapit, and is out of the Distorted Humor mare Bubbler, making her a half-sister to Arrogate. That Bob Baffert-trained runner won the 2016 Travers and Breeders’ Cup Classic and the 2017 Pegasus World Cup Invitational and Dubai World Cup Sponsored By Emirates Airline, en route to becoming racing’s all-time money-earner with $17,422,600.

    Ronald Ordonez rode two winners today. He captured the third race on the turf with Freelance, a 2-year-old colt owned by Ocala attorney David Romanik and trained by Eduardo Azpurua, Jr. Ordonez added the ninth race on the grass with the 3-year-old colt With Reward, owned by GOP Racing Stable and trained by Gerard Ochoa.




Monday, December 21, 2020
Zaajel scores by 7 1/4 lengths . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The parade of impressive Todd Pletcher-trained maiden special weight winners into Gulfstream Park’s winner’s circle continued Sunday following a sharp debut score by Shadwell Stable’s Zaajel.

    The homebred daughter of Street Sense ($8.20) drew off to a 7 ¼-length victory in Race 7, a seven-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies.

    “She’d been training forwardly," Pletcher said. "She was a half-step slow from the gate the other morning – she tossed her head a little at the break. We stood her a few times and she was good, so we went ahead and ran her today, thinking she was ready to go. Seven furlongs is a good starting point for her.”

    Zaajel stalked the early pace set by Mail Order, a debuting son of Liam’s Map for trainer Bill Mott, before making a move on the turn to take the lead at the top of the stretch and drawing away to a comfortable win under Luis Saez.

    “We’ll play it by ear," Pletcher said "She’s clearly a filly that wants more distance. That’s always exciting when you have one break their maiden at a shorter distance."

     Zaajel ran seven furlongs in 1:23.81 to prevail over Pletcher-trained Unbridled d’Oro, the 2-1 favorite who closed from 10th to finish second under Irad Ortiz Jr.

    Pletcher, who is seeking to capture his 17th Championship Meet title, has enjoyed other early-season success with debut winners, including WinStar Farm LLC and CHC Inc.’s Prime Factor, a highly promising juvenile son of Quality Road who scored by 8 ¾ lengths on Dec. 12, and Shadwell’s Arham, a 3-year-old son of Union Rags who graduated by eight lengths on Wednesday. Pletcher also scored on Dec. 12 with Donegal Racing’s Donegal Bay, a juvenile son of Uncle Mo who graduated by 4 ¼ lengths.

WHO’S HOT: Tyler Gaffalione, who rode four winners on Saturday, came right back to win three races on Sunday. Gaffalione, who rode Sleepy Eyes Todd to victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Mr. Prospector, scored aboard Nitro Time ($4.80) in Race 1, Comp’d ($25) in Race 4 and Digital Footprint ($5.90) in Race 6.

    Luis Saez doubled, notching back-to-back victories aboard Zaajel ($8.20) in Race 7 and Omnia ($17.60) in Race 8. Edgard Zayas also rode a pair of winners, scoring aboard No Que No ($19) in Race 3 and Scar ($16.80) in Race 9.
Sunday, December 20, 2020
Defeats Firenze Fire by one-half length . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Sleepy Eyes Todd made a late inside surge to narrowly beat a rallying Firenze Fire in Saturday’s $100,000, Gr. III Mr. Prospector Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

    The seven-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up honors the memory of Mr. Prospector, who set a Gulfstream track record of 1:07 4/5 while winning a six-furlong allowance on April 1, 1973 and went on to become the most influential stallion of his generation. Walter Blum rode Mr. Prospector, one race after he won the Florida Derby with Regal and Royal. 

    Sleepy Eyes Todd ($12.20), who traveled to South Florida after stops in Louisiana, Nebraska, Texas, West Virginia, California and Kentucky for his last six races, is likely to stay around for the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational on Jan. 23.

    “This is the plan,” trainer Miguel Silva said following the winner’s presentation.

    Sleepy Eyes Todd, who was coming off a last-to-first victory in the seven-furlongLafayette on the Nov. 7 Breeders’ Cup undercard at Keeneland, was the recipient of a patient and well-judged ride from Tyler Gaffalione, his ninth rider in his last nine starts. The 4-year-old son of Paddy O’Prado broke well from the gate before settling into fifth place behind loose-on-the-lead long shot Wind of Change, who set fractions of :22.07 and :44.35 seconds for the first half-mile.

    Sleepy Eyes Todd advanced along the rail on the turn into the stretch in pursuit of the tiring pacesetter, while Firenze Fire, the lukewarm 5-2 favorite slipped off the rail to make a bid between horses at the top of the stretch. Gaffalione eased Sleepy Eyes Todd off the rail to pass Wind of Change and the Kentucky-bred colt held off the challenge of Firenze Fire by one-half length. The $57,660 winner's check boosted the bargain Kentucky-bred's earnings to $744,825; he was a $9,000 Keeneland November yearling. 

    “Everything set up perfectly," Gaffalione said. "He broke well and put himself in the race. I was able to get a nice tracking spot inside. He gave me all the confidence going into the stretch and once he found a spot he accelerated and finished the job. All the credit goes to the trainer. He did a fabulous job getting him ready for today
.

    “To be honest, If you look at his form he’s run in all the big races across the country and he’s run at every track and he takes his form with him everywhere he goes, so you know he’s consistent and he shows up every time,” he added. “We just had to work out a trip. I thought I’d be tracking Firenze Fire but I wound up a little bit in front of him which I didn’t mind, and got the jump on him.”

    Firenze Fire, who finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint  last time out, settled in seventh along the backstretch before following Sleepy Eyes Todd with an inside run on the far turn. Irad Ortiz Jr. took him off the rail on the turn into the stretch and the multiple graded-stakes winners kicked in nicely, only to fall just short of catching the winner. The Florida-bred son of Poseidon's Warrior earned $18,600, increasing his total to a gaudy $2,236,850 on a record of 12-4-3 in 31 starts. 

    Sleepy Eyes Todd, who captured the Aug. 29 Gr. II Charles Town Classic by 7 ½ lengths at the 1 1/8-mile distance of the Pegasus World Cup, ran seven furlongs in 1:22.67 while claiming his eighth victory in 15 starts.

    “This is the best horse we’ve ever had,” Silva said. “We’ve always been high on him. We wanted to take him to the Kentucky Derby but he had a little issue and we had to stop with him. He’s always been a nice horse. We’ve always believed in him,”

    Firenze Fire finished 2 ½ lengths ahead of Red Oaks Stable's Mind Control, who finished third under John Velazquez following a wide trip from his No. 12 post position.

Sunday, December 20, 2020
Gaffalione rides 4 winners . . .
    HALLANDAE BEACH - Gulfstream Park’s mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 resulted in multiple winning tickets Saturday returning $7,363.

    There was a carryover of $839,334 in the Rainbow 6, and $5.336 million of new money bet into the pool. The sequence included Repole Stable’s Always Shopping winning the Via Borghese and Sleepy Eyes Todd winning the Mr. Prospector.


    Racing continues at today with an 11-race program featuring two Florida-bred allowance optional claiming events with purses of $40,000. The ninth race, at a mile on the main track, has Charlie the Greek entered off a sixth-place finish Dec. 5 in the Claiming Crown Iron Horse. Green Mansions will make his first start since being claimed by Jorge Delgado. The 10th race, at five furlongs on the turf, has Ray’swarrior as the 5-2 favorite, Trained by Kelly Breen, Ray’swarrior comes into the race off a fifth-place finish in the Claiming Crown Express.

    The Rainbow 6 will have a guaranteed pool of $75,000.

Who’s Hot: Tyler Gaffalione, Irad Ortiz Jr. and Arindel. Gaffalione rode four winners, including Sleepy Eyes Todd ($12.20) in the Mr. Prospector. Ortiz rode three winners: Always Shopping ($7.40) in the Via Borghese and Arindel homebreds Cobb ($5.60) in the third race and Sonar ($8.40) in the seventh race.
Saturday, December 19, 2020
Firenze Fire has earned $2.2 million . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Owner/breeder Ron Lombardi will travel from New Jersey to South Florida this weekend to watch Firenze Fire run in today’s $100,000, Gr. III Mr. Prospector at Gulfstream Park.

    The President and CEO of SportsCare Physical Therapy centers in New York, New Jersey and Florida will bring with him a passion for thoroughbred racing that goes back to his childhood days.


    “We had a house in Long Branch, about a mile from the Monmouth. Every Friday night when I was 5-6 years old, we’d get in the car with my dad and uncles and drive from Long Branch to the park to wait for the train to come in so we could get the Telegraph hot off the presses, so they could handicap the night before,” Lombardi said. “Back then, you had to be 18 to get into the track, so me and my cousins would go to Monmouth and stand up against the fence to see the horses run by us. It was a lot of fun. It’s been bred in me from way back. I really enjoy it.”

    “My father had a horse in 1948, He had a heart attack and was told to take some time off from manual labor, so he bought a racehorse. He did that for about a year and a half with my mom. They traveled from Gulfstream to Garden State. They did the circuit and went to Monmouth and through Maryland. The horse paid for them to live for a year and a half and then he went back to work.”

    His success in the business world has enabled Lombardi to get involved in ownership on a much larger scale since claiming his first horse in 2007. His Mr. Amore Stable has 30 horses in training, 11 yearlings-turning-2 and about 12 weanlings.

    Firenze Fire, a homebred, certainly has helped to pay the bills for Lombardi’s venture into owning and breeding. The 5-year-old multiple graded stakes-winner has earned more than $2.2 million during a 30-race career that includes a start in the 2018 Kentucky Derby, a Gr. 1 victory, and a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Keeneland on Nov. 7.

    “Being a homebred means that much more. I buy a lot of horses at auction, but he’s a homebred. What he’s done is just fantastic - $2.2 million. He’s such a solid horse and he always shows up,” Lombardi said. “Even in the Breeders’ Cup, he was a [neck] away from second place. I lost him for a second – we were sitting up a ways from the finish line – and I look up and I saw some white silks cross third. I said, ‘Oh, could that be us?’ It was crazy.”

    Firenze Fire is a 5-year-old son of Poseidon’s Warrior, a stallion who originally stood at Pleasant Acres Stallions, and My Every Wish, a mare who never raced again after being claimed by Lombardi out of a second-place finish in a $16,000 maiden claiming race. The offspring of the mating quickly became a Gr. 1 winner in the 2017 Champagne at Belmont.

    “That was a shock. He broke his maiden in June and won the Sanford. We ran in the Champagne and beating Good Magic was unbelievable,” Lombardi said. “He’s just been a solid horse. He shows up and gives you everything he has. It’s been a dream come true. I wish I had six more of him.”


    While Firenze Fire may be a horse of a lifetime, Lombardi is hoping that My Every Wish will continue to be an overachieving broodmare. “Firenze Freedom is a half-sister,” said Lombardi of the stakes-placed 3-year-old daughter of Istan. “I have a full brother in training right now. I have another one in the oven, so to speak, so we’ll have another foal who’s a 100-percent match. I also have a weanling by Speightstown.”

    Lombardi is looking forward to standing Firenze Fire at stud, most likely in New York. I was contemplating – depending on what he did in the Breeders’ Cup – whether to breed him or continue to run him. I had a lot of interest from people, but to me, it made more sense to run him this year,” he said. “There are not many in his class that are still running. He’s got a good following. People love watching him. He tries and shows up every time.”

    The Kelly Breen-trained Firenze Fire has been installed at  5-2 in the morning-line in a 12-horse Mr. Prospector field that includes multiple graded stakes-winner Diamond Oops, rated second at 3-1, and multiple Gr. 1 stakes-winner Mind Control.

    “He’ll probably run two or three times at Gulfstream,” Lombardi said, “and then we’ll probably ship him to New York for the Carter in Early April.”

 

 



 



 







Friday, December 18, 2020
5 Analysts take a shot . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - The mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 Saturday at Gulfstream Park could be life-changing, as the pool is expected to grow to $6 million or more. It features two stakes, four turf races, and a closing sequence featuring 11 juveniles going a mile in a maiden special weight event on the grass.

    The challenging sequence, which begins with the sixth race, also includes the $100,000, Gr. III  Mr. Prospector, featuring seven graded stakes-winners going seven furlongs, and the $100,000 Via Borghese, a 1 3/16-mile turf event for fillies and mares.

    Gulfstream hosts and analysts Jason Blewitt, Acacia Courtney and Ron Nicoletti, along with Mike Welsch of the Daily Racing Form and Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press have put together tickets for the Rainbow 6.

Some of the more interesting selections include:

?   Nicoletti using Hero Up (30-1) in the first leg

?   Reynolds including Inventing Blame (12-1) in the third leg.

?   Welsch putting Lasting Legacy (15-1) in the fifth leg

?   Courtney including 20-1 shot Kentucky Pharoah in the final leg

Rainbow 6 Tickets

Jason Blewitt, Gulfstream analyst:

Race 6:  5-9-10

Race 7:  1-5-7-8

Race 8:  1-7

Race 9:  2-8-9


Race 10:  7-9

Race 11:  2-5-9-11 - Cost: $115.20


Acacia Courtney, Gulfstream analyst:

Race 6: 9-10

Race 7: 4-8

Race 8: 1-4

Race 9: 2-3-8


Race 10: 4-7-9

Race 11: 1-3-7-9-1 - Cost – $72


Ron Nicoletti, Gulfstream analyst:

Race 6:  4-9-10

Race 7:  1-4-7

Race 8:  1-9-12

Race 9:  2-8-9

Race 10:  7-9


Race 11:  4-5-11 - Cost:  $97.20

Tim Reynolds, Associated Press:

Race 6: 5-7

Race 7: 3-4-7

Race 8: 4-9-12

Race 9: 2-4-8-9


Race 10: 7-9

Race 11: 1-3-9 - Cost: $86.40


Mike Welsch, Daily Racing Form:

Race 6: 5-7-10

Race 7: 1-4


Race 8: 1-7

Race 9: 2-3-8

Race 10: 1-7-9

Race 11: 1-2-4 - Cost: $64.80

Friday, December 18, 2020
Mandatory Payout set for Saturday . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $1.25 million today at Gulfstream Park. 

    The multi-race wager went unsolved for the 12th day Wednesday, and multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $1,353.08. 


    A mandatory payout of the jackpot pool is scheduled for Saturday’s program, headlined by the $100,000, Gr. III Mr. Prospector, in which multiple graded stakes-winners Firenze Fire, Mind Control and Diamond Oops will clash, and the $100,000 Via Borghese.

    The Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 5-10, including a mile maiden special weight race for 3-year-olds and up in Race 7, in which Gary and Mary West’s Emperor Ofthe Nile, a $400,000 son of Pioneerof the Nile, is scheduled make his debut.

Shadwell Stable’s Arham Sparkles in Thursday Debut

    Shadwell Stable’s Arham ($3.40) impressed in his career debut Thursday, scoring by seven lengths following a thoroughly professional performance under Luis Saez. The homebred 3-year-old son of Union Rags broke cleanly to chase pace-setter Catch On Emotional, the 7-5 second betting choice ridden by Paco Lopez, along the backstretch. The Kentucky-bred colt pulled alongside the pace-setter on turn before taking over leaving the turn into the stretch and drawing clear with minimal urging.

    Arham raced six furlongs in 1:10.13.

WHO’S HOT: Edgard Zayas won both ends of the early double aboard Pretty Rachel ($4.40) and Words of Devine ($6.40).

    Trainer Juan Carlos Avila saddled a pair of winners, scoring with Pretty Rachel ($4.40) in Race 1 and Princess Coro ($4.20) in Race 3.
Thursday, December 17, 2020
Won at Gulfstream in 2007 . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - A year-round force on the New York racing circuit for the past several years, jockey Junior Alvarado has returned to South Florida for the winter months to compete at Gulfstream Park, where he rode his first winner in the U.S. in 2007.

    “It’s around 12 years since I’ve ridden full time here," Alvarado said. "I’m pretty happy to be here again. I love Florida. You can’t beat this nice weather in the wintertime. I’m glad things worked out this year. It’s very important to start off on the right foot.”

    On his first day riding at the 2020-2021 Championship Meet, Alvarado guided Barclay Tagg-trained Niko’s Dream to victory in the $75,000 My Charmer and finished second aboard Tagg-trained Doswell in the $200,000, Gr. II Fort Lauderdale.

   Alvarado’s move from Aqueduct to Gulfstream for the winter is hardly a case of needing a change of scenery. The 36-year-old journeyman has been extremely successful during the winter months at Aqueduct where he has won at rates of 27 percent, 24 percent and 23 percent the past three years.

    “It was always on my mind, but sometimes you have to measure the right time," he said. "Things have to fall into place. I think this year with the COVID, having two kids being able to do school on the computer makes it easy for me to bring them here with me.” He has three children, sons Adrian and Axel, and daughter Adalyn, with his wife, Kelly. “This year, everything fell into place.”

      Alvarado, a son of a jockey, rode his first winner in Venezuela in 2005 before venturing to South Florida in 2007. He rode in his first race in the U.S. at Gulfstream on Feb. 2, 2007 and registered his first win aboard Satira in a maiden claiming race two weeks later. Alvarado moved onto the Chicago circuit in 2008, winning the riding title at Arlington Park in 2009 before venturing to New York in 2010. He has become so well-established that he became Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott’s year-round go-to jockey in New York.

    While he has remained behind in New York in past winters, Alvarado has followed Mott to South Florida this year. “That was one of the main reasons. Riding a lot of good horses for Bill Mott definitely pushes you to move your tack down here,” said Alvarado, who has ridden 1,760 winners during his career in the U.S.

    Although he hasn’t ridden regularly in South Florida for several years, Alvarado ventured to Gulfstream in 2016 to ride Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Mohaymen to victory in the Gr. II Holy Bull and Gr. II Fountain of Youth. After a subpar showing in the Florida Derby, Mohaymen finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby while providing Alvarado with his first Triple Crown mount.

    Through experience and close observation of racing at Gulfstream, Alvarado was prepared for the switch from New York to South Florida. “It’s definitely something you have to adjust to," he said. "You can’t leave a horse with too much to do, because you’ll never get there. I’ve been watching races to be able to translate that. Sometimes you need to adjust. That’s what I’ve been trying to do with the first horses I’ve been riding – to make sure to put them in the right spot, close enough so they don’t have too much to do.”

Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Catches Camacho with 16 winners . . .
    OLDSMAR - Given the “what have you done for me lately?” nature of horse racing, many Tampa Bay Downs fans might have wondered if five-time riding champion Antonio Gallardo had lost his edge during the first week of the current meeting.

    Gallardo won four races during the first five days, an acceptable figure for most jockeys but well behind the pace of his championship campaigns. But the Dec. 5 card, on which Gallardo rode five winners – including four in a row – served notice he intends to be a major force throughout the season.

    The 33-year-old Spaniard, who won the FTBOA City of Ocala Florida Sire Stakes on Saturday on 5-year-old mare Heiressall, stayed hot today, riding four winners to tie Samy Camacho at the top of the track standings, both with 16 winners.

    Gallardo, who has finished first or second on 12 of his last 15 mounts since Friday, won today’s first race on Ridgelysredhot, a 3-year-old filly owned and trained by Ron G. Potts.

    In the third race, Gallardo rode 6-1 shot Purchasing Power to victory. The 5-year-old gelding is owned by Humble Racing Stable and trained by Jose H. Delgado. Gallardo and Delgado also teamed to win the fifth race with sprint specialist High Five Cotton, a 6-year-old Florida-bred gelding owned by Carole Star Stables who has won four consecutive races.

    Gallardo made it four in the eighth race, scoring on 4-year-old gelding Kitten’s Spa for owner-trainer Jose Lozano Sanchez. The rider also had two seconds.

    Rainy weather forced the sixth and eighth races to be switched from the turf course to the main dirt track.

    The well-bred 3-year-old gelding Contraflow turned heads in the second race, dominating five rivals en route to a 3 ¼-length victory over 13-10 favorite Centrifuge. The winner’s time for the mile-and-40-yard distance was 1:39.26, .4 seconds off the track record.

    Contraflow, who was ridden by Hector Diaz Jr. for owner Phoenix Thoroughbred III and trainer Michael Stidham, is a son of 2007 Tampa Bay Derby and Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, and is out of Gr. I winner Swap Fliparoo. He was bred in Kentucky by My Meadowview LLC.

    Also represented in the race were top stallions Into Mischief, Tapit, Malibu Moon and Take Charge Indy.

    Stidham and Diaz also teamed to win the seventh race with Federal Case, a 4-year-old gelding owned by Donald Dizney.

Around The Oval - Racing continues Friday with a nine-race card beginning at 12:42 p.m. Sunday racing starts this week, as the track moves to a four-days-a-week schedule for the duration of the meeting. The track will be closed Christmas Day, Dec. 25, but will stage a full card on Thursday, Dec. 24.

Tampa Bay Downs will conduct its annual “Calendar Giveaway” starting Saturday, Dec. 26. The 2021 edition will be presented to the first 10,000 patrons (with paid admission) and the giveaway will continue through Dec. 30, or when supplies run out. SPOILER ALERT: Relive one of the biggest upsets in recent track history while savoring 12 months of colorful equine photography!


Monday, December 14, 2020
Maker hits grand slam on Sunday's card . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $900,000 Wednesday at Gulfstream Park. 

    The multi-race wager went unsolved for the 10th day of the Championship Meet Sunday, and multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $1,20
6. 

    The Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 5-10, including four optional claiming allowances and two maiden races on turf.

     Multiple graded-stakes winner Social Paranoia headlines Race 9, the 7 ½-furlong turf feature for 3-year-olds and up. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the 4-year-old son of Street Sense hasn’t seen action since winning the Gr. III Poker at Belmont on July 20. Social Paranoia has won twice in three starts over the Gulfstream turf course, including a maiden-breaking score in 2019 and a triumph in the Gr. III Appleton on this year’s Florida Derby under-card. Irad Ortiz Jr. has the call.

    Mark Casse-trained Olympic Runner, a multiple graded stakes-placed son of Gio Ponti, is also entered in Wednesday’s feature. The 4-year-old gelding will make his first start since shipping from Woodbine, where he was twice stakes-placed this year. Tyler Gaffalione has the mount.

     There will be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $13,956.76 heading into Wednesday’s card.

WHO’S HOT: Trainer Michael Maker sent out four winners on Sunday’s program, scoring with Can’t Buy Love ($5.20) in Race 4, Chess’s Dream ($3.20) in Race 6, Morocco ($7.20) in Race 10 and Phantom Vision ($5.40) in Race 11.

   Paco Lopez and Irad Ortiz each scored a triple. Lopez scored aboard Foster Hope ($29.60) in Race 3, R Adios Jersey ($3.80) in Race 5 and Lenzi’s Lucky Lady ($18.20) in Race 8. Ortiz won aboard Gone to Cabo ($4.60) in Race 2, Chess’s Dream and Morocco.
Saturday, December 12, 2020
6-year-old Greatness mare has won 17 times . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Averill Racing LLC and Matties Racing’s Lady’s Island survived an inquiry to successful defend her title in the $100,000, Gr. III Sugar Swirl at Gulfstream Park.

    The Sugar Swirl, a six-furlong race for fillies and mares, was one of five stakes on today’s program, including the $200,000, Gr. II Fort Lauderdale, a key prep for the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational on Jan. 23.

    Lady’s Island’s front-running score came a day after owner Rich Averill and his partners retired their 10-year-old turf sprint star Pay Any Price following a second-place finish in Friday’s last race.

    The 6-year-old daughter of Greatness broke alertly under Emisael Jaramillo to show the way along the backstretch on her way to setting fractions of :22.12 and :44.54 seconds for a half mile. She continued to show the way into the stretch and maintained her lead while steadily drifting out. The Florida-bred mare shortened stride late but was able to hold off a late-running Bronx Beauty by a head. Cinnabunny, the even-money favorite ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., closed steadily in the stretch while racing in tight quarters to finish third, three-quarters of a length back. Lady’s Island ran six furlongs in 1:10.46 and paid $11.

    Ortiz claimed foul, but after a lengthy review, the stewards made no change in the order of finish.

     The successful title defense was the 17th victory in 34 career starts for Lady’s Island, who scored a front-running 9 ¾-length victory in last season’s Sugar Swirl.

    Owner Rich Averill said: “We don’t know what the future holds for her, this could be one of her last races.”

    Trainer Georgina Baxter: “I have had a couple of emotional days. I am so pleased she was able to defend her crown. They write her off, but to me, when she’s right, she’s one of the quickest fillies in America.
Saturday, December 12, 2020
Gaffalione on hot streak . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Tyler Gaffalione continued his recent hot hand riding four winners on Friday’s 10-race card at Gulfstream Park.

    Gaffalione, the Eclipse Award-winning apprentice of 2015 born and raised in nearby Davie, won four of the first six races aboard Monte Ne ($3) in the first, Makisupa ($3.60) in the third, Battalion ($9.40) in the fifth and Uncaptured Soldier ($7.20) in the sixth. “I had a lot of confidence coming into today. My agent always does a great job. He’s lined up some great mounts for me, especially this week,” Gaffalione said. “Hopefully we can keep it going.”


    Represented by agent Matt Muzikar, Gaffalione ranked fourth during last winter’s Championship Meet with 67 wins. He missed the first four days of this year’s meet and was off to a 3-for-32 start before winning twice with seven mounts on Thursday.

    “There’s an adjustment period coming from Churchill and Keeneland. It’s a much different configuration of the track,” Gaffalione said. “It’s just a matter of getting comfortable again.”

    Gaffalione came into the 2020-2021 Championship Meet after having swept all five major meets in Kentucky, most recently Churchill Downs’ fall stand that ended Nov. 29. He ranks second to two-time reigning Eclipse Award winner Irad Ortiz Jr. among all North American jockeys in wins this year and will soon pass his personal single-season record for purse earnings of nearly $15.2 million set in 2019.

            “It’s amazing. It’s truly a blessing,” Gaffalione said. “My agent, he does such a great job. I owe him all the credit. He makes my job so much easier. We’ve had a great year and it’s been a lot of fun.”

Quarky Spoils Pay Any Price’s Swan Song in Friday Finale

    Ballybrit Stable’s Quarky ($9.80) saved ground early and found room along the rail once straightened for home to sneak past pace-setting favorite Pay Any Price, who was making the final start of his distinguished career, and capture Friday’s 10th race. Ridden by Luis Saez for trainer Michael Dini, Quarky ran five furlongs in :56.03 seconds over a firm turf course. Pay Any Price held on by a neck for second over late-running Kaufy Bean.

    Trained by Georgina Baxter, Pay Any Price was sent off as the 6-5 favorite in a field of 12 turf sprinters. Due to age restrictions, the 10-year-old gelding will be ineligible to race at Gulfstream Park next year.

    Pay Any Price has won 19 of 34 starts and more than $718,000 in purse earnings, including nine stakes. The son of Wildcat Heir set a North American and record for five furlongs on turf when winning the 2017 Silks Run in :53.61 seconds. Friday’s race was his first for since he won the Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint for the third consecutive year on July 5. Other stakes wins came in the 2019 Crystal River and Silks Run, 2018 Tamiami and Crystal River, 2017 Turf Dash and Claiming Crown Canterbury.
Friday, December 11, 2020
Apparent heart attack in his paddock . . .

    Millionaire and multiple graded stakes-winner Field Commission died suddenly Thursday morning in his paddock at Solera Farm, near Williston, from what appeared to be a heart attack.

    “He looked fine this morning and was playing in his paddock as he usually does when turned out,” owner Krista Seltzer said. Minutes later the chestnut stallion collapsed and died.

    Bred by Minshall Farms in Ontario, and owned and raced by Edward Seltzer, Field Commission won or placed in 10 of 19 stakes starts (eight graded) earning $1,030,266 from age three to seven. The son of Service Stripe was named Canada's Sprint Champion as a 4-year-old, after a campaign in which he won Woodbine's Gr. II Nearctic Stakes and Gr. III Vigil Stakes, and placed in four other graded races. Posting triple digit Beyers on dirt, turf and synthetic, he captured the 2012 Ponche Handicap at seven, setting a stakes record of 1:09.3 for the six-furlong test on the Calder Race Course surface.

    From six crops of racing age and with 114 runners, Field Commission has progeny earnings of more than $4.6 million. Among his current runners are Drafted, who won in his 2-year-old career debut at Keeneland, setting a track record of :50.45 for 4 1/2 furlongs. The 6-year-old became a multiple stakes-winner and was Group-placed, and has career earnings of $690,633. Other 2020 black-type performers are Hall Rich Legacy and 2-year-old Ricki Ticki Taffi.

    "Field Commission was a very very special soul," Krista Seltzer said. "He was truly all class.  His racing talent was exceptional and certainly speaks for itself. Not only was he physically stunning and an incredible athlete with great speed, but he was kind and honest with a great mind. ‘Commish’ was the ultimate professional, both on and off the track. He was an absolute dream to be around every day. He was a true gentleman with just the right bit of mischief.

    "Field Commission excelled in everything he did and he seemed to pass on his talent and great mind to his progeny. Like their sire, they just seem to get better with maturity. Field Commission was a farm favorite and one of his favorite things were his routine snacks of grapes.  He knew he had a home here forever and, for certain, is gone too soon. ‘Commish’ touched many lives and was well loved by many.  His loss is profound for all of us here at Solera."

Thursday, December 10, 2020
Dettori isn't Eddie Arcaro . . . . . .

    A week ago or so, it was announced that "Frankie Dettori has won the title of 2020 World's Best Jockey, meaning the legendary rider has received the award for three consecutive years."

    That also means he has won this subjective 'competition' in four of the last six years as determined by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, whoever they are. Baloney. As determined by the International Federation of Tracktimestoday Authorities, the world's best jockey is Joel Rosario.

    According to the rules, the scoring process rewards jockeys for finishing in the top three in what the organization has determined are the world's top 100 Group or Grade I races. So if a rider buries the competition in Gr. I's that are outside the supposed top 100, he or she is out of luck. 

    Dettori won five of the supposed 'top 100,' plus some seconds and thirds, and in so doing earned 102 points. He defeated Ryan Moore, the 2014 and 2016 winner, by four points. William Buick was third with 66 points, and Irad Ortiz Jr. fourth with 64. 

    Joel Rosario, who the Tracktimestoda 's Authorities determined is No. 1, finished in a tie for 23rd with Javier Castellano in the Dettori poll. Javier is tied for No. 2 with Irad on the Tracktimestoday list. 

    Here are the five world-renowned Gr. I's Dettori won to nail down his trophy: the Gold Cup (Stradivarius) St. James Palace Stakes (Palace Pier), King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes (Enable), Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup Stakes (Stradavarius), and Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard - Jacques Le Marois (Palace Pier). 

    First of all, as a non-follower of European racing, I have no idea what the names in parentheses are, other than I know that in two of the races the winner's trophy was a much-sought-after violin. In two others, they won a wooden walkway out into a body of water. Secondly, if those races are what the world's best jockey is determined by, these guys have a real problem.

    For the first of Frankie's last three titles in a row, in 2018, I'd love to know how he made the grade against Mike Smith, who won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Belmont Stakes and Santa Anita Derby aboard Justify. That feat by itself would have made Mike No. 1 on the Tracktimestoday list without even having to search for races featuring violins and piers. 

    After Ortiz at No. 4, the next U. S.-based rider listed with IFHA is John Velasquez at No. 12, followed by Luis Saez at No. 20, then Rosario and Castellano. 

    Note to the IFHA: Find another category to give your award to, possibly, top 100 violin players.   

 

Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Clicks in next Wednesday . . .
    OLDSMAR - Tampa Bay Downs will increase purses for all races except stakes by approximately 10-percent beginning on Wednesday, Dec. 16, track Vice President-General Manager Peter Berube announced today. 

    The increase will be $1,500 for maiden special weight and allowance races and $1,000 for claiming and starter races. 

    “Thanks to the efforts of former (Tampa Bay Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association) President Bob Jeffries and the approval of their board, we were able to build a substantial cushion in the purse account before the current meeting,” Berube said.  Our export (simulcast) business has been strong since racing returned on Nov. 25 and is up 29-percent to date.”  

    “We were projecting a 30-35-percent decrease in on-track wagering on live and simulcast racing to start the meeting and those projections have been correct, but the actions of the Tampa Bay HBPA and the popularity of our signal across the country enable us to feel comfortable raising purses starting next week,” Berube said. 

    Through the first six cards since the 2020-2021 meeting resumed, Tampa Bay Downs has averaged $3,719,055 in daily interstate wagering. The total wagering handle on Saturday’s 10-race card was a Cotillion Festival Day record $6,128,282, of which $5,702,369 was through interstate wagering. 



 
Sunday, December 6, 2020
Handle has increased every year . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - By the time the Claiming Crown had ended Saturday – after a record $14.6 million was wagered on the event – it was clear how much the event had grown over the past nine years at Gulfstream Park.

    Not only was this a day when a horse claimed six weeks ago for $6,250 could win an $80,000 race, but this was also a day when a Breeders’ Cup Mile runner-up could prep for the $3 million Pegasus World Cup.

    “No question, this event has evolved,” said Dan Metzger, President of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA). “I thought Saturday’s fields, from top to bottom, were some of the best we ever had.”

    Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA), which partners with TOBA on the Claiming Crown, believes the event is looked upon differently now that it is at Gulfstream.

    “I believe in the past some people looked at it as a year-end blowout. But I see it as the launch of a new year,” Hamelback said. “The Breeders’ Cup kind of wraps up the year. But because it’s at Gulfstream, and the opening weekend of the Championship Meet, I think it’s become the beginning of a new year. I think if it was earlier in the fall or summer, you wouldn’t have the buildup or the quality you have. The job [Vice President Racing] Mike [Lakow], [stakes coordinator] Eric Friedman and, of course [Executive Director of Florida Racing Operations] Billy Badgett did was incredible.”


    In the nine years the Claiming Crown has been held at Gulfstream, handle on the day’s program has increased each year. Prior to 2012, the largest handle on the previous 13 Claiming Crown programs – Claiming Crown races only - was $4,906,096. On the nine Claiming Crown races held at Gulfstream Saturday, handle was $12,074,238.

    “The support of the fans who set a record for total wagering is a testament to the competitive and quality fields,” Metzger said.

    Along with Breeders’ Cup Mile runner-up Jesus’ Team prepping for the Pegasus World Cup with a victory in the $150,000 Jewel, there were 10 other horses that have won or placed in graded stakes participating in the Claiming Crown. In total, there were 108 horses entered in the nine Claiming Crown races.


    “When the card was drawn we knew we had something special to offer,” said Mike Lakow, Gulfstream’s Vice President of Racing.

    Along with those graded stakes-winners and placed horses, there were also stories like Descente, claimed for $6,520 in October, winning the $80,000 Glass Slipper; 55-1 High Noon Rider winning the $95,000 Emerald; the promising 3-year-old Fiya remaining undefeated on turf winning the Canterbury; and the former $16,000 claimer Krsto Skye winning the $75,000 Express.

    “I think at the beginning not a lot of people targeted it,” said trainer Peter Walder, who won his second consecutive Glass Slipper with Descente. “But now that it’s at Gulfstream, a lot of people are shipping in for the Championship Meet, and there’s a lot of owners who want to come here. Why wouldn’t you?”
Saturday, December 5, 2020
Five of the victories were on Claiming Crown races . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Luis Saez, a two-time Championship Meet titlist who began his U.S. career in South Florida, rode the winners of six races on today’s 11-race program at Gulfstream Park.

    The 28-year-old native of Panama rode the winners of five of the nine Claiming Crown stakes, including $150,000 Jewel victor Jesus’ Team. Saez won seven races in a day twice during the 2017-18 Championship Meet.

    Saez began his big day with a win aboard Fighting Force ($5.80) in Race 3, a mile maiden special weight race for 2-year-olds on turf. After a victory aboard Jesus’ Team ($2.80) to kick off the Claiming Crown portion of the card, Saez returned to the winner’s circle with Jakarta ($3.60), winner of the $90,000 Distaff Dash; Queens Embrace ($6.60), who captured the $95,000 Tiara; Fiya ($3), who romped to victory in the $90,000 Canterbury; and Frost or Frippery ($8), who closed out the action with a narrow score in the $75,000 Iron Horse.

    Saez won back-to-back Championship Meet titles in 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 before finishing second behind Irad Ortiz Jr. the past two seasons.

Record $14.6 Million Total Handle on Claiming Crown Program   

    Total handle for the Claiming Crown program was $14.6 million, breaking the previous Claiming Crown mark of $13.9 million set last year. Total handle on the Claiming Crown program has increased each year since Gulfstream began playing host to the event in 2012.                  

Sunday’s Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Guaranteed at $325,000

    The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $325,000 SundayThe multi-race wager went unsolved for the fourth day today, when the six-race sequence included six Claiming Crown stakes. Multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $2,737.

    Sunday’s Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 5-10, including back-to-back optional claiming allowances in Races 7 and 8.




Tuesday, December 1, 2020
Meeting features 75 stakes worth $13 million . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park will get under way Wednesday for the first of 84 days of racing contested by the most popular and accomplished horses, trainers and jockeys in the country.

    Racing will be conducted primarily on a Wednesday-Sunday schedule with a first-race post time set at 12:35 p.m. through March 27. Under COVID-19 pandemic protocols, racing will be conducted without spectators.  

    The meet will offer a stakes schedule of 75 stakes, 36 graded, worth $13.06 million in purses.

    The $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf, will share a program with seven graded stakes. The Pegasus World Cup, won by Mucho Gusto last year, has been designated as a ‘Win and In’ race for the $20 million Saudi Cup in Riyadh Feb. 20. The Pegasus World Cup Turf will be a qualifier for the $1 million Middle Distance Turf Handicap on the Saudi Cup undercard.


    The $800,000 Florida Derby, which has produced the winners of 60 Triple Crown races, will headline a March 27 program that will offer 10 stakes, six graded, including the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks. The 2020 Florida Derby was won by Tiz the Law, who went on to win the Belmont Stakes. Swiss Skydiver, who captured the Gulfstream Park Oaks, went on to beat the boys in the Preakness Stakes.

    Gulfstream’s program for 3-year-olds will kick off with the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man Dec. 12, followed by the $200,000 Holy Bull, a 1 1/16-mile Florida Derby prep that will headline a Jan. 30 program with five graded stakes, including the $100,000 Swale, a seven-furlong race for 3-year-olds. The $350,000 Fountain of Youth, the 1 1/16-mile final prep for the Florida Derby, will be featured on a Feb. 27 program with nine graded stakes.

    The Road to the Gulfstream Park Oaks will start with the $100,000 Forward Gal, a seven-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies on the Jan. 30 Holy Bull undercard. The $200,000 Davona Dale, the mile final prep for the Gulfstream Park Oaks, will be contested on the Feb. 27 Fountain of Youth undercard.

    The $200,000 Fort Lauderdale kicks off Gulfstream’s turf program Dec. 12 while offering an opportunity for Pegasus World Cup Turf invitational candidates to prep over the Gulfstream turf course. The $200,000 Mac Diarmida, a 1 3/8-mile race for 4-year-olds and up, will be one of six graded turf stakes on the Fountain of Youth card. The $200,000 Pan American, a 1 ½-mile stakes for 4-year-olds and up, will top six turf stakes on the Florida Derby program.

    The stakes program will launch Saturday with the return of the Claiming Crown, a popular program for horses who have started for a claiming price at least once during the past two years. The $150,000 Jewel, a 1 1/8-mile stakes for 3-year-olds and up that have started for a claiming price of $35,000 or lower, is featured among nine Claiming Crown stakes. Jesus’ Team, who finished third in the Preakness and second in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, is expected to headline the field for the Jewel.

    Irad Ortiz Jr. will be back to defend the riding titles he won in 2018-2019 and 2019-2020. Luis Saez, who finished second behind Ortiz by just one and two wins respectively, will seek to regain the title he won the previous two seasons. Hall of Famers John Velazquez, fresh off his Breeders’ Cup Classic victory aboard Authentic, Javier Castellano, a five-time Championship Meet titlist; and Edgar Prado, who ranks eighth all-time with 7,089 wins, will head a jockey’s colony that will include young guns Tyler Gaffalione, Jose Ortiz and South Florida’s year-round leader, Edgard Zayas.

    Todd Pletcher, who regained his training title last season, will seek his 17th Championship Meet title. Horsemen shipping in include Shug McGaughey, Bill Mott, Mike Maker, Mark Casse, Ken McPeek, Chad Brown and Christophe Clement. New stables at Gulfstream and its satellite training center Palm Meadows in Palm Beach include Brad Cox, Jack Sisterson, Brittany Russell, Jeremiah Englehart and Butch Reid.

    The 20-cent Rainbow 6, the multi-race wager that has produced many life-changing payoffs over the years, will again be prominent on Gulfstream’s wagering menu. The Rainbow 6, which will span the final six races each day, will be kicked off Wednesday with a $50,000 jackpot guarantee. The sequence will span Races 5-10, including back-to-back optional claiming allowances in Races 8 and 9.

    Shadwell Stable’s Ashaar is scheduled to make his first start for Pletcher in Race 8, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up. The 3-year-old son of Into Mischief hasn’t seen action since finishing off the board in the Jan. 4 Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream. Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Ournationonparade, the only stakes-winner in the field, will make his first start since finishing fifth in the Sept. 5 Smile Sprint at Gulfstream. Saez has been named to ride Ashaar, while Luca Panici is set to ride the Kathy Ritvo-trained Ournationonparade.

    Tracy Farmer’s Catch a Thrill, who has finished second in his three most recent starts, will be looking to break through with a win in Race 9, a five-furlong turf dash for fillies and mares. The Mark Casse-trained daughter of City Zip, who finished second in the Feb. 23 Melody of Colors at Gulfstream, will be ridden by Cristian Torres.
Tuesday, December 1, 2020
Breeders' Cup Classic is the main objective . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Sackatoga Stable’s Tiz the Law gave an early indication of what was to be a special sophomore season when he put together back-to-back impressive efforts over the winter in winning the Gr. III Holy Bull and Gr. I Curlin Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.

    The New York-bred, owned and trained by the same people as 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide, went on to give his connections a measure of redemption by winning the Belmont – a race where Funny Cide ran third – and satisfaction with a powerhouse performance in the Travers, which a fever forced Funny Cide to miss.


    Though Tiz the Law’s 2020 campaign ended with back-to-back losses in the Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic to fellow sophomore Authentic, who wrested away the Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male and possibly even Horse of the Year, the bay Constitution colt is back in South Florida and already working on his encore
.

    “The 35 partners in Tiz the Law have the horse of a lifetime. Only Lew Titterton and I had what we thought was the horse of a lifetime in Funny Cide,” Sackatoga managing partner Jack Knowlton said. “We’ve got 33 people that have had the ride of a lifetime and hopefully the ride is going to continue [next] year. That’s what we’re looking forward to.”

    Tiz the Law has already made an impression since his arrival in South Florida three days after the Breeders’ Cup. In his first work back, he breezed four furlongs in :47.90 seconds on Nov. 21 at Palm Meadows for trainer Barclay Tagg.

    “They were just going to give him an easy work, maybe around 50 [seconds]. I don’t think Tiz heard that,” Knowlton said. “I go back to the famous saying that Allen Jerkens had when Funny Cide was around, ‘Fast horses work fast.’ He just does it so easily.”

    Tiz the Law is being pointed to make his 4-year-old debut in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational on Jan. 23, the richest of seven graded-stakes worth $4.8 million on the Pegasus Day program that includes the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational.

    Knowlton’s winter residence is a 15-minute walk from Gulfstream, and he has been fortunate to be in attendance since Arrogate set the 1 1/8-mile track record of 1:46.83 when the Pegasus debuted in 2017. Funny Cide ran third in the 2004 Donn Handicap, predecessor to the Pegasus.

     “It’s obviously a thrill. My winter home for tracks is Gulfstream and I’ve been to every Pegasus, and being able to have a horse that actually runs in it will be beyond exciting,” Knowlton said. “We’ve had some great opportunities starting with the Holy Bull at Gulfstream which got us kicking off and then winning the Florida Derby which is obviously a huge, huge deal. Now we’ll come back and try and get the biggest of the big races, the Pegasus.”


     Tiz the Law was already a Gr. 1 winner when he got to Florida last year, having won the Champagne in his second career start before capping his juvenile campaign running third in the Kentucky Jockey Club. He won the Holy Bull by three lengths and the Florida Derby by 4 ¼ and didn’t race again until the June 20 Belmont, which kicked off a Triple Crown refashioned by the coronavirus pandemic.

    Coming off a runner-up finish in the Kentucky Derby, where he appeared poised to strike throughout the stretch but never got by, Tiz the Law drew post 2 and was unable to get to his preferred spot outside horses until it was too late and wound up sixth. He finished with four graded-stakes wins, three Gr. 1, in six starts in 2020 – both his losses coming to Authentic.

     When Tiz the Law returns for the Pegasus he’ll have the services of Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, replacing Manny Franco. Velazquez rode Authentic to his wins in the Derby and Breeders’ Cup as well as a runner-up finish in the Preakness.

     Tiz the Law will stand at Ashford Stud in Kentucky upon retirement, whenever that comes, and until then the plan is to target some of the most prestigious races for older horses starting with the Pegasus and hopefully leading up to a return trip to the Breeders’ Cup.

     “As long as he keeps running the way he’s been running, he’ll run hopefully right to Del Mar at the end of the year,” Knowlton said.

    The success of Tiz the Law, a $110,000 yearling purchase who has earned more than $2.7 million in purses through nine starts, has allowed Sackatoga to expand its modest portfolio. The Saratoga Springs - based syndicate has six horses in training.

     “We love Palm Meadows as a place to train our horses,” Knowlton said. “We actually bought some more horses than we usually do so we’ve got six horses at Palm Meadows now and three young ones up in Ocala, so hopefully we’re going to be doing some more racing at Gulfstream than normal this year.”
Monday, November 30, 2020
Graded stakes-placed son of Curlin . . .

    Curlin's Honor, the graded stakes-placed and black-type winner from the family of Fappiano, will be standing in Florida for the 2021 breeding season at Pleasant Acres Stallions, with a fee of $2,500.

    Curlin’s Honor is a son of Curlin, two-time Horse of the Year and Champion 3-year-old and Champion Older Horse. Curlin is the sire of 67 stakes-winners and 123 stakes horses. Curlin’s Honor’s dam, Franscat, has produced eight winners out of nine starters, including three black-type winners, and one graded black-type placer.

    Trained by Mark Casse, Curlin’s Honor was in the money in 12 of 17 starts. At three, he won the 6f, $100,000 Woodstock Stakes (listed) in 1:08.85, by 2 ¼ lengths. He finished second in the 7f,  $100,000, Paradise Creek Stakes (black type) and the 9f, $125,000, Gr. III Ontario Derby.

    At four, he won the 8f, $150,000 Artie Schiller Stakes, receiving a 116 Equibase speed figure, one of eight times in his career his 'E' figure surpassed 100. He also had six in the 90s. Curlin's Honor was also second in the 8f,  $175,000, Gr. II King Edward Stakes, and third in the 7f, $175,000, Gr. II Connaught Cup Stakes, the 7f, $175,000, Gr. II Play the King Stakes, the 6f, $125,000, Gr. III Jacques Cartier Stakes, and the 6.5f,  $125,000, Gr. III Bold Venture Stakes. He earned $356,545. 

    When asked about Curlin’s Honor, Casse's succinct answer was: “Talented, Fast, Handsome and Pure Class.”

Saturday, November 28, 2020
$442,449 was bet on Friday . . .
    LAUREL, MD – There were seven winning tickets on Friday’s Stronach 5, each returning $68,683.

    The Stronach 5, with a 12-percent takeout and featuring races from Laurel Park and Gulfstream Park West, had a carryover of $91,481. There was an additional $442,449 wagered Friday.

    The sequence began with Laurel’s seventh race and Kiss the Girl winning for trainer Michael Trombetta and jockey Victor Carrasco, paying $11.80. The eighth race at Laurel, the second leg of the sequence, produced a $44.60 winner in Jovis.

    Gulfstream’s eighth race, the third leg of the sequence, was won by Ima Daredevil ($6.20) while Laurel’s ninth race, the fourth leg of the sequence, was won by favored Sing Along Suzy ($5.80). The Stronach 5 wrapped up with Gulfstream’s ninth race and 5-1 winner Henry’s World ($13.80).

                       

                                 

 

Friday, November 27, 2020
$400,000 to be distributed . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Thirteen stakes races during Gulfstream Park’s Championship Meet – including the Florida Derby, Fountain of Youth, Gulfstream Park Oaks, Fred W. Hooper and Sunshine Millions - will have bonuses for Florida-breds properly registered with the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association (FTBOA).

    A total of $400,000 in bonus money will be distributed throughout the meet beginning Jan. 9 with the $100,000 Tropical Turf. While a dozen of the races will have a $25,000 ‘win only’ bonus, the $800,000 Florida Derby will have
$100,000 in Florida-bred distributive purse supplement funds available with 70 percent going to a registered Florida-bred winner, 20 percent for a second-place finish and 10 percent for a third-place finish.

    The $25,000 ‘win only’ bonuses will be available to properly registered Florida-breds in the races below:

Jan. 9: $100,000 Tropical Turf (G3)

Jan. 16: $100,000 Sunshine Millions Classic

            $100,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint

            $100,000 Sunshine Millions Turf

            $100,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf

 Jan. 23: $150,000 Fred W. Hooper (G3)

 Jan. 30: $200,000 Holy Bull (G3)

            $100,000 Swale (G3)

Feb. 13: $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3)

Feb. 27: $350,000 Fountain of Youth (G2)

               $200,000 Davona Dale (G2)

March 27: $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) 

NOTE: The $800,000 Florida Derby March 27 will have a $100,000 Florida-bred bonus.


    Gulfstream’s Championship Meet begins Wednesday, Dec. 2. The first Saturday of the meet will feature the $835,000 Claiming Crown. On Saturday, Dec. 12, Gulfstream’s program will include five stakes, four graded, including the $200,000 Fort Lauderdale (G2) on the turf and the $100,000 Rampart (G3).

Wednesday, November 25, 2020
3 winners on opening day . . .
    OLDSMAR - Gerald Bennett says there are several riders capable of winning the 2020-2021 Tampa Bay Downs title. But the perennial leading trainer thinks most of the track’s jockeys will spend a fair amount of time chasing Samy Camacho.

    “He’s psyched up to get leading rider, and he knows this track because he’s been riding on it long enough. He’s going to be tough,” Bennett said.

    The 32-year-old Camacho, who won the 2018-2019 Oldsmar championship, got off to an excellent start on today’s opening-day card, riding three winners and adding a second and a third.

    Today’s card marked the first time Tampa Bay Downs has conducted racing in front of spectators since March 15.


    Camacho displayed determination, strength and patience in today’s performance. In the first race, an $8,000 claiming affair at a distance of a mile and 40 yards, he re-rallied 4-year-old gelding Campaign Spy for a nose victory from 3-5 favorite Jack B Winkle. Campaign Spy is owned by Rodney M. Miller and trained by Jon Arnett, who was making his first career start at Tampa Bay Downs.

    Camacho added the third race on the turf aboard 2-year-old Florida-bred gelding Handsome Effort, waiting until the last possible moment in the 1-mile, $16,000 claiming contest to urge the winner past Top Bomb by a head. Handsome Effort is owned by Foley Bloodstock and trained by Thomas D. Foley.

    Another Camacho victory came in the fourth, a $5,000 claiming sprint, aboard 5-year-old Florida-bred gelding Perfetto for trainer Bennett and owner William MacKinnon.

    Bennett said Camacho has learned the importance of not rushing horses approaching the stretch at Tampa Bay Downs, where experienced riders have been known to take advantage of an over-eager jockey by “floating” a charging horse and rider farther out to the middle of the track, blunting their rally.

    “I started him out when he first came here (during the 2015-2016 meeting), and I told him you can’t override a horse coming around the turn because they’ll start spinning their wheels,” Bennett said. “That part (of the race) from the 3/8-mile pole to the ¼-mile pole, is where you hold your horse together, then move with them later.

    “He’s getting this track down pat now, he’s competitive and you can see he’s having fun when he rides. Mike (Moran), his agent, was a good rider, and he’ll take Samy aside at the end of the day to talk about what happened.”

    Of course, Camacho received a major boost when he won the Gr. II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on King Guillermo in March.

Around the oval - Bennett won two races, also scoring in the second with 2-year-old Florida-bred filly R Averie Lynn. She is owned by Averill Racing and ATM Racing and was ridden by Tampa Bay Downs newcomer Roberto Alvarado Jr.

    In today’s featured eighth race, the Happy Thanksgiving Purse at 6 ½ furlongs on the main track, 6-year-old Florida-bred gelding High Five Cotton staved off a threat from Expensive Style to post a ¾-length victory. The winner’s time was 1:16.44, less than a second off the track record.

   The victory was the third in a row for High Five Cotton, who improved to 14-for-50 lifetime. Antonio Gallardo rode the winner for owner Bob Apicelli’s Carole Star Stables and trainer Jose H. Delgado.

    Tampa Bay Downs is closed Thursday for Thanksgiving. Racing continues Friday with a nine-race card beginning at 12:47 p.m. The track currently races on a Wednesday-Friday-Saturday schedule, with Sundays added to the mix on Dec. 20. Additionally, Tampa Bay Downs will conduct a Thursday card on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, and be closed Christmas, Dec. 25.


Wednesday, November 25, 2020
3 races from Laurel, two from Gulfstream West . . .

    LAUREL, MD – The Stronach 5, with its low 12-percent takeout, will have a carryover Friday of $91,481.The wager, which has consistently offered bettors a strong return on investment, will feature races from Laurel Park and Gulfstream West.

    The sequence begins at approximately 3:20 p.m. with Laurel’s seventh race, a $35,000 restricted allowance event at seven furlongs that attracted a field of nine including last year’s Gr. III Schuylerville runner-up Kiss the Girl and stakes-placed Stickingtogether.

    The second leg will be Laurel’s eighth race, a starter optional claimer for 3-year-olds and up going six furlongs. Day the Music Died, Belle Tapisserie, Wonder In and Marco Island all enter off victories.

    The action turns to Gulfstream West and its eighth race for the third leg, a claiming event for fillies and mares, before returning to Laurel for its ninth race, a $10,000 maiden claiming event at a mile that drew a field of 14.

    The Stronach 5 concludes with Gulfstream’s ninth race, the lone turf event in the sequence. The five-furlong race will feature 3-year-olds and up including last-out winners R Man Joe and Balistico as well as Kantharos’ Image, who has a victory, two seconds and two thirds in his last five starts.

Friday’s races and sequence

·    Leg One – Laurel Park 7th Race: (9 entries, 7 furlongs) 3:20 ET, 12:20 PT

·    Leg Two –Laurel Park 8th Race: (11 entries, 6 furlong) 3:350 ET, 12:50 PT

·    Leg Three –Gulfstream Park 8th Race: (9 entries, 6 ½ furlongs) 3:58 ET, 12:58 PT

·    Leg Four –Laurel Park 9th Race: (14 entries, 5 ½ furlongs) 4:20 ET, 1:40 PT

·    Leg Five –Gulfstream West 9th Race: (14 entries, 1 mile turf) 4:27 ET, 1:27 PT

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





Monday, November 23, 2020
Another blockbuster Saturday . . .

    Mike Mulligan's BetBestBreeze handicapping website has had too many blockbuster days to count, and on Saturday he added another big day to the list.

    Mike had 19 runners listed at seven tracks: Aqueduct (2), Churchill Downs (6), Del Mar (1), Gulfstream West (3), Hawthorne (1), Laurel (4), and Woodbine (2). The final scoreboard read: 7 winners, 6 seconds, 2 thirds - and included were some real bombers.    

    It's difficult to ascertain what kind of profits handicappers following Mike's horses make because there are so many different methods of wagering. So I'm going to just list a win-place-show scenario to highlight how the picks fared, which would, of course, affect exacta, trifecta, superfecta and other exotic pool players. At least it will give some idea of what a superior day it was for BetBestBreeze.

    First I'm picking out one method at random - out of many - that is, betting $20 to win on every horse, or $20 to place, or $20 to show.

    A $20 win bet on all 19 horses would have cost $380. The total collection for the seven winners would have brought back $727, a modest profit of  $347. The key winners were Empire Express at Aqueduct ($15.20); Journeytothemoon at Laurel ($24.20); and Gary Doing Biz at Laurel ($13.60).

    A $20 place bet on all 19 also would have cost $380 and the total collection for the 13 who came in first or second would have been $994, headed by Lijana at Aqueduct ($20.80); Willtobelucky at Hawthorne ($23.60) and Journeytothemoon at Laurel ($10).  

A $20 show bet on the 19, another outlay of $380, would have returned $840, led by Journeytothemoon at Laurel ($9.20); Lijana at Aqueduct ($9.30); Marvella Nasty at Laurel ($13.60); and Willtobelucky at Hawthorne ($13.80). 

    For those with strong hearts, and bankrolls to match, $20 across the board on all 19 would have cost $1,140. The total collection would have been $2,561. Not a bad haul and you don't even have to spend $12 on a Racing Form. And, not to forget the exotic aficionados, here's just one example from Saturday to munch on: the 50-cent trifecta on the fifth race at Laurel, won by Journeytothemoon, and with Marvella Nasty finishing third, paid $319.05; the $1 superfecta paid $10,149.      

    The handicappers on TVG, Fox and the individual telecasts from each track rarely, if ever, hit these kinds of numbers, not with their picks of 6/5 shots, and the going-out-on-the-limb 'value' picks of 4-1 or 5-1 shots, while worrying about the infamous 'bounce,' or if the No. 1 horse is going to get "mired on the rail' or 'bogged down on the inside' or 'have to work out a trip.'   

    BetBestBreeze doesn't bother with such trivialities. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020
$60,000 stakes came off the turf . . .
    MIAMI GARDENS, FL – Alex and Joanne Lieblong’s Big Thorn benefited from a perfect trip, as well as the morning rains that forced turf races to be run over the sloppy main track, to score a dominating victory in today’s $60,000 Juvenile Turf at Gulfstream West.

    The seven-furlong Juvenile Turf for Florida-bred 2-year-olds, which was originally scheduled to be run at a mile on the turf course, co-headlined the program with the $60,000 Millions Filly and Mare Turf for Florida-bred fillies and mares.

     Big Thorn, a main-track-only entrant who had broken his maiden by five lengths in his previous start, raced in third behind dueling pacesetters Hot Blooded and Fulmini, who put up fractions of :22.99 and :45.77 seconds for the first half-mile. Jockey Paco Lopez made a three-wide sweep to the lead leaving the turn into the stretch aboard the home-bred colt, who drew off to a notch a 4 ½-length victory.

    Fulmini, who was ridden by Edgard Zayas, finished second, 9 ¼ lengths clear of Castle King. Big Thorn, the 2-1 favorite, ran seven furlongs in 1:23.23.

    “We were fortunate that the race came off and it helped shortening up to seven-eighths. I didn’t expect him to be quite as close as he was. Paco told me he put him into the race early but after that it was all over,” trainer David Fawkes said. “He had so much horse through the whole race. He really, really likes the horse. When he got off the horse he said, ‘Damn, this is a nice horse.’”

    Big Thorn finished second in his Sept. 26 debut at Gulfstream in an open maiden special weight race before dominating Florida-bred rivals back-to-back.

    “He ran a little green last time, but this time much, much more professional. He acted up on the van coming over, he did a lot of things last time he ran that could have jeopardized him but it obviously didn’t,” Fawkes said. “We’ll just wait and look for the next spot, that’s all. I don’t like to look too far ahead.”

    Windylea Farm’s Thissmytime ($11) relished the sloppy going while registering an easy victory in the Millions Filly and Mare Preview. Like Big Thorn, Thissmytime was a main-track-only entrant in the seven-furlong race that was originally scheduled for 7 ½ furlongs on turf.

    Ridden by Joe Bravo, who captured the $60,000 Millions Turf Preview on Saturday’s GPW card, Thissmytime closely tracked pacesetter Picara, who showed the way into the far turn after running the first quarter of a mile in :22.45 seconds. Thissmytime moved to the lead entering the turn during a 44.45-second half-mile and drew off powerfully and comfortably to register her first stakes victory.

    The Kathleen O’Connell-trained 3-year-old daughter of Carpe Diem ran seven furlongs in a sharp 1:21.40.  Starship Nala closed to finish clear of R Prerogative, the 9-5 favorite.

    Miguel Vasquez rode four winners on the program, propelling him into a 39-39 tie with defending champion Edgard Zayas in the race for the jockey’s title with three cards remaining in the Gulfstream West meet. Vasquez scored aboard Terry’s Dream ($13) in Race 3, Lavi ($5.40) in Race 4, Walkoff ($5.20) in Race 5 and Itsmyluckygirl ($5) in Race 8.

    However, Vasquez completed his final day of riding at Gulfstream West and is scheduled to return to competition on Wednesday, Dec. 2, the opening day of the 2020-2021 Championship Meet.

    Rohan Crichton, who saddled Itsmyluckygirl for her victory, holds a 17-15 lead over Antonio Sano in the race for the trainer’s title. Saffie Joseph Jr., the defending titlist, has had 14 winners.

Wednesday’s Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Guaranteed at $425,000           

    The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $425,000 Wednesday. The Rainbow went unsolved for the 15th day, and multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $629.86.
Friday, November 20, 2020
Jackpot guaranteed at $325 million . . .

    MIAMI GARDENS - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $325,000 Saturday at Gulfstream West, where the $60,000 Millions Turf Preview and the $60,000 Juvenile Fillies Turf will highlight the multi-race wager’s six-race sequence (Races 4-9).

    Anne Scott’s Galleon Mast is scheduled to seek his third-straight running of the Millions Turf Preview in the mile turf race for Florida-bred 3-year-olds and up. The David Fawkes-trained gelding’s two Turf Preview wins are also his only successes in his last 10 starts. Paco Lopez, who was aboard for those two wins the only two times he’s ridden the son of Mizzen Mast during that period, returns to the saddle. Rancho Alegre’s Monforte, who has won six of his last seven starts, will seek his third straight stakes score in the Turf Preview, which is carded as Race 5.

            Arindel’s Quinoa Tifah will look for back-to-back stakes wins in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, a mile stakes for Florida-bred 2-year-old fillies carded as Race 7. The Juan Alvarado-trained daughter of Gemologist will seek her first win on turf after capturing the off-the-turf Our Dear Peggy at Gulfstream last time out. Live Oak Plantation’s Sweet Souper Sweet will also seek her first win on turf which notching back-to-back stakes scores. The daughter of First Samurai is coming off an impressive victory in the Presque Isle Downs Debutante over a synthetic track.

            A well-stocked maiden special weight race for 2-year-olds has been programmed between the two stakes races in Race 6. Todd Pletcher-trained Deemed Essential has been installed at 6-5 on the morning-line off a strong debut effort over a sloppy Gulfstream West track Oct. 10. Lets Go Stable’s daughter of Upstart rallied to finish a head off the winner at Saturday’s 6 ½-furlong distance.

    Whisper Hill Farm LLC’s Dance Awhile, a Ralph Nicks-trained daughter of Curlin; Al Rashid Stables LLC’s Mizzen, a Juan Carlos Avila-trained daughter of Street Sense; and Harold Lerner LLC, Magdalena Racing and Nehoc Stables’ The Jokes On Me, a Kenny McPeek-trained daughter of Mshawish, are scheduled to debut in Race 6.

    The Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 13th day today, and multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $5,824.

    There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $9,297 heading into Saturday’s program.

Thursday, November 19, 2020
Live Oak's Souper Watson wins at Gulfstream West . . .

    MIAMI GARDENS - Ocala's Mark Casse became the 34th trainer in thoroughbred racing history to win 3,000 races today when Live Oak Plantation’s Souper Watson scored a decisive 1 ¾-length victory in Race 3 at Gulfstream West.

    The 59-year-old son of the late Norman Casse, who was elected to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame earlier this year, watched the milestone win on TV from his Ocala farm.

“It feels good," Casse said. "I watched it with my son, Colby, and we gave each other high-fives and celebrated.” I’m happy to be able to do it for [Live Oak Plantation’s] Mrs. [Charlotte] Weber.”

    Nick Tomlinson, Casse’s South Florida-based assistant trainer, saddled Souper Watson ($17), who graduated under jockey Miguel Vasquez while coming off a 6 ½-month layoff in the 7 ½-furlong maiden special weight race on turf.

    “This is something I’ve just wanted to do my entire life," Casse said. " Milestones mean a lot. This has made me think back over the years. I went through a period of seven or eight years where I didn’t train many horses. We kicked back in, I want to say, 20 years ago. When we won 1,000, I said, ‘Well, that was nice.’ Then, when we won 2,000, I said, ‘I don’t think there will be 3,000.’ I don’t know if there will be 4,000. We’ll see.”

    Souper Watson entered the race off a sixth-place finish at Gulfstream Park in an April 25 maiden special weight event that has turned out to be a mega key race. All eight of the 3-year-old son of Ghostzapper’s rivals have gone on to graduate, including four next-out winners

    “I was just talking with my assistant, Nick Tomlinson. We weren’t shocked at all,” Casse said. “We honestly thought he was a pretty good horse early on. That last race came up a little tough. We sent him home and gave him a little break and he came back blockbusters.”

    Born in Indiana, Casse took out his trainer’s license at the age of 17 in Massachusetts. He saddled his first winner, Joe’s Coming, in 1979 at Keeneland and his first graded stakes-winner in 1984 when winning the Gr. III Jamaica at Belmont Park with Raja’s Shark.

    A 12-time Sovereign Award winner, Casse is ranked sixth in North America this year in wins (172) and purse earnings ($10.7 million). Just a few of Casse’s many highlights include saddling winners in the 2019 Preakness (War of Will) and 2019 Belmont (Sir Winston) and training two-time champion Tepin, winner of the Gr. I Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

    Casse has won training titles at Woodbine, Keeneland, Churchill Downs and Turfway Park.

(Editor's note:) Mark's first interview for any publication came when he was 15 years old and was based on what a great handicapper his dad claimed he was. The interviewer was, of all people, the guy whose picture is at the top of this page.  


Thursday, November 19, 2020
Revenue of more than $18 million for 3 months . . .

    It's been a long time since we went over the casino statistics for Florida's eight pari-mutuel facilities, which have been devastated by the virus situation. The division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering is only up-to-date through the end of September, so we only have three months worth of stats to report on since the start of the fiscal year on July 1.

    Several things have changed since the last report, with Dania Jai Alai and Gulfstream Park moving way up on the list, and all the numbers going down.

(1) The Isle Casino & Racing at Pompano Park continues to lead the way. The home of the trotters has taken in $229,763,064 in the three-month period and has a net slot revenue of $18,153,184. The daily average revenue per machine is $263. All this despite the fact that Pompano's percentage of payouts is 90.75, worst among all the facilities.

In the last fiscal year, 2019-2020, Pompano's net slot revenue was $83,220,629, but March through June killed the bottom line as the virus spread and people stayed home. Like all the facilities, the casino was closed in all of April and May, and parts of March and June.

(2) It took a while for patrons to gravitate to 'The Casino at Dania Beach' after its extensive renovation, but now it has moved into second place with "credits in" of  $165,788,072. The net slot revenue is $10,294,544.

(3) 'The Big Easy Casino,' formerly Hollywood dogs, is third with credits in of $147,194,957, and net slot revenue of $9,010,483. The net revenue for all of last year was $24,937,954, greatly affected by the closures.

(4) Gulfstream Park has moved up to fourth with credits in of $123,341,449 and net slot revenue of $8,009,400. The closures hurt all aspects of the racing spectrum, especially the horsemen and breeders, with net revenue of just $30,373,007.  

(5) Flagler Dog Track's 'Magic City Casino,' perennially second to Pompano Park, has dropped three spots to fifth with credits in of $125,729,791 and net revenue of $7,723,695. The lower numbers are partly due to Flagler's second-highest payout percentage of 93.42.

(6) Hialeah Park's numbers are also being affected by payout percentage. The once-revered Flamingo track gives back the most of all the facilities - 93.63%, and has credits in of $109,235,104, with net revenue of $6,540,055. 

(7) Miami Jai Alai is next-to-last on the list with credits in of $95,124,789, and a monster drop in net revenue of $5,991,356. Last year's net revenue was $53,344,457.

(8) The bottom rung is occupied by Calder Casino and Race Course with credits in of $81,737,520 and an even bigger drop in net revenue at $5,802,891. Last year, Calder was third with $70,520,842. 

 Coming up: report on how the card rooms are faring.         

Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Ocala's pride has two entries at each of 3 tracks . . .


    MIAMI GARDENS - Souper Watson, who can provide trainer Mark Casse career win No. ,in Thursday’s Race 3 at Gulfstream Park West, is 10-1 in the morning line for the 7 ½-furlong maiden special weight race on turf. However, handicappers who put a lot of weight on last-out key races will give the Live Oak Plantation homebred a very long look.


    Souper Watson will enter the race off a sixth-place finish at Gulfstream in an April 25 maiden special weight event that has turned out to be a mega key race. All eight of the 3-year-old son of Ghostzapper’s rivals have gone on to graduate, including four next-out winners.

     Victorious Venezuelan Hug won his next race at Gulfstream and went on to win an allowance race at Saratoga. Runner-up Shamrocket came back to graduate at Belmont Park in his next race and most recently finished third in the Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs. Third-place finisher Mystery Bank graduated at Saratoga in his next start.

    Freedom Force, Winter’s Wonder and Disturbin Bourbon – who finished fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively – all graduated two starts later. Seventh-place finisher Jealous Boyfriend won next time out at Gulfstream and last-place finisher Viper came back three races later to win the first of back-to-back victories.

    On Thursday, Casse has six chances to get No. 3,000 - two horses at Gulfstream, two at Churchill Downs and two at Woodbine. Souper Watson is scheduled to be first-up. The Florida-bred gelding, who will race without blinkers for the first time, finished third, beaten by a half-length, in his turf debut at Gulfstream Feb. 13 before finishing fifth after a troubled start Mar. 4 and participating in the April 25 key race.

    Should Souper Watson not become the fifth next-out winner from the April 25 race and Casse’s entrant in Churchill Downs’ Race 5 fails to win, the Hall of Famer will have a chance at the career milestone in Gulfstream’s Race 6. Gary Barber’s What a Beaut, who is 9-2 in the morning line, is scheduled to make her first start in the optional claiming allowance for Florida-bred fillies and mares since finishing a close second at Gulfstream Park West last Nov. 19.

    Race 3 will kick off Thursday’s 20-cent Rainbow 6 sequence that will conclude in Race 8. The jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $250,000. The multi-race wager went unsolved for the 11th day today, and multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $9,668.58.


Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Strict protocols will be followed . . .

    OLDSMAR - The most frequent question Tampa Bay Downs officials have received the past several weeks is: “Are you guys going to allow fans to come watch the races?”

    In the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, customer health and safety are the track’s foremost concerns. Tampa Bay Downs, which has allowed on-track simulcast wagering since July 2 and Silks Poker Room play since mid-June, has formulated plans to permit spectators for its 2020-2021 meeting, beginning with the opening-day racing card on Nov. 25.

    The 90-day meeting runs through May 2, followed by the annual Summer Festival of Racing on June 30 and July 1. Tampa Bay Downs will race most Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, adding Sundays starting Dec. 20 and also racing Thursday, Dec. 24.

    For the foreseeable future, fans will be required to wear masks both inside and outside the facility, unless they are eating or drinking. 

    Various measures have been established to ensure social distancing, including:

·         The creation of more outdoor, private spaces for small groups

·         A limited number of benches on the apron of the grandstand, with increased spacing

·         Computer-generated, socially distanced grandstand seating

·         A reduction in box seating, from eight to six seats per box

    Those changes, and many others, are designed to provide patrons with a high level of comfort and security when they arrive for an afternoon of racing during the track’s 95th anniversary season.

    Tampa Bay Downs has developed a website for fans to reserve seating that provides social distancing. The cost is $5 per seat and must be paid in advance. To purchase seats through the website, go to www.tbdseats.com
.

    The track raced without spectators last season from March 17 through the annual two-day Summer Festival of Racing, generating income and purses for horsemen and horsewomen through account wagering.

    Peter Berube, the track’s Vice President-General Manager, expressed optimism that a shared sense of responsibility and respect among track employees, horsemen, jockeys and fans will enable spectators to attend all season.

    “We understand that many of our patrons would like to see a return to pre-Coronavirus status, while many others are concerned about venturing outside their homes while the pandemic continues to pose a threat,” Berube said. “We believe it is important to listen to and respect all viewpoints, but our biggest duty is doing everything possible to keep our customers and employees healthy. Without fans at the track, racing loses some of its excitement and charm, and our on-track business suffers.”

    Tampa Bay Downs has also implemented rules to protect jockeys. Riders, jockey room staff, starting gate personnel, etc., will undergo rapid COVID testing prior to their arrival, with twice-weekly testing from there on. No newcomers will be allowed without a negative test, and jockeys will be restricted to their designated areas on race days and required to leave the room following their last ride of the day.

    Other elements of the track’s COVID-19 protocol include increasing the number of hand-sanitizing stations throughout the facility; ongoing cleaning and sterilizing of high-touch surfaces and areas; socially distanced markers on the floors; providing disinfecting wipes next to wagering machines, replay TVs and high-touch machines; and installing Plexiglas partitions between employees and customers at the Customer Service desk, program windows, concession stands and Gift Shop.

   
 The stakes schedule, which begins with the Dec. 5 Cotillion Festival Day card, remains virtually the same as last season. The 41st annual Gr. II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, a showcase for Triple Crown prospects, will be held March 6 as part of an outstanding Festival Day of racing program, featuring four graded races and total stakes purse money of $1 million.

    Other major race days include Festival Preview Day on Feb. 6, highlighted by the Gr. III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes for 3-year-olds; Florida Cup Day on March 28, featuring six $110,000 stakes races for registered Florida-breds; and Kentucky Derby Day on May 1.

    Nine of last season’s top 10 jockeys have returned for the 2020-2021 meeting. Daniel Centeno and Antonio Gallardo, who have amassed a combined 11 Oldsmar riding championships, are approaching major career milestones at the outset of the meeting. Centeno, who has won a record six Tampa Bay Downs titles, has ridden 2,987 North American winners (to go with 847 in his native Venezuela).

    Gallardo, a five-time track champion and last year’s leading jockey with 122 winners, has 1,955 victories in North America.

    Samy Camacho, who won the 2020 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on King Guillermo, is also expected to contend for the top spot in this year’s standings. Other top returning jockeys include Pablo Morales, who rode career winner No. 2,000 here last season; four-time Oldsmar track champion Ronnie Allen Jr.; two-time champion Jesus Castanon; and veterans Jose Ferrer, Willie Martinez and Scott Spieth.

    The Tampa Bay Downs trainers roster also features nine of the top 10 finishers in last season’s standings, headed by defending champion Gerald Bennett, who has won the last five Oldsmar training titles and six overall. Bennett, who saddled 61 winners last season, has 3,920 winners in his career, 14th on the all-time list.

    Last season’s runner-up with 33 winners, Kathleen O’Connell, is a two-time Tampa Bay Downs training champion. Her career total of 2,190 victories is behind only Kim Hammond (2,321) among North American women trainers.

    Michael Stidham, last season’s third-place trainer with 31 victories, returns, along with Mike Dini and Jose H. Delgado, who tied for fourth. Other conditioners who may lack the numbers to compete for a title, but bear watching, include Arnaud Delacour, H. Graham Motion, Tim Hamm, Eoin Harty and Anthony Granitz.

    Joining the backside roster this season are Mike Maker, whose 2,600-plus career training victories include the recent Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf with Fire At Will, plus 12 other graded stakes victories in 2020; Jon Arnett, who recently sent out career winner No. 2,000 at Prairie Meadows in Iowa; and David Van Winkle, a veteran of more than 30 seasons with almost 1,100 victories.

Saturday, November 14, 2020
Longest shot in field pays $57.60 . . .

    MIAMI GARDENS - Quenane, the longest shot in a field full of stakes- winners, showed off his fondness for the course and conditions by splashing to a one-length victory over late-running favorite Noble Drama in the $60,000 Millions Classic Preview at Gulfstream Park West.

     The Classic Preview for 3-year-olds and up, shortened to one mile this year, was the first of five dirt stakes for Florida-breds on the program, serving as a prep for the $100,000 Sunshine Millions Classic Jan. 16 during Gulfstream Park’s Championship Meet.

 Quenane ($57.60), a 6-year-old Algorithms gelding, led every step of the way to earn his 13th lifetime victory and fourth in seven tries at Gulfstream West. For his career, Quenane has a record of 4-4-1 in 13 attempts on an off track.

    Jockey Angel Arroyo and Quenane raced to the outside of Debbie’s Passion on the short run to the first turn and around the bend before taking over willingly into the backstretch, with defending champion Red Crescent also racing forwardly in third. The first quarter-mile went in 24.40 seconds as Red Crescent moved up to a pressing position.

     Red Crescent continued to loom a threat through a half in 47.70, a half-length behind Quenane, with Debbie’s Passion third and favorite Noble Drama beginning to rev up along the inside after trailing early. Red Crescent appeared to nudge a neck in front between calls but Quenane responded by surging again and remaining in front after six furlongs in 1:11.97.

    Arroyo hugged the rail turning for home and set sail for the wire while Noble Drama, a winner of back-to-back stakes but engaged in a long drive under Emisael Jaramillo, shifted to the far outside to make a belated bid for second. Debbie’s Passion held third, followed by Garter and Tie and Red Crescent.

     “Noble Drama is in terrific form and Red Crescent won this race last year, and so far Quenane in keeping company with them over the summer really hadn’t been effective with them and he faced some challenges when running against them,” winning trainer Tamara Levy said. “Not to slight Quenane – he’s a very good horse and he’s exceeded our expectations of him time and time again. If he can work it out and find away, he’ll get it done.”

    Claimed by Levy as a 3-year-old for $6,250 out of a third-place finish in 2017 in what was his 10th start, Quenane moved over the $300,000 mark in lifetime purses with this victory. Levy plans to point him to the 22nd Claiming Crown Dec. 5 on opening day of the 2020-2021 Championship Meet.

    “He’s never won gate-to-wire in his career," Levy said. "He knows the pace, he’s an older horse. He knows where the wire is. He knows the job, so you’ve got to kind of let him decide. Sometimes he knows best. Angel did a terrific job today."

Thursday, November 12, 2020
Wet turf course needs to recover . . .
    Continuing wet weather conditions in South Florida have led Gulfstream West officials to postpone four Florida-bred turf stakes scheduled for Saturday until the weekend of Nov. 21-22.

    The $60,000 Millions Turf Preview for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles, where 7-year-old Galleon Mast is targeting a three-peat, and the $60,000 Juvenile Fillies Turf at a mile have both been moved to Nov. 21.

    The Nov. 22 card will now include the $60,000 Filly & Mare Turf Preview, a 7 1/2-furlong grass race for females potentially headed by Picara, 4-for-6 lifetime at Gulfstream Park West, and the $60,000 Juvenile Turf for 2-year-olds at a mile.

    Even with the change in schedule, five $60,000 state-bred stakes are on tap Saturday for the main track: the Millions Classic Preview for 3-year-olds and up at one mile (Race 4), the Juvenile Fillies Sprint (Race 5) and the Juvenile Sprint (Race 7), each at 6 1/2 furlongs, and the six-furlong Millions Sprint Preview (Race 6) and the seven-furlong Millions Distaff (Race 8).

    The Millions Sprint Preview drew Shivaree, a multiple stakes-winner around one turn, who returns to action after running seventh in the Runhappy Travers Stakes this summer at Saratoga Race Course. He was the runner-up behind Tiz the Law in the 1 1/8-mile Curlin Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on March 28. 
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
Three new stallions for 2021 . . .

Stallion - 2021 Fee - 2020 Fe

--------------------------------------

Adios Charlie . . . $4,000 . . . $4,000

Ami's Flatter . . . $2,500 . . . $3,500

Awesome of Course . . . $2,000 . . . $4,000

Awesome Slew . . . $4,000 . . . $5,000

Battalion Runner . . . $1,500 . . . Private

Brooks 'n Down . . . $1,500 . . . $2,500

Dak Attack . . . $2,500 . . . NEW

Fort Loudon . . . $1,500 . . . $2,500

Girvin . . . $6,000 . . . $7,500

Greenpointcrusader . . . $3,500 . . . $5,000

In Summation . . . $2,500 . . . $2,500

Jess's Dream . . . $4,000 . . . $5,000

Noble Bird . . . $4,000 . . . $5,000

Seeking the Soul . . . $5,000 . . . NEW

The Big Beast . . . $4,000 . . . $6,000

Win Win Win . . . $5,000 . . . NEW

Tuesday, November 10, 2020
He's the first son of Lookin at Lucky in Florida . . .

    Canadian classic winner Breaking Lucky will be standing in Florida for the 2021 breeding season at Pleasant Acres Stallions, with a fee of $5,000.

    He began his stallion career at Blue Star Racing in Louisiana for the 2020 breeding season. Before retiring to Louisiana, Breaking Lucky successfully raced for the partnerships of West Point Thoroughbreds, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Eric Young, and R.A. Hill Stable.

    “Our mission has always been to expand Florida’s breeding program by offering exceptional stallion bloodlines,” said Joe Barbazon, owner of Pleasant Acres Stallions. “Bringing Breaking Lucky to Pleasant Acres Stallions is a huge win for all of us in the state. This successful GSW millionaire is the the ONLY son of Lookin at Lucky to be standing in Florida and we are proud to have him.”  

     Hailing from the red-hot sire line of Lookin at Lucky (Smart Strike), Breaking Lucky also comes from an impressive female family. His dam, GSP Shooting Party (Sky Classic), broke her maiden in her first race. She was second in the G1 Garden City BrHailingeeders’ Cup Handicap and third in both the G3 Pebbles Handicap and the G2 Nassau County Stakes.

    She had already produced Breaking Lucky – who went on to win $1,196,376. Currently, she is the dam of four winners, including Quake Lake (War Chant) – the dam of Kentucky Derby winner Country House (Looking at Lucky).

    Breaking Lucky’s sire stands in Kentucky for $20,000 and is well on his way to becoming a sire of sires. A champion at two and three, he won nine races including the G1 Preakness Stakes, the G1 Izod Haskell Invitational Stakes, the G1 Del Mar Futurity, the G1 Norfolk Stakes, and the G1 CashCall Futurity. Lookin at Lucky was in the money 11 out of 13 starts with career earnings of $3,307,278.  He is the sire of G1 Accelerate (standing for $17,500 in KY), G1 Country House (standing for $7,500 in KY), G1 Wow Cat, G2 Madefromlucky, G2 Money Multiplier, G2 Dr Dorr, G2 Diamond Oops, etc.

    On the track, Breaking Lucky won the 2015 Prince of Wales Stakes ­– the second leg of Canada’s Triple Crown – while defeating MG1SW and 2015 Sovereign Award Champion 3-Year-Old Shaman Ghost. In 2016, he won the G3 Seagram Cup Stakes at Woodbine. Breaking Lucky went on to place in the G1 Clark Handicap, G1 Whitney Stakes and G1 Stephen Foster Handicap behind Horse of the Year Gun Runner.  In total, Breaking Lucky was on the board in 10 graded stakes and two black-type races.

Saturday, November 7, 2020
Due to Tropical Storm Eta . . .
    MIAMI SPRINGS - Gulfstream West announced today the cancellation of its Sunday racing program due to the impending arrival of Tropical Storm Eta.

    Entries will be taken Sunday for Friday’s program.

    The National Weather Service issued a tropical storm warning for Miami-Dade and the Florida Keys this morning.

     Racing will resume Wednesday.
Wednesday, November 4, 2020
Nine-race event set for Dec. 5 . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Nominations for the 22nd edition of the Claiming Crown, the nine-race event offering $835,000 in purses, close Sunday, Nov. 8.

   The Claiming Crown, which will be run Saturday, Dec. 5, has undergone a major revitalization in the nine years Gulfstream has hosted the event
.

   The $150,000 Jewel will headline the program. The 1 1/8-mile route will be contested by 3-year-olds and up that have raced for a claiming price of $35,000 or less.

    The $95,000 Tiara for fillies and mares that have raced for a claiming price of $25,000 or less will be run at 1 1/16 miles on turf, as will the $95,000 Emerald, which will be contested by 3-year-olds and up that have raced for a $25,000 claiming price or less.

    The $90,000 Canterbury for 3-year-olds and up that have raced for a claiming price of $25,000 or less and the $90,000 Distaff Dash for fillies and mares that have run for a claiming price of $25,000 or less are both scheduled to be run at five furlongs on turf.

    The Claiming Crown program will also include the $85,000 Rapid Transit, a seven-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up that have raced for a claiming price of $16,000 or less; the $80,000 Glass Slipper a mile event for fillies and mares that have raced for a claiming price of $16,000 or less; the $75,000 Express, a six-furlong dash for 3-year-olds and up that have raced for a claiming price of $8,000 or less; and the $75,000 Iron Horse, a 1 1/16-mile route for 3-year-olds and up that have raced for a claiming price of $8,000 or less.


Tuesday, November 3, 2020
Gulfstream series slated for Jan. 23 . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Gulfstream Park has announced that North American-based winners of this weekend’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be offered complimentary equine travel to Gulfstream to compete in the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series.

    The $3 million, Gr. I Pegasus World Cup for 4-year-olds and up and the $1 million, Gr. I Pegasus World Cup Turf for 4-year-olds and up will be contested on Saturday, Jan. 23.

    Winners of the Pegasus World Cup and Pegasus World Cup Turf will also have guaranteed spots in the starting gate of the Saudi Cup Feb. 20.

    Entering its fifth year, the Pegasus World Cup Championship Series has continued to attract the sport's biggest stars including champions Gun Runner, Arrogate and California Chrome as well as 2019 winner City of Light and international sensations Aerolithe, Kukulkan and Magic Wand. The race has also brought out stars from film, music and fashion including Jennifer Lopez, Post Malone, Snoop Dogg, Olivia Culpo, Usher, Vanessa Hudgens, Lenny Kravitz, Pharrell and Bella Thorne.

    Pegasus World Cup Day will feature seven graded stakes in all, worth $4.8 million.
Monday, November 2, 2020
90-day meeting runs through May 2 . . .

    Tampa Bay Downs kicks off its winter season on Wednesday, Nov. 25, and for the first time since mid-March spectators will be permitted to attend the races.

    The 90-day season runs through Sunday, May 2, the day after the Kentucky Derby, assuming the Derby is run on the first Saturday in May next year.

    There will be just three racing days in November - opening day, Friday the 27th and Saturday the 28th. After an in-and-out schedule in December, the January through April schedule features racing on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, except for April 4 (Easter Sunday).    

    During the season, all fans and media members, horsemen, track officials and employees will be required to wear masks or facial coverings inside and outside the facility, and practice social distancing. 

    Hand-sanitizing stations have been made prominent throughout; an air sterilizer and purification system has been installed to protect patrons; socially distanced markers have been placed on the floors; and disinfecting wipes will be provided next to wagering machines, replay TVs and high-touch machines. 

    In addition, the elevator capacity will be limited to four people; touchless door openers have been added to the restrooms; socially distanced seating will be employed in all areas throughout the grandstand and clubhouse, and plexiglass partitions between employees and customers will be installed at the customer service desk, the program and lottery windows and the gift shop.

    The biggest day on the calendar, as usual, is Festival Day 41 on Saturday, March 6, with five stakes races worth a combined $1 million in purse money, headed by the Gr. II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby and the Gr. II, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes for older fillies and mares on the grass. 

    Feb. 6 is Sam F. Davis Stakes day. with four stakes worth a combined $750,000. The Gr. II, $250,000 Sam F. Davis for 3-year-olds is a "Road to the Kentucky Derby" points race, as is the Tampa Bay Derby. 

    

Saturday, October 31, 2020
Stakes action begins at Gulfstream West next Saturday . . .

    MIAMI GARDENS - A mandatory payout of the 20-cent Rainbow 6 at Gulfstream West yielded a payoff of $13,725.66 to multiple ticket-holders today.

    The multi-race wager had gone unsolved for eight programs following a $249,204 jackpot hit on Oct. 18.

    There was a carryover of $111,271 at the start of betting, generating a handle of $890,459 on the six-race sequence.

Island Commish Tops Noms for Showing Up Stakes

    Racing action kicks into high gear next Saturday with the first stakes of the 2020 season with the running of the $60,000 Showing Up and the $60,000 Cellars Shiraz.

    Matthew Schera’s Island Commish, a close second in the Gr. III Franklin Simpson at Kentucky Downs last time out, tops a list of 24 nominations for the Showing Up, a one-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds. The Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained son of Commissioner, who led in the stretch before falling a neck short of holding off Guildsman’s late rally, captured the Gr. III Kitten’s Joy during Gulfstream Park’s Championship Meet last January.

    Leonard Green and Jonathan Green’s Another Miracle, the third-place finisher in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, is nominated for a rematch with Island Commish after being eliminated by bumping at the start of the Franklin Simpson. The Joe Orseno-trained son of American Pharoah won the My Frenchman at Monmouth in his prior start.

    Rancho Alegre’s Monforte, who has won five of his last six starts, including the Bears Den at Gulfstream last time out, is also prominent on the list of nominations, as is Rodolphe Brisset-trained Ragtime Blues, who was second in the Gr. III Laz Barrera at Santa Anita in June.

    Trainer Michael Maker is expected to be well-represented in both stakes. He nominated two for the Showing Up and five for the Cellars Shiraz, a one-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies that attracted 33 nominations. Maker will be represented by Gelfenstein Farm and Andry Blanco’s Angelus Warrior, the runner-up in the Mystic Lake Derby at Canterbury in June, and Skychai Racing’s Jolting Joe, a New York-bred stakes-winner.

    Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher’s Evil Lyn, who captured the Hilltop Stakes on the Preakness Stakes undercard at Pimlico on Oct. 1, tops the Maker nominees for the Cellars Shiraz.

    The nominations list also includes fillies trained by Championship Meet regulars Christophe Clement, Arnaud Delacoeur and Mark Casse, as well as Maker and newcomer Brad Cox.

    Clement is represented by R Unicorn Stable’s Faccio Io, a graded stakes-placed filly in Europe who has yet to start in the U. S., and Malibeauty, who has won two of five starts on dirt. Delacoeur nominated Secret Time, a graded stakes-placed filly in Europe who finished a troubled fifth in the Hilltop in her U. S. debut, and Lucky Money, who finished third in the Dueling Grounds Oaks before winning a Keeneland allowance.

    Casse nominated three, including Mo of the West, who has won three of her last four starts, all at Gulfstream. Cox-trained A d’Oro, who has three published works at Gulfstream’s satellite training facility Palm Meadows, is coming off a maiden win at Belmont Park.

    The Gulfstream Park West stakes action will continue on , Nov. 14 with nine stakes, including five Sunshine Millions Preview races.

Vasquez Wins Four

    Jockey Miguel Vasquez visited the winner’s circle four times this afternoon. Vasquez won the first race aboard Long Beach Kid ($23), the sixth on Friendly Fella ($8), the seventh on Front Loaded ($14), and the eighth with Victory Crusade ($38.60)

Friday, October 30, 2020
Replaces Dave Bailey . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Gulfstream Park's management has announced the appointment of Michael Costanzo as racing secretary. Costanzo, the assistant racing secretary the past year, replaces outgoing secretary Dave Bailey.

    “We’re delighted with the work Mike has done for more than 10 years at Gulfstream. He’s excelled at all positions and he has a great understanding of the industry,” said Mike Lakow, Vice President of Racing. “His hard work and dedication has earned him this promotion, which is well deserved. We are confident Mike will build on our year-round program.”

    Costanzo, a native of Chicago who has worked in the racing office since 2009, had served as stakes coordinator at Gulfstream for five years before becoming assistant racing secretary. He served as the editor of the Breeders’ Cup Notes Team for five years and also was the former public relations manager at Calder Race Course.

    A product of the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program, Costanzo’s first job in the industry was in 2000 as an admission office intern at Arlington Park. He was also the public address announcer during spring training for the Chicago White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks
Thursday, October 29, 2020
Rainbow 6 will go on Saturday . . .

    MIAMI GARDENS - A mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 pool has been scheduled for Saturday’s program at Gulfstream West.

    Heading into Friday’s program, the multi-race wager has gone unsolved for seven programs following a $249,204 jackpot hit on Oct. 18. Multiple tickets with five out of six winners today were each worth $843.22. The jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $175,000 for Friday’s program.


    Friday’s sequence will span Races 3-8, kicked off by a mile optional claiming allowance on turf for state-bred 3-year-olds and up. Sassy But Smart, who was beaten by less than two lengths in a fourth-place finish in the Palm Beach during the Championship Meet, and Till the End, who has been 1-2-3 in his last four starts at the level, appear to be the key contenders.

    Race 4 is a six-furlong race for $50,000 maiden claiming 2-year-old fillies. Terry’s Dream, a daughter of Jess’s Dream who finished second in her recent debut, will be taken on by a pair of first-time starters by California Chrome and Not This Time, and four others. A five-furlong turf dash for Florida-bred fillies and mares follows in Race 5, featuring the return of Daddy’s Joy, who graduated in her first start for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. in her first start at Gulfstream Park last time out. In only her third career start, the daughter of Daddy Long Legs will concede considerable experience to her eight rivals.

    A seven-furlong maiden special weight race for fillies and mares will start off the second half of the sequence in Race 6. Todd Pletcher-trained Abilene Trail, a 3-year-old daughter of Curlin, will return from a 13-month layoff while facing five rivals, including Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained Cozy Café, who finished a troubled third in her  recent debut. The sequence will be wrapped up with a mile race for $8,000 claimers in Race 8 and a 1 1/16-mile turf race for $16,000 maiden claimers, 3-year-olds and up, in Race 9

Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Journeyman sire leads Bucchero by 20 . . .

    Journeyman Stud's Khozan is No. 1 on the list of mares bred by Florida stallions this season with 181, and with good reason. The son of Distorted Humor ran away with Florida's leading freshman sire title in 2019 and is the runaway leader again on this year's general sire list with progeny earnings approaching $3 million.

    Khozan currently has bred 20 more mares than Pleasant Acres' Bucchero, whose second crop breedings have reached 161. The statistics supplied by The Jockey Club are not complete, awaiting late reports. Journeyman also has the No. 5 sire on the list, St. Patrick's Day, the full brother to American Pharoah, with 116.

    There are 72 Florida stallions on the U. S. list and Ocala Stud leads among the Floridians with seven in the top 23. Pleasant Acres has five. 

The top 23:   

1 - Khozan (Journeyman Stud) - 181

2 - Bucchero (Pleasant Acres) -161

 3 - Adios Charlie (Ocala Stud) - 138

 4 - Girvin (Ocala Stud) - 124

 5- St. Patrick's Day (Journeyman Stud) - 116

 6 - The Big Beast (Ocala Stud) - 84

 7 - Awesome Slew (Ocala Stud) - 71

 8- Neolithic (Pleasant Aces) - 61

 9 - Brethren (Arindel) - 60

10 - Jess's Dream (Ocala Stud) - 57

11 - Cajun Breeze (Stonehedge Farm) - 45

12 - First Dude (Double Diamond) - 44

13 - Valiant Minister (Bridlewood) - 41

14 - Katz My Song (Champagne Farm) - 37

15 - Rogueish (Oakton Farm Stallions) - 34 

16 - Greenpointcrusader (Ocala Stud) - 33

 17 - Bahamian Squall (Double Diamond) - 29

        Noble Bird (Ocala Stud) - 29

 19 - Long On Value (Pleasant Acres) - 24

 20 - Big Drama (Oakton Farm Stallions) - 21

 21 - Handsome Mike (Pleasant Acres) - 20

        Chitu (Bridlewood) - 20

 23 - Ride On Curlin (Pleasant Acres) - 19

Tuesday, October 27, 2020
Blue Gator takes New York Breeders' Futurity by 4 1/2 . . .

    Three Diamonds Farm’s Blue Gator is two-for-two and a stakes-winner after pressing the pace from the outside in Monday’s $218,075 New York Breeders’ Futurity at Finger Lakes, taking command after straightening away in the stretch and drawing off to win by 4 1/2 lengths.

    Trained by Mike Maker, the 2-year-old colt by Liam’s Map has earned $159,445 to date. Consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent, to the 2020 OBS Spring Sale, he went through the ring after breezing an Under Tack quarter in :21 2/5. 

    A pair of 2020 OBS March graduates broke their maidens in Japan on Saturday, followed by a third on Sunday.

    Kazumi Yoshida’s Russian Samovar scored at first asking at Kyoto, taking over in mid-stretch, then holding off a late charge to score by a head in an 1800m maiden test. The 2-year-old daughter of American Pharoah, trained by Mikio Matsunaga, earned $66,667 USD for the effort. At the March Sale, she sped an Under Tack quarter in :20 2/5, then was purchased for $650,000 out of the Wavertree Stables consignment. 

    Trainer Hideyuki Mori unveiled Yui Matsushima’s Super Wooper for her first start at Kyoto in a 1200m turf test and the 2-year-old daughter of Overanalyze did not disappoint, taking the lead at the start and never looking back en route to a two-length score worth $66,667 USD. At the sale, she turned in an Under Tack eighth in :9 4/5 and was sold by Golden Rock Thoroughbreds, Agent, for $150,000.

    Yukio Baba’s Olympic Day scored on Sunday in his second start, posting a two-length victory in a 1200m maiden test at Nigata for trainer Masayuki Nishimura. The 2-year-old colt by Medaglia d’Oro, who has earned $55,238 USD to date, was consigned by Top Line Sales LLC, Agent, and sold for $420,000 after breezing an eighth in :10 1/5 at the Under Tack Show. 

Sunday, October 25, 2020
Second start for Gladys . . .
    MIAMI GARDENS - Dede McGehee’s Gladys, a 2-year-old full sister to 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, graduated today at Gulfstream West with an 11-1 upset victory in a one-mile maiden special weight event.

    The filly by Medaglia d’Oro-Lotta Kim roared from off the pace to score a three-length victory in her second career start and first around two turns. In her Sept. 18 debut at six furlongs, Gladys encountered trouble leaving the starting gate and was never a factor. Trained by Kelsey Danner, she ran a mile over a sloppy track today in 1:38.80 under Angel Arroyo.

    Gladys, who was bred by Mc Gehee’s Heaven Trees Farm, is Lotta Kim’s eighth foal of racing age. Of course, Rachel Alexandra, who captured three 2009 Gr. I's, the Preakness, Haskell and Woodward, on her way to being crowned racing’s champion, is by far the most accomplished offspring of the eight.


Wednesday’s Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Guaranteed at $125,000

   The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $125,000 for Wednesday’s program. First race post is noon. The multi-race wager went unsolved for the fifth racing day since one lucky ticket-holder hit for a $249,204 jackpot. Multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $773.58.
Thursday, October 22, 2020
More tidbits from around the ovals . . .

    (1) In another of those bizarre finishes much like reported in the last 'Notes' where the numbers of the five horses in one race wound up 5-4-3-2-1, here's one that occurred on Oct. 16 at Gulfstream West.

    The winner in the six-horse field was Swaggy George, who was the even-money favorite. Finishing second was Heavenly Blessing, who was the second choice at 4-1. Third was Exchange Day, who was the third choice at 9/2. Fourth was Savatiano, the fourth choice at 5-1. Fifth was Osprey, the fifth choice at 6-1. Sixth and last was Gege Conquest, the sixth choice at 9-1. 

    Congratulations to the betting public that day; they got it right on the money in this one. 

    (2) I'm far from being a trainer and I'm certainly not familiar with many of the little nuances of entering a horse in a race, then keeping him or her in the race instead of scratching due to weather or track surface changes. However, I wonder why, in certain cases (with big purses), a trainer wouldn't let a horse run if that race came off the grass and there were so many scratches that remaining in the field would wind up in an easy payday even if the horse didn't run well.

    Here's one instance to illustrate the point. When Circle 8 Ranch's Dur a Cuire was making her 2-year-old debut at Churchill Downs, the one-mile maiden special turf race with a juicy purse of $95,000 was switched to the main track. From an original field of 16 - which included also-eligibles - there were 12 scratches, but owner Troy Levy and trainer Michelle Nihei opted to leave Dur a Cuire in to make up a four-horse field.

    The filly was off last with Channing Hill and was never a threat, finishing 28 lengths behind on the sloppy track. And the check for fourth place was $4,750. That's about three months or so of training bills, and Dur a Cuire certainly wasn't hurt by the effort; in fact, she was probably ready to race again in short order. Something to think about.

    (3) It's no secret that the number of mares being bred in Florida has plummeted in recent years, making it more and more difficult to bring stallions in at the end of their racing careers. Proving that point is this season's Florida freshman sire list, which consists of just three names, one of whom is inconsequential. The number of Kentucky stallions who get books of more than 100 dwarfs that of Florida, where the 100+ types are few and far between. 

    One who has bucked the trend is Bucchero, the first son of Kantharos to go to stud and who started out with a bang at Pleasant Acres Stallions last year. Despite arriving late, the near-millionaire proved to be very popular and Joe and Helen Barbazon were able to get 130 mares to him in his initial book. It was going to be very interesting to see what the second year brought, and it turns out it has been even better - Bucchero bred 161 mares this season. 

   (4) Kentucky Downs has announced its schedule for 2021, and there will be six racing days again for the meeting that has been featuring the highest average field size in the country in recent years. The meet opens on Sept. 5 and takes in the Labor Day weekend, with purses averaging about $2 million a day. 

       This year, there were 62 races contested over the six days and it produced a record handle for the track - $59,828,444. Last year, for five days, 50 races produced a handle of $41,239,699.

    There are several major benefits for handicappers making wagers at Kentucky Downs.

(1) The huge pools make it rare for a horse to drop three points as the race is in progress as happens at so many other tracks.

(2) The competitive fields make for very few 3/5 and 4/5 shots.

(3) Some of the best jockeys in the country show up for the festivities. 

(4) The seemingly interminable stretch run gives late runners a much better chance to be competitive than at tracks where if they're 8 or 10 lengths behind at the top of the stretch they have very little chance to win.  

    

     

 

Sunday, October 18, 2020
Winning ticket pays $249,204 . . .

    MIAMI GARDENS – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 was solved today at Gulfstream West for a jackpot payoff of $249,204.     

     The multi-race wager had gone unsolved for the first 11 racing days of the Fall Turf Festival before a single ticket was purchased with the 3-8-6-8-7-13 winning combination
.

    Galit Jak ($4.60) kicked off the sequence in Race 4, followed by Myfirstexwife ($64.40), Running for Riz ($32.60), I Get It ($19.20) and She’s All Woman ($6.40). Shendam ($9.20), one of nine ‘live’ horses in a 12-horse field in the finale, completed the jackpot-winning ticket.

    The Rainbow 6 will start anew Wednesday. There will be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $2,342,35 heading into the program.


Miss Auramet Makes Triumphant Return 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Miss Auramet impressed in her return to Gulfstream West, validating her 3-5 favoritism with a thoroughly professional 1 ½-length triumph in Race 3, a five-furlong optional claiming allowance for fillies and mares on the grass.

    The Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained 4-year-old filly, who spent a productive summer in the Mid-Atlantic with trainer Jorge Duarte Jr., won for the seventh time in 16 career starts while capturing her third straight. The daughter of Uncaptured, owned by Laurie Plesa, Leon Ellman and David Melin, was coming off back-to-back off-the-turf victories at Delaware Park and Laurel Park.

    Miss Auramet pressed the pace set by Hear My Prayer, who cut out fractions of :21.96 and :44.68 for the first half-mile. She drew away in the stretch under Edgard Zayas to complete the five furlongs over a ‘good’ course in :57.50.

    Prior to shipping out of town, the versatile Miss Auramet had scored three straight victories, two on turf and one on a sloppy main track, during Gulfstream Park’s Championship Meet.

Paco Lopez Back in Action Wednesday

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      Paco Lopez, who, like Miss Auramet, spend a productive summer in the Mid-Atlantic, is slated to make his 2020 debut at GW Wednesday. Lopez, who celebrated his 35th birthday today, has been named to ride in five races. The Veracruz, Mexico native, who is coming off his second-straight title at Monmouth Park, captured the 2019 riding title at Gulfstream West while riding full-time here.

Friday, October 16, 2020
4 tracks - $100,000 guaranteed pool. . .
    LAUREL, MD – The Stronach 5 will feature races today from Santa Anita Park, Golden Gate Fields, Laurel Park and Gulfstream West along with an industry-low 12-percent takeout and a $100,000 guaranteed pool.

     Four of the five races in the Stronach 5 will be maiden events. Races from Santa Anita and Golden Gate will feature 2-year-old maidens while races from Gulfstream West and Laurel will feature maiden 3-year-olds and up. The only race in the sequence not for maidens will be the second leg, Laurel’s seventh race, an optional claimer at six furlongs on the main track.              

                                    Friday’s races and sequence

           Leg One – Gulfstream West 8th Race: (12 entries, 7 ½ furlongs turf) 3:58 ET, 12:58 PT

·         Leg Two –Laurel Park 7th Race: (8 entries, 6 furlongs) 4:04 ET, 1:04 PT

·         Leg Three –Laurel Park 8th Race (9 entries, 1 mile) 4:49 ET, 1:49 PT

·         Leg Four –Santa Anita 3th Race: (10 entries, 5 ½ furlongs turf) 5:08 ET, 2:08 PT

·         Leg Five –Golden Gate Fields 3rd Race: (8 entries, 1-mile) 5:25 ET, 2:25 PT
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Lisa McGreevy consigned the $225,000 filly . . .

    Hip No. 149, a daughter of Not This Time consigned by Abbie Road Farm (Lisa McGreevy), Agent, went to Tonja Terranova, Agent, for $225,000 to top the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s Selected Sale of Yearlings. The dark bay or brown filly is out of Midnight Magic, by Midnight Lute, a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Coalport.

    Hip No. 248, a daughter of Into Mischief consigned by Stuart Morris, Agent, was purchased by Colt Pike Bloodstock, Agent for $200,000. The bay filly, a half-sister to stakes-winner March X Press, is out of stakes-placed Indian Rush, by Indian Charlie.

    Hip No. 121, a son of Wildcat Red consigned by Stuart Morris, Agent, was sold to Patrice Miller, EQB Inc., Agent, for $180,000. The chestnut colt is out of Ivory Meadow, by Meadowlake, a daughter of stakes-placed Ivory Dance.

    Karl & Cathi Glassman paid $140,000 for Hip No. 173, a son of Practical Joke consigned by Stuart Morris, Agent. The bay colt is out of Polyester, by Tiz Wonderful, and is a half-brother to graded stakes-winner Harpers First Ride, winner of the Gr. III Pimlico Special on Oct. 2.

    Hip No. 194, a daughter of Uncaptured consigned by Dynasty Thoroughbreds, was sold for $140,000 to Randy Bradshaw. The bay filly, a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Elusive Lady, is out of Song of Royalty, by Unbridled’s Song.

    Hip No. 179, Ready’s Humor, a son of Distorted Humor consigned by Colin Brennan Bloodstock, Agent, was purchased by Paul Sharp for $125,000. The chestnut colt, a full brother to graded stakes-winner Machen, is out of graded stakes-winner Ready’s Gal, by More Than Ready.

    Champion Equine LLC paid $125,000 for Hip No. 209, a daughter of Upstart consigned by Silver Oaks Farm (Danielle Loya), Agent. The dark bay or brown filly is out of Who’sbeeninmybed, by The Daddy, a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Mr. Bowling.

    Hip No. 180, a daughter of Valiant Minister consigned by Colin Brennan Bloodstock, Agent for Baoma Corp, went to Quarter Pole Enterprises LLC for $120,000. The gray or roan filly is out of Resilient Humor, by Distorted Humor, a daughter of Gr. I winner Sassy Image.

    Zedan Racing Stables, Inc. went to $155,000 for Hip No. 39, a son of Empire Maker consigned by Top Line Sales LLC, Agent, to top the 2-Year Olds and Horses of Racing Age section. The 2-year-old bay colt, whose quarter in :21 1/5 was co-fastest at the distance at the Under Tack Show, is a half-brother to graded stakes-winner Majestic River out of graded stakes-placed stakes winner Tempus Fugit, by Alphabet Soup.

    Hip No. 58, Slashing, a 2-year-old son of Nyquist who won impressively in maiden special weight company last Wednesday at Gulfstream West, was sold to Red Oak Farm Inc. for $100,000. The bay colt, consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent, is a half brother to champion Proud Spell out of graded stakes-placed Proud Pearl, by Proud Citizen.

    For the Selected Yearling Sale, 80 horses sold for $3,338,000, compared with 130 yearlings bringing $5,689,200 a year ago. The average price was $41,725, compared with $43,763 last year, while the median price was $29,000, compared with $30,000 in 2019. The buyback percentage was 40.7%; it was 30.1% a year ago.

    For the 2-Year-Olds in Training and Horses of Racing Age section, 29 horses sold for $816,500, averaging $28,155 with a $16,000 median figure.

Monday, October 12, 2020
Sale begins tomorrow at noon . . .

    A filly by Candy Ride, a gelding by Uncaptured and a colt by Empire Maker sped quarters in : 21 1/5 to share honors for the fastest work at the distance at the Under Tack Show for the 2-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age section of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s October Sale.

    Hip No. 2, consigned by Top Line Sales LLC, Agent, is a bay filly by Candy Ride out of stakes-placed Garnet Crystals, by Lion Heart, a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Rerun.

    Hip No. 35, a bay gelding by Uncaptured consigned by Ocala Stud, is out of stakes- winner Shining Moment, by Yes It’s True.

    Hip No. 39, a bay colt by Empire Maker also consigned by Top Line, is a half-brother to graded stakes-winner Majestic River out of graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Tempus Fugit, by Alphabet Soup.

    Hip No. 17, a bay colt by Kitten’s Joy consigned by Top Line Sales LLC, Agent, turned in a quarter in :21 2/5. He’s out of Magicalcarpetride, by Smart Strike, a half-sister to Gr. I stakes-winner Smooth Roller.

    The fastest three eighths was by Hip No. 44, a colt by Anchor Down consigned by Navas Equine, Agent, who stopped the timer in :33 2/5. He’s a half- brother to stakes- placed Tale Twister out of Abounding Love, by Tale of the Cat.

    Hip No. 56, Annette’s Humor, a 4-year-old chestnut filly by Shackleford consigned by Top Line Sales LLC, Agent, breezed the day’s fastest three eighths, clocked in :33 1/5. She’s a half-sister to stakes-winner Sweet Juana out of Whimsical Miss, by Distorted Humor.

    Hip No. 50, a bay filly by Speightster consigned by Julie Davies LLC, Agent, worked the session’s fastest eighth, stopping the timer in :10 1/5. She’s out of Bern Legacy, by Bernstein, a daughter of graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Penny Marie.

    Hip No. 58, Slashing, a colt by Nyquist consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent, broke his maiden impressively in maiden special weight company this past Wednesday at Gulfstream West, leading all the way and winning by 5 1/4 lengths. The bay colt is out of graded stakes-placed Proud Pearl, by Proud Citizen, a full sister to champion Proud Spell.  

    The October Sale begins Tuesday, at noon with the 2-Year-Olds in Training and Horses of Racing Age section, cataloged as Hip No.’s 1 – 59. The Selected Yearling Sale begins immediately following the Horses of Racing Age, selling as Hip No.’s 101 – 270. The Open Yearling Sale, now cataloged as Hip No.’s 301 – 721, is set for Wednesday and will begin at 10:30 a.m.

Friday, October 9, 2020
Dont Float the Boat impresses in debut . . .

    MIAMI GARDENS - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $100,000 tomorrow at Gulfstream West.

  The multi-race wager went unsolved for the fourth day at the Fall Turf Festival Meet today, and multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $8,281.

    Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 4-9, including five races with full fields of 12, three of them on turf. The featured Race 8, a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance on turf, attracted a field of 12 3-year-olds and up, plus three also-eligibles. Carlos David-trained Sir Seamus, 3-1 in the morning line, had won three turf races in a row before finishing fourth last time out in an off-the-turf optional claiming allowance. Patrick Biancone-trained Prince of Arabia enters the feature off a troubled third-place finish in the Richard Henry Lee Stakes at Gulfstream. Rohan Crichton-trained American Phenom, who recently captured an maiden special weight race impressively, is one of four last-out winners in the field.

    First-race post time is set for noon, kicking off a three-day Columbus Day holiday weekend. There will be live-racing program on Monday.

Dont Float the Ice Dazzles in Speedy Debut Win

    Dont Float the Ice, a 2-year-old son of Can the Man, made a dazzling debut today, scoring a front-running maiden special weight victory on turf.

    Ridden by Emisael Jaramillo, Dont Float the Ice rocketed out of the starting gate and set fractions of :21.58 and :44.70 on his way to a :57.02 clocking for five furlongs over a firm turf course. The Florida-bred colt is trained by Carl Deville, whose stable is based at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County since departing hurricane-stricken Louisiana.

    Dont Float the Ice, who is owned by Jerry Caroom, finished 5 ¼ lengths clear of Jose Pinchin-trained Driving Wind, who was making a bid to become the first offspring of Big Blue Kitten to win a race.

    Later on the program, trainer Herman Wilensky saddled his first starter since May of 2019 and visited the winner’s circle after homebred Harry’s Ontheloose ($15) captured the Race 7 feature, a five-furlong optional claiming allowance on turf.

Thursday, October 8, 2020
Opening day is Dec. 2 . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series, which has evolved into one of sport’s most exciting and prestigious days, and the Florida Derby, producer of an amazing 60 Triple Crown race winners, will highlight Gulfstream Park’s 2020-2021 Championship Meet that begins Wednesday, Dec. 2.

    Having attracted the world’s top horses and horsemen since 1939, Gulfstream’s Championship Meet will offer a total of 75 stakes, including 41 graded-stakes, worth $13.06 million in purses.

     Entering its fifth year, the Pegasus World Cup Championship Series has continued to attract the sport’s biggest stars including champions Arrogate, Gun Runner and California Chrome as well as 2019 winner City of Light and international sensations Aerolithe, Kukulkan and Magic Wand. The race has also brought out stars from film, music and fashion including Jennifer Lopez, Post Malone, Snoop Dogg, Olivia Culpo, Usher, Vanessa Hudgens, Lenny Kravitz, Pharrell and Bella Thorne.

     Pegasus World Cup Day falls on Jan. 23, 2021 and will feature seven stakes, all graded, worth $4.8 million led by the $3 million Gr. I Pegasus World Cup for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles and the $1 million Gr. I Pegasus World Cup Turf for 4-year-olds and up going 1 3/16 miles on the grass.

    Gun Runner, Horse of the Year in 2017; 2014 and 2016 Horse of the Year California Chrome; 2016 Longines World’s Best Racehorse Arrogate, the champion 3-year-old colt of 2016; and Mexico’s undefeated Triple Crown champion Kukulkan are among the prominent horses that have competed in the Pegasus World Cup since its 2017 debut.

    The Pegasus World Cup Turf saw its inaugural winner Bricks and Mortar go on to complete an undefeated 2019 season and be named both champion turf male and Horse of the Year. Irish star Magic Wand, a multiple group stakes-winner of nearly $5 million, has finished second in both years of the event.

    Florida Derby Day will take place on March 27, anchored by the $800,000 Gr. I Florida Derby, the country’s leading classic prep race that has produced 45 starters who have gone on to win 60 Triple Crown events, a list that grew when 2020 winner Tiz the Law captured the Belmont Stakes in June.

    The 1 1/8-mile Derby for 3-year-olds highlights a day of 10 stakes, six graded, worth $1.95 million. Among the graded events is the $250,000, Gr. II Gulfstream Park Oaks, the Derby’s 3-year-old filly counterpart, won in 2020 by Swiss Skydiver, who became only the sixth filly in history to capture the Preakness Stakes on Oct. 3.

    The Derby is the culmination of a rich and diverse stakes schedule for 3-year-olds during the Championship Meet that kicks off with the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man Jan. 2 and continues with the $200,000, Gr. III Holy Bull and $100,000, Gr. III Swale on Jan. 30, $350,000, Gr. II Fountain of Youth on Feb. 27, and $100,000, Gr. III Hutcheson on March 6.

    Tiz the Law launched his sophomore season in the Holy Bull, a race that has produced a number of Gr. 1 winners including Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby winners Always Dreaming (2017) and Barbaro (2016); Florida Derby winners Audible (2018), Dialed In (2011), Friends Lake (2004) and Harlan’s Holiday (2002); as well as Gr. 1 winners Jackson Bend, Editor’s Note and Keen Ice.

    Kentucky Derby and Florida Derby winners Orb (2013), Thunder Gulch (1995), Spectacular Bid (1979) and Tim Tam (1958) are among dozens of horses that have gone on to further graded success through the history of the Fountain of Youth, celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2021.

    Sophomore fillies also have a lucrative series on dirt to target, anchored by the Gulfstream Park Oaks and preceded by the $100,000 Cash Run on Jan. 1, $100,000 Glitter Woman on Jan. 2, $100,000, Gr. III Forward Gal on Jan. 30 and $200,000, Gr. II Davona Dale on Feb. 27.

    Gulfstream’s 3-year-old turf stakes include the $100,000, Gr. III Kitten’s Joy and $100,000, Gr. III Sweetest Chant on Jan. 30, $100,000, Gr. III Palm Beach and $100,000, Gr. III Herecomesthebride on Feb. 27, and $100,000 Cutler Bay and $100,000 Sanibel Island on March 27.

    Among the major events scheduled for the turf course are the $200,000, Gr. II Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 12, $100,000, Gr. III Tropical Turf on Jan. 9, $150,000, Gr. III W. L. McKnight on Jan. 23, $100,000, Gr. III Gulfstream Park Sprint on Feb. 13, $200,000, Gr. II Mac Diarmida and $150,000, Gr. III Canadian Turf on Feb. 27, and $200,000, Gr. II Pan American and $100,000, Gr. III Appleton on March 27.

 
    Graded turf stakes for older fillies and mares include the $150,000, Gr. III Marshua’s River and $150,000, Gr. III La Prevoyante on Jan. 23, $100,000, Gr. III Suwannee River on Feb. 6, $150,000, Gr. III Honey Fox and $150,000, Gr. III The Very One on Feb. 27, and $100,000, Gr. III Orchid on March 27.

    For the ninth year, Gulfstream will play host to the $835,000 Claiming Crown on the Championship Meet’s opening Saturday, Dec. 5. The Claiming Crown, comprised of nine stakes races featuring the blue-collar horses that are the backbone of the racing industry, is highlighted by the $200,000 Jewel.

    Florida-breds will be in the spotlight once again on Jan. 16 with the $400,000 Sunshine Millions Day program featuring the $100,000 Sunshine Millions Classic, which has produced such horses as Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man, multiple Gr. 1 winner Lava Man and the popular 16-time career winner Best of the Rest.
Saturday, October 3, 2020
Derby winner Authentic loses stretch battle to McPeek filly . . .

    BALTIMORE – Peter Callahan’s Swiss Skydiver prevailed over Kentucky Derby winner Authentic in a thrilling stretch duel to capture the 145th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, becoming the sixth filly to win the 1 3/16-mile classic for 3-year-olds.

    The Preakness, traditionally the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, concluded the classic series for 3-year-olds after being postponed from May 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Maryland Jockey Club’s signature event was renewed without fans in attendance, as were the Belmont Stakes on June 20 and the Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5.

    Swiss Skydiver ($25.40) defeated Authentic by a neck to become the first filly since Rachel Alexandra (2009) to win the race while thwarting the bid by the 3-2 favorite’s trainer, Bob Baffert, to win a record-breaking eighth Preakness.

  Trained by Kenny McPeek, the 3-year-old daughter of Daredevil joined Nellie Morse (1924), Rhine Maiden (1915), Whimsical (1906), Flocarline (1903), and Rachel Alexandra as the only fillies to beat the boys in the Preakness. She joined such a rare club while turning in a final running time of 1:53.28, second only to 1973 Triple Crown champion Secretariat’s 1:53 clocking.

    Swiss Skydiver, who had finished second in the July 11 Blue Grass at Keeneland in her only previous start against colts, was the beneficiary of a quick decision by jockey Robby Albarado that helped propel her to the lead leaving the backstretch. From there, she fought off a relentless outside challenge from Authentic around the turn and throughout the stretch run to win her fifth graded stakes this year.

    “She is just a real bull," McPeek said. "She loves what she does every day. She likes to go to work. She wants to go out early because she doesn't want to wait to go out. And Robby and I have had a great week here this week. We basically flew up together. We had breakfast, lunch, dinner. I think we were rowing in the same direction and the mojo was good and it happened.”

?????????????????????????????????????????    Swiss Skydiver provided Albarado his first Gr. 1 stakes victory since 2017. The????????? veteran jockey, who rode Curlin to a Preakness score in 2007, has ridden more than???? 5,200 winners during his career, and hadn’t won a graded stakes this year until today. When Tyler Gaffalione opted out of traveling to Pimlico for the Preakness, McPeek? decided to give Albarado a shot despite the fact that his business had slowed the past?????? few ?yea?rs.??????

    “Well, I owe it all to Kenny. I mean, he believed in me still and, sorry, it's Kenny. It's all Kenny,” Albarado said. “People started thinking I can't do it anymore and Kenny was there, just when I needed someone.”

????    It looked like a genius decision by McPeek following his first success in the Preakness. Albarado saved ground aboard Swiss Skydiver around the first turn and along the backstretch before easing her around tiring pacesetter Thousand Words, who set fractions of :24.48 and :47.65 for the first half mile, nearing the half-mile pole. After splitting horses, Albarado sent Swiss Skydiver back to the rail, where she pulled alongside Authentic heading into the far turn and was talented and tough enough to beat the Derby winner to the finish.

    “I've had a lot of special horses in my career, but she's definitely right there at the top right now and I don't see a long time until another one does something like that to me,” McPeek said. “We work hard every day. And it's a game of failures is the thing about it. I've had actually a streak for Peter that I wasn't proud of. It seemed like we went six or seven years and we really didn't have the kind of horses we wanted.”

    Swiss Skydiver captured her fifth graded stakes win in a season that included triumphs in the Gr. II Gulfstream Park Oaks, Gr. III Fantasy at Oaklawn, Gr. II Santa Anita Oaks and Gr. I Alabama at Saratoga. She was coming off a second-place finish in the Gr. I Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on Sept. 5.

    Authentic, who captured the Kentucky Derby with a dominating front-running performance, was beaten to the lead by Thousand Words, and sat outside his Baffert-trained stablemate around the first turn and into the backstretch before taking a brief lead.

    “By the backstretch, I tried to open up, but he just stood there and Swiss Skydiver came to him,” said Hall of Famer John Velazquez, who was seeking his first Preakness victory. “I tried to get him rolling again, but he just stayed with that other horse from the half-mile pole to the wire.”

    When Baffert saddled Triple Crown champion Justify for a victory in the 2018 Preakness, he tied the record for most wins by a trainer with Robert Wyndham Walden, who saddled seven between 1875 and 1888.

    Authentic finished 9 ¾ lengths clear of third-place finisher Jesus’ Team, who was a neck ahead of Art Collector, the 5-2 second choice.

    “I was hoping he was on the lead. But he got beat. He had the whole stretch to get by her. She ran a gallant race,” Baffert said. “He’s a free-running horse and likes to be on the lead. I saw he wasn’t on the lead and was struggling a little bit.”

    Authentic’s second-place finish marked the first time that a Baffert-trained Kentucky Derby winner lost the Preakness. However, his previous five Derby winners came back in two weeks to win the Preakness. There was a four-week span between the two classics this year.

    McPeek said the Breeders’ Cup Distaff for fillies and mares at Keeneland on Nov. 7 is the likely target for Swiss Skydiver but didn’t completely rule out the Breeder’s Cup Classic the same day.

Friday, October 2, 2020
They'll be shooting for purse money totaling $211,000 . . .

    The South Florida racing scene shifts to Gulfstream West tomorrow with a 10-race program that has drawn 115 entries, even with one 6-horse race carded and one with sevenFirst post is at noon. 

    The meeting at old Calder Race Course runs through Nov. 28. 

    There is $211,000 in purse money waiting for the top finishers in five claiming races, four maiden claimers, and the featured ninth race, a $38,000 allowance optional claimer at five furlongs on the grass, with 14 entered. In all, there are five races scheduled for the grass. 

    

    

Monday, September 28, 2020
Authentic draws post 9 . . .
    BALTIMORE – Kentucky Derby winner Authentic will headline a field of 11 3-year-olds entered in the 145th Preakness Stakes, which will bring down the curtain on a most unusual 2020 Triple Crown campaign Saturday at Pimlico Race Course.

    The Bob Baffert-trained colt was installed at 9-5 in the morning line at the post-position draw for the 1 3/16-mile classic that traditionally has been the ‘Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown’ in mid-May. Due to postponements forced by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Belmont Stakes, traditional third leg of the Triple Crown, went first on June 20, followed by the Kentucky Derby, which was postponed from May 2 to Sept. 5. The Preakness was originally slated for May 16.

    In a quest to win a record eighth Preakness, Baffert will also saddle Thousand Words, who is listed at 6-1. When Baffert saddled Triple Crown winner Justify for a victory in the 2018 Preakness, he tied the record for most wins by a trainer with 19th century Hall of Fame trainer Robert Wyndham Walden, who saddled seven between 1875 and 1888.

    Authentic, owned by Spendthrift Farm LLC, MyRaceHorse Stable, Madaket Stables LLC and Starlight Stable, led throughout in the 1 ¼ miles of the Derby on his way to a 1 ¼-length triumph over Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law. The colt drew Post No. 9 for the Preakness.

     “I didn’t want to be in the 1-hole and I didn’t want to be in the 11 with him,” Baffert said. “But he’s got to get away from there well. He’s a good gate horse.”

     Albaugh Family Stables LLC and Spendthrift Farm LLC's Thousand Words, who was a late Derby scratch after rearing and falling while being saddled in the Churchill paddock, drew Post No. 5.

    “He’s fine [there],” said Baffert, repeating his preference for avoiding Posts No. 1 and 11.

    Hall of Famer John Velazquez, who rode Authentic for the first time in the Derby, has the return mount. Florent Geroux is named to ride Thousand Words, who will be equipped with blinkers once again after running twice without them.

    Bruce Lunsford’s Art Collector is rated second at 5-2 in the morning line in his quest to win a sixth straight race. The son of 2006 Preakness winner Bernardini had earned his way into the Kentucky Derby field with a victory in the July 11 Blue Grass at Keeneland but missed a start in the Run for the Roses due to a minor foot issue. Art Collector, who hasn’t run since winning the Aug. 9 Ellis Park Derby, drew Post No. 3 for his first start in the Triple Crown series.

    “That’s kind of the same spot we’ve been in every time,” said trainer Tommy Drury, whose Preakness contender broke from Post No. 4 for the Ellis Park Derby and Post No. 3 for his two previous races. “Obviously, this has kind of been our trip every time; we’re down inside like that.”

    Drury, who awarded the return mount to Brian Hernandez Jr., is expecting a competitive Preakness. “I think it’s a good race," he said. "When you get to this level, you can make a case for all of them. On any day, any of these horses can jump up and run a big race. You can see that from top to bottom. Kenny [McPeek] is obviously high on his filly [Swiss Skydiver] or he wouldn’t be coming. Authentic is doing fantastic. I know he’s been training lights out at Churchill. Let the doors open, let everybody have a good clean trip, and let’s have the best horse win.
Sunday, September 27, 2020
Gulfstream West opens Saturday . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - A mandatory payout on closing day of the Spring/Summer Meet at Gulfstream Park yielded multiple payoffs of $218,767.

    The multi-race wager had gone unsolved for 15 days heading into today's mandatory payout. A carryover pool of $745,396.50 helped generate a Rainbow 6 handle of $3,922,471. The Late Pick-5 produced a $21,513 payoff.

    Apprentice-on-the-rise Alberto Burgos finished up the Spring/Summer Meet with an impressive four-win day, taking both ends of the early double with Inedatequila ($9.80) and Grace’s Drama ($5.80). He added victories aboard Vuyelwa ($13) in Race 4 and Yodel E. A. Who ($5.40) in Race 10.

    Edgard Zayas successfully defended his Spring/Summer Meet jockey title with 137 wins, 10 more than runner-up Miguel Vasquez. Zayas also was first in purses-won with more than $4.15 million.

    Saffie Joseph Jr. led the trainers with 59 victories, while Ralph Nicks topped all trainers with more than $1.5 in purses-won. Stonehedge Farm was tops among owners with 24 wins and $1,190,720 in purses.

    South Florida racing action will move to Gulfstream West on Saturday, for the Fall Turf Festival Meet, which will offer 41 programs through Nov. 26. Racing will be conducted five days a week on a Wednesday-through-Sunday schedule with one exception.  A special Columbus Day program will be conducted on Monday, Oct. 12 instead of Wednesday, Oct. 14.

    Due to Covid-19 protocols, racing will be conducted without spectators. Owners will be allowed to attend the races only on the days their horses are scheduled to run. 

    Live racing will return to Gulfstream Park for the 2020-2021 Championship Meet in December.
Sunday, September 27, 2020
$30,000 OBS filly has earned $430,300 . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Princess Secret didn’t sweep the Florida Sire Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. But she did the next best thing, taking the final two legs, including Saturday’s $400,000 My Dear Girl Division.

    The 2-year-old daughter of Khozan ran down Restofthestory in the stretch of the 1 1/16-mile race to take the third and final leg of the annual fixture for offspring of registered Florida sires.

     “This is what horse racing’s all about,” said winning trainer and owner Daniel Pita. “It’s about trying to get the one horse that will put you on the map.”

     With Miguel Vasquez in the irons, Princess Secret settled into a stalking position, several lengths behind a determined Restofthestory, before making her move on the final turn and pulling off late to win by a half-length.

     “She fights every time. She’s all heart,” Pita said. “The pace set up exactly how we thought it would be. We knew Restofthestory was going to be the pace setter. It was smart of Miguel to sit back and save the horse for the end.”

 Big Rings, the 6-5 favorite, ran third.

     Princess Secret was making her fifth career start, and her first in a two-turn event. She had finished second to Go Jo Jo Go in the first leg of the series, the Desert Vixen, on Aug. 1 before winning the second leg, the Susan’s Girl, on Aug. 29. She has never finished worse than second in any of her races and now has career earnings of $430,300 – not bad for a filly who was a $30,000 yearling purchase by Pita out of the Journeyman Stud consignment at the OBS October sale in 2019. She was bred by Brent and Crystal Fernung, owners of Journeyman Stud, where Florida's leading sire, the immensely successful Khozan, stands.

     “Every single time she shows up, and you can see what kind of special filly she is,” Pita said.

     The question now becomes whether Pita decides to continue racing her this year or prefers to give her some time off to freshen up and prepare for a 3-year-old campaign.  A possible date in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Keeneland in November has not been ruled out.

     “She’s run hard all summer,” Pita said. “We won’t know, probably, until the beginning of next week if she’s going to remain in training for the rest of the year. She probably deserves a rest. She’ll tell us if she can give us another effort and, believe me, Keeneland’s in the back of my mind a little bit. But I’m not going to commit to anything just yet.”

Saturday, September 26, 2020
Stonehedge gelding denied Florida Sire Stakes sweep . . .

Boca Boy Plays Spoiler as Breeze On By Falls Short in Bid for Sire Stakes Sweep

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Breeze On By had dead aim on Boca Boy seeking a historic sweep of the Florida Sire Stakes for male 2-year-olds. With a furlong to the wire, he had pulled to within two lengths of the frontrunner.

    But Boca Boy refused to allow the 1-5 favorite to blow on by and held on for a two-length victory in the $400,000 In Reality Division of the annual series for offspring of registered Florida sires, springing the upset at odds of 12-1.

    Ridden by Edgard Zayas, Boca Boy – who was coming out of a one-mile turf stakes – took well to the sloppy going, assumed early command in the 1 1/16-mile race, and maintained his lead to the wire, easily defeating the Cajun Breeze colt from Stonehedge Farm. 

    Boca Boy, trained by Cheryl Winebaugh for owner Kenneth E. Fishbein, is a son of Prospective and was making his fourth career start today. The victory was his first since he broke his maiden over a sloppy track at Gulfstream on July 17.

    The two geldings met in the first leg of the series, the six-furlong Dr. Fager Divi, back on Aug. 1, with Boca Boy finishing more than nine lengths behind in third. But he was a new horse in the In Reality, and both the slop and added distance of the proved to his liking.          

    “I came into the race planning to make the best out of my horse and, at the same time, find a way to beat Breeze on By,” Zayas said. “I was trying to get the trip I wanted and put him in the spot to control the race from there. My horse kept on fighting and relaxed very well on the lead, which helped him a lot in the stretch.”

    Boca Boy, bred by Carol Hershe, paid $26.20 and earned a check for $240,000. Breeze On By went into the race with earnings of $223,000 and added $80,000 for a total of $303,000. Stonehedge's Seazan finished third, two lengths behind the runner-up, and collected $44,000. Fourth and fifth went to a pair of sons of Brethren from Arindel Farm - Gatsby banking $24,000 and Hercules $12,000. 


Thursday, September 24, 2020
Florida Sire Stakes finales; possible mandatory Rainbow 6 payout in the millions . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - A mandatory payout of the 20-cent Rainbow 6 pool is scheduled for Sunday’s closing-day program of the Spring/Summer Meet at Gulfstream Park.

    The multi-race wager went unsolved for the 13th racing day today, and multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $2,967. The carryover jackpot pool grew to $636,676.  However, there will be a jackpot pool guarantee of $900,000 for Friday’s Rainbow 6.

    Should the Rainbow 6 go unsolved Friday and Saturday, the pool will build into the millions for Sunday.

    Friday’s Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 4-9, including a second-level optional claiming allowance featuring Tatweej’s quest for three wins in a row.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, the late-developing 4-year-old, who brought a bid of $2.5 million at the 2017 Keeneland September sale, has scored dominating back-to-back victories at Friday’s distance of a mile.

    The son of Tapit, who finished third in his June 21 debut at Gulfstream, broke his maiden in front-running style by 3 ¾ lengths on July 25. The Kentucky-bred colt, who is out of Gr. 1 stakes-winner Tiz Miz Sue, came right back to score by 2 ½ lengths on Aug. 22. Edgard Zayas has the return mount, when Tatweej will take on five rivals, including Brewmeister, who will also be seeking his third straight victory at Gulfstream.

    Formerly trained by Chad Brown, Brewmeister finished third on June 13 in his first start for Lisa Lewis, before graduating at 6 ½ furlongs on July 4 and coming right back to rally from far back to score by a half-length. Ronnie Allen Jr. has the return call on the 3-year-old gelded son of Point of Entry.

    Saturday’s Rainbow 6 sequence will be highlighted by six juvenile stakes, including the $400,000 In Reality and the $400,000 My Dear Girl, the final legs of the Florida Sire Stakes series for 2-year-olds sired by accredited stallions standing in Florida.

    The $150,000 FSS Wildcat Heir, a one-mile race for 3-year-olds and up, will kick off the sequence in Race 6, followed by the $75,000 Hollywood Beach, at five furlongs on the turf; the My Dear Girl, the 1 1/16-mile final for fillies; the $75,000 Armed Forces, a one-mile turf stakes; the In Reality, the 1 1/16-mile open division final; and the $75,000 Our Dear Peggy, a one-mile turf race for fillies.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Cajun Breeze colt has won the Dr. Fager and the Affirmed . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 2020 Florida Sire Stakes series for 2-year-olds will conclude Saturday at Gulfstream Park, with the $400,000 In Reality and the $400,000 My Dear Girl will co-headline a program offering six stakes worth $1.175 million.

    The In Reality, the 1 1/16-mile open-division final, and the My Dear Girl, the 1 1/16-mile final for juvenile fillies, will be joined on the program by the $150,000 FSS Wildcat Heir, a mile race for 3-year-olds and up. All three stakes are for horses sired by accredited Florida Stallions. Supporting stakes are the $75,000 Armed Forces, a mile turf race for 2-year-olds; the $75,000 My Dear Peggy, a mile turf race for juvenile fillies; and the $75,000 Hollywood Beach, a five-furlong turf dash for 2-year-olds.

    The Florida Sires Stakes program will wrap up the stakes schedule for Gulfstream’s Spring/Summer Meet, which will conclude the next day with mandatory payouts in the Rainbow 6, Late Pick 5 and Super Hi-5. Live racing will move to Gulfstream West for the Fall Festival meeting on Oct. 3 and run through Nov. 28.

    Stonehedge Farm’s Breeze On By is scheduled to make his bid to sweep the open series in the In Reality. The son of Cajun Breeze captured the $100,000 Dr. Fager on Aug. 1 and the $200,000 Affirmed on Aug. 29. The undefeated Ralph Nicks trainee, who captured his July 12 debut, will seek to become the fifth horse to sweep the open division, joining Three Rules (2016), Sir Oscar (2003), Seacliff (1995) and Smile (1984).

    Nicks saddled the first three finishers in the Affirmed with Big Daddy Dave and Seazan following stablemate Breeze on By to the finish line.

    Trainer Daniel Pita’s Princess Secret, who scored by three-quarters of a length in the $200,000 Susan’s Girl, and Stonehedge's Go Jo Jo Go, a 1 ¼-length winner over Princess Secret in the $100,000 Desert Vixen for trainer Michael Yates, are expected to clash again in the My Dear Girl.
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Here are some of the sport's latest tidbits:

(1) Double Diamond Farm's First Dude passed the $18 million mark in career progeny earnings in the past two days.

(2) Journeyman Stud's Khozan, last year's leading Florida freshman sire, is easily the leading second-crop sire this year with progeny earnings of $2,330,047. He's going after First Dude's record of the last six years - $3,249,001.

(3)) Just before the seventh race last night at Mountaineer Resort, Race Track and Casino in West Virginia, the cameras fixed on a wonderful sight. Three young deer bounded across the turf course, then the main track, and disappeared under the grandstand.

(4) In Ocala's Wire-to-Wire magazine each day, there are a couple of pages titled "Florida Stallion Progeny for . . . ." followed by the next two days of runners at every track in North America. The lists include progeny for current and former Florida stallions. The stallion with by far the most runners every day is Congrats, who hasn't been in Florida for years, and is now 20 years old and at WinStar Farm in Kentucky. He has 1,059 lifetime foals, with 855 starters, 259 this year. 

While other stallions routinely have one to five runners each day, Congrats routinely has many more. Examples: on Friday he had 10 entered; Saturday - 11; Sunday - 6; and on sparse race days - Monday - 6; today - 5. 

(5) Aside from many political factors affecting the handle at tracks around the country, numbers are down due to several other factors. They include: no on-track betting; tracks often forced to schedule less races, including as little as seven; and short fields, which greatly limits exotic bets of all kinds. For instance, wheeling a horse in a $2 exacta in an 8-horse race costs $14, in a 12-horse race it costs $22. 

(6) With all the knowledgeable handicappers available from coast to coast, it's puzzling that NYRABets, on its betting site, has selections from Trackmaster, and the guy (or gal) who handles it is a decided neophyte. The comments are mainly juvenile, and almost every one of his (or her) 1-2-3 picks is dominated by the horse's Equibase speed figure. No 'horse got in trouble,' or jockey or surface switch, or change of distance. Very surprising.   

 


         

Monday, September 21, 2020
Breeze On By sharp for In Reality . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $850,000 Thursday at Gulfstream Park. The multi-race wager went unsolved for the 12th program Sunday, and multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $2,505.54.

    Thursday’s nine-race program begins at noon.

Breeze On By Breezes for $400,000 In Reality

    Stonehedge Farm’s Breeze On By breezed a half-mile Sunday in preparation for Saturday’s $400,000 In Reality, the 2020 Florida Sire Stakes open-division final.

    The gelded son of Cajun Breeze, who will make a bid to sweep the series for 2-year-olds sired by accredited Florida stallions, turned in a :48.48 clocking, the fifth fastest of 36 recorded at the distance. Undefeated Breeze On By won the $100,000 Dr. Fager on Aug. 1 by a length and the $200,000 Affirmed Aug. 29 by 7 ½ lengths.

    Stonehedge’s Big Daddy Dave, who finished second in the Affirmed, breezed three furlongs in :36.83 in preparation for a scheduled start in the $75,000 Hollywood Beach, a five-furlong turf stakes on the Florida Sire Stakes program.
Saturday, September 19, 2020
Derby defector clocked in :59.40 . . .
    LOUISVILLE - Bruce Lunsford’s Art Collector, who would have been co-second choice for the Kentucky Derby until a minor foot issue forced him out of the race, worked five-eighths of a mile at Churchill Downs today in a strong :59.40 seconds - a time  eclipsed only by Derby winner Authentic’s :59.20. 

     “I thought it was good,” said trainer Tommy Drury, who will have his first Preakness starter. “We wanted to make sure we did enough today. They had him in 59-and-change, and I had him three-quarters in 1:12. It was what we were looking for. We went a little longer between races than we’d hoped to be. We just wanted to make sure we’re where we want to be. Leading up to the race from here, now you’re just kind of back on a maintenance program. You know you’ve got him where you want him, and hopefully we’ll be on the flight the Tuesday before the Preakness and we’ll take our best shot.

    The fractional times for Art Collector’s work were :24.20 for the first quarter-mile, and :36 for three-eighths, reflecting a final quarter-mile time in :23.40. He then galloped out six furlongs in 1:11.60, with jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. reporting that the gallop-out extended to a mile.
 
    “He worked a really good five-eighths and then his gallop-out was huge,” Hernandez said. “He galloped out a really, really good mile. We knew going into this work that we needed it to be a pretty stiff one because we’re going into the Preakness, and they’re not going to give you anything. We needed to make sure our horse was in good shape. What was nice about him was that he came back after the work and it was like he didn’t even do anything. We seem to be on the right page…. I had him on my watch in ‘12s’ the whole way, 11-and-2 from the eighth pole to the wire, and then he galloped out the same way, just kind of cruising along.”

    Turned over to Drury in January, Art Collector is 4-for-4 as a 3-year-old after breaking his maiden last year on the grass at Kentucky Downs and finishing first in an entry-level allowance race, only to be later disqualified for registering over the permitted level for a de-wormer. After ripping off a pair of allowance races to start 2020, the son of 2006 Preakness winner Bernardini powered to victory in Keeneland’s rescheduled Gr. II Toyota Blue Grass and then in the $200,000 Ellis Park Derby.

     The Ellis race on Aug. 9 was meant as a bridge between the July 11 Blue Grass and the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby. But to the chagrin of his team - all from Louisville - Art Collector nicked the bulb of his left front heel in a routine gallop the day before Derby entries were to be taken. While a minor issue, it was bad timing, leaving the foot tender and with strict medication rules limiting how it could be treated. 

     “He’s been good,” Drury said when asked how Art Collector is doing now compared with how he was doing before the foot mishap. “Fortunately he’s been good mentally and he’s certainly happy enough. He had his  ears thrown up galloping out this morning. He’s doing all the things you want to see a horse do at this stage of the game. The nice cool morning I think had them all feeling good, and he certainly was one of them.”

     Art Collector would have been the first Derby starter for Drury, a lifelong Louisvillian, and the 72-year-old Lunsford, who has lived in the city most of his adult life. Hernandez has made Louisville his home since he began riding full-time in 2004.

    While missing the Derby at home was a huge disappointment, Art Collector’s team quickly set their sights and enthusiasm on a road trip to Baltimore.

    “If you’d asked me in January, ‘You’ve got a shot to go to the Preakness, what do you think about that?’ I’d have been doing backflips,” said Drury, whose first graded stakes victory in 30 years of training came with Art Collector in the Blue Grass. “It’s one of the most historic races in the country. We’d have loved to have been in the Derby because this is home for us, but gosh, to be able to run in the Preakness four weeks later. That’s the one thing that gave me comfort, knowing that we’ve got a huge race coming up right around the corner, that we can miss this one and be ready for that one — be on our game and take our best shot. That’s really all we’ve been trying to do: make good decisions, use good judgment and make sure that our horse is taken care of
.

     “Ever since the morning that we didn’t enter for the Derby, the Preakness has been our primary concern. He seems like he’s going into it the right way, and now we’ve just got to stay out of his way a little longer.”
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Gladys goes in race 6 . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Gladys, a full sister to 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, is scheduled to make her debut Friday at Gulfstream Park.

    The 2-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro is slated to break from the outside post position in a field of 10 2-year-old fillies assembled for a $65,000 six-furlong maiden special weight race carded as Race 6.

    Gladys was named by owner/breeder Dede McGehee, a graduate of the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine, in memory of her late maternal grandmother, Gladys Atkinson Houser.

    Gladys is the eighth foal out of Lotta Kim, a daughter of Roar whose first foal was Rachel Alexandra, who was named 2009 Horse of the Year after winning five Gr. 1 races in a row, including the Preakness, Haskell and Woodward against males, and the Kentucky Oaks.

    The Kentucky-bred Gladys, who is trained by Kelsey Danner, has been prepared for her debut with a series of 10 breezes at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream Park’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County. Angel Arroyo has the mount.

Panici Wins First Day Back from Kentucky Derby Ride

    Jockey Luca Panici visited the winner’s circle today on his first day back at Gulfstream Park after riding in his first Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. The 46-year-old native of Milan, Italy scored a front-running victory aboard Katieleigh ($20.80) in Race 5, a five-furlong optional claiming allowance for fillies and mares on turf. Panici, who finished off the board on Sole Volante in the Derby, was required to self-quarantine according to before returning to action.

    Panici grew up playing soccer with international riding star Frankie Dettori across the street from Milan’s racetrack, and rode more than 500 winners in Italy. He made a permanent move to the U. S. in 2009 and his ridden more than 675 winners.

    Although disappointed with his Derby finish, Panici was delighted to take part in the derby experience. “It was a nice experience," he said. "I have no regrets. It was wonderful to be there. The atmosphere, even though there were no fans, was wonderful. Everybody’s talking about the Derby. It’s a good horse town. It was a privilege to ride for Mr. [Dean] Reeves and Andie Biancone. They are wonderful people. I am glad to be a part of the team.”

    Katieleigh was saddled for a 1 ¼-length victory by Kathy Ritvo, whose most important victory came with Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Mucho Macho Man in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita.

     Samy Camacho, who was denied the opportunity to ride in his first Kentucky Derby when Tampa Bay Derby winner King Guillermo was scratched due to a fever two days before the Run for the Roses, also returned today. Camacho is scheduled to ride King Guillermo in the Oct. 3 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.

Joseph Trejos Wins on First Day as Journeyman

    Joseph Trejos was victorious on his first day as a journeyman rider, scoring a 5 ½-length victory aboard Queen Domina ($15.80) in Race 6. He had been the leading apprentice during Gulfstream’s Spring/Summer Meet with 47 winners, including his first U.S. winner, Mixteca, on April 18.

            The 23-year-old Trejos had ridden 44 winners in his native Panama after attending the Laffit Pincay Jr. school, where he was selected as the outstanding rider in his December 2018 graduating class. He came to the U.S. in November and galloped horses at Palm Meadows before riding in his first race on March 19.

    Emisael Jaramillo rode four winners on today’s card, starting the day with three straight, El Pillo ($6.80) in Race 1, Osprey ($4.20) in Race 2 and Napa Rules ($13.20) in Race 3 before winning aboard Sugar Bolt ($5.60) in Race 7 to run his Spring/Summer Meet win total to 112. Only Edgard Zayas (131) and Miguel Vazquez (120) have won more.

Friday’s Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Guaranteed at $650,000  

    The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $650,000 tomorrow.
The multi-race wager went unsolved for the ninth consecutive program today, and multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $8,546.42.

     

            
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Winning trainer gets $50,000 . . .

    BALTIMORE – For the fourth consecutive year, the Maryland Jockey Club is offering the $100,000 Sentient Jet trainer bonus to horsemen who accumulate the most points during stakes races over Preakness weekend, Oct. 1-3, at Pimlico Race Course.

    Highlighted by the 145th running of the Preakness Stakes, presented this year as the final jewel in a refashioned Triple Crown and a “Win and You”re In” qualifier for the Nov. 7 Breeders’ Cup Classic, 15 stakes, nine graded, worth $3.35 million will be contested over three days.

Trainers who run a minimum of five horses in the 15 stakes races will be eligible for bonus money, with $50,000 going to the trainer with the most points, $25,000 for second, $12,000 for third, $7,000 for fourth, $4,000 for fifth and $2,000 for sixth. Points will be accumulated for finishing first (10 points), second (seven), third (five) and fourth (three) and by having a starter (one) in each of Pimlico’s stakes.

Preakness weekend stakes action begins Thursday with the $200,000, Gr. III Chick Lang, $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint and $100,000 The Very One. The historic $250,000, Gr. III Pimlico Special highlights the Friday card that also serves as Claiming Crown Preview Day.

  Joining the $1 million Preakness on Saturday is the 96th running of the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan for 3-year-old fillies. They are supported by the $250,000, Gr. II Dinner Party, $200,000, Gr. III Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash, $150,000, Gr. III Miss Preakness, $150,000, Gr. III Gallorette, $150,000 Laurel Futurity, $150,000 Selima, $100,000 Skipat, $100,000 James W. Murphy, $100,000 Hilltop and $100,000 The Very One.

    Nominations for all 15 stakes close tomorrow. 

    Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen captured the $50,000 prize in 2017 and 2018, but finished second to Brad Cox last year. Cox led the way with 36 points, three more than Asmussen, including running third and fourth with Owendale and Warrior’s Charge in the Preakness, Cox’s Triple Crown race debut.

    Cox won the Miss Preakness with eventual champion Covfefe in track-record time of 1:07.70 for six furlongs and the Gr. III Allaire duPont Distaff with Mylady Curlin; he was second with Ulele in the Black-Eyed Susan. Asmussen picked up wins in the Pimlico Special with Tenfold and the Gr. III Maryland Sprint with New York Central. He was fifth in the Preakness with Laughing Fox.

Sunday, September 13, 2020
Authentic, Thousand Words ready to go . . .
    BALTIMORE – Bob Baffert said today that Kentucky Derby winner Authentic and Thousand Words are on course for the 145th Preakness Stakes set for Saturday, Oct. 3 at Pimlico Race Course.

    Authentic became Baffert’s record-tying sixth Derby winner with a 1 ¼-length victory over Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law, the 7-10 favorite. Florida-bred Thousand Words was scratched from the race when he acted up and flipped while being saddled in the paddock. Both colts are at the D. Wayne Lukas barn at Churchill Downs and are galloping daily. Baffert has not scheduled a date for when the colts will have their next timed works, but said he expected those breezes would happen at the end of this week.

    Baffert said that Azul Coast, who earned a berth in the Preakness with a victory in the El Camino Real Derby on Feb. 15, is not being considered for the race.

    Even though he had won four of five career starts, Authentic, co-owned by Spendthrift Farm, MyRaceHorse Stable, Madaket Stables and Starlight Racing, was the 8-1 third choice in the Derby wagering. He recovered from an awkward start from the outside post in the 15-horse field to make the front after a quarter of a mile and never gave up the lead. Tiz the Law was within a head of Authentic after a mile, but could not get past the son of Into Mischief. Authentic’s time of 2:00.61 was the seventh fastest in Derby history.

    “He came out very well, very well,” Baffert said from the Keeneland September yearling sale in Lexington. “He’s ready to go. We would have been ready to go in two weeks.”

    For decades the Preakness has been run two weeks after the Derby. Due to the pandemic, the Triple Crown schedule was dramatically changed this year and the Preakness is third stop in the series, a month after the Derby.

    Baffert’s longtime assistant, Jimmy Barnes, was reaching under Thousand Words to tighten the saddle when the Pioneerof the Nile colt co-owned by the Albaugh Family Stables and Spendthrift Farm reared and fell to the ground.

    “Thousand Words, he’s fine,” Baffert said. “When he went up he sort of lost his footing and was on his side. He was OK and was checked out. He’s doing well.”

    Barnes was injured in the incident, though, and Baffert said nine screws and a plate were required to repair his damaged right wrist. Following the Derby, Baffert landed on the ground as he moved to avoid Authentic’s reaction to the blanket of roses being placed on his back. Baffert, 67, was not injured. “The human connections, we were the worst for wear,” Baffert said.

    Baffert is the leading trainer in Triple Crown history with 16 victories. He is tied for the most wins in the Preakness, seven, with 19th century trainer R. Wyndham Walden.
Sunday, September 13, 2020
Isolate wins by a mile, pays $4.20 . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $500,000 today at Gulfstream Park. The multi-race wager went unsolved for the seventh racing program Saturday, and multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $866.96.

Isolate Distances Himself in Feature for 2-Year-Olds

    Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Isolate distanced himself from his five rivals in Saturday’s feature race, with juveniles taking center stage on an 11-race program that also included a pair of 2-year-old maiden special weight events.

    Isolate ($4.20) followed up his Aug. 6 debut victory with a thoroughly authoritative 8 ¾-length triumph in the six-furlong optional claiming allowance, in which he took the lead shortly after the start and drew off under Cristian Torres. The Kathy Ritvo-trained son of Mark Valeski ran six furlongs over a sealed sloppy track in 1:10.97.

    Slam Dunk Racing’s Drain the Clock ($5.20) kicked off Saturday’s program with a stylish debut victory in Race 1, taking the lead shortly after the start of the five-furlong dash and romping to a six-length score in :58.73 over a sealed sloppy track. The Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained son of Maclean’s Music gave leading rider Edgard Zayas his first of four winners for the day.

    Shadybrook Farm’s Briella ($5.20) just held on to win after leading throughout Race 5, scoring by a nose in the five-furlong maiden special weight race for Florida-bred juvenile fillies. The daughter of Cajun Breeze raced five furlongs in :59.39 and gave jockey Miguel Vasquez the first of his two winners Saturday. The Michael Yates-trained filly finished second in her May 20 debut behind Princess Secret, who went on to win the $200,000 Susan’s Girl, second leg of the FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes on Aug. 29. Zayas, the defending Spring/Summer Meet titlist, leads Vasquez in the standings, 130-120.
Thursday, September 10, 2020
Trev looking for 6th straight score in Race 8 . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $350,000 Friday at Gulfstream Park. The multi-race wager went unsolved for the fifth consecutive racing program today, and multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $400.32.

    Friday’s Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 4-9, including a $47,000 optional claiming allowance for Florida-bred 3-year-olds and up in Race 8. Trev is scheduled to seek his sixth straight victory in the six-furlong race. The 10-year-old gelding’s win streak, during which he has won five races by a combined 27 ¼ lengths, dates back to April 12, 2019. The son of Exclusive Quality came off a five-month layoff to win his 2020 debut by two lengths on May 20 and will be entering Friday’s race after another layoff of nearly four months.

    A $60,000 maiden special weight race for 2-year-olds has been carded as Race 6. Gelfenstein Farm’s Uncut Gem, a homebred son of Union Rags, is scheduled to make his debut in the mile race that attracted a field of 10.

   The Rainbow sequence will conclude with a $20,000 maiden claiming race for 3-year-olds and up in Race 9, scheduled for a mile on turf. Race 9 will also be included as the second leg in Friday’s Stronach 5 sequence. Race 7 at Laurel Park will kick off the Stronach 5 action, followed by Gulfstream’s Race 9, Races 8 and 9 at Laurel Park and Race 3 at Golden Gate Fields. The Stronach 5, a $1 base wager with a low 12-percent takeout, will have a guaranteed pool of $100,000.
Monday, September 7, 2020
Crist et al win $150,000 Funny Cide at the Spa . . .

Here are the latest in the tidbits category from around the country:

(1) Every once in a while, a long-time racing media personality hits a home run on the race track. Jim Rome is one recent example. The latest is Steven Crist, former New York Times racing columnist, long-time head of Daily Racing Form, founder of the ill-fated Racing Times and a frequent visitor to the mutuel windows. 

Steve and his three partners, who include trainer Phil Gleaves, scored with Thin White Duke in the $150,000 Funny Cide Stakes at Saratoga on Friday. The 2-year-old New York-bred gelding is by Spendthrift sire Dominus, and is now 1-2-2 in five starts. The check of $82,500 raised his earnings to $120,020. Mutuel price of $12.20 no doubt raised Crist's earnings substantially.  

(2) Travis Stone called the first several races at Churchill Downs on Saturday before Larry Collmus took over. (Collmus is the lone race-caller in the U. S. who pronounces Leparoux correctly). In race No. 1, Stone incorrectly called Hog Creek Hustle, in mid-track, as being barely in front in a battle with 6/5 Midnight Sands with about 100 yards to go.

But it was obvious to TV viewers that Bourbon Resolution and Leparoux had already slipped through at that moment and taken the lead on the rail. Stone had to atone for the error a few moments later and he did it by having Bourbon Resolution "nail him on the wire." Not true.       

(3) Maryland-bred Intrepid Dream gave Florida frosh sire Jess's Dream (Ocala Stud) his second winner, breaking her maiden at Delaware Park on Sept. 2 for owner/breeder Paul Fowler Jr. Jess's Dream leads Pleasant Acres' Ride On Curlin, 2 winners to 1. Both sires are by Curlin. 

(4) Lady's Island is a 6-year-old mare by Solera Farm's Greatness, a stallion still active at the age of 21. Lady's Island finished second by less than a length to 6/5 favorite Come Dancing yesterday in the Gr. II Honorable Miss Stakes at the Spa, which went in 1:08.74 for the six furlongs.

Lady's Island has a sensational career record of 16-5-4 in 32 starts, with earnings of $540,815. In her last 18 tries, dating back to June 22 of 2018, her record is an astonishing 12-3-2-1. This year, she's 3-2-1 in six starts with earnings of $156,020. 

(5) The ever-present Ken and Sarah Ramsey had a good day with their fabulous sire, Kitten's Joy, at Gulfstream Saturday as breeders of second-race winner Cactus Kitten and fifth-race winner Spinning Kitten. They are also the owners of Cactus Kitten. It looked as though that success carried through on Sunday with the winner of the second race, according to Wire-to-Wire's charts. But it turned out that the magazine had reprinted Saturday's second, third and fourth races in Sunday's charts.       

Sunday, September 6, 2020
Authentic and Tiz the Law should settle score at Pimlico . . .
    BALTIMORE – Authentic, upset winner of Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, and beaten favorite Tiz the Law, could be headed for a rematch in the 145th Preakness Stakes Saturday, Oct. 3 at Pimlico Race Course.

      Trainer Bob Baffert said this morning that Authentic emerged from his front-running 1 ¼-length triumph in good shape and would remain in Kentucky with fellow Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas to prepare for the Preakness, presented this year as the final jewel in a refashioned Triple Crown.

    “I couldn’t believe it. I thought he’d be a little tired, but the track was in really good shape and it was fast and he got over it really well,” Baffert said. “They were planning on leaving tomorrow for California but being that the Preakness is a few weeks away, I thought it might be a little too hard for him to go back. We’ll just run him out of here. If he’s working well and all is going well, then he’ll go to the Preakness. We want to give him every opportunity.”

    Baffert said that the 2020 Robert B. Lewis and 2019 Los Alamitos Futurity winner, Florida-bred Thousand Words, is also being pointed to the Preakness. Albaugh Family Stables and Spendthrift’s Thousand Words flipped in the paddock after being saddled for the Derby and was scratched just before post time.

    “We’re planning on sending both if they’re doing well,” Baffert said. “He didn’t even have a scratch on him. He fell on his side, so we were fortunate.”

    Authentic won the Sham (G3), San Felipe (G2) and Haskell (G1) and was second in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) this year. The Derby was the first time in six career starts that the bay Into Mischief colt didn’t go off as the favorite.

     That role was filled by Sackatoga Stable’s Tiz the Law, who had been unbeaten during his 3-year-old season with wins in the Holy Bull (G2) and Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park over the winter, then the Belmont Stakes, and most recently the 1 ¼-mile Travers (G1) Aug. 8 at Saratoga.

     Trained by Barclay Tagg, Tiz the Law got within a head of Authentic with a half-mile to run but was never able to get by. Tiz the Law’s only two losses in eight starts have come at Churchill; he was third by less than a length over a sloppy track in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) last fall.

      “I haven’t seen a speed figure but it sounds like he bounced a little bit off the big Travers effort, and Barclay has a question that maybe he just really doesn’t like the racetrack,” Sackatoga managing partner Jack Knowlton said. “Watching him finish, he said he was kind of swimming a little bit maybe coming down the stretch. But, he ran the race that we were looking for. He got the trip. Manny gave him a great ride and he just didn’t beat one horse. There’s no shame in running second in the Kentucky Derby.”

   “He ran good and came out of it great. I was over at the barn this morning and all is well,” Knowlton said. “I’ll have that discussion with Barclay and we’ll take a little time to see. My thinking is that we will, but we’ll have the horse dictate what’s going to happen. Certainly that would be my preference but we’ve just go to see how he comes out and see how he works when we have the next work in a couple weeks. We’ll have time for a couple works.”

 

          

 

             

          
Saturday, September 5, 2020
Worked for Mockingbird Farm and Harry Mangurian . . .

    OCALA – Tommy Root Jr., who trained in New York and Florida and was the conditioner of multiple graded-stakes winner Redundancy and 1977 Preakness runner-up Iron Constitution, passed away here Friday. He  was 87.

    A graduate of Ohio State, Root, along with his father, Thomas Sr., and brother, Richard, worked for Harry T. Mangurian Jr. and his Mockingbird Farm for more than 20 years.

    Root saddled his first horse, Admiral Cherry, for his father in 1951 at the age of 17. Along with Redundancy, winner of the 1976 Gallorette and Columbiana, Root saddled Iron Constitution to victory in the 1977 Withers and to a second-place finish behind Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew in the ’77 Preakness, and also trained multiple graded stakes-placed Proud and Valid.

    Root also trained for Nelson Bunker Hunt and worked with his father, who trained two-time Eclipse Award-winning filly Desert Vixen, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979.

    Root’s son, Tom, said he retired in 1995 and moved to Ocala in 2005. He won 199 races during his training career.

    Services are pending.

Friday, September 4, 2020
Seven stakes on tap through Monday . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Day Weekend at Gulfstream Park will be celebrated by seven stakes over three days, headlined by Saturday’s $100,000, GIII Smile Sprint.

    Although changes in the national stakes calendar due to the pandemic have led to the one-year suspension of the annual Summit of Speed event, including the Gr. IIPrincess Rooney, the Smile Sprint will be renewed on Saturday’s 12-race card. The six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up will be supported by the $75,000 Bear’s Den, a 7 ½-furlong turf race for 3-year-olds, and the $75,000 Miss Gracie, a 7 ½-furlong turf race for 3-year-old fillies.


    Purple Haze Stables’ Cool Arrow and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Double Crown will clash in the Smile, which honors the championship career of the Florida-bred 1986 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner.

    Terri Pompay-trained Cool Arrow, who was claimed for $62,500 Feb. 7, enters the Smile off two straight victories, including a powerful 4 ½-length triumph in the six-furlong Opening Lead Stakes at Gulfstream last time out.

    Kathy Ritvo-trained Double Crown will also seek his third straight victory Saturday after notching back-to-back stakes victories at Gulfstream in the Roar and Carry Back. Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Ournationonparade, who finished third behind Double Crown in the Carry Back, was also entered in the Smile.


    Krsto Sky round out the field Eric Wirth’s With Verve, who captured the Hutcheson during the Championship Meet, Arindel’s Weisser and Daniel Feit and Carlos David’s.

    In the Bear’s Den, Endeavor Bloodstock LLC’s Cadet Connelly, a Grade 1 stakes-placed son of Grey Swallow, will seek to breakthrough with his first victory in five starts this year. The Teresa Connelly-trained colt, who is coming off a second-place finish in a July 1 Tampa Bay Downs handicap, finished second in last year’s Summer Stakes (G1) at Woodbine behind Christophe Clement-trained Decorated Invader, who has come back this year to win the Cutler Bay during Gulfstream’s Championship Meet and two graded stakes.

     Alegre’s Monforte will be looking to get back to his winning ways in the Bear’s Dean after his four-race win streak was snapped while finishing second in the April 8 Not Surprising off a six-month layoff.

    In the Miss Gracie, Prince Sultan Bin Mishal Al Saud’s Mo of the West is slated to seek her third straight victory over the Gulfstream turf course. The daughter of Uncle Mo will be accompanied in the starting gate by My Meadowview Farm LLC’s My Beauty, a stablemate in the Mark Casse barn.

    The $75,000 Benny the Bull, a seven-furlong sprint for Florida-bred 3-year-olds and up, and the $75,000 Sheer Drama, a seven-furlong sprint for Florida-bred fillies and mares, will co-headline Sunday’s program.

     $75,000 Mr. Steele, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up, and the $75,000 Monroe, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares, will co-headline Monday’s Labor Day card.
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Only 18 in Derby field . . .

    The field for Kentucky Derby 146 'only' numbers 18 this year as so many possibles fell by the wayside over the past few weeks. That, along with the fact that Tiz the Law looks like a cinch, if there is such a thing.

    Amazingly, the top three picks in Mike Battaglia's morning line drew the three outside post positions in the new 20-horse gate at Churchill Downs. Honor A. P. (5-1) drew No. 16, Tiz the Law (3/5) No. 17 and Authentic (8-1) No. 18. Just as amazing, after Authentic there's only one of the other 15 with a line of less than 20-1, and that's Thousand Words at 15-1. No less than eight are listed at 50-1.

    Tiz the Law is looking to become the second New York-bred to wear the roses for the charismatic Sackatoga Stable, which first accomplished the feat with Funny Cide 17 years ago. There's a second New York-bred in the field, Ny Traffic, who drew No. 16 and is 20-1. 

    King Guillermo, winner of the Gr. II Tampa Bay Derby and lighting up the tote board at $100.40 for former Major League Baseball star Victor Martinez, drew No. 6 and is listed at 20-1. Sole Volante, second behind King Guillermo at odds of 3/2, drew No. 12 and is 30-1. He was beaten by 4 3/4 lengths after winning the Gr. III Sam F. Davis Stakes in his previous start.

    There are rarely sentimental choices in the Derby, but there will be this time with Tiz the Law and Sackatoga.      

Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Pimlico offers $3.35 million in purses . . .
    BALTIMORE – Highlighted by the $1 million Preakness, presented this year as the final jewel in a refashioned Triple Crown, the Maryland Jockey Club will serve up a total of 16 stakes, nine graded, worth $3.35 million in purses over Preakness weekend at Pimlico Race Course.

    The 145th running of the 1 3/16-mile Preakness will anchor an all-stakes program of 12 races, seven graded, worth $2.7 million on Saturday, Oct. 3. It will be joined this year by the 96th renewal of the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan, one of the country’s premiere events for 3-year-old fillies, contested at 1 1/8 miles.

     Turf runners 3 and up will travel 1 1/16 miles in the $250,000 Dinner Party (G2), previously run as the Dixie, now in its 119th year. Pimlico’s oldest stakes race and the eighth-oldest in the country, it was named the Dinner Party for its 1870 debut and run at two miles.

     Other grass stakes on the Preakness program are the $150,000 Gallorette (G3) for fillies and mares 3 and up, $150,000 Laurel Futurity for 2-year-olds and $150,000 Selima for 2-year-old fillies, each going 1 1/16 miles; and $100,000 James W. Murphy for 3-year-olds and $100,000 Hilltop for 3-year-old fillies at one mile.

     Joining the Preakness Day lineup this year is the $200,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) at six furlongs for 3-year-olds and up. Other sprint stakes on the card are the $150,000 Miss Preakness (G3) for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs and $100,000 Skipat for fillies and mares 3 and up.

     Rounding out the Oct. 3 stakes lineup is the $100,000 UAE President Cup (G1) for Arabians, contested at 1 1/16 miles for 4-year-olds and up.

     The historic $250,000 Pimlico Special (G3) for 3-year-olds and up, returned to 1 3/16 miles after being contested at 1 ¼ miles in 2019, is the centerpiece of a Friday, Oct. 2 card that also serves as Claiming Crown Preview Day.

     Each winner of the nine Claiming Crown Preview Day races will earn automatic entry and a stipend toward travel costs to the annual Claiming Crown Day program being held for the eighth consecutive year at Gulfstream Park. A similar preview was hosted at Laurel Park in 2015.

     Preakness weekend will kick off Thursday, Oct. 1 with three stakes led by the $200,000 Chick Lang (G3) for 3-year-olds at six furlongs. It will be joined by a pair of five-furlong turf sprints, the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint for 3-year-olds and up and $100,000 The Very One for fillies and mares 3 and older.

 

           

           

         

 

       
Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Samy rides Tampa Bay Derby winner King Guillermo . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Camacho left Venezuela in 2012 to chase a dream – a dream that will become very real when he rides Tampa Bay Derby winner King Guillermo in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

    “This is the dream for every jockey in my country – to ride in the United States," Camacho said. "This is the MLB of racing. When you’re here, that’s your dream – to ride the big races and ride in the Kentucky Derby. That was my dream. I never thought I’d ever ride in the Kentucky Derby, and when I won the Tampa Bay Derby, I said, ‘Wow!’

    Camacho, among the leading riders during the Spring/Summer Meet at Gulfstream, shares a dream of participating in the Derby with fellow Venezuelan natives Victor Martinez and Juan Carlos Avila, King Guillermo’s owner and trainer, respectively
.

    Martinez lived his boyhood dream during 16 Major League Baseball seasons with the Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians as a catcher, first baseman and designated hitter, making five All-Star appearances. He retired from baseball in 2018 and has turned to raising cattle at his 2,500-acre ranch in Okeechobee and owning a few race horses, most notably King Guillermo, who is trained by Gulfstream-based Avila, who won nine titles and more than 3,000 races in Venezuela before venturing to South Florida in 2018.

    “The owner, Victor Martinez - I have a good relationship with him." Camacho said. "He’s a really nice guy. He has a lot of class. He’s humble. He’s amazing,” the married father of three said. “Thanks to God for letting me ride in the Derby. Thanks to Victor Martinez, the owner, and the trainer, Juan Carlos Avila, for giving me this big opportunity.”

 The son of a jockey, Camacho began his career at La Rinconada in Caracas after attending the country’s jockey school,and moved on to the U.S. at the end of 2011. He won 32 races in 2012 as an apprentice while riding at Calder Race Course (now Gulfstream Park West) and several mid-Atlantic racetracks. He returned to Venezuela in 2013 before resuming his dream job in the U.S., riding at Tampa Bay Downs at the tail end of 2015.

    The 33-year-old journeyman has ridden with success at both Tampa Bay Downs and Gulfstream, winning more than 650 races over the past five years – none more rewarding than King Guillermo’s 4 ¾-length victory in the Tampa Bay Derby on March 7.

    “I’m so happy. It’s so exciting what is happening with my career. I’m ready,” said Camacho, who also guided King Guillermo to a second-place finish behind Nadal in the May 2 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park. “My horse has been working great at Churchill.” Camacho will spend Derby Week at Churchill Downs as required under Covid-19 protocols.

    “I’ll try to take some mounts beginning Sept. 1 to ride before the Derby,” he said. “I want to get to know the track.”
Sunday, August 30, 2020
Breeze On By wins by 7 1/2 to lead 1-2-3-4 Stonehedge finish . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Breeze On By led an astonishing 1-2-3-4 finish for Stonehedge Farm South at Gulfstream Park with a commanding 7 ½-length victory in Saturday’s $200,000 Affirmed, the second leg of the Florida Sire Stakes.

    The seven-furlong Affirmed co-headlined Saturday’s program along with the $200,000 Susan’s Girl, the seven-furlong stakes for fillies. They were supported by the $75,000 Proud Truth, a one-mile turf stakes for 2-year-olds, and the $75,000 Sharp Susan, a one-mile turf stakes for juvenile fillies. All four stakes were included in the six-race sequence of the Rainbow 6 on the day of a mandatory payout.

    Trainer Ralph Nicks, who had saddled Breeze On By for a victory in the $100,000 Dr. Fager in the first leg of the Sire Stakes four weeks earlier, won his fourth consecutive running of the Affirmed. The son of Cajun Breeze also gave Nicks his eighth Florida Sire Stakes success since 2016 while providing Gilbert Campbell’s Stonehedge Farm with a 15th victory in the tradition-rich series.

    “I just feel blessed to be in Florida for seven years and win this many in the Series,” said Nicks, who captured the race in the previous three seasons with Soutache (2017), Garter and Tie (2018) and Liam’s Lucky Charm (2019). “I learned early on that you need to be a part of this and was lucky to have owners send me some talented horses and it's worked.”

    The Nicks-trained Big Daddy Dave and Seazan finished second and third, while Top Boss, trained for Stonehedge by Kathleen O'Connell, finished fourth to round out the superfecta, which paid $245.30 for a dollar.

    Breeze On By, now undefeated in three starts, ran seven furlongs in 1:22.75. Big Daddy Dave made a wide bid on the turn to finished second, 2 ½ lengths ahead of a late-rallying Seazan.

    “They're nice horses," Nicks said. "Thank you to Stonehedge for sending us some great horses. We're lucky to work with such talented horses. Breeze On By was able to rate and sit there with Big Daddy Dave in the hunt and could have pushed if he needed to, but he will settle and follow if he needs to."

    Breeze On By is scheduled to make his bid to become the fifth male to sweep the Florida Sire Stakes in the $400,000 In Reality, the 1 1/16-mile series finale on Sept. 26. With a victory he would join Three Rules (2016), Sir Oscar (2003), Seacliff (1995) and Smile (1984). Smile went on to win an Eclipse Award as the country's leading sprinter as a 4-year-old in 1986. 

    “Doing this series is tough on them and we'll see," Nicks said. "There are two other horses in this race that ran well so nothing will be a gift, but it's nice to have a horse this talented and have those options in front of you.

    Breeze On By earned $120,000 for the victory, boosting his total to $223,000 for three races. Big Daddy Dave collected $40,000 and raised his total to $83,000, while Seazan added $20,000 to his account, which now totals $74,090, and Top Boss earned $12,000 for a total of $51,850. The quartet picked up $194,000 of the $200,000 purse in the Affirmed, and as a group their earnings have swelled the Stonehedge coffers to the tune of $431,940 in the space of a few months.

    The fifth-place finisher in the race was Arindel's Gatsby, the 5/2 second choice who took home the remaining $6,000. 

    While Breeze On By is a homebred by Stonehedge stallion Cajun Breeze, the other three are by Journeyman Stud's leading Sire, Khozan, in whom Stonehedge owns an interest. Big Daddy Dave and Top Boss are also homebreds, but Seazan was bred by Susan Kahn and was purchased by Stonehedge for $10,000 out of the 2019 OBS Winter sale.   

Friday, August 28, 2020
Filly was bred by Ocala Stud Farm . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Karl Glassman and Cathi Glassman’s Restofthestory scored an impressive 5 ¾-length victory today at Gulfstream Park, becoming the first offspring of freshman sire Jess’s Dream to win a race.

    Jess’s Dream, who stands at Ocala Stud, is a son of Curlin, the 2007 and 2008 Horse of the Year, and Rachel Alexandra, the 2009 Horse of the Year.

    Trained by Eddie Plesa Jr., Restofthestory, who finished second in her Aug. 8 debut, set fractions of :22.54 and :46.15 for the first half-mile on her way to a final 5 ½-furlong clocking of 1:05.25 in the $65,000 maiden special weight race for 2-year-old fillies.

    Restofthestory, who is out of the Harlan’s Holiday mare Holiday Flare, was bought for $95,000 at the 2020 OBS April sale.

          
Thursday, August 27, 2020
Dr. Fager winner is by Cajun Breeze . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - A resilient winner of the $100,000 Dr. Fager on Aug. 1, Breeze On By will seek his second straight Florida Sire Stakes victory in the $200,000 Affirmed at Gulfstream Park Saturday while giving trainer Ralph Nicks a solid shot at his fourth consecutive success in the seven-furlong event for 2-year-olds sired by accredited Florida stallions.

    The Affirmed will co-headline Saturday’s Florida Sire Stakes program at with the $200,000 Susan’s Girl, a seven-furlong event for juvenile fillies. The $75,000 Proud Man, a mile turf stakes for 2-year-olds and the $75,000 Sharp Susan, a mile turf stakes for juvenile fillies, will be supporting stakes on a 12-race program. The Affirmed will be included in the Rainbow 6 sequence Saturday, when a mandatory payout is scheduled.

    Nicks has saddled the Affirmed winner the past three seasons, scoring with Soutache (2017), Garter and Tie (2018) and Liam’s Lucky Charm (2019).

    Breeze On By gave Nicks his seventh Florida Sire Stakes success since 2006, while providing Gilbert Campbell’s Stonehedge Farm with a 13th victory in the prestigious tradition-rich series when winning the six-furlong Dr. Fager. (Michael Yates-trained Go Jo Jo Go upped that total to 14 for Stonehedge with a win in the Aug. 1 Desert Vixen.)

    The gelded son of Cajun Breeze, who made a rather auspicious debut while capturing a July 12 maiden special by six lengths, set the pace in the six-furlong Dr. Fager before meeting a strong challenge from Gatsby at the top of the stretch. After Gatsby put his nose in front in mid-stretch, Breeze On By fought back gamely to prevail by a length.

    “He seemed to have handled the pressure of two races close together," Nicks said. "It looks like he put some weight on and matured some more, so hopefully he’ll move forward from here. He’s a big rangy horse. I think he’ll handle seven fine. It’ll depend on pace scenarios and set-up, but time will tell on that.” Emisael Jaramillo has the return call.

    Nicks and Stonehedge will also be represented in the Affirmed by a pair of promising maiden winners, Seazan and Big Daddy Dave. Seazan, a gelded son of Khozan who finished second in his June 10 debut in a $50,000 maiden claimer, stepped up to capture a seven-furlong maiden special on the Dr. Fager undercard.

    “He might be a bit of a sleeper in there," Nicks said. "In his second start at seven-eighths of a mile, he really liked it. He’s a horse that’s definitely going to run on down the racetrack." Samy Camacho has the mount.

    Big Daddy Dave, also a gelded son of Khozan, captured his debut by 3 ¼ lengths icks is confidenon May 30“We gave him time after his debut and we were pointing him to the first leg. When he came back he ended up getting sick,” Nicks said. “I think he’ll run well.” Edgard Zayas has the call aboard Big Daddy Dave.

    Nicks is confident in the abilities of the three prominent South Florida jockeys to give their mounts their best chances for success. “I like my hand going into it. Any of the three are capable. Hopefully, they’ll stay out of each other’s way,” Nicks said. “There are some different dimensions there. Big Daddy Dave and Breeze On By can control the early part of the race if wanted. They both could stalk and set off, and Seazan is an obvious closer. We’ll try and let it play out. It’ll be up to Jaramillo, Zayas and Camacho to see what happens.”

    Top Boss, another gelded son of Khozan, will give Stonehedge a fourth chance to boost its gaudy FSS numbers. The Kathleen O’Connell-trained runner captured a $50,000 maiden claiming race by 7 ½ lengths in his fourth career start. Hall of Famer Edgar Prado has the call aboard the Stonehedge hombred.

    Arindel’s Gatsby, an impressive winner of his April 12 debut, rebounded from an off-the-board finish in the June 27 Gr. III Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs with his gusty second-place finish in the Dr. Fager. The homebred son of Brethren pulled off an upset victory over heavily-favored Golden Pal in his April 12 debut at 4 ½ furlongs at Gulfstream, chasing the Wesley Ward-trained odds-on favorite into the stretch before edging clear by three-quarters of a length. Golden Pal has gone on to impress on turf, finishing second in the Gr. II Norfolk at Royal Ascot and winning last week’s Skidmore Stakes at Saratoga handily by 3 ½ lengths.

    Trilogy Stable and Laurie Plesa’s Famous Gent made a middle move from back in the pack and raced evenly thereafter to finish fourth in the Dr. Fager. Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained Famous Gent, who broke his maiden in his second career start, entered the Dr. Fager off a troubled third-place finish behind highly-regarded Papetu in the first juvenile allowance race of the Spring/Summer Meet. The son of First Dude will be ridden by Christian Torres.

    Flying Finish Farm’s Florala Al, Vicente Stella Stables LLC’s Grey Dom and Just For Fun Inc.’s Advance Cash round out the field.
Thursday, August 27, 2020
Affirmed and Susan's Girl set for Saturday . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Four stakes races will highlight a mandatory payout of the 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

    The Rainbow 6 sequence will begin with the seventh race and include the $200,000 Florida Sire Stakes Affirmed for 2-year-olds, the $200,000 Florida Sire Stakes Susan’s Girl for 2-year-old fillies, the $75,000 Proud Man and the $75,000 Sharp Susan.


    The Affirmed and Susan’s Girl will both be contested at seven furlongs on the main track. The Proud Man and Sharp Susan will feature 2-year-olds on a mile turf course.

    The Rainbow 6 pool will be guaranteed at $450,000 when racing resumes Thursday with a noon post time. The 20-cent wager has gone unsolved for eight race days.

             
Monday, August 24, 2020
Monmouth Park Sunday opener is an eye-opener . . .

Here are some of the sport's latest intriguing tidbits:

(1) At Monmouth Park Saturday, in the first race: Midnight Banker is the prohibitive favorite and wins, paying $2.80. Charletee, who is 116-1, is second and pays $34.60 and $15.80. Tricky Print, who is 148-1, finishes third and pays $24.40. Micks Blast, who is 34-1, finishes fourth.

    With a 2/5 shot winning, in most cases at most tracks, the 10-cent superfecta might pay $3, or $4, or $5, or $10. This one lights up the board at $1,241.46.

    Not to be outdone, in the second race American Quality wins at odds of 50-1 and pays $103.00, $18.40 and $7.80. He was bred by the Horse Research Center in Zuber and there's a breeder's award coming of between $3,000 and $4,000.   

(2) Ready to Runaway is a 4-year-old filly by First Dude, bred in Minnesota, of all places. She was a $4,000 Minnesota August yearling in 2017. After winning the recent $51,000 Glitter Star at Canterbury Park for the second straight year, by 8 1/2 lengths, her stakes record at the track is five victories and a second in six efforts. She received an Equibase 'E' rating of 105, her best ever. 

    Ready to Runaway remained in-the-money perfect with a record of 8-4-3 in 15 starts, and her earnings jumped to $299,980, ninth best among First Dude's runners.  

(3) What kind of wagering is there at Chippewa Downs in Belcourt, North Dakota, which holds a meeting of two days a week for four weeks in August? Black Elk, a 3-year-old son of Pleasant Acres stallion Amira's Prince, competed in a $5,000 claimer there yesterday and went off at $10.40-1. The total win-place-show betting came to $168, and there was just one winning show ticket; it paid $99.00. Black Elk earned $312 for finishing third. 

(4) Latest on late odds changes: In the ninth race at Gulfstream yesterday, Projected walked into the gate at 6-1 and finished fourth - at odds of 3-1. 

     

Friday, August 21, 2020
Only 3 winners - payoff $47,117. . .
    LAUREL, MD – There were only three winning tickets in today’s Stronach 5, and each was worth $47,117.

     The  wager, with a 12-percent takeout and $100,000 guaranteed pool, featured races from Laurel Park, Gulfstream Park and Golden Gate Fields, and two of the five races in the Stronach 5 produced $50 winners.


      It began with a bang when Palm Reader, a 24-1 shot, wore down pace-setter Sailingintothewind inside the final 50 yards to win Laurel’s seventh race on the turf and return $50.20.

    After Alastor ($6.60) won Gulfstream’s ninth race, Bunting ($7.40) won Laurel’s eighth race and Mayan Queen ($6.40) was triumphant in Laurel’s ninth, the sequence ended at Golden Gate Fields as 25-1 shot Hula King ($53.40) won the second race.         

                                                

 

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Thursday, August 20, 2020
Cajun Breeze gelding won the Dr. Fager . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Stonehedge Farm's Breeze On By is scheduled to seek his third straight victory and second leg of the 2020 Florida Sire Stakes series on Aug. 29 in the $200,000 Affirmed at Gulfstream Park.

    The gelded son of Cajun Breeze is set to square off against Arindel’s Gatsby, whom he defeated by a hard-fought length in the $100,000 Dr. Fager, the Aug. 1 first leg of the tradition rich series for 2-year-olds sired by accredited Florida stallions. The homebred gelding rushed to the lead from his rail post position, set a pressured pace and battled back when headed by Gatsby to prevail in the six-furlong test.

    Trained by Ralph Nicks, Breeze On By is undefeated in two starts, including a sensational front-running six-length victory in his July 12 debut. Stonehedge and Nicks will also be represented by Seazan, a son of Khozan who broke his maiden in his second career start on the Dr. Fager undercard.

    Gatsby, a homebred son of Brethren who finished 8 ¼ lengths clear of the third-place finisher in the Dr. Fager, won in his April 12 debut, in which he chased odds-on favorite Golden Pal into the stretch before edging away to victory by three-quarters of a length. The Wesley Ward-trained Golden Pal went on to finish second in the Gr. II Norfolk at Royal Ascot, while Gatsby finished off the board in the June 27 Gr. III Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs. Gatsby rebounded with a strong effort in the Dr. Fager.

            The field for the seven-furlong Affirmed is also expected to include Kenneth Fishbein’s Boca Boy and Trilogy Stable and Laurie Plesa’s Famous Gent, who finished third and fourth in the Dr. Fager.

    Kenny McPeek, who trains the No. 1-ranked 3-year-old filly in the country in Gulfstream Park Oaks and Alabama winner Swiss Skydiver, will seek dominance in the Florida Sire Stakes filly division with newcomer Raining Sunshine in the $200,000 Susan’s Girl . Marti Erin Haught’s homebred daughter of First Dude graduated in her second career start while romping to a 5 ¾-length maiden victory on Aug. 2.

    Gilbert Campbell's Stonehedge Farm, which has won 14 Florida Sire Stakes series races, will also be well represented in the seven-furlong Susan’s Girl by Go Jo Jo Go, who captured the first leg of the series for fillies. The Michael Yates-trained daughter of Khozan closed from last to capture the $100,000 Desert Vixen by 1 ¼ lengths over favored Princess Secret. Stonehedge will also be represented by Oh Deborah, a Ralph Nicks-trained daughter of Winslow Homer who debuted with a 3 ½-length victory in a $50,000 maiden claiming race on July 19.

    Princess Secret, a daughter of Khozan owned and trained by Daniel Pita, is expected to try to make amends in the seven-furlong Susan’s Girl. The filly debuted on May 7 with a four-length victory, then finished a troubled second behind highly-regarded Papetu while taking on the boys in a July 5 allowance before finishing second in the Desert Vixen.

    Arindel’s Freak, a daughter of Brethren who finished a nose behind Princess Secret while checking in third in the Desert Vixen, is slated to return in the Susan’s Girl. Arindel will also be represented by Lyrical, a daughter of Brethren who finished sixth in the Desert Vixen. Brethren stands at Arindel.

Trainer Steven Dwoskin’s Alluramore, a daughter of Gone Astray who finished an even fourth in the Desert Vixen, is also expected to run in the Susan’s Girl.

    The Florida Sire Stakes series is scheduled to wrap up on Sept. 26 with the $400,000 In Reality and the $400,000 My Dear Girl for fillies.