HALLANDALE BEACH - Legendary Saratoga socialite and philanthropist Marylou Whitney visited the Gulfstream Park winner’s circle alongside husband John Hendrickson Saturday, celebrating homebred Mischievous Bird’s impressive 3 ¾-length triumph in the fifth race. The 93-year-old thoroughbred owner and breeder, who has been battling health issues during the winter months, flashed a huge smile when greeted by winning jockey Julien Leparoux.
“I feel fine now that you won,” she told Leparoux, who was in total control aboard the 3-year-old son of Into Mischief during the six-furlong maiden special weight event.
Mischievous Bird was making his first start since finishing off the board in his debut after a troubled trip at Saratoga Aug. 25, when he was a well-backed 2-1. “I told Julien, ‘Six months later we got what we expected,” trainer Norm Casse said.
Mischievous Bird ($13.60) broke alertly to press the pace set by Chad Brown-trained Sayyaaf along the backstretch and around the turn before pulling away to victory when asked for some run in the stretch. The Kentucky-bred colt ran six furlongs in 1:12.40 to comfortably prevail over a late-running Island Song, who nosed out Sayyaaf for the place.
Casse derived special satisfaction while visiting the winner’s circle with a horse campaigned by Whitney and Hendrickson. “It just means so much to me, because when I went out on my own, there wasn’t a whole lot of support. I think people thought I’d have a barnful of horses, and that was not the case. Marylou and John really were the first owners to call and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to get behind you,” said Casse, who went out on his own early last year after serving as the top assistant for his father Mark Casse. “For this horse to win today with Marylou in attendance means a lot.”
Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Swells to $1,768,553
The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot grew to $1,768,553.06 for today's 12-race program when the multi-race wager went unsolved for the 22nd consecutive day Saturday. A total of $649,622 was bet into the multi-race wager, which began with a pool of $1,612,709 carried over from Friday’s card. Multiple tickets with six winners Saturday were each worth $25,518.20. The Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 7-12.
Who’s Hot: Julien Leparoux doubled, scoring aboard Royalty Salvatore ($4.60) in Race 1, before making Marylou Whitney’s day with his winning ride on Mischievous Bird.
The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot at Gulfstream Park swelled to $1,509,826.12 today when the multi-race wager went unsolved for 20th consecutive racing day. First-race post time for Friday’s 10-race card is set for 1:15 p.m.
A total of $350,744 was bet into the multi-race wager, which began with a pool of $1,425,670.10 carried over from Wednesday’s card. Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $349.62. Since the Championship Meet kicked off Dec. 1, the Rainbow 6 has been hit seven times, most recently for a $227,505.88 payout Feb. 15.
Who’s Hot: Two-time defending Championship Meet titlist Luis Saez made it to the 100-win mark for the third straight season at Gulfstream Thursday while riding A Bit of Both ($2.20) to victory in Race 3. Saez went on to capture Race 5 with Eastern Princess ($8.20) and Cappy Hour ($7.40) in the 10th.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Bettors have a new handicapping tool in their programs at all Stronach Group tracks – the weight of horses. The Stronach Group is the first thoroughbred racetrack operator to include the weights of horses in the past performance lines of its programs. This includes Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita Park, Laurel Park and Golden Gate Fields.
“We’re always looking for innovative handicapping tools to help our bettors, and this is something bettors domestically and internationally began asking for last year,” said The Stronach Group’s COO Tim Ritvo.
The Stronach Group tracks began collecting the information last spring. The information has been shared with bettors on the track simulcasts since last summer.
“This is data-driven world, and we’re excited about adding this data to our programs as we continue our growth internationally,” Ritvo added. “Bettors and horsemen have used this information in the past to find out a horse’s optimum racing weight. We believe you can never provide enough information.”
Horses at all Stronach Group tracks have been weighed on a scale located in the paddock areas. That information has been shared on each track’s daily simulcast since last summer.
FROM THE OBS - Misty Hollow Farm’s Drafted came from off the pace and closed with a rush to get up late and take the $300,000, Gr. III Mahab Al Shimaal Stakes by a neck at Meydan on Saturday. It’s the second straight graded stakes victory for the 5-year-old Florida-bred son of Field Commission, trained by Doug Watson, now 6-1-0 in 12 starts with earnings of $551,633.
Drafted was the first horse to come out of a 2016 two-year-old in training sale and break his maiden, setting a track record in his debut at Keeneland. A two-time OBS graduate, he first went through the ring at the 2015 August Sale before he was purchased for $35,000 out of the Kim Harrison consignment at the 2016 March Sale after turning in an Under Tack eighth in :10 1/5.
HARD TO BELIEVE - The crowd at Tampa Bay Downs Saturday for Derby day was listed as 10,000-plus but that doesn't come close to the actual number. The horsemen's parking lot takes in owners, trainers, jockeys, the media and people who are smart enough to walk into it from the street. There's a gate that's open, with no turnstile to go through, and everybody gets in free. The lot must hold 400 cars or so, and if there's an average of two people per car, plus the walk-ins, that's somewhere around 1,000 attendees who aren't included in the attendance count.
The handle for the big day was nearly $14 million, second highest day in the track's history. So what kind of coverage does my old newspaper provide? The Tampa Bay Times, formerly the St. Pete Times when I made selections for 22 years, DID NOT HAVE ONE WORD ABOUT IT ANYWHERE IN THE PAPER!!!
But they'll write reams about auto races or human races anywhere within hailing distance. What a disgrace.
LOVE NO. ONE - The number of times a TVG analyst will wonder about a horses's chances because he or she has drawn the No.1 post, is countless. Ditto for the trainers they interview in the paddock.
I have cashed countless numbers of tickets on horses who left from No.1.
Here's the breakdown of the winners from each post at Tampa up to a few days ago. No. 1 - 81; No. 2 - 63; No. 3 - 75; No. 4 - 62; No. 5 - 60; No. 6 - 63; No. 7 - 64; No. 8 - 46. Of course, as the numbers go up, there are less chances because of short fields. However, in this instance, posts 1-5 all had 144 starters, while No. 6 had 143, No. 7 - 141 and No. 8 - 46, so only No. 8 is compromised by numbers.
If No. 1 is a problem, it's the rider, not the post.
OLDSMAR - Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott clearly is not a man in a hurry. A mere 22 years after his first victory in Tampa Bay Downs’ biggest race, Mott grabbed another Gr. II Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby triumph. And he did it with Tacitus, a colt with only two starts as a 2-year-old, and one who had not raced since his maiden victory on Nov. 10 at Aqueduct.
“He’s been a big, growthy colt all along, and when we were breezing him in the middle of the summer he was just a big, laid-back horse. We didn’t know what we had until we got into the fall,” Mott said after Tacitus and jockey Jose Ortiz got through late on the rail and powered to a length-and-a-quarter victory from Outshine.
Tacitus, a gray homebred son of Tapit-Close Hatches, by First Defence, racing for breeder-owner Juddmonte Farms, sped the mile-and-a-sixteenth distance in stakes-record time of 1:41.90. The 7-5 favorite, Win Win Win, finished third in the 11-horse field, with pace-setter Zenden holding on for fourth.
Tacitus paid $19.80 to win as the fifth betting choice in the field. He earned the winner’s share of $210,000 from the $400,000 purse.
A crowd of 10,275 thrilled to the exciting action on a sunny, balmy afternoon. Total wagering handle on the 12-race card was $13,956,020, the second-highest amount in Tampa Bay Downs history.
Two other graded stakes were contested, with 5-year-old mare Rymska and Irad Ortiz Jr. (Jose’s brother) rallying for a two-length victory over Hawksmoor in the Gr. II, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes on the turf and 3-year-old filly Concrete Rose and Julien Leparoux holding off Blowout by a half-length in the Gr. III, $200,000 Florida Oaks, also on the turf.
In the day’s other stakes, last year’s Sam F. Davis winner and Tampa Bay Derby runner-up, Flameaway, outgamed Killybegs Captain through the stretch to post a half-length victory in the $100,000 Challenger Stakes under Jose Ortiz, and Digital Age and Irad Ortiz Jr., posted a head victory over Forever Mo in the $75,000 Columbia Stakes for 3-year-olds on the turf.
In the main event, Jose Ortiz managed to find the inside early from the No. 10 post position and raced in mid-pack up the backstretch, while Zenden led Sam F. Davis winner Well Defined and the others through taxing fractions. “He broke very well and gave me a lot of choices by the first turn,” Ortiz said. “When the 9 horse (Dunph) went out, I decided to go in and follow the 1 (Admire) because I thought he had a good chance to win. I took a lot (of dirt), but the dirt doesn’t stick as much here as some other tracks, so I think it was good for my horse. He’s a little green still, but we got a rail trip and it opened up for us.”
A few anxious moments followed, with Outshine and Joel Rosario still looming as a threat, but Ortiz re-engaged the winner. “He’s a big horse and when he made the lead, he didn’t keep going; he kind of waited a little bit,” the jockey said. “He does everything so easy and I don’t know if he’s given me 100 percent yet (in his three races) – I don’t think so.”
Ortiz was also capturing his second Tampa Bay Derby, having won the 2017 edition with Tapwrit. Mott had won the race in 1997 with Zede. “I’ve been waiting a long time,” Mott said with a big grin. “We’ve always liked this horse and thought he could be a horse that would be on the Derby trail. I liked him a lot better today at the 3/8-mile pole than I did at the 5/8 pole, because it looked like when he was trying to get between horses, I couldn’t tell if he was maybe fighting with the racetrack. He was climbing a little bit but once he got through between those horses, he really got some confidence and got some momentum. Jose said he actually finished with something left. He got to the lead and maybe started to dog it a little bit, but I thought it was a very good race and a very good education for him.”
The Tampa Bay Derby is a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points race, and Tacitus earned 50 points, with Outshine earning 20, Win Win Win 10 and Zenden 5.
Michael Trombetta, the trainer of 7-5 favorite Win Win Win, was not overly disappointed after talking to his jockey, Irad Ortiz Jr. “I want to go back and watch the head-on of the break; Irad said it was a little bit of a tangle out of the gate,” Trombetta said. “I think he was satisfied with the way that he ran. I just think if he could have gotten a little better position early, we might have had more of a favorable outcome. He finished with good energy and just couldn’t quite get it done.”
OLDSMAR - Eleven 3-year-olds were entered in the 39th annual Gr. II, $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby, to be run Saturday at the distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track. At stake, in addition to the purse money, are “Road to the Kentucky Derby” qualifying points, awarded to the first four finishers on a 50-20-10-5 scale.
The Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby is scheduled as the 11th race on a 12-race card beginning at 12:12 p.m. It is one of five stakes races on the program worth a combined $1-million in purse money. The first 7,500 patrons through the gates will receive a commemorative umbrella, with paid admission.
Florida-bred colt Win Win Win, who set a Tampa Bay Downs 7-furlong track record of 1:20.89 in his Pasco Stakes victory on Jan. 19, has been established at 5-2 on the morning-line. The second choice at 7-2 is the Florida-bred gelding Well Defined, who won the Gr. III Sam F. Davis Stakes on Feb. 9 at the Tampa Bay Derby distance.
Reigning Eclipse Award-winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. will ride Win Win Win, whose trainer, Michael Trombetta, is scheduled to be track announcer Richard Grunder’s guest at 10 a.m. on Saturday at the “Morning Glory Club” show on the first floor of the grandstand.
Two graded turf stakes for females are on tap: the Gr. II, $225,000 Hillsborough, for fillies and mares 4-years-old-and-upward at a distance of a mile-and-an-eighth, and the Gr. III, $200,000 Florida Oaks, for 3-year-old fillies at a mile-and-a-sixteenth. The Hillsborough is the ninth race and the Florida Oaks is the 10th. Saturday’s other stakes are the $100,000 Challenger Stakes for horses 4-years-old-and-upward at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track and the $75,000 Columbia Stakes for 3-year-olds at a mile on the turf.
Here is the field for the Tampa Bay Derby in post position order, with trainers and jockeys:
1. Admire, Dale Romans, Robby Albarado; 2. Sir Winston, Mark Casse, Julien Leparoux; 3. Lord Dragon, Jordan Blair, Jose A. Bracho; 4. Dream Maker, Mark Casse, Florent Geroux; 5. Well Defined, Kathleen O’Connell, Pablo Morales; 6. Outshine, Todd Pletcher, Joel Rosario; 7. Win Win Win, Michael Trombetta, Irad Ortiz, Jr.; 8. The Right Path, Jorge Duarte, Jr., Joe Bravo; 9. Dunph, Michael Maker, Daniel Centeno; 10. Tacitus, William Mott, Jose Ortiz; 11. Zenden, Victor Barboza, Jr., Samy Camacho.
Although the Live Oak Plantation homebred Win Win Win has been training here since his Pasco victory, the hometown favorite is Well Defined, a homebred racing for breeder-owner Gilbert G. Campbell’s Stonehedge Farm LLC. Campbell and O’Connell teamed to win the 2011 Tampa Bay Derby with Watch Me Go to earn a trip to that year’s Kentucky Derby, and the two-time leading Tampa Bay Downs conditioner is optimistic Well Defined is sitting on another big effort after his Sam F. Davis romp.
“He’s coming up to the race just as good or better than last time. I couldn’t be happier with how he’s doing, and I’m happy with the post position,” O’Connell said. Morales will be riding Well Defined for the second time after guiding him in his front-running Sam F. Davis score. “This horse has plenty of speed, and Pablo fits him very well,” O’Connell said. “He just has to be forwardly placed, and the rest will be seen. I’m just happy he’s going in the right direction and hope they all stay healthy. We need to run a big race Saturday.”
The third choice on the morning line at 4-1 is Dream Maker, one of two entrants trained by Mark Casse, along with Sir Winston.
The Hillsborough has attracted 10 older fillies and mares. Top contenders include millionaire Hawksmoor, trainer Arnaud Delacour’s 6-year-old mare who won the Gr. III Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes here on Feb. 9; and the Chad Brown-trained duo of 5-year-old French-breds Onthemoonagain and Rymska.
There are 11 3-year-old fillies entered in the Florida Oaks. Brown, the three-time reigning Eclipse award Outstanding Trainer, has entered the French-bred La Feve and the Great Britain-bred Blowout. Other Florida Oaks entrants certain to attract attention and wagering dollars are Gr. II turf winner Concrete Rose, trained by George “Rusty” Arnold II, and Elsa, a Gr. III winner from the barn of Michael Stidham.
The Columbia has drawn 11 sophomores, including the Brown-trained Irish-bred Digital Age and Casse’s Proliferate. Heading the six-horse Challenger field are Casse’s 4-year-old colt Flameaway, who won last year’s Sam F. Davis and finished second in the Tampa Bay Derby, and the John P. Terranova II-trained 5-year-old Killybegs Captain, upset winner of the Pelican Stakes here on Feb. 16
Santos earns Jockey of Month honor. Ademar Santos has spent the last six weeks reminding Tampa Bay Downs horsemen he’s the same guy who finished eighth in the standings last season with 32 victories. Santos didn’t ride his first race this season until almost a month after the start of the meeting, and he won with only two of his first 40 starters. Since Feb. 6, however, he has won 10 times from 55 mounts, earning the Sen~or Tequila Mexican Grill Jockey of the Month Award.
“It’s important to know that my work is being seen, and I just have to enjoy it and try to get some more wins,” said Santos, who won races for six trainers during his recent roll. “I’m the same jockey as I’ve been, but I’m riding better horses now, I’ve gotten some lucky trips and I’ve won a few races.”
Santos knew he might start slow after he arrived late from Woodbine in Toronto, where he had a strong summer and fall that included a victory in the Grade II, $210,400 Kennedy Road Stakes on Ikerrin Road on Nov. 24 (also opening day at Tampa Bay Downs). After he arrived here, some questioned the wisdom of using his wife, Rose Miranda, as his agent. But they have proven to be a formidable team, with Miranda enthusiastically selling her rider’s talent and work ethic to Oldsmar trainers.
“Some people might look at it like she’s my agent because we’re married, but we work well together,” said Santos, who has climbed into a tie for sixth in the standings with 17 victories. “She does a great job getting me on good horses, and the rest is up to me. Even if I’m on (a long shot), it’s up to me to make a difference.”
Santos acknowledges that when he first came to Tampa Bay Downs 10 years ago, he might not have dealt as well with a slow start. Experience helps, as well as embracing the responsibilities of fatherhood with his three sons: twins Lucas and Gabriel, 12, and Rafael, 10. “I’m more mature, and I know the people because I’ve been coming here since 2009, so they know what I can do,” he said. “The track is kind of like a little family, and over the years you get more confident and people get more confidence in you.”
The first time we reported on the success of Mike Mulligan and his BetBestBreeze.com website, he was hotter than the proverbial pistol. We said then that 10 days or so of picking winners wasn't nearly enough of a sample to make a definitive determination of his methods, but last week's results are more than worthy of mention again.
On Thursday, Feb. 28, among 12 horses listed, Mike tabbed four winners, one second, two thirds and two fourths. I'm listing all the way to fourth because so many bettors play trifectas and supers. The winners were: first-timer Hoffa's Union, who won by 15 1/2 lengths at Aqueduct and paid $17.20, first-timer Fort Revere ($21) at Gulfstream; Marvella, who made it two in a row and paid $38.80 at Oaklawn; and Sharp Witted, who is now 2-for-2 after paying $4.80 at Fair Grounds. Decider finished second at Gulfstream at odds of $4.90-1.
On Friday, March 1, among nine horses listed, Mike tabbed first-timer Impishness ($9.80) and Stephanie On Fleek ($22.40) at Gulfstream, and Miz Nightcap ($21.60) at Oaklawn. He also had one second at 3/5 at Aqueduct when the horse was left at the gate, one third at 5/2 at Gulfstream, and a fourth at Fair Grounds.
As good as those two days were, the next day turned out to be very special, featuring one winner rarely tabbed by any handicapper.
On Saturday, March 2, there were 26 listed, six were scratched. The bomber in the group turned out to be Jeltrin in the Davona Dale Stakes at Gulfstream - she paid $105!!! Other winners were Gallant Bid ($24) at Aqueduct, A Thread of Blue ($3) at Gulfstream, Awesome Alaina ($6.60) at Parx, and Twice Golden ($3.40) at Santa Anita. With Mind For Mischief (14-1) finishing second behind Twice Golden, the exacta paid $22. Aside from Mind For Mischief, there were five other seconds, at odds of 4/5, 5-1 (lost by a neck), 11-1, $1.30-1, and $4.30-1. There were also two thirds and four fourths. That means 17 of the 20 horses finished in the top four.
A $10 win bet on each of the 20 horses listed Saturday would have cost $200. The return would have been $710.
You have to admit, subscribing to BetBestBreeze.com is very tempting, and will become more so when this year's 2-year-olds begin to hit the tracks in April and May.
HALLANDALE BEACH – W.S. Farish’s Code of Honor rebounded from a disappointing effort in his 2019 debut to capture Saturday’s Gr. II, $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park and stamp himself as a leading prospect for the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby and the 2019 Triple Crown.
Code of Honor was saddled by Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, who captured the 2013 Fountain of Youth, Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby with Orb.
Code of Honor was sent to post at 9-1 for the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth, which headlined a 14-race program highlighted by nine graded stakes, and produced the winning performance that had been expected of him in the Jan. 5 Mucho Macho Man, in which he finished fourth as the 4-5 favorite. The son of Noble Mission’s winning kick was benefited by a hotly-contested pace set by Hidden Scroll, the 6-5 favorite ridden by Joel Rosario, who was pressed on his inside by longshot Gladiator King.
The winner broke from the No. 1 post position in the 11-horse field, and saved ground around the first turn. He was a comfortable fifth along the backstretch under John Velazquez as the pacesetters set dazzling fractions of 22.80 and 45.69 seconds for the first half mile. Hidden Scroll, who was only making his second career start after breaking his maiden by 14 lengths at Gulfstream on Jan. 26, shook off Gladiator King to open a lead on the far turn with Global Campaign in closest pursuit. Meanwhile, Velazquez left the rail with Code of Honor just long enough to go around Gladiator King on the far turn before ducking back to the rail to advance toward the leader. After putting away Global Campaign and Vekoma while cutting the corner into the homestretch, Code of Honor loomed as a serious threat while swinging to the outside in pursuit of Hidden Scroll.
Hidden Scroll shortened stride in the stretch after his early efforts as Code of Honor swept by on his way to victory. Bourbon War, who had won two of three starts, closed well to finish second, three-quarters of a length away and two lengths ahead of Vekoma.
Code of Honor ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.85, after he was trained more aggressively for the Fountain of Youth than the Mucho Macho Man.
“After the Mucho Macho Man, I said listen, we’re going to train him," McGaughey said. "If he takes it he takes it, and he took it. He was doing good with what we were putting into him, so we kept doing it and we felt like he was going to come down here and run well. I thought we drew a good post. We saved some ground going around the first turn and just be patient. We got the set up.”
Prior to the Mucho Macho Man, Code of Honor had broken his maiden at first asking at Saratoga in August before finishing a troubled second in the Champagne at Belmont on Oct. 6. He was entered in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs but was scratched on race day due to spiking a fever.
McGaughey said he would weigh his options for Code of Honor’s next start. “I would prefer to stay here [for the Florida Derby], but I’m going to see,” McGaughey said. “A couple of them [Wood Memorial at Aqueduct and Blue Grass at Keeneland] are a little farther down the line, so we’ll see how he comes out of it. We’ll figure it out.”
HALLANDALE BEACH – Saturday’s 14-race program at Gulfstream Park, highlighted by Code of Honor’s victory in the 73rd running of the Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth, produced a record handle on Fountain of Youth Day of $31,230,535, a 9-percent increase over last year’s 14-race program.
Saturday’s program featured nine graded stakes races. Along with Code of Honor’s victory in the Fountain of Youth, 50-1 shot Jeltrin won the Gr. II, $200,000 Davona Dale and returned $105, A Thread of Blue won the Gr. III Palm Beach, Zulu Alpha won the Gr. II Mac Diarmida and Precieuse won the Gr. III Honey Fox.
The Fountain of Youth Day handle has grown every year since 2015, when total handle was $20.585 million.
“We want to thank all the fans who came out because there was such a great atmosphere here from early morning until late in the day,” said Gulfstream General Manager Bill Badgett. “The horsemen supported our stakes and our program once again, and we’re continuing to build a strong partnership with them all. We’re looking forward to an incredible final month here punctuated by the $1 million Florida Derby on Saturday, March 30.
Rainbow 6 Carryover - The Rainbow 6 carryover will be $740,255 when racing resumes today with a noon first- race post time. Multiple winning tickets Saturday returned $147,928.76. The sequence will begin with the eighth race, a mile turf event for 3-year-olds.
Saturday’s 50-cent Late Pick 4 returned $2,345.95 while the 50-cent Late Pick 5 returned $16,309.65.
HALLANDALE BEACH – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 11th consecutive day Friday, triggering a guaranteed jackpot pool of $750,000 for today’s 14-race Fountain of Youth Day program featuring nine graded stakes worth $1.65 million in purses.
First race post time is 11:30 a.m.
A total of $264,958 was bet into the multi-race wager, which began with a carryover of $486,488 from Thursday’s card. Multiple tickets with all six winners Friday were each worth $29,667.06. Since the 2018-19Championship Meet kicked off Dec. 1, the Rainbow 6 has been hit seven times, most recently for a $227,505.88 payout Feb. 15.
Today’s Rainbow 6 spans races 9-14 and includes four graded stakes led by the 73rd running of the Gr. II, $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth for 3-year-olds in Race 13. Also in the sequence are the Gr. III, $150,000 Honey Fox in Race 11 and Gr. II, $200,000 Mac Diarmida in Race 14, both on turf, and the Gr. II, $200,000 Davona Dale for 3-year-old fillies in Race 12.
Other stakes on the program are the Gr. III, $150,000 Palm Beach in Race 4, Gr. III, $150,000 Canadian Turf in Race 5, Gr. III, $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint in Race 6, Gr. III, $150,000 The Very One in Race 7 and Gr. III, $150,000 Herecomesthebride in Race 8.
In addition to the Rainbow 6, there will be guaranteed pools of $750,000 in the 50-cent, all-stakes Late Pick 4 (Races 11-14) and $500,000 in the 50-cent Late Pick 5 (Races 10-14).
Who’s Hot: Irad Ortiz Jr. added to his meet-leading totals with back-to-back winners Friday aboard Trapped At Sea ($9.20) in Race 9 and Amazing Audrey ($5.20) in Race 10. Younger brother Jose Ortiz also won twice with Mucho ($3) in Race 2 and Let’s Go Baby ($9) in Race 11, while Rafael Hernandez doubled on Emperor John ($3) in Race 3 and I’m Listening ($35) in Race 7.
If somebody took a poll of the nation's horse-playing public, from the plungers at the top down to the $2 bettors and everybody in-between, the number of different systems employed by that group to try to weed out winners would fill a book, maybe two.
It's coming up on 66 years since I made my first $2 bet on Dressy Lady in the eighth race at Belmont Park on the first Wednesday in June, two days before the last day of school. The system I used in my first foray into the game was quite simple - two of my senior-class buddies told me they liked her. In the time since, I've encountered just about every scheme the nation's punters use to find winners, including my all-time favorite offered to me by a gentleman at Gulfstream Park many years ago, "Always bet on gray horses in the winter."
By the way, Dressy Lady finished fourth.
But there's very little doubt that the area that confounds that horse-playing public the most is how to pick winners in 2-year-old maiden races at tracks across North America, especially in those early tests where every horse is a first-time starter. I have always been skeptical of the various methods touted by the analysts at TVG and elsewhere, like Beyer numbers, Ragozins, etc.
However, a couple of weeks ago I was introduced to betbestbreeze.com, an on-line site started by long-time Ocala horseman Mike Mulligan. The site professes to give players a much deeper insight into maiden races, based on Mulligan's expertise in the area of finding top juveniles while attending every 2-year-old sale in the country. Mike keeps a watchful eye on every colt and filly that breezes in the under tack shows - approximately 3,500 every year at OBS, Calder, Keeneland, Timonium and the new group in California - and evaluates them not only by their times, but by their physical attributes - the way they move, their stride, how they finish and several other facets that I don't understand, because every horse looks the same to me. He then rates each horse from 1 to 9, with 1 being the best. I'm told that only about 25 to 30 percent of the 2-year-olds get a rating of 9 or better.
When I first learned of Mike's site I was as skeptical as I have been about all the other guys. Then I began tracking the horses Mike pinpointed on his site - every day. It didn't take me long to realize he must be endowed with an expertise that few others have mastered. Of course, 10 days or so of results isn't nearly enough for me or anybody else to take a definitive stance on his method, but it's a good start.
What follows is a summary of how the horses listed in betbestbreeze have fared recently. He has 3 categories listed every day - first-time starters, other BBB horses to consider (who have made at least one start), and stakes horses, if any. My number in parentheses is the number Mike assigned to each horse. One consideration to understand in evaluating the results is that very often, 2 or 3 runners show up in the same race. Remember, it has been many months since the first-timers were initially evaluated. Another to consider is of the horses who have already started, a price of 6/5 or 2-1 means the horse has run well in his or her previous start(s).
Sunday, Feb. 24 - - There were 13 listed in the 3 categories. Results: 4 winners, 1 second, and 3 thirds.
In category 1, Pyron (1) won at Oaklawn Park and paid $11.80. Golden Notion (2) finished 2nd in the race, the exacta paid $32.80; Matcha (4) finished 3rd at Gulfstream at odds of 8-1 and had traffic trouble in the stretch; Safta (1) finished 3rd at Gulfstream at 5-1, made a huge close from dead last. In category 2, Bello Porte (2) won at Gulfstream and paid $7.80. In the same race, Lovely Luvy (5) finished 3rd; Two Sixteen (6) won at Laurel and paid $10.60, beating a 4/5 shot by a nose; She's a Problem won at Gulfstream and paid $16.80.
Saturday, Feb. 23 - - Category 1, Get the Goodies (1) won at Oaklawn and paid $6.80; Bullion (9) finished 2nd at Santa Anita at 9-1; My Cadet (8) finished 4th at Gulfstream, coming from out of the clouds and having to change course in mid-stretch. Category 2, Teenage Idol (2) won at Gulfstream and paid $15.40; Fleeterthan (3) finished 3rd at Oaklawn at 4-1; Gran Martillo (3) won at Santa Anita and paid $4.60; Free Cover finished 2nd by a nose at Fair Grounds at 4-1; Mountain Spirit finished 3rd at Santa Anita at .70 cents to a dollar; Category 3 (stakes), Just Ain't Right finished 3rd at Gulfstream at 10-1; Golden Lullaby finished 2nd at Sam Houston at 11-1; Maiden Beauty finished 4th at Aqueduct at 6-1.
Friday, Feb. 22 - - Category 2, Castle Casanova (4) won at Aqueduct and paid $3.60; Delta Gamma (4) finished 2nd at Aqueduct at 9/5; Happy Sophia (6) finished 2nd at Charles Town at 2-1.
Thursday, Feb. 21 - Category 2, Regal Retort (2) won at Aqueduct and paid $4.80; in the same race, Figure It Out (6) finished 2nd at 4-1, exacta paid $27.20; Gran Diamond (2) finished 2nd at Gulfstream at 5/2.
Wednesday, Feb. 20 - Category 2, Beautiful Lover (2) won and paid $3; in the same race, La Chauffeur finished 2nd at 13-1, exacta paid $24.80; Collins Ave. (3) finished 3rd at Gulfstream at 2-1; Exsqueeze (8) finished 3rd at Sam Houston at .70 cents.
To cut this short, I'll continue with the previous few days in one paragraph. Aqueduct, London House (2) won and paid $8.80; in the same race, Rally Cap finished 2nd at 8-1, exacta paid $32; Oaklawn, Comedian won and paid $11.60; in the same race, Incorrigible finished 2nd at 17-1, exacta paid $161.40; Category 1, Saratoga Promise (3) won and paid $4.30, was 8-1 in Morning Line; Clever Tale ((5) finished 2nd by half a nose at 9-1; Camgo (1) won at Tampa and paid $3.60; Cohete Rojo ((3) finished 2nd at Fair Grounds at 7-1; Scoreswhenhewants (7) finished 2nd at Tampa at 7/2. In category 1, Shancealot won at Gulfstream and paid $27.60; in same race, Bodexpress finished 2nd at 7-1, exacta paid $165.80, and Fort Worth (2) finished 3rd as favorite; in Category 1, Get the Prize won at Fair Grounds and paid $19.
That's not all by far, and that's not to say there haven't been losers, too. But the winners and the returns, for me, have far outweighed the losers.
Again, this is only a less than two-week sample, but it's hard to dispute the information posted on BBB. I have to confess I have hit many of the winners in the aforementioned paragraphs, including some of the juicy exactas. I'll continue to play as long as Mike keeps hitting home runs.
OLDSMAR – A great many racing fans took notice when long-time observer Steve Haskin moved Win Win Win into the top half of his “Derby Dozen” rankings at bloodhorse.com following the colt’s record-shattering victory in the 7-furlong Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on Jan. 19.
This week, Haskin raised Win Win Win to the No. 4 spot, behind Bob Baffert’s 1-2 punch of Game Winner and Improbable and Risen Star Stakes winner War of Will. As if to affirm Haskin’s high opinion, Win Win Win breezed 5 furlongs from the gate this morning in 59 1/5 seconds with Antonio Gallardo aboard, the fastest of 33 recorded times at the distance.
The Live Oak Plantation homebred, who is among 54 nominees for the 39th renewal of the Grade II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 9, appears ready to take the next step toward a berth in the Kentucky Derby.
Even veteran trainer Michael Trombetta, who saddled Sweetnorthernsaint to a Kentucky Derby appearance and a second-place Preakness finish to Bernardini in 2006, is starting to get that faraway, springtime-in-Louisville look. “He is one of those kind of horses that does what you tell him to do. If I want him to work a half-mile in 52 seconds, he does it, and if I need him to work faster than that he’ll do that, too,” Trombetta said. “I’ve made several trips here to watch him work, and he is doing everything I would have hoped for going into (the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby). He’s very willing to do whatever you need himto do, and when you ask him to do more, he does more.”
What Win Win Win hasn’t done in his four-race career, as Trombetta is quick to acknowledge, is race around two turns. That would change in the Tampa Bay Derby, contested at a distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track.
The Florida-bred’s breeding would suggest he’ll go even farther than eight-and-a-half furlongs; both his paternal and maternal grandsires, Sunday Silence and Smarty Jones, won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and finished second in the Belmont. But there are no guarantees at this level, and Trombetta knows March 9 is something of an acid test for his promising youngster.
“We’re hoping he can get us to those distances, but I truly don’t know. He needs to show that he’s good enough to do that – they all do,” Trombetta said. “There will be plenty of good horses in that starting gate as they’re all starting to converge on these bigger races, so this is the next test. We’ve been putting some nice gallops and nice breezes under him and he is doing everything he’s supposed to, so I’m as anxious as anyone else to see what he will do.”
The Tampa Bay Derby is a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points race, awarding 50, 20, 10 and 5 points to the top four finishers toward one of the maximum 20 spots in the Kentucky Derby starting gate. It is also one of five stakes scheduled here on March 9, with total purse money for those races a cool $1-million.
Two other graded stakes are scheduled on the turf: the Gr. II, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes for fillies and mares 4-years-old-and-upward at a distance of a mile-and-an-eighth, and the Gr. III, $200,000 Florida Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at a mile-and-a-sixteenth. The other stakes are the $100,000 Challenger Stakes for horses 4-years-old-and-upward going a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track and the $75,000 Columbia Stakes for 3-year-olds racing a mile on the turf.
Win Win Win, bred by Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Stud, is 3-for-4 with earnings of $127,300, his only defeat coming to Alwaysmining in the Heft Stakes at Laurel on Dec. 29 after he walked out of the gate and was about 10 lengths behind heading down the backstretch. He made a good run into the stretch but his ability to catch the pacesetter was compromised when Alwaysmining had him pinned to the rail.
In the Pasco three weeks later, Win Win Win drew off by seven-and-a-quarter lengths in 1:20.89 for 7 furlongs, bettering the track record by .51 seconds. He's won his three races by a total of 14 1/4 lengths.
Other Tampa Bay Derby nominees on Haskin’s “Derby Dozen” list are No. 5 Signalman, a Ken McPeek-trained colt who finished third in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and won the Gr. II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes on Nov. 24 at Churchill Downs in his most recent start; No. 7 Omaha Beach, a Richard Mandella-trained colt who broke his maiden in impressive fashion on Feb. 2 at Santa Anita after three consecutive runner-up efforts; No. 10 Hidden Scroll, from the barn of Bill Mott, who won his only start on Jan. 26 at Gulfstream; and No. 11 Dream Maker, under the care of Mark Casse, now 2-for-4 after a recent allowance/optional claiming victory at Fair Grounds.
McPeek won the 1999 Tampa Bay Derby with Pineaff, while Mott captured the 1997 running with Zede and Casse the 2012 race with Prospective.
Stonehedge Farm's Sam F. Davis triumph with Well Defined has earned the colt honorable-mention status, Haskin surmising several of his ancestors possess the stamina influence to make him dangerous at the Tampa Bay Derby distance and beyond.
Five-time Tampa Bay Derby-winning trainer Todd Pletcher has nominated nine sophomores to the race, including Sam F. Davis third-place finisher So Alive, and Spinoff, a good-looking allowance/optional claiming winner at Tampa on Friday. Pletcher’s Tampa Bay Derby winners are Limehouse (2004), Verrazano (2013), Carpe Diem (2015), Destin (2016) and Tapwrit (2017).
HALLANDALE BEACH – Eclipse Award winner Irad Ortiz Jr. continued his recent hot hand by riding four winners, including his 100th of the 2018-19 Championship Meet Friday at Gulfstream Park.
The 26-year-old native of Puerto Rico hit the seasonal milestone with 1-2 favorite Matzo Bella ($3) in Race 6, a five-furlong turf race for maiden 3-year-old fillies. He also took Race 3 aboard 4-5 top choice Battle of Memphis ($3.80), Race 7 on 9-5 favorite Livin a Dream ($5.80) and Race 11 on 7-5 betting choice Mo’s Ride ($4.80).“It feels great. We’re doing so good right now,” Ortiz said. “My agent [Jay Rushing] does a great job and the owners and trainers help me a lot. They give me a lot of chances, so I just enjoy and do the best I can.”
Ortiz has registered 30 wins over the past nine racing days to overtake two-time defending champion Luis Saez as the meet’s leading rider. Ortiz, who received his first career Eclipse in last month’s ceremony at Gulfstream, now has put together nine consecutive multi-win days, including a six-win afternoon on Feb. 18.
“It’s been very hot the last couple weeks," Ortiz said. "I’m so blessed right now. I don’t think I’ve ever done this before, to be on that kind of roll. I’m just enjoying the moment and I’m so happy.”
In 2017-18, his first full winter at Gulfstream, Ortiz ranked second in both wins (101) and purses ($4.8 million), and became just the fourth rider in track history to reach 100 wins following Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, Paco Lopez and Saez. Winner of a meet-record 137 races last winter, Saez has been out serving a pair of five-day suspensions. Ortiz now holds a 102-84 lead over Saez in the standings, and also ranks first with more than $6.7 million in purse earnings.
Rainbow 6 Carryover Grows
The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the sixth consecutive day Friday, and the carryover jackpot grew to $249,414.03 for today's’s 11-race program. A total of $184,512 was bet into the multi-race wager, which began with a carryover of $205,137.61 from Thursday’s card. Multiple tickets with all six winners Friday were each worth $153.
WHO'S HOT - Emisael Jaramillo visited the winner’s circle three times Friday, aboard Dance Till Dawn ($13.20) in Race 1, Gran Paraiso ($17.20) in Race 5 and High Flying Guy ($5.80) in Race 9.
LAUREL, MD –The Stronach 5 will have a record pool Friday when the national wager with an industry-low 12-percent takeout begins with a carryover of $169,305.51.
The Stronach 5 will kick off at 4:35 p.m. with the ninth race at Laurel Park. It will be followed by a pair of turf races from Gulfstream Park and a five-furlong dash from Golden Gate Fields, before finishing at Santa Anita Park with an allowance optional claimer at 6 1/2 furlongs on the downhill course.
There were no winning tickets in last week’s Stronach 5 after there was a $140 winner at Golden Gate and an $89.20 winner at Gulfstream.
Stronach 5 past performances: http://www.laurelpark.com/handicapping/stronach-pick-5
? Leg One – Laurel Park, 9th Race – (10 entries, 6 furlongs) 4:35 ET, 1:35 PT
? Leg Two - Gulfstream Park, 10th Race - (16 entries, 1 1/16 miles, turf) 5:12 ET, 2:12 PT
? Leg Three – Gulfstream Park, 11th Race – (16 entries, one mile, turf) 5:42 ET, 2:42 PT
? Leg Four – Golden Gate Fields, 5th Race – (12 entries, 5 furlongs) 5:54 ET, 2:54 PT
? Leg Five – Santa Anita Park, 5th Race – (12 entries, 6 ½ furlongs, turf) 6:-07 ET, 3:07 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. For the Stronach 5, if a change in racing surface is made after the wagering closes, each selection on any ticket will be considered a winning selection. If a betting interest is scratched, that selection will be substituted with the favorite in the win pool when wagering closes.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Hot riding Irad Ortiz Jr. notched his sixth straight multi-win day Monday, riding six winners, five in starter stakes, on the President's Day program at Gulfstream Park.
The reigning Eclipse Award winner scored aboard Lucky Long ($3.60) in the $60,000 Mary Todd (Race 5), Wildwood Dancer ($4.80) in the $60,000 Rail Splitter (Race 6), Midtown Rose ($4.40) in the $60,000 Queen Mother (Race 8), Zulu ($6.20) in the $60,000 Old Hickory (Race 10), Your Only Man ($6.20) in the $60,000 Old Man Eloquent (Race 11), and Souper Jaguar ($5.80) in a maiden special weight race for 3-year-olds on turf (Race 12).
The six-win day, which was one win short of the Gulfstream record co-held by Luis Saez, Tyler Gaffalione and Jerry Bailey, was a personal best for Ortiz. “It’s amazing winning six races in one day," Ortiz said. "I’m so happy. I’m blessed. I’m just happy to be able to stay healthy and ride these kind of horses. My agent [Steve Rushing] does a great job and the owners and trainers, they give me the opportunity. I appreciate that.” Ortiz has won 22 races in the last six racing days at Gulfstream.
RAINBOW 6 GROWS AGAIN - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot for Wednesday’s program will be $119,458.32. The multi-race wager has gone unsolved for three racing days after an Xpressbet player hit the jackpot for a $227,505 payoff last Friday. Multiple tickets with all six winners Monday were each worth $4,429.88
WHO ELSE IS HOT - Leading trainer Jorge Navarro tripled with Starship Reina ($4.80) in the $50,000 Lady Bird (Race 2), Wildwood Dancer and Zulu.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Trainer Jorge Navarro unveiled an exciting 3-year-old prospect in Saturday’s well-stocked third race at Gulfstream Park, saddling Shancelot ($27.60) for a sizzling front-running debut victory.
Owned by Gelfenstein Farm and Albert and Michelle Crawford, the son of Shanghai Bobby ran seven furlongs in 1:22.15 after posting dazzling fractions of 22.27, 44.29 and 1:08.82 under Emisael Jaramillo. Shancelot held gamely to hold off a determined late bid by Bodexpress, who finished 5 ½ lengths clear of favored Fort Worth.
The finish was a tribute to Ocalan Mike Mulligan's picks on his BetBestBreeze website, with the first three finishers all spotted by him in his pre-race selections. Mike travels to all the 2-year-old sales and gives each horse a number from 1 (the best) to 9 based on the under tack shows, incorporating many more factors than just the horse's clocking. He has quite a record for spotting winners their first time out, and Shancelot was one of them, along with Bodexpress and Fort Worth. Shancelot had been given the top number, while Bodexpress was a 5 and Fort Worth a 2.
“Albert and Michelle Crawford and Gelfenstein Farm gave me an opportunity to go to the sales. They spent a lot of money on babies,” Navarro said. “We bought six and this one was working like [he just ran].” Shancelot was purchased for $245,000 at the 2018 OBS March sale. “I loved the way he worked – the gallop-out,” Navarro said. “The gallop-out was amazing.”
Navarro’s success has come primarily with older horses, such as X Y Jet, Private Zone, Sharp Azteca, Delta Bluesman and Aztec Sense, but Shancelot’s eye-catching debut provides his stable with a new dimension. “He’s kind of built like Sharp Azteca. He reminds me of Sharp Azteca,” Navarro said. “When he works in the morning he reminds me of Sharp Azteca.”
One race later, trainer Mario Pino sent out first-time starter Karama ($5.80) for an extremely impressive debut. The daughter of Kitten’s Joy totally dominated five other 3-year-old fillies during a front-running triumph under Nik Juarez to win by 4 ½ lengths. The Shadwell homebred filly ran seven furlongs in 1:23.19 on fractions of 22.42, 45.07 and 1:09.80.
Who’s Hot: Streaking Irad Ortiz Jr. won three more races Saturday to move into a tie with two-time Championship Meet titlist Luis Saez at the top of the jockey standings, 84-84. Ortiz, who has won 13 races on the last four programs in the absence of Saez, scored aboard Blamed ($3.80) in the $150,000 Royal Delta in Race 11, as well as winning with Stronger Kat ($3.40) in Race 8 and Flowmotion ($6.80) in Race 12.
Thumbs up to Bill Mott for a good piece of replay watching at Gulfstream Park last Saturday.
Mott had Bill Schettine's Krampus running in the 11th race, the $100,000 El Prado Stakes at about 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf; Manoel Cruz was the rider. In the mad dash to the wire, Krampus, still in contention, was chopped off badly between eventual winner Hembree to his right and runner-up Mr. Cub to his left. Cruz stood straight up, then continued to ride Krampus to the wire, finishing fifth.
In the aftermath, Cruz claimed foul against Hembree and rider Irad Ortiz, and Mott, apparently, went right to the replay TVs. What he saw, along with thousands of others, was that Hembree had kept a straight course through the lane and that it was Mr. Cub, with Chris Landeros, who had made a huge right turn toward Hembree and it was he who cut off Krampus. So Mott called the stewards and claimed against the runner-up.
The stewards agreed with Mott, because the infraction was obvious, and disqualified Mr. Cub to fifth, behind Krampus, who was moved up to fourth. The difference in purse money wasn't great - Krampus went from the $2,790 for fifth to $4,650 for fourth - but in this game, every penny counts and owner Schettine will accept it.
Almost lost in the incident was that Hembree, a 5-year-old by Proud Citizen, broke the course record for the distance, putting 1:27.06 on the teletimer.
OLDSMAR - The celebration at the Kathleen O’Connell Racing Stables barn was relatively subdued after Saturday’s Gr. III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes victory by Well Defined on Festival Preview Day 39 Presented by Lambholm South. But it continued into Sunday afternoon, as well-wishers paid heartfelt tribute to the 3-year-old Florida-bred gelding, his trainer and her staff.
Paula Bacon, the agent for winning jockey Pablo Morales, bought a case of cool ones for everyone to toast the winner Saturday night. O’Connell enjoyed a glass of wine at home and prepared for a typical pre-dawn arrival to supervise Sunday's activities. One of O’Connell’s owners, Joe DiBello, bought steaks for an afternoon cookout. “I think he had a ticket on (Well Defined),” O’Connell said with a sly smile.
Any time a locally-based outfit wins a major stakes, the result is enjoyed throughout the barn area by the track’s rank-and-file owners, trainers, grooms, hot walkers and exercise riders, who know how difficult it is just to get a horse to a big-money race. In the case of O’Connell, who first arrived at Tampa Bay Downs in 1976 as a gallop person when women were not universally accepted on the backside and started her own stable in 1981, the feelings are especially heartfelt.
Throughout the day, she felt the presence of her late parents, Joseph and Arlene, who died within a recent three-month span after being married 68 years. But there were no bittersweet feelings in the winner’s circle as O’Connell and her crew exulted. “Yesterday was special because it was at Tampa and I’ve been at this track every year since 1976,” said O’Connell, whose first racetrack license from Detroit Race Course in 1970 stated her occupation as “Pony Boy.” She first went to the racetrack when her application for Michigan State’s veterinary school was turned down despite her 3.8 grade-point average and four years of 4-H experience.
“When I came here, I could see the writing on the wall as far as Michigan racing not moving forward, plus I’d had pneumonia three times. I moved here (permanently) in 1984 because it was such a good place to train and live, so it’s like this is home,” she said.
Also enjoying the hometown vibe Saturday was trainer Arnaud Delacour, who sent out Lael Stables’ 6-year-old mare Hawksmoor to win the Gr. III, $175,000 Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes on the turf in a thriller under jockey Javier Castellano.
In the day’s other stakes races, Inspector Lynley won the Gr. III, $175,000 Tampa Bay Stakes on the turf for the second time in three years, and 3-year-old filly Point of Honor won the $150,000 Suncoast Stakes.
O’Connell reported that Well Defined came out of the race in good shape and will be shipped back to his Gulfstream Park West base in the next day or two. “His group is there; Sebastian Madrid is his regular exercise rider, and Jose Gutierrez, who has worked for me for 18 years, is his regular breeze rider,” she said, “so it’s just been a big team effort.
The game Sam F. Davis runner-up, Godolphin’s colt Kentucky Wildcat, was vanned off after the race. Trainer Tom Albertrani told the Daily Racing Form he incurred a right-foreleg injury and will likely undergo surgery this week in Ocala, putting his racing future in question.
Well Defined earned 10 “Road to the Kentucky Derby” qualifying points. O’Connell’s lone Kentucky Derby starter to date is 2011 Tampa Bay Derby winner Watch Me Go.
The addition of blinkers appeared to give Well Defined the focus to follow Morales’ cues to perfection, sprint smartly to the lead at the outset and keep his mind on the business of winning throughout the mile-and-a-sixteenth event. “He’s a little on the immature side, and I had even thought about blinkers before he ran his first race just to try to get him focused,” O’Connell said. “I figured (the Sam F. Davis) was time, and I think the blinkers and Pablo getting him out of the gate and in good position were big factors.
“I told Pablo before the race it wasn’t like he had to be in front, but he did have to be forwardly placed. It brought back visions of the $400,000 In Reality Stakes he won at Gulfstream (by 7 ½ lengths, on Sept. 29),” she said.
O’Connell said she would discuss Well Defined’s next start with owners Gilbert and Marilyn Campbell; local fans are keeping their fingers crossed it will be in the Gr. II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 9. Like Watch Me Go and a number of other talented O’Connell-trained stakes-winners – Blazing Sword, Ivanavinalot, Scandalous Act and Fly by Phil, to name a few – Well Defined is a product of long-time client Gilbert Campbell’s Florida breeding program (Well Defined competes under Campbell and wife Marilyn’s Stonehedge, LLC banner).
“It’s a tremendous testament to Mr. Campbell’s influence and his program, and I couldn’t be happier for them,” O’Connell said. “He has put a lot into the business over the years, and he’s a very patient owner. If a horse needs time, they get time. It’s good to have a rapport with your owners where you can discuss what races would fit them best.
“Florida-bred horses can be great horses, it’s been proven over the years. I know (the state-bred program) has been suffering a little, but they breed outstanding horses. I’ve been blessed to win awards for training the most Florida-bred winners and so on, and when I get those awards I can feel the passion and the love in the room from breeders and owners for what they do. It’s a rewarding feeling,” she said.
HALLANDALE BEACH - The Mandatory payout of Gulfstream Park’s 20-cent Rainbow 6 Saturday, which reached $8.2 million, returned $100,919 to multiple tickets with all six winners. It wasn’t an easy ticket to hit.
The Rainbow 6 got off to a surprise when Papa Y, a 50-1 shot who had failed to hit the board in four previous tries, went wire-to-wire and returned $118. After the 12-1 Trilby ($26.60) won the second leg, there were only 22,129 live tickets remaining.
There was a $1,509,922 million carryover going into the day and $6,754,787 of new money wagered Saturday.
Global Campaign Leads Promising 3-Year-Olds
There were several races featuring 3-year-olds Saturday, but none were more impressive than Sagamore Farm LLC’s and WinStar Farm LLC’s Global Campaign, who drew off from Gr. 1-placed Standard Deviation down the stretch to win going 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.29. Trained by Stanley Hough and ridden by leading jockey Luis Saez, Global Campaign’s victory followed an equally impressive winning debut here Jan. 5 at seven furlongs.
“He’s a talented horse,” Hough said. “Obviously, you don’t know the first time two turns for a lot of them, but, gosh, he handled it well.” So what’s next for the undefeated son of Curlin who brought $250,000 at auction? “We don’t know,” Hough said. “Hopefully, it will be one of the many races coming up. The Fountain of Youth is a possibility.”
In other races featuring 3-year-olds, Mathis Stable LLC’s Last Judgement, a $300,000 son of Congrats, broke his maiden at second asking. After being a bit difficult to load, the Todd Pletcher-trained colt won by a length going six furlongs in 1:10.13 under John Velazquez.
Pletcher and Velazquez were back in the winner’s circle some 60 minutes later with Cheyenne Stables LLC’s Angelia. The daughter of Curlin, stretching out around two turns for the first time, won with 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.95. It was Angelia’s fourth start.
HALLANDALE BEACH – Averill Racing and Matties Racing’s Pay Any Price, the North American record- holder for five furlongs on the turf, got his 9-year-old season off to a successful start with a front-running victory Friday at Gulfstream Park. Ridden by Championship Meet leader Luis Saez for trainer Georgina Baxter, Pay Any Price was favored at 1-5 against five rivals in the $31,000 starter optional claimer for 4-year-olds and up. The final time was 55.11 seconds over a firm course, well off his record time of 53.61 set winning Gulfstream’s 2017 Silks Run.
“He’s so special to our barn and special to everyone, really," Baxter said. "I have to thank Richard and Mr. Matties for letting me train him. It’s his first run of the year, so it’s good to see him in the winner’s circle. I always get nervous when he runs. You never know quite what he’s going to do.”
Don’t Be So Salty, left as the primary pace threat for Pay Any Price following the early scratch of Gran Malbec, broke in a tangle from the gate allowing Pay Any Price to establish the tempo. He was unhurried through a quarter-mile in 21.93 seconds with only mild pressure from 17-1 shot Royal Squeeze.
Pay Any Price went a half-mile in a sizzling 43.77 and straightened for home still in command, opening up on the field in the stretch and geared down approaching the wire by Saez as Bushrod came running late to pass Royal Squeeze for second.
It was the 16th win from 26 career starts for Pay Any Price, and 13th of 18 at Gulfstream for the gelding who was entered in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint last fall but was left on the also-eligible list. He missed a start in the Turf Dash at Tampa when he broke through the gate, then dueled with Turf Dash winner Vision Perfect before tiring to third in the Janus Stakes on Dec. 29 at Gulfstream, his first start in 3 ½ months. He was entered again in the $150,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint on Jan. 26, but was removed when the race was taken off the grass.
Baxter said the $75,000 Silks Run on March 9 at Gulfstream would be the next target for Pay Any Price. His win was the second of the day for his trainer, who also sent out R Next Roll ($7.60) in Race 3.
Rainbow 6 Carryover at $1.5 Million for Mandatory Payout
There will be a carryover jackpot of $1,509,922 heading into today's mandatory payout of the 20-cent Rainbow 6, after the multi-race wager went unsolved for the 23rd consecutive racing day Friday. The entire pool, including the carryover jackpot, could approach $10 million and will be paid out to all those holding tickets with the most winners, offering the potential for a truly life-changing payoff.
The Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 7-12 and will feature the $100,000 El Prado Stakes in Race 11. Hembree headlines the 13-horse field for the 7 ½-furlong turf sprint for older horses.
A total of $403,175 was bet into Friday’s Rainbow 6, which began with a carryover of $1,413,193 from Thursday’s card. Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $7,782.78. Since the Championship Meet kicked off Dec. 1, the Rainbow 6 has been hit five times, most recently for a $188,900.81 payout on Jan. 9.
Who’s Hot: The meet’s top two riders each added a pair of winners to their totals Friday. Two-time defending champ and current leader Luis Saez was first with Pay Any Price ($2.60) in Race 8 and Benefactor ($11.20) in Race 11, while Irad Ortiz Jr. scored on Tuesday’s Rose ($3.60) in Race 2 and Mybigitalianfriend ($2.80) in Race 6.
OLDSMAR - After winning the 2006 Sam F. Davis Stakes and finishing second in the (then)-Gr. III Tampa Bay Derby, Bluegrass Cat rallied for a second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, behind the ill-fated Barbaro.
That’s the closest a Sam F. Davis entrant has come to winning the Run for the Roses, but the law of averages suggests that drought could end in the near future (wishful thinking, admittedly, by Tampa Bay Downs officials, and completely discarding the Bob Baffert factor). Since 2004, the Sam F. Davis – which achieved Gr. III status in 2009 – has produced at least one Kentucky Derby starter in all but two years.
In the last three years, the $250,000, mile-and-a-sixteenth Sam F. Davis has yielded a Gr. II Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby and Belmont Stakes winner in Tapwrit; a Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby winner, Belmont runner-up and multiple-Gr. II winner in Destin; a Gr. I winner on both dirt and turf in Catholic Boy; and McCraken, who set a then-track record of 1:42.45 in the 2017 Sam F. Davis and just missed that summer in the Gr. I betfair.com Haskell Invitational.
And Bluegrass Cat didn’t fare too badly after the Kentucky Derby, finishing second in the Belmont and Travers and winning the Haskell Invitational.
So when a group of 3-year-old colts enters the starting gate on Saturday for this year’s Sam F. Davis, it’s important to remember this is an early sophomore prep and that several (most, in fact, if their trainers have their way) are still maturing physically and mentally toward peak career performances.
Inaugurated in 1981, the same year as the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, the Sam F. Davis has been won by a veritable “who’s-who” of trainers: Todd Pletcher (six times), Nick Zito, John Terranova II, Kiaran McLaughlin, Ian Wilkes and Mark Casse. Their fondness for the track’s deep, sand-based surface that promotes fitness and endurance is further proof of the race’s importance, as is its status as a “Road to the Kentucky Derby Prep Season” points race.
The 145th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs is May 4.
The Sam F. Davis is the centerpiece of Festival Preview Day 39 Presented by Lambholm South, with four stakes worth $750,000 in purse money, three of the graded-stakes variety. Among those confirmed as likely to compete are Gr. I winner Knicks Go, from the barn of Ben Colebrook, who breezed 4 furlongs in 48 seconds flat. Also confirmed as likely participants are trainer Arnaud Delacour’s Five Star General, a stakes-winner at Aqueduct last fall, who breezed 5 furlongs here in 1:01 1/5; and Pletcher’s So Alive, a conditional allowance winner here on Jan. 6 and a son of Pletcher’s 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, who finished third in that year’s Tampa Bay Derby.
Also confirmed as likely Sam F. Davis starters are H. Graham Motion’s Still Dreaming; Kentucky Wildcat, trained by Thomas Albertrani; Counter Offer, trained by Wilkes; and Cave Run, trained by Eoin Harty. Kathleen O’Connell’s stakes-winner Well Defined, Pletcher’s Country House and Bill Mott’s Tacitus are currently listed as possible Sam F. Davis starters.
A pair of Gr. III turf stakes are on tap on Festival Preview Day 39 Presented by Lambholm South – the $175,000 Lambholm South Endeavour for fillies and mares 4-years-old and upward, and the $175,000 Tampa Bay Stakes for horses 4-years-old-and-upward. Both are at a distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren Jr.’s City of Light concluded his racing career in electric fashion Saturday at Gulfstream Park, scoring a brilliant 5 ¾-length triumph in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational.
The third edition of the Pegasus World Cup, richest race in North America, co-headlined the 12-race program with the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, North America’s richest turf race won by Bricks and Mortar.
The $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series was offered in concert with world-class entertainment provided by Snoop Dogg and Golden Globe-winning artist Mark Ronson at Gulfstream’s Pegasus LIV Stretch Village,
Having split his first two meetings with Accelerate, City of Light got the better of the 3-2 favorite in their final showdown before both multiple Gr. 1 winners head off to Lane’s End Farm in Versailles, KY to begin their new careers as stallions.
Sent to post as the 9-5 second betting choice in a field of 12, City of Light stalked the pace set by Patternrecognition around the first turn and along the backstretch past fractions of 23.23 and 46.84 seconds for the first half-mile. The Michael McCarthy-trained 5-year-old inherited the lead on the far turn when Patternrecognition dropped back, and opened a clear lead on the turn into the homestretch, where Joel Rosario put Accelerate into a full drive after tracking City of Light throughout the running. Set down for the drive by Javier Castellano entering the stretch, City of Light responded to draw away with compete authority.
“I had a perfect trip," Castellano said. " That’s what I was looking for today. I know Patternrecognition on the outside has speed. I had to use him a little bit early to get the position I was looking for. Watching all the races, speed was holding pretty good. The track is in good condition. We got a lot of rain, nothing we can do. I think it worked out perfect.”
Castellano also rode City of Light to a 2 ¾-length triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs. “I used the horse a little bit to get my spot, and then tried to control the race all the way," he said. "This is just amazing. It’s what we all want, to be able to win a race like this.”
Charles Fipke’s Seeking the Soul, who finished second behind City of Light in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, rallied from off the pace along the rail to finish second again behind the McCarthy trainee. “He ran great," trainer Dallas Stewart said. "Nice horse, a great horse that beat us. He [jockey John Velazquez] said he got stopped on the turn; that might have cost us a little bit. It would have been great to have been first, but our horse ran great. I’m very proud of him.”
City of Light ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.71 over a sloppy track to conclude his career with his sixth victory and fourth Gr. 1 success in 11 starts. “It’s just wonderful," McCarthy said. "When he broke well and was able to kind of ease out outside of horses coming to the mile pole, I was very, very happy. Turning up the backside, Javier eased him off the fence. It looked like everybody was content with their position up the backside. When Javier started moving at the half-mile pole, it didn’t appear that anybody was really pressuring him. He was able to go ahead and hold off his run for a little bit. Once he switched leads coming into the lane, you saw what happened. It was over. I’m very happy for the horse. He’s an amazing animal, an amazing athlete.”
Accelerate finished third, another 1 ½ lengths back and 4 ¾ lengths ahead of Bravazo. John Sadler-trained Accelerate, who earned the Eclipse Award as 2018’s outstanding older dirt male Thursday evening at Gulfstream, entered the Pegasus on a streak of four Gr. 1 wins, including a victory in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic last time out.
“This horse you have to ride him the whole time, and he was comfortable," rider Joel Rosario said. "I thought he was fine where he was and turning for home he looked OK, but Javier had so much horse. When he turned him loose he just went on. My horse kept trying but the horse in front had a better trip.”
Audible finished fifth, followed by Gunnevera, True Timber, Imperative, Tom’s d’Etat, Something Awesome, Kukulkan and Patternrecognition, who had nothing left after setting all the pace.
Conrad Farms’ Shamrock Rose, voted 2018’s Champion Female Sprinter, ended her 3-year-old campaign with four straight stakes wins, the last a victory in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. The newly- turned 4-year-old daughter of Double Diamond Farm's First Dude was purchased for $120,000 out of the Best A Luck Farm LLC consignment at the 2017 OBS April Sale after breezing an Under Tack eighth in :10 flat.
Trained by Mark Casse, Shamrock Rose is now 10-5-2-1 with $917,687 in earnings. She’s the second OBS graduate to win the Filly and Mare Sprint and Eclipse Award, following in the footsteps of April Sale graduate Musical Romance, who accomplished the feat in 2011. First Dude was Florida's leading sire in 2018 with progeny earnings of nearly $5 million.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Accelerate schooled in the paddock at Gulfstream Park during Thursday’s first race in preparation for his start in Saturday’s $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational. “He’s the picture of health,” said Juan Leyva, assistant to trainer John Sadler, while watching the 9-5 morning-line favorite for the Pegasus get acquainted with the paddock and walking ring.”
Accelerate, who arrived from Southern California Tuesday evening, was accompanied during the schooling session by stablemate Catapult, Woodford Racing’s 6-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy who is rated second at 7-2 in the morning line for the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational.
“They’re both doing really well. They’ve taken to their surroundings very well,” said Leyva, who rode in South Florida before retiring in 2017 and joining Sadler’s stable in Southern California. “The first day it was just getting acclimated a little to the humidity here, but now they’re doing awesome. They’re bright. They’re happy.”
Accelerate, the Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, is a finalist for the 2018 Horse of the Year title that will be announced at Thursday evening’s Eclipse Awards dinner in Gulfstream’s Sport of Kings facility.
Todd Pletcher-trained Audible’s Pegasus World Cup stock plunged when the 4-year-old colt was upset at 1-10 odds in his Gulfstream Park prep for the 1 1/8-mile event for older horses. The son of Into Mischief lost the Dec. 15 Harlan’s Holiday by a half-length, faltering late after closing with a five-wide run from off the pace over a sloppy track. The Pegasus offers Audible an opportunity to redeem himself on the same track over which he rallied to win by three lengths in the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby on March 31. Pletcher is hopeful that the Pegasus will set up as nicely for his 10-1 morning-line shot as it did in Gulfstream’s signature race for 3-year-olds.
“It looks like a race should have a legitimate pace, and I think Audible should appreciate that. The Florida Derby had a hot contested pace and he ran very well in that situation,” said Pletcher, whose trainee went on to finish a troubled third in the Kentucky Derby. “The Kentucky Derby had a smart pace as well. He’s the kind of horse that likes to run in a race where he can settle and later on make a run into solid fractions.” Flavien Prat takes over for Javier Castellano, who has opted to ride Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner City of Light.
The Pegasus will be the last race in the careers of City of Light and Accelerate, who will both stand at stud this year at Lane’s End in Versailles, Ky, but it will provide others in the field of 12 a lucrative opportunity to start off the 2019 season. “I think because of the positioning of the Pegasus it allows two horses this year like City of Light and Accelerate, who are going to stud, to have a chance to run at a significant purse," Pletcher said. "It’s also a good starting point if you’re planning to run all year. There’s good spacing between the Pegasus and the Dubai World Cup. More than anything, it gives Gulfstream that marquee race. It’s always had the Florida Derby and the Donn, but this is kind of a must-see race.”
Dirt Could be Next for Pegasus Turf Favorite Yoshida
Yoshida, 5-2 program favorite for the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, may find himself back on dirt after competing in North America’s richest grass race. Trainer Bill Mott hinted a second international trip may be in store for 5-year-old Yoshida, who finished fifth by 1 ¼ lengths in the Queen Anne Stakes last summer at Royal Ascot.
“I guess if he comes out of the Pegasus well, we’ll probably try to go to the Dubai World Cup with him,” Mott said. Boosted to $12 million for 2019, it will be held March 30 at Meydan Racecourse.
Yoshida is a rare Gr. 1 winner on both surfaces, having captured the Turf Classic on the 2018 Kentucky Derby undercard in his 4-year-old debut. He made his first 10 career starts on the grass before a two-length triumph in the 1 1/8-mile Woodward Sept. 1 at Saratoga.
“Going into it, he had never actually had a race on the dirt," Mott said. "He had worked on the dirt all the time and he had worked well enough, but you never really know until you put them out there in the afternoon. To see him split the field at the head of the lane and run on the way he did was very pleasing. I had no idea what the outcome was going to be. You can pretend to have that crystal ball and know what the outcome is going to be but until you actually see it I think you don’t really know.”
Mott kept Yoshida on the dirt for the Nov. 3 Breeders’ Cup Classic, where he was a rallying fourth under Jose Ortiz – 1 ¾ lengths behind Horse of the Year finalist Accelerate, and a nose out of third. Gunnevera, who returns in the Pegasus, was second. Ortiz returns to ride in the Pegasus Turf.
“He ran so well in the Breeders’ Cup Classic," Mott said. "I think he got beat less than two lengths, had a little bit of a wide trip turning for home. He opted to swing wide in that particular spot and he was beaten by two very good horses. With a great trip, maybe he would have been second. Who knows? He’s shown us time after time between the Woodward and also the Breeders’ Cup Classic that those are the races that he should be in at the moment.”
With the same ownership group having Audible in the Pegasus, the decision was made to put Yoshida back on grass for the Pegasus Turf. He has been first or second in seven of 10 career turf races, earning $889,770 of his $1.6 million bankroll.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Audible, the 2018 Florida Derby winner, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.91 Saturday morning at Palm Beach Downs in preparation for the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 26.
“Audible’s training really well," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "I’ve been pleased with all of his works, particularly this morning. It was a good, solid five-eighths with a strong gallop-out that we were looking for. All indications are he’s in good form and coming up to the race very well.”
Audible worked in company inside Impact Player before drawing clear in the stretch and galloping out well ahead of his workmate.
Owned by China Horse Club, WinStar Farm, Head of Plains Partners LLC and Starlight Racing, Audible followed up his Florida Derby triumph with a troubled third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby before going to the sideline for six months. The son of Into Mischief fired fresh to win the seven-furlong Cherokee Run on the Breeders’ Cup undercard at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3 but faltered in his most recent start, finishing second in the 1 1/16-mile Harlan’s Holiday on Dec. 15 over a sloppy Gulfstream track.
“It wasn’t what we were hoping for," Pletcher said. "We needed a race to build him up for the Pegasus. It didn’t go as planned. He was a prohibitive favorite. Unfortunately, before the race, the skies opened and we got a downpour into a harrowed track. They tried to seal it after that but it was too late. I think, more than anything, he didn’t like the condition of the track. He didn’t fire his best shot. He came out of it well and has trained better than ever coming into the Pegasus. It served its purpose in terms of conditioning.”
Pletcher noted that the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus will be Audible’s third start off a layoff, widely viewed as a positive from handicapping and conditioning perspectives. “We eased back into it after the Harlan’s Holiday," Pletcher said. "We’ve put some good, solid five-eighths into him and I’ve been particularly pleased with the way he’s galloped out. This will be his third start off the layoff. I think a mile and an eighth is ideal for him, especially if there’s a good contested pace. That’s important for him. He likes to settle early. If we can get some good solid fractions. Some of the main contenders have a lot of speed. If they mix it up a little bit, I think he’ll benefit from that.”
Gunnevera ‘a Different Horse’ Heading into the Pegasus
Gunnevera continues to please trainer Antonio Sano with his preparation for the Pegasus World Cup. The 5-year-old son of Dialed In breezed six furlongs in 1:15.80 under Irad Ortiz Jr. Saturday morning at Gulfstream Park West. “I feel very happy with him,” said Sano, whose trainee finished third in last year’s Pegasus. “He’s a different horse. He’s a stronger horse.”
Gunnevera, who concluded his 2018 campaign with a runner-up finish behind Pegasus contender Accelerate in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, worked in company with stablemate Cometin.
“He worked really good," Ortiz said. "He’s doing everything right. Hopefully, he comes back to racing the way he is right now.” Ortiz has the return mount on Gunnevera after guiding him to his runner-up finish in the Classic. Gunnevera, who has $4.1 million in career earnings, captured the 2017 Fountain of Youth. He also won the 2016 Saratoga Special and the $1 million Delta Jackpot and has been Gr. 1 stakes-placed in the 2017 Travers and the 2018 Woodward at Saratoga, as well as the Classic.
LAUREL, MD – The Stronach 5, featuring a $50,000 guaranteed pool and industry-low 12-percent takeout, will travel from Maryland to South Florida to California Friday afternoon.
The national pick 5 will offer turf races from Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita Park with the sequence beginning at Laurel Park at 4:35 p.m. with a 10-horse field going a mile and ending at Golden Gate Fields at 5:47 p.m. with eight horses going a mile on the all-weather surface.
Past Performances for Stronach 5: http://www.laurelpark.com/handicapping/stronach-pick-5
Friday’s Stronach 5 sequence
? Leg One – Laurel Park 9th Race – (10 horses, one mile) 4:35 ET, 1:36 PT
? Leg Two – Gulfstream Park 9th Race –(9 horses, six furlongs) 4:41 ET, 1:41 PT
? Leg Three – Santa Anita 4th Race – (11 horses, 1 1/8th mile turf) 5 ET, 2 PT
? Leg Four – Gulfstream Park 10th Race – (12 horses, 1 1 1/16th miles turf) 5:12 ET, 2:12 PT
? Leg Five – Golden Gate Fields 5th Race – (8 horses, one mile) 5:47 ET, 2:47 PT
Five bettors each received $29,027.90 last week for hitting the Stronach 5. Four bettors each cashed for $29,068.30 on Dec. 28 and 37 players each won $2,916.90 on Dec. 21.
The minimum wager on the multi-race, multi-track Stronach 5 is $1. If there are no tickets with five winners, the entire pool will be carried over to the next Friday.
For the Stronach 5, if a change in racing surface is made after the wagering closes, each selection on any ticket will be considered a winning selection. If a betting interest is scratched, that selection will be substituted with the favorite in the win pool when wagering closes.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence’s Florida-bred Patternrecognition breezed five furlongs Sunday morning in preparation for a scheduled start in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park. The Chad Brown-trained winner of the Gr. I Cigar Mile Dec. 1 at Aqueduct was clocked in 1:02.05 while working at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream's satellite training facility in Palm Beach County.
The son of Adios Charlie is a 100 percent Ocala Stud Farm product, out of the High Cotton mare Almost a Valentine. He has won his three most recent starts, including a victory in the Gr. II Kelso at Belmont Park prior to his Cigar Mile score. The 6-year-old didn't make a start until April of his 4-year-old season in 2017, breaking his maiden at Aqueduct in his debut. He posted a record that year of 2-4-0 in six starts. After a long layoff to begin 2018, he has gone 3-1-0 in five tries, including the two graded stakes, and his earnings jumped to $812,325.
Sold by Ocala Stud for $420,000 at the 2015 OBS April 2-year-old sale, he has been worse than second just once, and that was a fourth.
RAINBOW 6 CARRYOVER GROWS
The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved Sunday, producing a carryover jackpot of $88,035.81 for the Wednesday program. Multiple tickets with all six winners each paid $2,883.18. The multi-race wager has gone unsolved for two racing days after yielding a $166,317 payoff Friday. After going unsolved for the first 12 programs of the 2018-2019 Championship Meet, there have been four jackpots paid out. The wager was solved on Dec. 19 for a $580,349 payoff, Dec. 27 for $288,350 and again Dec. 30 for $177,317.
The carryover jackpot is only paid out when there is a single ticket sold with all six winners. On days when there is no unique ticket, 70 percent of that day’s pool goes back to those bettors holding tickets with the most winners, while 30 percent is carried over to the jackpot pool.
WHO'S HOT - Jockey Jose Ortiz tripled with victories aboard Silver Diva ($13.80) in Race 3, Queen of Beas ($5) in Race 6 and Math Wizard ($6) in Race 11. Emisael Jaramillo notched a double with Brenda’s G L P ($29.40) in Race 5 and High Risk Strategy ($19.60) in Race 4.
It was no surprise that Double Diamond Farm's First Dude ended the year as Florida's leading sire with progeny earnings of $4,915,031, with the late Wildcat Heir $762,660 behind. First Dude was attempting to become only the second Florida sire to reach $5 million, other than Journeyman Stud's Wildcat Heir, who surpassed $6 million for four straight years - 2014 to 2017.
The biggest surprise of 2018 was Stonehedge Farm's Cajun Breeze, a son of Congrats who led the Florida freshman sire list early in the season before dropping to fifth place by year's end. But, before he slipped down the list, Cajun Breeze afforded Michael (Bo) Yates and his Shadybrook Farm with a sensational summer, following in the footsteps of former jockey-turned-trainer Wesley Ward.
For about a decade, Ward has primed the 2-year-olds in his stable earlier than most, taking advantage of the lucrative maiden special purses beginning in April at several eastern tracks. In the space of a few months, Ward has consistently racked up a ton of money with his always-ready juveniles. Yates duplicated Ward's success by having some very good runners by Cajun Breeze pile up a ton of money at Gulfstream.
The best of the early Shadybrook runners was Cajun Firecracker, who broke his maiden at Gulfstream, then won the Dr. Fager Stakes, and was third in the Affirmed. He earned $125,000 for Yates, who then sold him to William and Corinne Heiligbrodt prior to the $400,000 In Reality, where Cajun Firecracker finished seventh. He was later second in the Clever Trevor Stakes at Remington Park and collected another $20,000.
Yates struck again early with Nancysaidso, a filly who won twice, finished second twice and finished fourth in the Desert Vixen Stakes and fifth in the Susan's Girl. She's earned $101,700.
Cajun Embers has a first and a second and finished fifth in the Dr. Fager, with earnings of $51,900. Mardi Gras Girl has a pair of seconds and collected $23,750, and Itsabouttime Girl has a fourth and a second and has collected $8,920. Quizzical Cajun, though bred by Shadybrook, is owned by B-5 LLC and trained by Yates, and has a pair of seconds and earnings of $23,750.
Cajun Breeze wound up with $346,900 in progeny earnings in his first season with just six runners, and $317,980 came in the Shadybrook colors. That's not counting the five victories and nine seconds and thirds that added to the Shadybrook haul via breeders' awards.
In an interesting twist, all the successful runners still in the Shadybrook barn have been on the shelf for the last three months or so, apparently primed for the new season. Congratulations to Bo Yates for a cleverly mapped-out campaign. Will he try it again this year?
OLDSMAR - Brad Massam of Chatham, N.J., amassed a bankroll of $164.10 to capture the annual “10 Days of Festivus Challenge” Handicapping Contest sponsored by Tampa Bay Downs. The runner-up, with a bankroll of $131.90, was Steve Wolfson of Ormond Beach, a racing consultant and a member of the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) Hall of Fame.
Massam earned the first-place prize of $1,000 and Wolfson picked up $500. There were 779 entrants.
Massam, who describes handicapping as a hobby, believes the turning point occurred Dec. 12 when his fourth-race selection, Handsome Girl, finished second at odds of 38-1. She paid $31.20 to place and $9.80 to show, giving his bankroll a $41 boost.
All told, Massam had three selections that returned more than $28, giving him a cushion that widened when he selected first-time starter and winner They Call Me Lucky ($17, $7.60, $7.40) in the ninth race on Sunday, closing day of the contest.
Wolfson, one of three sons of the late Louis Wolfson, who bred and raced 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed, entered the contest with strong credentials. He finished fourth in the 2003 NHC at Bally’s Las Vegas, a contest won by his son, Steve Jr. The younger Wolfson joined his father in the NHC Hall of Fame this year.
“It’s especially gratifying to do well because there were so many people competing,” the elder Wolfson said. “I play Festivus every year. It’s a customer-friendly contest and they do a great job of disseminating the information. I’ve always loved Tampa Bay Downs, going back to when George Steinbrenner owned the track. The grass course is great and it’s like being at a country fair.”
Massam said his interest in the contest was also stoked by the turf offerings. “I enjoy turf racing, and because Tampa Bay Downs offers an outstanding turf racing product featuring consistently full fields and many races for young horses that attract top barns, I follow the Tampa meet very closely,” Massam said in an e-mail response.
AROUND THE OVAL - Four-time leading Oldsmar jockey Antonio Gallardo continues to sizzle, riding back-to-back winners for trainer Kathleen O’Connell and adding a third victory to give him 11 winners over the last four racing days.
Gallardo and O’Connell teamed to win the fourth race on the turf with Sweet Soul Music, a 6-year-old Florida-bred horse owned by Mark F. Taylor and Robert A. Meier IV. Sweet Soul Music was claimed from the race by owner-trainer Mike Dini for $16,000. Gallardo and O’Connell also won the fifth with Shimmyshimmy Shake, a 2-year-old Florida-bred filly owned by Ca Sal Stables. The jockey won the eighth race on the turf in a three-horse photo finish aboard Miko, a 4-year-old filly owned by Preferred Pals Stable and trained by Linda Rice.
Willie Martinez rode two winners, both on the turf. He won the sixth on Lady Love, a 4-year-old filly bred and owned by Tri County Stables and trained by Anthony Granitz, then added the 10th with More Than Teddy, a 4-year-old gelding owned by Sharyn and Peter Wasiluk Jr., and trained by the latter.
Trainer Dennis Ward sent out two winners. He took the second race with Wild Wigglin Jack, a 4-year-old Florida-bred gelding that he bred, and is owned by his Ridenjac Racing enterprise. He was ridden by Quincy Hamilton. Ward also won the seventh with Distinctly Blue, a 2-year-old Florida-bred filly owned by Edward R. Schuster and ridden by Mike Allen.
MORNING GLORY DEBUT - Racing fans can gain valuable insights about the sport by attending track announcer Richard Grunder’s popular “Morning Glory Club," which makes its return at 10 a.m. on Saturday on the first floor of the grandstand.
Grunder, who is in his 35th season as track announcer, will interview a different guest each Saturday through March 9, including trainers, jockeys and track personalities. His guest Saturday is up-and-coming trainer Kent Sweezey. Admission is free, along with coffee and donuts.
FOR OUR HEROES - Tampa Bay Downs will admit active and retired military personnel with proper identification free of charge on Military Appreciation Day, Jan. 5. Servicemen and women will be recognized during the day’s action.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: MIKE HENRY
December 28, 2018
813-855-4401 Ext. 1367
MASSAM, WOLFSON 1-2 IN FESTIVUS CHALLENGE; GALLARDO STAYS HOT
OLDSMAR, FL. – Brad Massam of Chatham, N.J., amassed a bankroll of $164.10 to capture the annual “10 Days of Festivus Challenge” Handicapping Contest sponsored by Tampa Bay Downs.
The runner-up, with a bankroll of $131.90, was Steve Wolfson of Ormond Beach, Fla., a racing consultant and a member of the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) Hall of Fame.
Massam earned the first-place prize of $1,000 and Wolfson picked up $500. There were 779 entrants.
Massam, who describes handicapping as a hobby, believes the turning point occurred Dec. 12 when his fourth-race selection, Handsome Girl, finished second at odds of 38-1. She paid $31.20 to place and $9.80 to show, giving his bankroll a $41 boost.
All told, Massam had three contest selections that returned more than $28, giving him a cushion that widened when he selected first-time starter and winner They Call Me Lucky ($17, $7.60 and $7.40) in the ninth race on Sunday, the closing day of the contest.
Wolfson, the son of the late Louis Wolfson, who owned 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed, entered the contest with strong credentials. He finished fourth in the 2003 NHC at Bally’s Las Vegas, a contest won by his son, Steve Wolfson, Jr.
The younger Wolfson joined his father in the NHC Hall of Fame this year.
“It’s especially gratifying to do well because there were so many people competing,” the elder Wolfson said. “I play Festivus every year. It’s a customer-friendly contest and they do a great job of disseminating the information.
“I’ve always loved Tampa Bay Downs, going back to when George Steinbrenner owned the track. The grass course is great and it’s like being at a country fair.”
Massam said his interest in the contest was also stoked by the turf offerings. “I enjoy turf racing, and because Tampa Bay Downs offers an outstanding turf racing product featuring consistently full fields and many races for young horses that attract top barns, I follow the Tampa meet very closely,” Massam said in an e-mail response.
Around the oval . Four-time leading Oldsmar jockey Antonio Gallardo continues to heat up, riding back-to-back winners for trainer Kathleen O’Connell and adding another victory to give the rider 11 winners over the last four racing days.
Gallardo and O’Connell teamed to win the fourth race on the turf with Sweet Soul Music, a 6-year-old Florida-bred horse owned by Mark F. Taylor and Robert A. Meier, IV. Sweet Soul Music was claimed from the race by owner-trainer Mike Dini for $16,000.
Gallardo and O’Connell also won the fifth with Shimmyshimmy Shake, a 2-year-old Florida-bred filly owned by Ca Sal Stables. The jockey won the eighth race on the turf in a three-horse photo finish on Miko, a 4-year-old filly owned by Preferred Pals Stable and trained by Linda Rice.
Willie Martinez rode two winners, both on the turf. He won the sixth race on Lady Love, a 4-year-old filly bred and owned by Tri County Stables and trained by Anthony Granitz. Martinez added the 10th with More Than Teddy, a 4-year-old gelding owned by Sharyn and Peter Wasiluk, Jr., and trained by the latter.
Trainer Dennis Ward sent out two winners. He captured the second race with Wild Wigglin Jack, a 4-year-old Florida-bred gelding bred by Ward, owned by his Ridenjac Racing enterprise and ridden by Quincy Hamilton.
Ward also won the seventh with Distinctly Blue, a 2-year-old Florida-bred filly owned by Edward R. Schuster and ridden by Mike Allen.
“Morning Glory Club” to debut Saturday . Thoroughbred racing fans can gain valuable insights about the sport by attending track announcer Richard Grunder’s popular “Morning Glory Club” show, which makes its return at 10 a.m. on Saturday on the first floor of the Grandstand.
Grunder, who is in his 35th season as track announcer, will interview a different guest each Saturday through March 9, including trainers, jockeys and track personalities. His guest Saturday is up-and-coming trainer Kent Sweezey. Admission is free, along with coffee and donuts.
Military Appreciation Day . Tampa Bay Downs will admit active and retired military personnel with proper identification free of charge on Military Appreciation Day, Jan. 5. Servicemen and women will be recognized during the day’s action.
The track is privileged to stage a day in recognition of these heroes who contribute so much to the American way of life.
Tampa Bay Downs is open every day for simulcast wagering, no-limits action and tournament play in The Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at The Downs Golf Practice Facility.
LAUREL, MD – The Stronach 5 returns Friday with a $50,000 guaranteed pool, three turf races, and the return of Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields into the national pick 5 with an industry-low 12-percent takeout.
The Stronach 5 will kick off with a pair of turf races from Gulfstream Park before heading to Golden Gate Fields for two five-furlong sprints before finishing up at Santa Anita with a 1 1/8th-mile optional claimer on the turf.
Past performance for the Stronach 5 : http://www.laurelpark.com/handicapping/stronach-pick-5
? Leg One – Gulfstream Park 10th Race – (16 entries, 1 1/16-mile turf) 4:40 ET, 1:40 PT
? Leg Two – Gulfstream Park 11th Race – (16 entries, 1 1/16 mile-turf) 5:12 ET, 2:12 PT
? Leg Three – Golden Gate Park 4th Race – (10 entries, 5 furlongs) 5:15 ET, 2:15 PT
? Leg Four – Golden Gate Park 5th Race – (9 entries, 5 furlongs) 5:30 ET, 2:30 PT
? Leg Five – Santa Anita Park 6th Race – (16 entries,, 1 11/8 mile turf) 6 ET, 3 PT
The minimum wager on the multi-race, multi-track Stronach 5 is $1. If there are no tickets with five winners, the entire pool will be carried over to the next Friday. For the Stronach 5, if a change in racing surface is made after the wagering closes, each selection on any ticket will be considered a winning selection. If a betting interest is scratched, that selection will be substituted with the favorite in the win pool when wagering closes.
OLDSMAR - Tampa Bay Downs is set to reach out to “Generation Z” through its inaugural “College Day” promotion, to be held Saturday, Jan. 12. Current college students and high school seniors pursuing a post-secondary education are eligible to compete for one of five $2,000 scholarships to be awarded through the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce Educational Foundation.
Entrants will be eligible to win prizes and poker chips (usable in The Silks Poker Room) by spinning a prize wheel. Wagering seminars will be provided by track personnel throughout the day. All students enrolled in four-year U.S. colleges and universities and two-year colleges and technical schools, as well as high school seniors, are eligible. There is no charge to enter.
Here is how the contest works:
To enter, eligible students must complete an entry form that will be available at the Customer Service Desk on the day of the contest. Upon the completion of that day’s racing, 25 names will be drawn at random and designated finalists.
After notification from track officials, the finalists will be required to submit an essay of fewer than 500 words on the following subject: “Marketing Horse Racing To a New Generation of Fans,” with emphasis on initiatives and proposals aimed at attracting and retaining new followers.
The deadline to submit essays is Feb. 2. They may be typed, hand-written or printed from a computer or personal device and should be submitted to the General Office or the Publicity Office. A panel of judges will rank each essay, with criteria including feasibility of the marketing plan presented; originality; understanding of the horse racing industry; clarity; and grammar and spelling.
All non-winners will receive two passes good for free admission on any racing day. Track employees and their family members are not eligible.
“We think this is a fun and exciting way to introduce the younger generation to our sport, as well as tap into their creativity and new ways of thinking,” said Margo Flynn, the track’s Vice President of Marketing and Publicity. “The winners will receive aid toward furthering their education, and we hope to get ideas that can be implemented in upcoming seasons.”
ALLEN ON A ROLL - Four-time Oldsmar riding champion Ronnie Allen Jr. rode three winners Sunday. Allen captured the first race aboard My Solitude, a 4-year-old Florida-bred filly owned by Mark Hoffman and trained by Justin Johns. The jockey next won the seventh on American Deluxe, a 4-year-old gelding owned by Robson Thoroughbreds and trained by Gerald Bennett.
Allen wrapped up his big day by winning the ninth race on They Call Me Lucky, a 2-year-old Florida-bred filly owned by Martin Goodell and trained by Maria Bowersock.
Samy Camacho rode two winners. Camacho, who leads the jockey colony with 23 victories, won the sixth race on Ballston, a 3-year-old filly owned by Brushy Hill Enterprises and trained by Danny Gargan. He added the eighth, the Cody’s Original Roadhouse Race of the Week, with Killybegs Captain, a 4-year-old colt owned by Curragh Racing II and trained by John P. Terranova II.
Racing continues Wednesday with a 10-race card beginning at 12:17.
The annual Calendar Giveaway begins Wednesday. The 2019 edition of the commemorative keepsake will be distributed throughout the week to the first 10,000 patrons, with paid admission. Included are photographs by some of the area’s top equine photojournalists.
MORNING GLORY CLUB RETURNS . Thoroughbred racing fans can gain valuable insights about the sport by attending track announcer Richard Grunder’s popular “Morning Glory Club,” which makes its return at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 29 on the first floor of the Grandstand. Grunder, who is in his 35th season as track announcer, will interview a different guest each Saturday through March 9, including trainers, jockeys and track personalities. Admission is free, along with coffee and donuts.
MILITARY APPRECIATION DAY - Tampa Bay Downs will admit active and retired military personnel with proper identification free of charge on Military Appreciation Day, Jan. 5. Servicemen and women will be recognized during the day’s action. The track is privileged to stage a day in recognition of these heroes who contribute so much to the American way of life.
OLDSMAR - Friday’s live racing card and morning training at Tampa Bay Downs have been cancelled because of ongoing heavy rain and anticipation of high winds in the Tampa Bay area.
Officials said the track will remain open for simulcast wagering and no-limits action in The Silks Poker Room.
“We’re disappointed to lose a day of racing, but our No. 1 priority is the safety of our horses, jockeys and fans,” said Peter Berube, the track’s Vice President-General Manager. “Proper track maintenance is virtually impossible with the type of weather we’ve been getting. We appreciate the patience and understanding of our fans and look forward to putting on a full 10-race card Saturday, when sunshine is expected to return.”
Berube said there is a possibility the lost date could be made up later in the meeting or by adding races to existing dates.
HALLANDALE BEACH - There will be a jackpot carryover of $408,116.25 in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 when live racing returns to Gulfstream Park with a 10-race program Wednesday, Dec. 19. First race post time is 12:35 p.m.
A total of $163,518 was bet Sunday into the Rainbow 6, which began with a carryover of $368,877 from Saturday’s stakes-filled program. Multiple tickets were sold with all six winners, each worth $1,020.14.
Wednesday’s Rainbow 6 sequence spans Races 5-10, highlighted by a $47,000 optional claiming allowance for fillies and mares 3 and older at 1 1/16 miles on the newly refurbished turf course which attracted a field of 11 led by 123-pound topweight She’s Right Again.
Notes: Jacks a Warrior ($4.60) was a front-running four-length winner of Sunday’s third race, a 5 ½-furlong claimer for 3-year-olds and up, to give Shamir Maragh his first win as a trainer. The winning time was 1:06.17 over a fast main track. It was the 15th career starter for Maragh, who had seven seconds and three thirds before his breakthrough victory. Jacks a Warrior was also Maragh’s first starter, finishing fourth on Aug. 25 at Gulfstream.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Richard Otto Stables’ Illinois homebred Sir Anthony extended his winning streak to four with a rail-skimming trip from last and held off heavily-favored Audible in the final yards for a half-length victory in Saturday’s $100,000, Gr. III Harlan’s Holiday.
The eighth running of the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and up was the first of five graded stakes worth $600,000 in purses on an 11-race program, anchored by the $200,000, Gr. II Fort Lauderdale for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on the newly refurbished turf course.
With Brian Hernandez Jr. up for trainer Anthony Mitchell, Sir Anthony ($53.80) completed the distance in 1:45.14 over a sloppy, sealed track for his second career stakes victory and first in graded company.
Audible, winner of the Gr. I Florida Derby and Gr. II Holy Bull at Gulfstream over the winter, held second by a length over Apostle, followed by Audible’s Todd Pletcher-trained stablemate, Village King, and long shots Sightforsoreeyes and Minute Madness.
“I watched a few replays of this horse and over at Hawthorne they went slow the first three-quarters in a couple of his races and he was still able to close into them and run them down,” Hernandez said. “Today, I just kind of rode him like that. I figured if I got to the three-eighths pole in good shape, he’d punch home, and he did. My horse is an old pro and he’s shown that he doesn’t mind being [inside]. All the pressure was on Audible and we were just going to hopefully sneak up on him, and we were able to save all the ground and get through.”
Stablemates Sightforsoreeyes and Minute Madness ran first and second, respectively, through moderate fractions of 25.19 seconds for a quarter-mile and 49.80 for the half. Hall of Famer Javier Castellano moved Audible off the rail from their inside post, where the only horse they led through six furlongs in 1:13.50 was Sir Anthony. Castellano began asking Audible rounding the turn and swung to the far outside to launch a bid, while Hernandez stayed put with Sir Anthony to wait for an opening. It came once they straightened for home, where they forged a short lead, then powered through the stretch as Audible fought to make up ground down the middle of the track.
Audible was making just his second start and first against graded competition since running third to eventual Triple Crown winner Justify in the Kentucky Derby, using the Harlan’s Holiday as a prep for the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational - North America’s richest thoroughbred race - Jan. 26 at Gulfstream.
“He never really seemed like he fired," Pletcher said. "You hate to use the track as an excuse, but obviously it rained quite a bit and they sealed the track. It seemed like he was just never really taking him there and handling the track the way we would have hoped. We just let Javier ride his race, but he was never really taking him. He had to kind of ask him to get into every position he tried to.”
Sir Anthony now owns five wins from 14 starts and pushed his career earnings over $200,000. It was the fourth graded-stakes win for Mitchell and first since Original Spin in the 2005, Gr.III Arlington-Washington Breeders’ Cup Lassie.
December 15, 2018
Sir Anthony Springs $53.80 Upset in Harlan’s Holiday (G3)
G1 Winner Audible Second in Prep for $9 Million Pegasus World Cup (G1)
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Richard Otto Stables’ Illinois homebred Sir Anthony extended his win streak to four races with a rail-skimming trip from last and held off Grade 1-winning favorite Audible in the final yards for a half-length victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday (G3).
The eighth running of the 1 1/16-mile Harlan’s Holiday for 3-year-olds and up was the first of five graded-stakes worth $600,000 in purses on an 11-race program, anchored by the $200,000 Fort Lauderdale (G2) for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on the newly refurbished turf course.
Following the Harlan’s Holiday were a trio of $100,000 races for fillies and mares 3 and up – the six-furlong Sugar Swirl (G3) and one-mile Rampart (G3) on dirt and the My Charmer (G3) going one mile on the grass.
With Brian Hernandez Jr. up for trainer Anthony Mitchell, Sir Anthony ($53.80) completed the distance in 1:45.14 over a sloppy, sealed track for his second career stakes win and first in graded company.
Audible, winner of the Florida Derby (G1) and Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream over the winter, held second by a length over Apostle, followed by Audible’s Todd Pletcher-trained stablemate Village King and long shots Sightforsoreeyes and Minute Madness.
“I watched a few replays of this horse and over at Hawthorne they went slow the first three-quarters in a couple of his races and he was still able to close into them and run them down,” Hernandez said. “Today, I just kind of rode him like that. I figured if I got to the three-eighths pole in good shape, he’d punch home, and he did.
“My horse is an old pro and he’s shown that he doesn’t mind being [inside],” he added. “All the pressure was on Audible and we were just going to hopefully sneak up on him, and we were able to save all the ground and get through.”
Stablemates Sightforsoreeyes and Minute Madness ran first and second, respectively, through moderate fractions of 25.19 seconds for a quarter-mile and 49.80 for the half. Hall of Famer Javier Castellano moved Audible off the rail from their inside post, where the only horse they led through six furlongs in 1:13.50 was Sir Anthony.
Castellano began asking Audible rounding the turn and swung to the far outside to launch a bid, while Hernandez stayed put with Sir Anthony to wait for an opening. It came once they straightened for home, forging a short lead and powering through the stretch as Audible fought to make up ground down the middle of the track.
Audible was making just his second start and first against graded competition since running third to eventual Triple Crown champion Justify in the Kentucky Derby (G1) May 5, using the Harlan’s Holiday as a prep for the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) – North America’s richest Thoroughbred race – Jan. 26 at Gulfstream.
“He never really seemed like he fired. You hate to use the track as an excuse, but obviously it rained quite a bit and they sealed the track,” Pletcher said. “It seemed like he was just never really taking him there and handing the track the way we would have hoped … We just let Javier ride his race, but he was never really taking him. He had to kind of ask him to get into every position he tried to.”
Sir Anthony how owns five wins from 14 starts and pushed his career earnings over $200,000. It was the fourth graded-stakes win for Mitchell and first since Original Spin in the 2005 Arlington-Washington Breeders’ Cup Lassie (G3).
“He’s been a promising young colt who took a while to figure it out, but now that he’s figured it out who knows where we go from here,” Mitchell said. “He ran a couple of races where it was like, ‘What’s going on?’ It just didn’t make sense, but ever since he won the [Bruce D. Memorial] at Arlington he’s just got progressively better and better.
“The owner, I’m so delighted for. He bred the horse and he’s been with me for a very long time and we’ve enjoyed a lot of success,” he added. “He predominately breeds Illinois-breds and we’ve done pretty good with them. But going ahead and beating the likes of Audible – that’s huge. I mean, I can’t put words to that
Here's an interesting fact concerning Florida's general sire list. Since the turn of the century, only one stallion has been able to reach $5 million or more in progeny earnings for a single year. That stallion is the late Wildcat Heir, who stood at Journeyman Stud until his premature death in 2015.
Wildcat Heir topped the Florida list in 2014 with $6.2 million; 2015 with nearly $7 million; 2016 with $6 million, and 2017 with $6.3 million. Again, no other stallion has reached $5 million.
This year, Double Diamond Farm's First Dude is the leader with $4,792,397 as of this morning. Can the son of Stephen Got Even add another $207,603 by Dec. 31? Stay tuned.
Gunnevera Confirmed for $9 Million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1)
HALLANDALE BEACH - Salomon Del Valle purchased a spot in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational, confirming multiple graded stakes-winner Gunnevera for North America’s richest race set for Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park. Gunnevera, who finished third in last year’s Pegasus World Cup, most recently ran second in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 3.
“I’m paying all the money myself,” said Del Valle, a Venezuelan businessman who entered Gunnevera as part of a partnership in last year’s Pegasus. “I’m happy to be in the race.”
The Pegasus World Cup will be accompanied by the inaugural running of $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational on the Jan. 26 program in the newly-created $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series. Owners can secure a spot in the starting gate for the Pegasus World Cup for a $500,000 fee and will be given preference in purchasing a spot in the Pegasus World Cup Turf for $500,000. A $1 million bonus is being offered if an owner should win both races.
Gunnevera, who has $4.1 million in career earnings, captured the 2017 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream. The Antonio Sano-trained 4-year-old son of Dialed In has also won the 2016 Saratoga Special and the $1 million Delta Jackpot and has been stakes-placed in the 2017 Travers and the 2018 Woodward at Saratoga.
“I have a good chance. He just got beat by a length in the Breeders’ Cup,” Sano said. “Maybe there will be more speed in the Pegasus. One more chance. It’s in my house.”
In addition to Gunnevera, Hronis Racing’s Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Accelerate, Charles Fipke’s Seeking the Soul, and Calumet Farm’s Bravazo and True Timber are confirmed for the World Cup. Tabor, Magnier and Smith’s Coolmore has also purchased a spot for a horse to be determined.
Audible, the 2018 Florida Derby winner, is also being pointed to the World Cup and is scheduled to be entered in next Saturday’s $100,000, Gr. III Harlan’s Holiday Stakes to prep for the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus. Owned by China Horse Club International, WinStar Farm, Starlight Racing, and Head of Plains Partners, Todd Pletcher-trained Audible finished third in this year’s Kentucky Derby.
Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Patternrecognition, who defeated True Timber by three-quarters of a length in the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct last time out, is also under consideration. The Stronach Group is currently negotiating with other groups, with only a few open spots remaining.
HALLANDALE BEACH - For the seventh straight program Sunday at Gulfstream Park, the 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved to push the carryover jackpot to $197,569.67 for the return of live racing on Wednesday. Post time for the 10-race program is 12:35 p.m.
A total of $133,857 was bet into the multi-race wager Sunday, which produced multiple winning tickets worth $3,028.28.
The carryover jackpot is only paid out when there is a single unique ticket sold with all six winners. On days when there is no unique ticket, 70 percent of that day’s pool goes back to those bettors holding tickets with the most winners, while 30 percent is carried over to the jackpot pool.
Wednesday’s Rainbow 6 sequence, which includes three races on Gulfstream’s newly refurbished turf course, will span Races 5-10 and drew a total of 68 entries or 11.3 horses per race. There will also be a $1 Super Hi-5 carryover of $8,968.70 for Wednesday’s opener.
Who’s Hot: Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr., spending his first full winter in South Florida, won his first two races of the Championship Meet aboard Miss Harry ($6.20) in the third and Four K’s ($11.60) in the ninth.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Mexican star filly Jala Jala made history Saturday at Gulfstream Park, saving ground early before drawing off to an impressive 4 ¾-length triumph in the $100,000 Copa Confraternidad del Caribe. The victory, coupled with her nine-length romp in the Clasico del Caribe last December, made Cuadra San Jorge’s Jala Jala ($4.40) the first filly ever to sweep the Clasico Internacional del Caribe’s premier races for 3-year-olds and older horses, beating males both times.
The 1 ¼-mile Copa Confraternidad was the fourth of five stakes, worth more than $700,000 in purses, as part of the Clasico Internacional del Caribe, Latin America and the Caribbean’s premier thoroughbred event hosted by Gulfstream for the second consecutive year.
Last year, Gulfstream became the first pari-mutuel facility outside Latin America or the Caribbean to host the Clasico Internacional del Caribe since its inception in 1966. Jala Jala is the second straight horse to win both the Clasico and Confraternidad in successive years, following Panamanian colt El Tigre Mono in 2016 and 2017.
It was the second Clasico win of the day for Puerto Rican jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., following Michegas’ runaway victory in the Copa Invitacional three races earlier. The winning time was 2:08.46 over a fast track.
Ortiz settled Jala Jala in fifth along the rail as Bold Master posted early fractions of 24.38 and 49.95, pressed by fellow Puerto Rican contender Exclusivo, a multiple group stakes-winner with 15 wins from 17 career starts. Exclusivo cruised past leaving the backstretch after going six furlongs in 1:15.08, but Jala Jala was creeping up the inside and into contention.
Tipped to the outside by Ortiz once clear of 2017 Clasico del Caribe runner-up Fray Angelico on the turn, Jala Jala met no resistance as she assumed the lead and straightened for home in front, pulling clear under a hand ride. Fray Angelico was a decisive second, 10 lengths ahead of Exclusivo. Puerto Rican Triple Crown winner Justiciero was fourth.
Michegas, Ortiz Jr. Win for Puerto Rico in Copa Invitacional
Michegas, representing Puerto Rico, put on a show in the $77,500 Copa Invitacional, kicking off Saturday’s program with a 10 ¼-length romp in the 1 ¼-mile race for 3-year-olds and up. Ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., Michegas was the 1-5 favorite in a field reduced to five starters by the early scratches of defending champion Coltimus Prime from Panama and morning-line favorite California Music of Panama.
Trained by Jose Velez for owner Oscar D. Establo, Michegas ran 1 ¼ miles in 2:07.05 to post his 11th victory in 31 starts, sparking an enthusiastic celebration at the winner’s circle by the Puerto Rico fans.
Brigantia Heads Panamanian Exacta in Copa Dama del Gama
Owned and trained by Alberto ‘Droopy’ Paz Rodriguez, a Panamanian legend with more than 6,400 career wins, Brigantia put away Mexican filly Triple Crown winner Kutzamala at the top of the stretch and held on for a 1 ½-length win in the Copa Dama del Caribe for 3-year-old fillies.
Ridden by Luis Saez, a native of Panama and graduate of its jockey school, Brigantia ($15.40) ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:49.91 to top a Panamanian exacta with runner-up Rosa Salvaje, who edged Mexico’s Etruska for by a neck. It was three lengths to Kutzamala in fourth.
Kutzamala, favored at 7-5 in a field of nine, lost for the second straight time after sweeping three Group 1 races in Mexico for trainer Fausto Gutierrez. The Point Determined filly was in front through fractions of 24.90 and 49.37 seconds, pressed by 30-1 long shot Visionaria. Saez and Brigantia ranged up next to Kutzamala midway around the turn, surged past and straightened for home in command, avoiding free-running Salmiana, who lost rider Manny Cruz after bobbling badly out of the gate.
“I’m crying because my wife isn’t here and I cry because of this win. Any win is a big win, I’m just so happy,” Rodriguez said. “I’m surrounded by family and friends today.”
Venezuela’s Big Boris One Takes Copa Velocidad del Caribe
Big Boris One, who was victorious in his two career starts in Venezuela, remained undefeated with a triumph in the $105,000 Copa Velocidad del Caribe. The 3-year-old colt, trained by Juan Carlos Avila, pressed the pace set by Mexico’s Tati along the backstretch before taking the lead on the turn and holding off a late run from Mexico’s Magno by three quarters of a length.
Big Boris One ran six furlongs in 1:13.66 under Paco Lopez to prevail in his stakes debut. Magno finished two lengths ahead of late-closing Puerto Rico’s Don William R.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Tuesday that Calumet Farm’s Bravazo, third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile and second in the Preakness Stakes, is being pointed toward the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational on Saturday, Jan 26 at Gulfstream Park.
“That’s surely where we’re headed if everything goes well,” Lukas said.
Bravazo, who finished second in the Gr. I Clark Handicap on Nov. 23, has raced in eight consecutive Gr. 1 events at six tracks and is the only horse other than Justify this year to compete in all three Triple Crown races.
“We’ve got a window of about seven weeks so we’ll get him in a work pattern,” Lukas said. “We did ship him to Arkansas where he’s getting a week to just take it easy. We’ll start picking up a work tab schedule in mid-December. He’s really done well. He’s fit, his weight is excellent. He’s run eight straight Grade 1’s and a lot of people would think he would taper off but he seems to only have gotten better. He’s a picture of consistency.”
Lukas said his first inclination would be to ship Bravazo to Gulfstream a week before the race. “I don’t think we’ll come in right on top of it,” he said.
A winner of 14 Triple Crown events, Lukas said he supports the Pegasus Championship Invitational Series, which for the first time will include a $7 million turf event.
“I think it's a significant development in the big picture of racing,” he said. “One of the things we’ve struggled with in thoroughbred racing is keeping superstars on the track. I think this is a step in the right direction. Any time you start the season with a $9 million race . . . it better be on your radar.”
HALLANDALE BEACH - Gulfstream Park celebrated its 2018-2019 Championship Meet with a record handle on the 20th edition of the Claiming Crown.
Total handle on the 11-race program was $13.612 million, up 14 percent, smashing the previous Claiming Crown record set last year of $11.925 million. Handle on the event has grown every year since Gulfstream starting hosting it in 2012.
“We’re extremely pleased with Opening Day,” said General Manager Bill Badgett. “We received a lot of compliments about the improvements at our facility and we witnessed some memorable performances on track from our equine and human athletes. We want to thank our fans and horsemen for supporting Gulfstream and the Claiming Crown program. We’re looking forward to the rest of our Championship Meet and next week’s incredible big Clasico Internacional de l Caribe.”
Trainer Jorge Navarro was a big winner Saturday, saddling the winner of three Claiming Crown races – Aztec Sense in the $200,000 Jewel, Misschief Maas in the $110,000 Glass Slipper and Salsa’s Return in the $110,000 Iron Horse. “Amazing day,” Navarro said. “I told my wife if we can win three races today it’s a touchdown.”
Jockey Chris Landeros got the Championship Meet off to a good start as well, winning the $110,000 Glass Slipper aboard Misschief Mass, the $110,000 Rapid Transit with Rocket Heat, and the first race of the meet on Solar Kitten. “It’s special because it’s so tough here,” he said. “You’ve got to come here prepared mentally and be ready. I’m looking forward to the meet and I’m very excited.”
HALLANDALE BEACH - Todd Pletcher has clearly taken the Championship Meet to a new level. The seven-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer has distinguished himself as the undisputed champion of Gulfstream Park’s Championship Meet for 15 consecutive years. Pletcher will begin a campaign for an unprecedented 16th straight training title during the 2018-2019 meet that will get underway Saturday and run through March 30.
“Gulfstream’s been a great meet for us for a number of years," Pletcher said. "I think Gulfstream’s program fits our program well. It emphasizes 2-year-old and 3-year-old races if you include the December part and especially the 3-year-old part in January, February and March. It seems to be a racetrack that suits our program but it also seems to suit our training style. It’s a track where you want to be somewhat involved in the early part. It seems horses that tend the pace have a little bit of an advantage.”
Pletcher-trained horses have been dominant in Gulfstream's 3-year-old program during his championship reign. The Dallas native has saddled a record five winners of the $1 million Florida Derby, including four of the last five winners of the premier Triple Crown prep. He notched his first Florida Derby win with Scat Daddy in 2007 before finding the winner’s circle with Constitution (2014), Materiality (2015), Always Dreaming (2017) and Audible (2018). Always Dreaming went on to win the Kentucky Derby.
“I think over the years the meet has complemented our program and we’ve been fortunate enough to develop a lot of good 3-year-olds due to Gulfstream that have gone on to success in Triple Crown races and other such events as well,” Pletcher said. “It’s always a fun time of the year when you’re winding up the 2-year-old season and starting to look forward to the 3-year-olds.”
While Pletcher will be gearing up his horses for the 3-year-old program and an attempt to win a sixth Florida Derby, the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational on Jan. 26 is a more immediate goal. Audible, who finished third in last year’s Kentucky Derby and who recently returned to action with an impressive stakes victory at Churchill on Nov. 3, is being pointed to North America’s richest race.
During the 2017-2018 Championship Meet, Pletcher saddled 70 winners from 221 starters for a 32-percent strike rate.
“I always look at each meet as a different challenge," Pletcher said. "You kind of have the streak in the back of your mind. You’d like to keep it going but at some point it’s going to end. We had a little bit of a lull during the summer, but I feel like it’s picked up the last month or so. We were able to have a good Keeneland Meet and win a Breeders’ Cup race.”
Pletcher won the Keeneland Fall Meet title and saddled Bulletin for a victory in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. “We have some horses moving in the right direction now," he said. "We’re looking forward to the Gulfstream meet but also respect how challenging it is to win races there. We certainly don’t take anything for granted.”
In addition to dominating the Championship Meet, Pletcher has maintained a year-round presence at Gulfstream the past few years and has won or taken a share of the trainer’s title during the Spring Meet for the last two years). Bulletin debuted at Gulfstream during the Summer Meet, capturing a Sept. 29 maiden special weight race before going on to win at the Breeders' Cup.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Gulfstream Park’s Championship Meet, which includes the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series, Gr. I Florida Derby, Eclipse Awards, Claiming Crown and Clasico Internacional del Caribe, begins Saturday, Dec. 1 with a renovated turf course.
Renovations on the 180-foot course began over the summer, according to General Manager Bill Badgett. “We started with the outside 100 feet and we totally tore it up and put all new sod down,” he said. “The inner part of the course we renovated. We used Celebration Turf, which continues to score high in studies done on tolerance and recovery.”
Badgett announced earlier this year there were more than 5,000 stall applications received for the 3,100 stalls at Gulfstream, Palm Meadows and Gulfstream Park West for the Championship Meet. Horsemen are also stabled for the meet in South Florida at Palm Beach Downs and Payson Park.
“There’s a lot of excitement about the meet,” Badgett said. “More horsemen want to keep horses in South Florida year-round or permanently relocate here due to our program. Obviously, turf racing is very important to us and the addition of the Pegasus World Cup Turf only adds to it. We’re happy that we have a pristine course that’s ready for business beginning Saturday. It will be the first of many big weekends during the Championship Meet.”
Breakfast at Gulfstream Returns
Breakfast at Gulfstream returns with the opening of the Championship Meet Saturday. Fans can come out between 8-10:30 a.m. and take free tram tours of the backstretch, watch horses gallop and work out, and enjoy a breakfast buffet ($10 per person, children under two eat free). Tours of the backstretch last approximately 45 minutes and guests must arrive before 9:30 a.m. to take the tour. There are character appearances for the children each Saturday and special guests.
Pegasus Tickets on Sale
Tickets to the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series, which includes the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the inaugural running of the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, are on sale now at pegasusworldcup.com
To be contested Saturday, Jan. 26, the Pegasus has attracted the country’s top horses in its previous two runnings including Horses of the Year Gun Runner, California Chrome and Arrogate, plus West Coast and Gunnevera. Both Pegasus races are the richest of their kind in North America.
MIAMI GARDENS - Edgard Zayas captured his second riding title in three years at Gulfstream Park West Sunday, prevailing over Paco Lopez, 47-45.
In the trainer’s race, Saffie Joseph Jr. saddled 15 winners to claim the title. Victor Barboza Jr., who saddled a pair of winners Sunday, finished second with 13 wins.
Zayas, who finished second last season behind Emisael Jaramillo, 50-44, had previously captured the Gulfstream Park West title in 2016 with 47 victories.
Bruno Schickedanz and Thoroughbred Champions Training Center tied for the owner’s title with eight winners each.
Live racing in South Florida will resume Saturday at Gulfstream Park, which will host the $1.11 million Claiming Crown on the opening-day card of the 2018-2019 Championship Meet.
RAINBOW 6 YIELDS $1,464 PAYOFF
A mandatory payout of the 20-cent Rainbow 6 pool on closing day of the Fall Turf Festival yielded a $1,464 payoff for each ticket with all six winners. The multi-race wager had gone unsolved for nine racing days since Nov. 8, when a single ticket hit for a $71,152.16 jackpot payoff.
Wagering on the Rainbow 6 began with a carryover of $123,818.96, which generated a handle of $637,162 for the six-race sequence that spanned races 5-10.
Mandatory Payouts Set for Sunday’s Closing Day Card
MIAMI GARDENS – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved at Gulfstream Park West today, producing a $123,818 carryover jackpot for Sunday’s mandatory payout on the closing day card of the Fall Turf Festival.
Multiple tickets with five of six winners were each worth $721.28.
The multi-race wager has gone unsolved for nine consecutive racing days since Nov. 8, when a single ticket hit for a $71,152 jackpot payoff.
Mandatory payouts are also scheduled for the Late Pick 5 (Races 5-10) and the Race 10 Super Hi-5.
Heading into Sunday’s card, there will be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $7,907.05.
ZAYAS HOLDS SLIM JOCKEYS' LEAD
Also heading into the final day of the Fall Turf Festival, Edgard Zayas holds a 46-44 lead over Paco Lopez for the jockey’s title. Zayas has nine scheduled mounts, while Lopez is named to ride in eight races Sunday. In the trainer’s race, Saffie Joseph Jr. holds a 15-12 edge over Marcus Vitali.
LAUREL - Since there were no winning tickets in Friday’s Stronach 5, the national Pick 5 wager with the industry-low 12-percent takeout will have a carryover on Friday, Nov. 30 of $88,189.41.
The minimum wager on the multi-race, multi-track Stronach 5 is $1. If there are no tickets with five winners, the entire pool is carried over to the next Friday.
Winning payoffs in Friday’s Stronach 5, with races from Laurel Park, Gulfstream Park West and Golden Gate Fields, ranged from $25.80 to $6.40.
Friday’s races and sequence
· Leg One – Laurel Park Eighth Race: Papacho $25.80
· Leg Two –Gulfstream Park West Eighth Race: Heaven’s Humor $11
· Leg Three – Laurel Park Ninth Race: Fashion Faux Pas $6.40
· Leg Four – Gulfstream Park West Ninth Race: Armonico $22.20
· Leg Five – Golden Gate Fields Fifth Race: Anitanewmercedes $17.40
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 post-time favorite in the betting.
The track’s 93rd anniversary season, which began July 1 during the Summer Festival of Racing and Music, consists of 91 racing days and runs through June 30. The 2018-2019 stakes schedule is comprised of 28 races worth a track-record $3.74 million in purse money.
Stakes action begins Saturday, Dec. 1, with the 15th running of the $100,000 Turf Dash for horses 3-years-old-and-upward at 5 furlongs on the grass, and the $100,000 Lightning City Stakes for fillies and mares 3-years-old-and-upward, also at 5 furlongs on the lawn.
The biggest racing day of the season is March 9 with a Festival Day program offering $1 million in purse money, headed by the 39th edition of the Gr. II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby for 3-year-old Triple Crown prospects.
“Everything is in place to enjoy another successful season,” said Peter Berube, the track’s Vice President-General Manager. “The combination of our stakes schedule and overnight program, our outstanding main track and turf course, and great weather make Tampa Bay Downs one of the most attractive winter racing sites in the country.
“Our schedule of special events has something for everyone, and we hope it will help attract new fans who like what they see and bring their friends the next time they visit. With The Silks Poker Room and The Downs Golf Practice Facility open every day, we believe we offer as much entertainment variety as any sporting venue in the area,” Berube said.
Almost all of the leading stables and jockeys are back from last season. Gerald Bennett, who has won three consecutive training titles, heads a roster that includes two-time leading Tampa Bay Downs conditioner Kathleen O’Connell; Arnaud Delacour; Keith Nations; Michael Stidham; Victor Carrasco Jr., Dennis Ward; Derek Ryan; Monte Thomas; Anthony Granitz and Darien Rodriguez.
Antonio Gallardo, last season’s leading jockey and winner of four of the last five Tampa Bay Downs titles, will defend against the likes of six-time champion Daniel Centeno; four-time leading jockey Ronnie Allen, Jr.; reigning George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award- winner Jose Ferrer; two-time Oldsmar riding champion Jesus Castanon; past champion Willie Martinez; plus Samy Camacho; Pablo Morales; Jose A. Bracho, last season’s top apprentice rider; Scott Spieth; Mike Allen; Brian Pedroza and Shannon Uske.
Tampa Bay Downs plans to unveil a number of new promotions, starting with the Dec. 8 “Tampa Bay Owners Club” contest that will give fans a chance to become part of a fantasy syndicate group receiving many of the perks of owning a thoroughbred, without the financial risk.
Upgrades to the facility have been made with customer comfort and convenience in mind. New self-service AmTote International wagering terminals have met with widespread approval. A waterproof, vinyl plank floor has been installed in the grandstand, and the winner’s circle has been repaved.
And when visitors walk through the redesigned main entrance, they’ll discover a treasure trove of memorabilia and facts in an attractive display titled “Tracking Our History,” highlighting such milestones as the 1997 ground-breaking for the renowned Tampa Bay Downs turf course and the thrilling 2007 Tampa Bay Derby victory by Street Sense, who went on to win the Kentucky Derby.
On Dec. 1, Tampa Bay Downs launches its annual “10 Days of Festivus On-line Handicapping Contest,” which runs through Dec. 22. Registration is free and players compete for a $1,000 grand prize.
The “Tampa Bay Owners Club” contest on Dec. 8 gives fans a chance to become fantasy owners by picking the winner of a designated race. Anyone making a winning selection will receive free admission and a program each time “their” horse competes throughout the meeting, along with a mutuel voucher, concession stand discounts, an attractive pin and trips to the paddock and (hopefully) the winner’s circle.
Dec. 15 features the “Touch Vodka Brunch at the Downs” beginning at 9 a.m. beneath the Trackside Picnic Pavilion Tent. The cost is $8 and early arrivals can watch horses work out and meet with horsemen.
The track’s popular calendar giveaway takes place Dec. 26, 28, 29 and 30, with the 2019 edition given away free while supplies last, with admission.
Other promotions include the inaugural “College Day” contest on Jan. 12, awarding five college students and/or high school seniors $2,000 college scholarships; a “High Rollers Handicapping Contest”on Jan. 19; the “Live It Up Challenge” handicapping contest, which begins on Feb. 9; and events featuring Bourbon, Barbecue & Cigars; Craft Beer & Wings; and a Seafood Fest & Crawfish Boil.
Wagering on the first eight races at Tuesday's OBS races started out sparsely, but began to pick up with the arrival of latecomers who came to watch races 9 and 10, the two $125,000 OBS Sprint Championships.
The first eight races were for quarter horses, followed by two for thoroughbreds, all of which were included in the wagering platform. There was no wagering allowed on the Championship races.
Following is the race-by-race handle:
Race No. 1 - Win, Place, and Show - $1,112; Exacta - $555.
No. 2 - WPS - $1,663; Exacta - $744; DD - $249.
No. 3 - WPS - $1,811; Ex - $983; DD - $226.
No. 4 - WPS - $1,540; Ex- $621; DD - $251. (Scratches reduced field to 4 runners).
No. 5 - WPS - $1,962; Ex - $1,100; DD - $301.
No. 6 - WPS - $2,057; Ex - $1,081; DD - $269.
Quarter horse wagering - WPS - $10,145; Ex - $5,084; DD - $1,296. Total - $16,525.
No. 7 - WPS - $2,351; Ex - $1,042; DD - $133.
No. 8 - WPS - $3,676; Ex - 1,761; DD - $638.
Thoroughbred wagering - WPS - $6,027; Ex - $2,803; DD - $771. Total - $9,601.
Total for 8 races - $26,126.
Not one betting favorite won in the 8 races. Three finished second (all were 4/5); three finished third; two finished fifth. The longest-priced winner was Circle Away in the eighth. The 4-year-old gelding by Circular Quay (bred by Star Runner Farm - owned by Michaelle Bordis) paid $27.80.
The top exacta of $277.80 was produced in the seventh race by Tellbuffy ($10.80) and Queen Maeve (6-1). The best daily double of $180 was produced in the second and third races by Mr So So Comment ($8.80) and Toast to Clever Two ($15.00).
Gary Barber’s Lookin to Strike came running late to edge Grupo 7C Racing Stable’s Star Juancho in the shadow of the wire to win the $125,000 OBS Sprint by a nose, with Michael Dubb’s Yummy Bear a length back in third. Triple bug rider Declan Carroll picked up the first stakes victory of his career aboard the graded stakes- winning 3-year-old colt by Lookin At Lucky.
The winner is a two-time OBS graduate, consigned by Select Sales to the 2016 Selected Yearling Sale and then sold at the 2017 April Sale by SBM Training & Sales, Agent, for $210,000 after turning in an under tack eighth in :10 flat. The victory leaves the winner with a 10-5-0-0 record and earnings of $195,644.
In the $125,000 OBS Filly and Mare Sprint, Bill and Vicki Poston Racing’s Southern Sis came flying in the final sixteenth to beat Averill Racing et al’s R Happy Ending by two lengths, with Westbury Stables’ Sierra Aleone a nose back in third. It’s the first stakes score for the 4-year-old Florida-bred daughter of Kantharos, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione. The time for the six furlongs was 1:09 2/5. The two-time OBS graduate was sold by Southern Cypress, Agent at the 2015 August Yearling Sale to the winning connections for $35,000. Consigned by Grassroots Training & Sales to the 2016 April Sale, she was bought back for $50,000 after breezing an under tack eighth in :10 flat. Now 12-4-3-0, she has earned $194,432.
The first six races of the 10-race card were for quarter horses. In the first, Rocio Lopez’s Eyes Have a Fortune was the winner by a nose, running the 220 yards in a track record :21.727. Trained by his owner, the 6-year-old gelding was ridden by Ruben Serna.
Despite delaying the start by his reluctance to enter the starting gate, Howard and Kelly Kleinberg’s Mr So So Comment was a one-length winner of the second race, racing 330 yards in :17.207. The 6-year-old gelding, trained by Howard Kleinberg, was ridden by Natasha Fritz.
The third race went to Myron McKinnon’s Toast to Clever Two by three quarters of a length, with David Boraco aboard for trainer Walter Lee Graham, getting the 330 yards in :17.204.
The combination of McKinnon and Graham made it two in a row in the fourth, with DLJ Royal Flow scoring by a head. The 4-year-old horse, ridden by Reynier Arrieta, ran 330 yards in :17.041.
The same connections scored their third win in a row in the fifth, with One Way Flight racing 220 yards in :12.19 and winning by a head. Reynier Arrieta was aboard the 4-year-old gelding.
Owner Rocio Lopez picked up her second victory of the day in the sixth race, as Hesa Trickie Lad won by a length and survived a claim of foul, getting the 220 yards in :12.006. Ruben Serna rode the 9-year-old gelding.
The seventh was a six-furlong race for maiden thoroughbreds, and it went to Jack Treadway and Ken Westlye’s Tellbuffy, who caught front-running Silver Springs in the final furlong and scored by a 4 1/2 lengths. The 4-year-old Florida-bred daughter of Telling, trained by Ken Westlye and ridden by Odilon Martinez, was clocked in 1:13.
Race eight, a six-furlong thoroughbred starter allowance, was won by Michaelle Bordis’ Circle Away, who rallied in deep stretch and won going away by a length and a quarter, running the distance in 1:11 4/5. The 4-year-old gelding by Circular Quay, trained by Robert W. Bordis, was ridden by Raymond Torres.
Live racing returns to Ocala on Tuesday, Nov. 20 with a 10-race card highlighted by a pair of $125,000 OBS Sprint Stakes, both at six furlongs. First post is at noon, and there will be pari-mutuel wagering on the card’s first eight races. The races will be streamed live on the OBS website at obssales.com. Admission and parking are free and the gates will open at 10:00 a.m.
The first six are races for Quarter Horses at distances of 220, 330 and 440 yards. The seventh race is a six- furlong dash for thoroughbred maidens and the eighth is a six-furlong thoroughbred starter allowance.
Races nine and 10 are non-wagering events. The ninth is the $125,000 OBS Filly and Mare Sprint, to be run at six furlongs for fillies and mares, three and up, which have gone through the ring at an OBS Sale.
Winds of Change Racing Stable’s graded stakes-winning Rich Mommy gets top billing in the field of eight, bringing earnings of $244,185 into the race. Victor Barboza Jr. trains the 4-year-old daughter of Algorithms, winner of Gulftream’s Gr. III Sugar Swirl Stakes, and Emisael Jaramillo will ride.
The horses and riders in post position order: Lawrence Dalton and Joan Lawrence’s Exotic Gold, 114, Federico Mata; Bill and Vicki Poston Racing’s Southern Sis, 117, Tyler Gaffalione; Zollie Durr’s Weekend Appeal, 117, Augusto Marin; Barry Kirkham’s Seminara, 119, Ronnie Allen; Anthony J. Russo’s Money or Love, 121, Manoel Cruz; Averill Racing , CCF Racing Stable, Silver Oaks Stable and K Lauren Racing’s R Happy Ending, 116, Paco Lopez; Westbury Stable’s Sierra Aleone, 116, Tyler Gaffalione; Rich Mommy, Spring in the Wind and Orecchiette were early scratches.
The 10th race is the $125,000 OBS Sprint Stakes for three-year-olds and up which have gone through the ring at an OBS Sale.
Trainer Mark Casse brings a pair of Gary Barber-owned graded stakes-winners to the field of 13, with Tyler Gaffalione named on both.
Conquest Panthera, winner of the Gr. I Woodbine Mile last year, is the leading earner in the field with a $355,275 bankroll. The 6-year-old gelding by Kitten’s Joy, who will carry 121 pounds, was also on the board in a pair of graded stakes in 2018.
Lookin To Strike comes into the race off a victory in the Gr. III Ontario Derby at Woodbine in October. The 3-year-old son of Lookin At Lucky, with $147,644 in earnings, will carry 120 pounds.
The field in post position order: Conquest Panthera; Marcy Brooks and David Diamond’s Gone Diesel, 114, Gary Wales; Lookin To Strike; K. E. Racing Stable’s D’Rock, 114, Odilon Martinez; The Four Horsemen Racing Stable and Lady Lindsay Racing Stables’ Sweetontheladies, 121, Marcos Meneses; Lawrence Dalton and Roberta Russell’s Bertiesbeauboaz, 114, Federico Mata; Flea Market Racing’s Successful Roman, 117, Jose Alvarez; Thoroughbred Champions Training Center’s My Chinumado, 116, Aby Medina; Flying Dragon Stable’s Rhombus, 114, Raymond Torres; Midwest Thoroughbreds’ Quijote, 121, Paco Lopez; Michael Dubb’s Yummy Bear, 121, Jeffrey Sanchez; Grupo 7C Racing Stable’s Star Juancho, 116, Emisael Jaramillo; George Santis’ Invasors Wind, 117, Roberto Alvarado, Jr.
In this age of the infamous "bounce," the fake news which claims that horses who have run a tough race are said to need weeks off to recover before they can compete again, comes the old warrior named Gold Man.
This 9-year-old gelding by little-known stallion Agnes Gold, was bred by the late superb turf writer, race track publicist and OBS marketing director David Goldman and was foaled on March 15 of 2009. He was the last horse bred by Dave in his long career as a breeder; the best was the multiple graded stakes-winner Caltech, winner of the Washington D. C. International and Lawrence Realization and earner of more than $700,000 racing for his friend, attorney David Romanik.
Gold Man will make the 78th start of his career tomorrow in the fifth race at Laurel, a starter allowance at 1 1/16 miles on the grass with a purse of $25,000. It's for 3-year-olds and up who have started for a price of $8,000 or less in 2017 and 2018. And Gold Man has started for every claiming tag from $8,000 and up in his long career, which has resulted in earnings of $362,535 while campaigning for more barns than anyone can count without a calculator. He's been so tough in his own element for so long he might be in the running for "most claims by one horse in a lifetime."
The gelding's record is 20-16-8 in his 77 tries and how many horses win 20 times in their career?
This will be his 15th start of 2018 - his last before this came on Nov. 4 at Laurel, and he won it by 1 1/2 lengths. In fact, he's won four of his last five with previous victories at Laurel, Timonium and Penn National. He has also made stops at Gulfstream, Delaware Park, Charles Town, Pimlico and Meadowlands along the way, after breaking his maiden at Calder Race Course in Romanik's silks in his long-ago debut on Sept. 16 of 2012
What makes this one more special is that it will be just the fifth time in those 77 races that Gold Man will try the grass. His record on the green stuff? Oh for four. The last turf try came in 2016 - before that, it was three times in 2013.
But his latest trainer, Hugh McMahon, may have run out of options. Or, a dirt race that fits his conditions may not be coming up for a few weeks, and he doesn't want his machine to be sitting around doing nothing when there's money to be made. Or he thinks his bread-and-butter horse is in such good form that the surface won't matter.
One thing we do know - the bounce won't have anything to do with the outcome. It should be interesting.
MIAMI GARDENS - Jerry Bozzo, who passed away Sunday at the age of 98, will be remembered as the oldest winning thoroughbred trainer in history, as well as a gentleman and a scholar.
“He was a great gentleman. It was a pleasure to ride for him, but it was also a pleasure to know him,” said jockey Luca Panici, who rode frequently for Bozzo, including back-to-back victories aboard homebred Gusty Wind during Gulfstream Park’s Summer Meet this year. “I’ve known him since I began riding here at Calder. He was a good horseman and a really, really good gentleman.”
Bozzo, who was a graduate of Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, became the oldest trainer to win a race on June 3, 2017 when he sent out Cotton Tooyah for a 4 ½-length victory at Gulfstream Park. He surpassed the record of the late Noble Threewitt, who visited the winner’s circle for the last time two months after celebrating his 95th birthday. Threewitt, who was born Feb. 24, 1911, was credited with being the oldest trainer to win a race when Threeatonce captured a maiden claiming race at Santa Anita on April 22, 2006.
Bozzo had already become the oldest trainer ever to saddle a stakes-winner when homebred Flutterby won the Sea Lily at Gulfstream on May 30, 2015 before going on to finish second in the Gr. II Princess Rooney and win two more stakes. Panici, who rode Flutterby to three stakes victories in 2015, enjoyed Bozzo’s company as much as riding horses for him.
“I was more happy for him than for me when we won a race,” Panici said. “Training a horse, having a winner, kept him in good shape. He had an amazing history, being in World War II and his business. He was always a pleasure to be around. More than business, it was a pleasure to talk with him and have a conversation in the mornings.”
The retired aeronautical engineer, industrialist and World War II veteran. sold his Pennsylvania bottle manufacturing company in 1969. He had been breeding and training thoroughbreds in South Florida since the 1970s.
“My favorite times with Jerry had nothing to do with the horses," said trainer and longtime friend Phil Combest. "We were baseball fans and we talked baseball right up to a month ago. He was as sharp as a tack right up to the end. It’s hard to be a Marlins fan, but we both kind of hung in there with them.”
Bozzo celebrated his 98th birthday on Oct. 25, two weeks after winning the fifth race at Gulfstream Park West with his record-breaker, Cotton Tooyah.
At Bozzo’s request, a memorial service has not been scheduled.
MIAMI GARDENS - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 was solved at Gulfstream Park West Friday when a single ticket with all six winners was worth a $71,152.16 jackpot payoff. The combination of Friday’s winning ticket was 8-3-6-3-4-9.?
The multi-race wager was last solved Oct. 27 for a $162,143.62 jackpot payoff.
The Rainbow 6 starts anew today, when the six-race sequence will span Races 6-11 on the Millions Preview card (Noon first-race post time).
The $75,000 Juvenile Sprint will kick off the sequence in Race 6, followed by a maiden special weight race, the $75,000 Juvenile Fillies Turf, the $75,000 Millions Distaff, the $75,000 Juvenile Turf and another maiden special weight race.
There will be a Super Hi-5 Carryover of $1,110.54 heading into today’s program.
Clasico Candidates Arrive from Panama, Venezuela, Puerto Rico
Horses from Venezuela, Panama and Puerto Rico arrived at Gulfstream Park Friday to begin preparations for planned starts in the Clasico Internacional del Caribe Saturday, Dec. 8.
Gulfstream, which became the first pari-mutuel facility last year outside Latin America or the Caribbean to the host the event since its inception in 1966, will once again play host to five races for horses from eight Latin American and Caribbean countries with purses totaling more than $700,000. The highlight of the day will be the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe for 3-year-olds.
A horse from Ecuador is scheduled to arrive today, while a strong contingent from Mexico, including defending Classic del Caribe champion Jala Jala, is slated to arrive next Thursday.
MIAMI GARDENS - A winner of nine races, six stakes and more than $780,000 in purses, Mr. Jordan commands respect wherever he races, but nowhere does the flashy gray 6-year-old gelding have more ‘cred’ than at Gulfstream Park West.
The Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained veteran stakes performer will bring an undefeated record at Gulfstream Park West into Saturday’s Millions Classic Preview.
The 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-olds and up will be one of nine races for Florida-breds worth a total $675,000 in purses on a Millions Preview Day card that will serve as an early prep for Jan. 19 Sunshine Millions card at Gulfstream Park for many of the entrants.
Owned by David Melin, Leon Ellman and Laurie Plesa, Mr. Jordan is 4-for-4 at Gulfstream Park West, all in stakes competition. He is not only undefeated, the son of Kantharos is also untested at the Miami Gardens track while romping to four straight stakes victories by a total of 22 ¾ lengths. After breaking his maiden at first asking at Monmouth Park, Mr. Jordan captured the 2014 Juvenile Sprint Stakes by three lengths and the Smooth Air Stakes by 4 ½ lengths back-to-back. He returned to Gulfstream Park West to capture the 2016 Millions Classic Preview by 3 ¾ lengths before defending his title last year by 11 ½ lengths.
Paco Lopez will become reacquainted with Mr. Jordan Saturday. Lopez, who rode Roy H. to victory in last Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Sprin at Churchill Downs, was aboard Mr. Jordan for victories in the 2014 Juvenile Sprint Stakes and the 2016 Millions Classic Preview, as well as the 2015 Pegasus at Monmouth Park.
Mr. Jordan is scheduled to face four rivals, including Deland and Noble Drama, who have both registered recent victories over the Plesa trainee at Gulfstream.
Ricardo Vallejo’s Deland enters the Classic Preview off impressive back-to-back stakes victories, taking the July 22 Coast Is Clear by two lengths and the Sept. 7 Mo Exception by eight lengths.
“The horse is in very good condition at the moment,” Barboza said. “My plan is to run in the Classic Preview Saturday, the Grade 3 (Dec. 15 Harlan’s Holiday) and the Sunshine Millions (Classic) at Gulfstream.”
The son of Gottcha Gold, a Gr. 1 winner in Puerto Rico, came to Gulfstream last fall to compete in the Caribbean Classic, only to be sidelined with a hoof injury before the race. The 6-year-old gelding stumbled and lost his rider at the start of his U.S. debut Feb. 10 at Tampa Bay Downs but showed promise while finishing second behind Imperial Hint in a Tampa sprint stakes. Deland was transferred to trainer Victor Barboza Jr. two starts later and finished second in the Big Drama Stakes at Gulfstream prior to winning his two most recent races.
Both of his recent victories were achieved at a mile around one turn, but Barboza isn’t concerned with the addition of a turn and distance.
“I don’t think it is a problem for the horse. The horse has won at a mile and a quarter in Puerto Rico,” said Barboza, referring to Deland’s triumph in the 2016 Copa Barbosa (G1) at Camarero.
Emisael Jaramillo has the return mount.
Harold Queen’s Noble Drama is coming off a victory in the $150,000 Florida Sire Stakes Wildcat Heir at Gulfstream Sept. 29, prevailing by a neck over Mo Cash and nearly two lengths ahead of a troubled-trip Mr. Jordan.
“He’s a good little horse. It took him a couple races to get him focused, but he’s doing great,” said trainer David Fawkes.
The son of Gone Astray is out of Queen Drama, a full sister to 2010 Eclipse sprint champion Big Drama and multiple Gr. 1 stakes winner Sheer Drama.
“He came back from that race in good order and he’s been working good,” Fawkes said.
Queen’s homebred 3-year-old gelding’s most recent victory was achieved at a mile around one turn.
“Two turns is no problem. He won two turns at Tampa,” said Fawkes, referring to Noble Drama’s triumph in the 1/16-mile Florida Sire Stakes Silver Charm on May 5. “He’s already won against older horses.”
Nik Juarez has the return mount.
Midwest Thoroughbreds’ Jay’s Way is scheduled to return from an eight-month layoff for the Classic Preview. The 5-year-old son of Gone Astray won the Sunshine Millions last year, stubbornly holding off Mr. Jordan by a half-length.
Trained by Armand De La Cerda, Jay’s Way hasn’t raced since finishing sixth in the Challenger Stakes at Tampa March 10.
Hector Berrios has been named to ride Jay’s Way.
Arindel’s Weisser, who set the pace before fading to fourth in the Wildcat Heir, rounds out the field. Edgard Zayas has the mount.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Accelerate, runner-up Gunnevera, Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Monomoy Girl and Florida Derby winner Audible are all strong possibilities to compete in the richest race in North America – the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park.
Other horses considering the third running of the Pegasus include Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner City of Light and runner-up Seeking the Soul. Arklow, fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, is a possibility for the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational , the richest turf race in North America, also being run on Jan. 26.
In just two years, the Pegasus has become one of the sport’s biggest events. In 2017, the race brought together two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome and 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Arrogate, who won the inagural running by 4 ¾ lengths. Earlier this year, Horse of the Year Gun Runner ended his career with a 2 ½-length victory in the Pegasus over West Coast and third-place finisher Gunnevera.
Trainer John Sadler, who saddled Accelerate to a length victory over Gunnevera in Saturday’s $6 million Classic, said the 5-year-old, a winner of four consecutive Gr. I races, will be shown as a stallion in Lexington before being sent back to his stable in California.
“If all is good, we’ll probably go in the Pegasus, kind of our all-out Gun Runner of last year, and then he’ll go off to stud,” Sadler said.
Gunnevera, trained at Gulfstream by Antonio Sano and a winner of more than $4 million, is also targeting the Pegasus after finishing second in Saturday’s Classic. “He’s going to race in 2019 and will point to the Pegasus,” Sano said.
After watching their filly win the Distaff for her ninth victory in 11 starts, the connections of Monomoy Girl said they would consider running against the boys in the Pegasus.
“I think we will take a look at the Pegasus,” said co-owner Sol Kumin. “I think it’s a good distance for her . . . speed-favoring track at Gulfstream. She’ll get obviously a little bit of a weight break. I think that would be the only race that we would probably look at.”
Brad Cox, trainer of Monomoy Girl, said; “Really, right now, in the near future that would be the race we would target. Beyond that, it will be the Breeders’ Cup next year at Santa Anita. We would have plenty of time to come back and prepare for the Distaff if there is a run in January in the Pegasus. She’s worthy of a break and some time. When we give that to her it will be up to what we decide to do with the Pegasus.”
Cox also said Arklow, fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, will be considered for the inaugural running of the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational. “We might also might take a look at the Pegasus turf race with him as well. We’ll give him a few days to come out of his race and we’ll go from there.”
Florida Derby winner Audible, who was sidelined earlier this year after finishing third in the Kentucky Derby, returned from a six-month layoff for trainer Todd Pletcher to impressively win the Cherokee Run on Breeders’ Cup Day. After the 3-year-old’s performance, Elliott Walden, president and racing manager of WinStar Farm, said; “I think Audible could be Pegasus-bound after that.”
Conrad Farms’ Shamrock Rose was 14th and last in the early going of the $1-million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, but charged between horses under Irad Ortiz Jr. in the stretch and was best by a head in a four-horse blanket finish.
It’s the fourth straight stakes victory for the 3-year-old daughter of First Dude, who is trained by Ocalan Mark Casse. She's now 10-5-2-1 with $917,687 in earnings after collecting a check for $550,000. She was sold for $120,000 by Best A Luck Farm LLC, Agent, at the 2017 OBS April Sale after breezing an Under Tack eighth in :10 flat. The second OBS graduate to win the Filly and Mare Sprint,, Shamrock Rose follows in the footsteps of April Sale graduate Musical Romance, who captured the 2011 renewal.
Double Diamond Farm's First Dude is Florida's leading sire with more than $4.5 million in 2018 progeny earnings, and now holds a big lead over deceased Wildcat Heir.
October 31, 2018
Friday’s Stronach 5
Five Races, Two on the Turf, Four Tracks, 52 Entries
Past Performances and Preview Show
LAUREL, MD – Friday’s Stronach 5, a national wager featuring an industry-low 12-percent takeout, will kick off Friday at Santa Anita Park and go cross-country with stops at Gulfstream Park West, Laurel Park and Golden Gate Fields
Past performances for Friday’s Stronach 5, which features two turf races and 52 entries, are available at:
The Stronach 5 Preview Show, hosted by Jason Blewitt and featuring Millie Ball, Ron Nicoletti, Stan Salter and Matt Dinerman is available at:
The sequence begins with Santa Anita’s fourth race, a 5 ½ furlong event for 2-year-old fillies, before heading cross-country to Gulfstream West for a turf event with 16 3-year-olds entered to go a mile on the turf. After a stop in Maryland for Laurel’s 10th race featuring fillies and mares going a mile, the sequence heads west for Santa Anita’s fifth race, a mile turf event for fillies and mares, before concluding at Golden Gate Fields with a field of 10 juvenile claimers going 5 ½ furlongs on the all-weather surface.
Friday’s Stronach 5 sequence
? Leg One - Santa Anita Fourth Race (nine horses, main), 4:53 ET, 1:53 PT
? Leg Two – Gulfstream West Ninth Race (16 horses, turf), 5:02 ET, 2:02 PT
? Leg Three – Laurel Park 10th Race (10 horses, main), 5:16 ET, 2:16 PT
? Leg Four – Santa Anita Fifth Race (10 horses, turf), 5:35 ET, 2:35 PT
? Leg Five – Golden Gate Fifth Race (10 horses, all-weather), 5:50 ET, 2:50 PT
Five bettors won $15,765.50 on last week’s Stronach 5.
The Stronach 5, hit Oct. 19 by one bettor who took home $88,286, has offered bettors a good return on investment. The national Pick 5 rewarded 14 bettors Sept. 28 with $9,888 while the Oct. 5 payoff was $1,161 with the highest payoff being $12. The Oct. 12 Stronach 5 returned $3,629 to 25 bettors with the highest payoff in the sequence being $14.
The minimum wager on the multi-race, multi-track Stronach 5 is $1. If there are no tickets with five winners, the entire pool will be carried over to the next Friday.
For the Stronach 5, if a change in racing surface is made after the wagering closes, each selection on any ticket will be considered a winning selection. If a betting interest is scratched, that selection will be substituted with the favorite in the win pool when wagering closes.
The Maryland Jockey Club serves as host of the Stronach 5.
Final preparations are being made for the Saturday, Nov. 24 opening day card as Tampa Bay Downs resumes its 93rd anniversary season, which began July 1 during the track’s Summer Festival ofRacing.
Meanwhile, Peter Berube, the Vice President-General Manager of Tampa Bay Downs, announced the addition of two new race sponsors for the 17th annual Florida Cup, which will be contested Sunday, March 31.
Touch Vodka, a Tampa-based company which offers an Artisan vodka distilled from Florida wildflower honey and three citrus-infused selections, will sponsor the $115,000 Touch Vodka Turf Classic. Touch Vodka is distilled by Fat Dog Spirits, LLC in Ybor City.
Zaxby’s, a chain of fast-food restaurants offering chicken wings, chicken fingers, sandwiches and salads, will sponsor the $115,000 Zaxby’s Sprint. Now in 18 states, Zaxby’s has numerous locations throughout Tampa, Hillsborough County, the greater Tampa Bay area and Ocala.
The 2018-2019 Tampa Bay Downs stakes schedule consists of 28 races worth a track-record $3.74 million in purse money.
“We are delighted to add Touch Vodka and Zaxby’s to our group of sponsors for the upcoming season,” Berube said. “We are grateful for their support and look forward to long, rewarding partnerships.”
Horses will ship into Tampa Bay Downs on a daily basis throughout the next few weeks, including those from many of the track’s perennial top stables. The top 11 trainers (by number of winners) from 2017-2018 are returning: Gerald Bennett; Kathleen O’Connell; Arnaud Delacour; Keith Nations; Michael Stidham; Dennis Ward; Victor Carrasco Jr.; Derek Ryan; Monte Thomas; Anthony Granitz and Darien Rodriguez.
The main track will open for training on Monday, Nov. 5.
Tampa Bay Downs will simulcast the 35th Breeders’ Cup from Churchill Downs on Friday and Saturday. Five Breeders’ Cup races for 2-year-olds will be run Friday beginning at 3:21 p.m. The first of nine Breeders’ Cup races Saturday goes off at noon.
LAUREL, MD - Friday’s Stronach 5, which concluded with a $20.20 winner at Golden Gate Fields, returned $15,765.50 to five bettors.
There was $89,630 bet into the pool for the national wager with a guaranteed $50,000 and an industry-low 12-percent takeout. The second leg produced the $16.80 winner Take a Leap at Santa Anita.
The sequence and winners were:
?Leg One – Gulfstream West, Seventh Race - Hollywood Overdogs $4.60
?Leg Two – Santa Anita, Third Race - Take a Leap $16.80
?Leg Three – Gulfstream West, Eighth Race - Green Mansions $9.60
?Leg Four – Laurel, 10th Race - Silver Dagger $4.60
?Leg Five – Golden Gate, Fifth Race - Kid Cantina $20.20
The minimum wager on the multi-race, multi-track Stronach 5 is $1. If there are no tickets with five winners, the entire pool is carried over to the next Friday.
HALLANDALE BEACH - Multiple graded stakes-winner Gunnevera heads a strong Gulfstream Park contingent pre-entered for the 35th Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs Nov. 2-3.
The Antonio Sano-trained Gunnevera, who has earned more than $3 million during an 18-race career than includes great success at Gulfstream, was among the pre-entries announced Wednesday for the $6 million Classic. The 4-year-old son of Dialed In, who finished second in the Woodward at Saratoga last time out, finished third in the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational and won an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream this year. The stretch-running colt captured the Fountain of Youth last year.
Gunnevera, who is listed second on the list of alternates, is expected to draw into the Classic field since two horses above him – City of Light and Bravazo – both have first-preference for the $1 million Dirt Mile.
Irad Ortiz Jr. has the mount aboard Gunnevera. The Classic field of pre-entries includes four other participants in the Pegasus World Cup – runner-up West Coast, Collected, Seeking the Soul and Toast of New York. Catholic Boy, who finished fourth in the Florida Derby before going on to win the Travers at Saratoga, was also pre-entered in the Classic. Mind Your Biscuits, who was the runner-up in an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream before defending his title in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, was also pre-entered in the Classic, as well as the $2 million Sprint.
Stormy Embrace, Well Defined, Cookie Dough and Pay Any Price, all South Florida-based stakes-winners during Gulfstream’s Spring/Summer Meet, were also pre-entered in various Breeders’ Cup stakes.
Trainer Kathleen O’Connell pre-entered Stormy Embrace in the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint and Well Defined in the $2 million Juvenile.
Matalona Thoroughbreds’ Stormy Embrace captured the $250,000 Princess Rooney, a seven-furlong ‘Win & You’re In’ sprint on the June 30 Summit of Speed program. Stonehedge LLC’s Well Defined registered a dominating 7 ½-length victory in the $400,000 In Reality, the 1 1/16-mile finale of the Florida Sire Stakes series Sept. 29. Trainer Juan Avila’s Trophy Chaser, who broke his maiden at Gulfstream by 15 ¾ lengths on Aug. 25 before finishing fifth in the Champagne at Belmont, was also pre-entered in the Juvenile.
Stanley Gold-trained Cookie Dough was pre-entered in the $2 million Juvenile Fillies. The Arindel homebred, who breezed five furlongs in 1:00.10 Tuesday, overcame traffic to capture the $400,000 FSS My Dear Girl at 1 1/16 miles by 7 ½ lengths. Gold saddled Awesome Feather for a triumph in the 2010 Juvenile Fillies.
Pay Any Price, who breezed a half-mile Wednesday morning in 49.97 seconds for trainer Georgina Baxter, was pre-entered in the $1 million Turf Sprint. The 8-year-old gelded son of Wildcat Heir, who is owned by Averill Racing and Matties Racing Stable, won four turf sprints during the Spring/Summer Meet, including the Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint on the Summit of Speed program.
Stakes-winners during Gulfstream’s 2017-2018 Championship Meet that were also pre-entered for Breeders’ Cup races were Promises Fulfilled and X Y Jet.
Robert J. Baron’s Promises Fulfilled, who launched his 2018 campaign with a victory in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth, was pre-entered for the Sprint and the Dirt Mile. The Dale Romans-trained 3-year-old has won three straight graded stakes, including the Allen Jerkens at Saratoga.
Jorge Navarro-trained X Y Jet, who captured the Smile Sprint on the Summit of Speed program and who won the Mr. Prospector and Sunshine Million Sprint during the Championship Meet, was pre-entered in the Sprint.
Others pre-entered in Breeders’ Cup races who competed during Gulfstream’s Championship Meet: Channel Maker, Hi Happy and Sadler’s Joy ($4 million Turf); Giant Expectations and Seeking the Soul (Dirt Mile); Extravagant Kid, Blind Ambition, Bucchero, Rainbow Heir, Richard’s Boy and Vision Perfect (Turf Sprint); Fuhriously Kissed and Verve’s Tale ($2 million Distaff); and Marley’s Freedom (Filly & Mare Sprint).
HALLANDALE BEACH – Florida Sire Stakes star Cookie Dough is being pointed toward a start in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs Nov. 2, trainer Stanley Gold confirmed today.
“She’s doing great," Gold said. "She’ll breeze again next week. We’ll leave on the 26th, and off we go,” said Gold, whose multiple stakes-winning trainee returned to the Gulfstream Park worktab last Saturday with a five-furlong breeze in 1:00.65, the third fastest of 31 recorded at the distance.
Cookie Dough is coming off back-to-back scores in the Florida Sire Stakes series, having captured the $200,000 Susan’s Girl by 6 ½ lengths at seven furlongs before successfully negotiating two turns while winning the $400,000 My Dear Girl by 7 ½ lengths at 1 1/16 miles.
“I think we haven’t seen the best of this filly yet. Hopefully, we’ll see it on the second of November,” Gold said.
In the My Dear Girl, Cookie Dough was forced to race extremely wide around the first turn after breaking from the No. 12 post position and was slow to settle into stride along the backstretch under jockey Jeffrey Sanchez. Arindel’s homebred daughter of Brethren advanced along the backstretch before making a sweeping move to the lead on the far turn. She drew away through the stretch to win comfortably.
“She could have had a better trip, but she didn’t," Gold said. "She overcame it. She didn’t get hit with the stick. She was under a hand ride. There was plenty of gas in the tank and she came back good. I was pleased, and, as I said, I don’t think we’ve seen her best race yet.”
Gold has fared well with two previous Juvenile Fillies starters. He saddled Awesome Feather for a victory in 2010 following a sweep of the Florida Sire Stakes series. Last year, Arindel’s Blonde Bomber finished third behind Caledonia Road.
The $150,000, Gr. III Tempted at Aqueduct Nov. 2 had been under consideration, before it was decided Cookie Dough had earned the opportunity to run in the Juvenile Fillies.
With 2 1/2 months remaining in the battle for various titles, the Florida freshman sire race has more or less sorted itself out. While Stonehedge Farm South's Cajun Breeze and Ocala Stud's Uncaptured began quickly as far as number of winners is concerned, Woodford Thoroughbreds' He's Had Enough and Get Away Farm's Drill have come from behind and moved to the forefront.
He's Had Enough now leads the way with eight winners, followed by Drill, with six. Pleasant Acres' Handsome Mike has also made a good late run and has five. Uncaptured has four and Cajun Breeze three.
In the money earned column, however, Uncaptured is still on top with $389,816, mainly due to talented Catherinethegreat ($138,939), but He's Had Enough is striving for that title, too, with $375,132 in the till. Drill is still very much in the hunt with $353,662. The son of Lawyer Ron has the biggest money-winner in the group - two-time stakes-winner Drillit has earned $175,500. Cajun Breeze is not out of it, either, with $311,270 in his bank.
BUCCHERO TO PLEASANT ACRES - Two-time Woodford Stakes winner Bucchero will take up residence at Pleasant Acres for the 2019 breeding season as new stallions begin to trickle in to Marion County. Earlier, Neolithic joined the roster, and the new pair make up for the loss of Anthony's Cross, who has moved to California, and ultra-successful Poseidon's Warrior, now a resident of Kentucky.
Bucchero is the first son of former Ocala Stud star Kantharos to go to stud, and he'll stand for $5,000. He's still campaigning, and is being pointed for the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3.
Other new stallions imported thus far for 2019 are Ami's Flatter and Girvin at Ocala Stud, and Wait, at Arindel Farm.
Hip No. 516, Our Time, a chestnut colt by Kantharos consigned by Summerfield (Francis & Barbara Vanlangendonck), Agent, went to Stonestreet Stables LLC for $190,000 to top the first Open session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2017 October Yearling Sale. He’s out of Golden Trumpet, by Formal Gold, from the family of Gr. I winner Wilderness Song.
Hip No. 311, a son of Kitten’s Joy consigned by Woodford Thoroughbreds, Agent, was purchased by Ann Maher-Springman, Agent for Rashed Yousef Bouresly, for $100,000. The dark bay or brown colt, a full brother to stakes-winner Kuwait Currency, is out of Thebignbadestbunny, by Smart Strike.
Hip No. 341, a son of Mark Valeski consigned by Magnolia Point Thoroughbreds, Agent, went to Tracy Farmer for $85,000. Out of Vindi Princess, by Vindication, the bay colt is a half-brother to stakes-winner Big Drink of Water, who picked up his third stakes victory in the Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial Stakes at Presque Isle last Thursday.
Smokey Willow Farm paid $80,000 for Hip No. 458, a son of Cairo Prince consigned by Stephens Thoroughbreds LLC, Agent. The dark bay or brown colt is out of Day of Obligation, by Deputy Minister, from the family of Gr. I stakes-winner Confessional.
Hip No. 489, a son of The Big Beast consigned by Beth Bayer, Agent, went to S G V Thoroughbreds LLC for $70,000. The bay colt is out of Faith Hall, by High Cotton, a half-sister to graded stakes-placed Show Me the Bling.
For the session, 143 yearlings sold for $1,967,300, averaging $13,757, with a $7,000 median figure. The buyback percentage was 27%.
The sale continues Today at noon with Hip No.’s 551 – 789 selling in the second Open session.
There is no way to look at Amendment 3 as anything but an anti-gambling measure.
Yet, the main financial supporter - to the tune of nearly $20 million so far - is the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Yes, the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the same folks that we all know already conduct the largest casino gambling operation in the state and have for many years. In fact, the revenue from the Seminole Tribe’s Hard Rock Casino in Tampa - by itself - dwarfs the revenue of all the pari-mutuel facilities in Florida combined, meaning the billions that the Seminole Tribe makes from its six other casinos in Florida is just icing on its already gigantic cake.
So, inquiring minds might ask: Why would Florida’s largest gambling company be supporting an anti-gambling constitutional amendment?
The answer to this question is easy: It is a universal truism that no one is more vehemently opposed to any expansion of gambling than those already in the gambling business. Here, the Seminole Tribe, through the clever wording of Amendment 3, has dealt with its hypocritical stance on gambling by specifically EXEMPTING itself from all of the amendment's anti-gambling provisions. As one of the creators of Amendment 3, this was rather easy for the Seminole Tribe to accomplish.
Since Amendment 3’s anti-gambling provisions were intentionally designed by the Seminole Tribe to apply ONLY to the state’s pari-mutuel facilities, while leaving the Seminole Tribes’ enormous gambling empire intact, the most obvious impact from the adoption of Amendment 3 is that it will perpetuate the monopoly the Seminole Tribe already has on gambling in Florida. In fact, it is not a stretch to say that the Seminole Tribe already has it ALL, and now it wants even more.
More importantly to anyone involved in Florida’s once prospering thoroughbred industry, if Amendment 3 passes, the industry’s current downward spiral will become a death spiral. Just look at California, another state where gambling is 100% controlled by Indian tribes. Within the last few years, Hollywood Park and Bay Meadows were permanently closed, and Golden Gate Fields is on a death watch. Why is that? Because the California tribes, with their millions (or billions) in campaign contributions, have blocked the race tracks from ever receiving a slot machine license. This, in turn, has caused the tracks to be unable to compete with California’s many Indian casinos.
If this sounds familiar, there is a reason for it: Exactly what has happened in California has started to happen in Florida. We have already lost Hialeah Park as a thoroughbred track because it couldn’t compete, and now Calder has announced it will no longer conduct thoroughbred racing after 2020.
We can't let what happened to thoroughbred racing in California happen in Florida.
While Amendment 3 may be cleverly worded to make it sound both pro-citizen and pro-democratic, in reality it’s just the opposite. Amendment 3 is simply another special interest CON JOB - the same as the bogus Solar Energy Amendment of 2016 that was soundly defeated once the voters figured out that only the big power companies, i.e., FP&L, Florida Power and Duke Energy, benefited from the amendment’s adoption, and not the citizens as the pro-Solar amendment propaganda asserted.
As with the Solar scam, one can search all the pro-Amendment 3 propaganda and not find any reference to the fact that one of the amendment's sponsors and primary supporters (to the tune of nearly $20 million), is Florida’s largest and most profitable casino operator, the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
Amendment 3 is totally misleading and hypocritical, yet very typical of the way sponsors of scam amendments like this one try to trick the voters.
If Amendment 3 is adopted, the Seminole Tribe and its 4,000 multimillionaire members will become even richer - while everyone associated with the billion-dollar thoroughbred industry will be obliterated.
Amendment 3 is nothing but a well-funded, anti-competitive CON JOB. Save the thoroughbred horse racing industry in Florida by voting NO on Amendment 3.
One of the most unique stallions on this year's Florida general sire list is Two Step Salsa, the son of Petionville whose sixth crop reached the races this year.
The Get Away Farm sire began his career with two graded stakes-winners from his first crop (2011), Blue Grass Stakes winner Dance With Fate and Palos Verdes Stakes winner Conquest Two Step. In his first year, Two Step Salsa's progeny earnings hit $620,716. For the next four years, he was very consistent - from a low of $1,601,980 to a high of $1,695,866.
Last year was his high water mark, with a personal best of 58 winners and earnings of $1,909,980. With three months remaining on the schedule, Two Step Salsa has achieved new highs, 59 winners and earnings less than $6,000 from breaking $2 million. With Salsa Dog running today at Presque Isle Downs and Flying Emerald at Thistledown, that milestone could be reached before midnight.
What makes the feat so much more surprising is that Two Step Salsa doesn't have even one stakes-winner this year. What he does have is 24 runners who have earned more than $100,000, led by Dance With Fate at $680,050.
One who has no regrets sending mares to Two Step Salsa is Dennis J. Federico, who has bred full siblings Maddy's Salsa (3-year-old filly) and Maddy's Last Dance (2-year-old colt), both out of his stakes-winning Dance With Ravens mare Maddy's Dance. Now eight, Maddy's Dance has just the two foals following a racing career during which she compiled a record of 5-1-3 in 15 starts with earnings of $165,940. She broke her maiden for Federico in her Suffolk Downs debut in 2012, won the Maryland Million Distaff Handicap at three, and closed out her career with victories at Delaware Park and in the Million.
Maddy's Salsa raced in Federico's colors 13 times before being claimed out of a winning race by Bruno Schickedanz for $10,000. She's now 2-4-1 in 15 tries with earnings of $54,650.
Maddy's Last Dance finished second in his Sept. 3 debut at Gulfstream Park and collected $8,590, then came back and scored in a $50,000 claimer on Sept. 27 and earned $26,150, a total of $34,740. He'll earn a bunch more before he's finished, as will Maddy's Salsa, along with several more of the stallion's solid runners.
And Two Step Salsa's numbers will continue to reach new heights for the next 90 days.
HALLANDALE BEACH – Well Defined parlayed an easy early lead into an easy victory in the $400,000 In Reality Division of the 2018 Florida Sire Stakes series Saturday at Gulfstream Park, providing Stonehedge Farm’s Gil Campbell and trainer Kathleen O’Connell with their 11th victories in the series for juveniles sired by stallions standing in Florida.
“I don’t keep count, because they’re all very special,” said O’Connell after her first success in the 1 1/16-mile FSS open division finale. The race co-headlined the eight stakes program worth $1.325 million, along with the $400,000 My Dear Girl, the 1 1/16-mile FSS finale for fillies.
Well Defined went right to the lead under Carlos Montalvo and set comfortable fractions of 24.57 and 48.33 seconds for the first half-mile. Garter and Tie, who caught Well Defined by a half-length in the seven-furlong Affirmed last time out, progressed along the backstretch to enter contention heading into the far turn. Emisael Jaramillo sent Garter and Tie after the pacesetter on the turn but was never able to make a serious threat as Campbell’s homebred gelding drew off to a 7 ½-length score in 1:44.47.
“Unbelievable horse," Montalvo said. "For the distance he relaxed even more. Miss O’Connell did an amazing job with him in the morning teaching him to relax with the pony. When we got to the backside he let me set to cruise control and catch our breath, so when we got to the front side it was over. I didn’t have to ask him, it was an amazing ride.”
Garter and Tie, the 7-5 favorite, finished second, 14 ½ lengths ahead of Gump.
Well Defined is a son of With Distinction and broke his maiden at first asking at 4 ½ furlongs on June 2 before finishing third in an optional claiming allowance, then second in the Affirmed. He's been a work in progress. “He’s always shown he has a lot of talent," O'Connell said. "He was like a mischievous Dennis the Menace. It’s just getting it all together at the right time." Well Defined raised his earnings to $317,600 on a record of 2-1-1 in his four starts.
Although Well Defined was unable to hold off Garter and Tie in the second leg of the FSS series, O’Connell had no qualms about his ability to carry his speed around two turns. “I actually liked him better going farther," she said. "To me it’s so much easier on a horse rather all the hoopla going short." O’Connell recently saddled the 2,000th winner of her career to rank second all-time among women trainers.
She was noncommittal when asked if Well Defined could be headed to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3. “I’m going to enjoy today, as I’m sure [Mr. Campbell] will, and go from there,” she said. “We’ll see how he comes out of the race and come up with a plan that makes sense.”
HALLANDALE BEACH – Jockey Emisael Jaramillo, trainers Victor Barboza Jr. and Armando De La Cerda, and owner Arindel were honored at Gulfstream Park Sunday on closing day of the Summer Meet.
Jaramillo topped the jockey standings with 64 winners. The 41-year-old veteran, who was the winningest rider in Venezuelan history before moving to South Florida in 2015, has ridden 671 winners in North America. He also won the 2017 Gulfstream Park West title.
Barboza Jr. and De La Cerda tied for first in the trainer’s race after De La Cerda saddled Cool Mover ($3) for a victory in Sunday’s sixth race. Barboza Jr., who finished in a three-way tie for the Spring Meet Title with Oscar Gonzalez and Todd Pletcher, also captured the 2017 Summer Meet title.
Arindel, which captured Saturday’s $400,000 My Dear Girl with Cookie Dough, repeated as Summer Meet leading owner with 13 winners and $1 million in purse earnings. Arindel also topped the Spring Meet standings.
Racing resumes Wednesday at Gulfstream Park West. First-race post time is set for 1:15 p.m.
Gulfstream Park West’s Fall Turf Festival will be highlighted by the Sunshine Millions Preview program on Nov. 10, when eight stakes for Florida-bred horses will be contested for purses of $75,000. The Showing Up for 3-year-olds and the Cellars Shiraz for 3-year-old fillies will both be run at a mile on turf Nov. 3.
The 2018-2019 Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park will get under way Dec. 1.Rainbow 6 Mandatory
Payout Marks Summer Meet End
Closing Day of the Summer Meet was marked by a mandatory payout of the 20-cent Rainbow 6. Betting on the popular multi-race wager started with a carryover jackpot of $137,215, generating an additional handle of $807,047. Multiple tickets with all six winners in the six-race sequence that spanned Races 6-11 were each worth $71.31.
The Rainbow 6 had gone unsolved for eight racing days after the multi-race wager was hit Sept. 15 for a $244,778.08 jackpot payoff.
The Rainbow 6 will start anew on Wednesday’s opening-day program at Gulfstream West with a six-race sequence that will span races 3-8 including an optional claiming allowance in race 7. Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained Apostle, a 3-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro who was purchased for $900,000 at the 2017 OBS March sale, came off a sixth-month layoff to break his maiden at a mile at Gulfstream Aug. 23 in his third lifetime start. Edgard Zayas has the return mount.
HALLANDALE BEACH – Gulfstream Park’s Summer Meet will close this weekend with more than $1 million in stakes purses, the finals of the Florida Sire Stakes, mandatory payouts, the inaugural running of The Stronach 5, and a celebration of bourbons, local craft beers, and barbeque bites and sliders.
The action begins today with the introduction of The Stronach 5, a national $1 wager featuring five races at four tracks with a guaranteed pool of $50,000 and an industry-low takeout of 12 percent. The opening leg of The Stronach 5 begins at 5:26 p.m. with Race 9 at Laurel. The sequence includes two races from Gulfstream, one from Santa Anita and one from Golden Gate Fields.
Saturday’s 14-race program begins at noon and includes the finals of the Florida Sire Stakes with the $400,000 In Reality and $400,000 My Dear Girl. The program includes eight stakes races and 152 entries (including also eligibles).
Gulfstream will also play host to its final Taste of the Track in Ten Palms Restaurant featuring tastings of hand selected bourbons, local craft beers and BBQ bites and sliders. For more information go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bourbon-beer-bbq-tickets-49909343189
Gulfstream will close its summer meet Sunday with mandatory payouts of its Rainbow 6, Late Pick 5 and Super Hi 5.
Live racing moves to Gulfstream Park West Wednesday with a 1:15 p.m. first race post.
HALLANDALE BEACH – Bob Baffert doesn’t know who he may saddle in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational or $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf, but one thing is for certain. “I’ll be there with something,” Baffert said.
Baffert isn’t the only one who plans on being at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 26 for the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series. Trainer Todd Pletcher is hoping to bring Florida Derby and Holy Bull winner Audible back to South Florida for the Pegasus and possibly Man o’War and Pan American winner Hi Happy for the World Cup Turf.
Chad Brown, who saddled the filly Stellar Wind in the 2018 edition of the Pegasus, said he would “love to have horses in both races.”
In just two years, the Pegasus has grown into a major racing event – “It’s very positive they’re having it and it’s still a lot of money,” Baffert said, and the addition of the Pegasus World Cup Turf is expected to turn the day into an international day of racing.
“The new turf race is exciting,” said Brown, who set a record for most wins by a trainer this summer at Saratoga. “I think the timing of the race and the distance (1 3/16 miles) makes a lot of sense. I have some prospects in mind, but there’s a lot of time between now and then and we’ll have to hope those horses stay healthy and continue to develop.”
The addition of the World Turf Cup “can hopefully bring some European and international runners and, between the two races, multiply who shows up,” Pletcher said. But he also says both of the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational races are contested at the right time on the calendar. “If you look at a horse like [2018 Pegasus winner] Gun Runner, it gives them one more opportunity to run a race before they go to stud for a significant purse. It also ties in well with the Dubai World Cup.”
“It gives you an opportunity for a horse that’s maybe not had such a long campaign, maybe a horse who got started a little later in the year who’s rounding into form and it gives them an opportunity for a good purse,” Brown said. “For horses who have had a long season there is a little bit of a dilemma. Do you keep going or give them the rest you had planned? They’re awfully big races, both of them are, and with huge prize money at stake. So if you have a horse good enough, you would almost have to keep him going and point toward the race. It would be really hard to sit out with one of the main contenders.”
Along with a day of world-class racing, the Pegasus has also become one of sport’s most colorful days, attracting new fans, celebrities, and major entertainment. “It’s a fun day,” said Baffert, who saddled inaugural Pegasus winner Arrogate. “You can tell everyone in the grandstand is having fun. It’s a good crowd. Plus, [The Stronach Group’s Chairman and President] Belinda [Stronach] brought in [multi-platinum recording artist] Post Malone. They had a tent and I got to hang out there. It’s a big deal. It’s an event. I think it’s very important these things get off the ground.”
Pletcher agreed Pegasus has been a success. “You can tell by the crowds it’s attracted, the handle it’s attracted. It’s something the racing world is watching,” he said. “Any time you bring a huge purse like that it attracts attention in the community. It brings people to the races that could just be casual race goers. They want to show up for those marquee events. It certainly attracts a new crowd, a different crowd that you normally don’t get, which is important because you want new people to go to the races."
The new position on the calendar provides horsemen a stakes opportunity before the kickoff of the Gulfstream Park Championship meeting and the Tampa Bay Downs opening. The two OBS stakes are non-wagering events, but there will be pari-mutuel wagering available on eight additional races. Entries will be taken on Tuesday, Nov. 13.
The stakes races for OBS graduates will be run over six furlongs with a guaranteed purse of $125,000 each. The OBS Sprint and the OBS Filly and Mare Sprint are for 3-year-olds and up. All starters finishing fifth through last will earn $5,000. Supplementary nominations of $500 may be made at time of entry for those horses missing the free nomination deadline. There is a fee of $1,250 to enter and $2,500 to start.
The eight pari-mutuel races will feature quarter horse races for 2-year-olds as well as for 3-year-olds and up at distances from 220 yards to 440 yards. Up to four thoroughbred maiden and starter allowance races may be used as substitute races. Purses range from $4,000 to $7,000 with all starters guaranteed a minimum of $200.
HALLANDALE BEACH - The Stronach Group, owners of the Pegasus World Cup, announced today an exciting new element to what has become one of the premier events on the thoroughbred racing calendar. The Pegasus World Cup 2019, to be held on Jan. 26, will be adding a Gr. 1 turf stakes to this year’s race-day festivities.
The addition of the turf race, which will be run at 1 3/16 miles, aims to attract and showcase 12 of the best older turf horses from around the world turning the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational into a Championship Invitational Series. The total purse for the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational will be $7 million with $3 million awarded to the winner. The Pegasus World Cup Invitational, to be contested on the dirt at 1 1/8 miles, will offer a $9 million purse with a $4 million prize waiting the winner in the 12-horse field.
Any owner who purchases a spot in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational will be given preference to purchase a spot in the Turf Invitational. The cost to secure an entry spot and enter a horse is $500,000 per race.
“As an international owner I am thrilled that the Pegasus World Cup will include a turf race,” said John Magnier, Founder of Coolmore. “Coolmore, like The Stronach Group, believes in growing our sport and there is no better way to do that than to provide a new platform to showcase the world’s best thoroughbreds.”
As an added incentive and as part of the commitment to provide new, lucrative opportunities for horse owners, The Stronach Group will offer a $1 million bonus to an owner who wins both the Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the Turf Invitational.
The Stronach Group will also introduce a new wager, the Pegasus Pick 24. It will offer the chance to bet on the exact order of finish for both the Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the Turf Invitational. A $5 million bonus awaits the lucky fan who hits the Pegasus Pick 24
HALLANDALE BEACH – Gulfstream Park announced it has received more than 5,000 stall applications for the approximately 3,100 stalls available at Gulfstream, Palm Meadows and Gulfstream Park West for its Championship Meet.
The Championship Meet, which begins Nov. 30, will feature the Pegasus World Cup Invitational, Florida Derby, Clasico Internacional del Caribe, Eclipse Awards, Claiming Crown, Fountain of Youth and world-championship turf and dirt racing through March.
There are 274 trainers who applied for stalls. Among those applying include Todd Pletcher, who has won the Championship Meet trainer’s title an unprecedented 15 times, Bill Mott, Shug McGaughey, Kiaran McLaughlin, Dale Romans, Chad Brown, James Jerkens, Graham Motion, Mike Maker, Michael Matz, Ken McPeek, Wesley Ward, Jason Servis, Mark and Norm Casse, Rick Violette, Kelly Breen, Bob Hess, Jeremiah Englehart, Mark Hennig, Eddie Kenneally, Brendan Walsh, Mary Eppler, Michael Trombetta, Jorge Navarro and Jane Cibelli.
Trainers who will participate in the Championship Meet who are stabled in South Florida year-round include Eddie Plesa Jr., David Fawkes, Stanley Gold, Kathy Ritvo, Antonio Sano, Ralph Nicks, Jena Antonucci, Henry Collazo, Michelle Nihei, Joe Orseno, Gustavo Delgado, Armando De La Cerda, Elizabeth Dobles, Kathleen O’Connell, Peter Walder and Victor Barboza Jr.
“We are delighted with the response from so many of the top trainers in North America and Latin America who would like to winter in South Florida for our legendary Championship meet,” said Gulfstream General Manager Bill Badgett. “Along with world-class racing, The Stronach Group is also redefining the experience of attending the races with relevant and exciting entertainment. We believe this Championship Meet will be the most exciting in Gulfstream’s 80-year history.”
The current meeting at Kentucky Downs is probably the most unique of any track in North America.
No. 1 - There are 10 races on today's program and the least number of entrants in any race is 10, in the third. The total for the entire program is 153, an average of 15.3 per race. What management at Gulfstream Park, Saratoga and Del Mar wouldn't give for numbers like that.
No. 2 - Like every day, the purses in almost every race are supplemented by money earned from the track's historical races, and the figures are from another world. Here's a race-by-race breakdown of the total purse money for each race, and the amount generated by wagering on the historical races:
1st - $55,000 - $44,550.
2nd - $130,000 - $113,100.
3rd - $145,000 - $124,700.
4th - $130,000 - $113,100.
5th - $130,000 - $113,100.
6th - $140,000 - $120,400.
7th - $130,000 - $113,100.
8th - Franklin Simpson Stakes: $300,000 - $258,000.
9th - Ramsey Farm Stakes: $400,000.
10th - $50,000 - $40,500.
Totals - $1,610,000 in purses - $1,040,550 generated from historical races.
I have often read comments by the legion of pessimists that racing has to be buoyed by outside sources in order to stay afloat (like casinos). My answer is: tell that to the owners and trainers who have showed up for this meeting. I'm sure they will be embarrassed to accept their winnings.
HALLANDALE BEACH –Emisael Jaramillo took the lead in the Summer Meet jockey race at Gulfstream Park Saturday with a five-win day. He then added two more winners on Sunday.
In addition to his winning the $75,000 Trinniberg aboard Cautious Giant in Race 5, Venezuela’s all-time winningest jockey scored aboard Master Rory ($4.20) in Race 3, Lady Magica ($3.80) in Race 7, Red Crescent ($11.20) in Race 10, and Piloting ($6.60) in Race 10. On Sunday he won with Song of Melody ($4.80) and Golden Alina ($2.40).
Jaramillo holds a 50-44 lead over Tyler Gaffalione, who rode at Kentucky Downs Saturday and has ridden several programs out of town during the Summer Meet.
Thursday’s Rainbow 6 Carryover will be $120,801, with a post time of 2 p. m. Sunday's multiple winners received $2,150.
THIS IS SO NIFTY - Leverett and Linda Miller, former owners of T-Square Stud, have added another winner produced by their incredible broodmare, So Ritzy. So Nifty, a 2-year-old colt owned and bred by the Millers, scored at Gulfstream Sunday in his second start, a $50,600 maiden special. He's the 12th of So Ritzy's 13 foals to run and the 10th to win. The 13th foal is named So Dears, a yearling filly by Fury Kapcori.
Among her runners, So Ritzy has produced Silver Wagon, an earner of $1,162,193, Rehoboth ($727,215), So Glitzy ($179,405), So Swanky ($166,315) and Ritzy Jones ($111,000). The 12 have combined to win 46 races, led by Rehoboth, who won 16 times during a 77-race career, and Silver Wagon and So Swanky, who won seven times each. as a group, they have earned $2,563,464.
HALLANDALE BEACH –Cookie Dough broke through with her first win in four career starts in Saturday’s $200,000, 7-furlong Susan’s Girl Division of the Florida Sire Stakes, providing trainer Stanley Gold with his record-extending 19th triumph in the series for 2-year-olds sired by accredited stallions standing in Florida.
Arindel Farm’s homebred filly paid $26 after she dominated eight rivals by 6 ½ lengths under Jeffrey Sanchez. She graduated after a pair of trouble-filled third-place finishes in maiden races and a sixth-place finish in the $100,000 Desert Vixen, the first leg of the FSS Aug. 4 in which she was involved in a blazing early speed duel.
“We’ve always been in trouble with her," Gold said. "The first time out she got knocked into the rail and got hurt pretty bad and had to go home and have some time off. The second time she ran she got pushed into the rail. She got banged up but didn’t have to go home. We just never had a clean trip, and I thought she was one of our two best fillies. She had a clean trip today, brought her A Game and did it.”
Cookie Dough broke alertly from her No. 10 post position and rated well while pressing pacesetter Nancysaidso along the backstretch past fractions of 22.93 and 46.48 for the first four furlongs. Under confident handling by Sanchez, Cookie Dough responded when asked for her kick leaving the turn and into the stretch, quickly opening up on the field and drawing off to a commanding victory.
“Last time she got the lead and I didn’t want to take her back," Sanchez said. "But she runs better when she has one horse in front. When you’re ready, when she has a horse in front, and you ask her to run, she gives everything.”
Cookie Dough, a daughter of red-hot second-crop sire Brethren, ran seven furlongs in 1:24.46, giving her trainer his first FSS win for Arindel Farms after saddling 18 winners for a former client, Jacks or Better Farm.
“I don’t really think about that, but it’s exciting to win the first because it is No. 19,” Gold said. “It’s nice not to fade away and not win any for a long time.”
Starship Nala, fifth in the six-furlong Desert Vixen, finished second after stalking the pace. Blazing Brook finished another length back in third. Capture Your Dream, the 3-5 favorite who won the Desert Vixen, faded to sixth after being forwardly placed into the stretch.
Gold said Cookie Dough would be pointed to the $400,000 My Dear Girl, the 1 1/16-mile FSS finale for fillies on Sept. 29.
LAUREL, MD– The Stronach Group announced today it will begin offering a new national Pick 5 wager – the Stronach 5 – beginning Friday, Sept. 28.
The first week will offer a guaranteed pool of $50,000 on the multi-race, multi-track wager with an industry-low 12-percent takeout.
The minimum wager on the Stronach 5 will be $1. The Stronach 5 will feature races from Laurel Park, Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields. If there are no tickets with five winners, the entire pool will be carried over to the next Friday.
The Stronach 5 will be an action-packed wager that will take less than 60 minutes. The Maryland Jockey Club will serve as host and offer the multi-race bet as a separate wagering program. Past performances will be available in programs at all Stronach Group tracks and in the Daily Racing Form.
The first 100 fans who buy a program Sept. 28 at Gulfstream, Santa Anita, Maryland or Golden Gate will be awarded a Quick Pick ticket on the Stronach 5.
While The Stronach Group had a similar cross-country wager in the Magna 5 from 2004-2010, there are significant differences with the Stronach 5. The Magna 5 had a 22 percent takeout, and if there were no winning tickets 75 percent of the pool was carried over.
For the Stronach 5, if a change in racing surface is made after the wagering closes, each selection in that race on any ticket will be considered a winning selection. If a betting interest is scratched, that selection will be substituted with the favorite in the win pool when wagering closes.
HALLANDALE BEACH – Cajun Firecracker got the money in the $100,000 Dr. Fager Division of the Florida Sire Stakes at Gulfstream on Aug. 4. His breeder/owner/trainer got a pile of cash after the homebred colt’s triumph in the first leg of the lucrative series for 2-year-olds sired by accredited stallions standing in Florida.
Bred and owned by trainer Michael Yates’ Shadybrook Farm, Cajun Firecracker is scheduled to return in the $200,000 Affirmed Division of the FSS for new connections Saturday.
“We’re in this business to make money,” Yates said. “Our goal this year was to win a [sire] stakes. We accomplished that and then we had an offer that was too good to refuse.”
The undefeated son of Cajun Breeze was purchased by Heiligbrodt Racing Stable, a long-time client of Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, and transferred to the barn of trainer Ralph Nicks to prepare for the seven-furlong Affirmed.
Cajun Firecracker became the first winner for first-year sire Cajun Breeze on April 13, capturing his debut by two lengths. Yates had campaigned the hard-knocking Cajun Breeze during a 33-race career that yielded four victories and $246,860 in earnings before his retirement in 2015.
“Cajun Breeze is doing very well. It’s very rewarding,” Yates said. “I have 14 yearlings and 15 mares in foal to him this year. I’m all-in.”
Cajun Breeze, a son of Congrats, is a half-brother to Cajun Delta Dawn, who captured two legs of the 2016 Florida Sire Stakes, the Desert Vixen and the Susan’s Girl, before finishing second in the Gr. III Delta Downs Princess.
Cajun Firecracker, who will be ridden back by Miguel Vasquez, closed from off a contested pace to prevail by a neck over odds-on favorite Fully Loaded in the six-furlong Dr. Fager after a seven-week layoff.
For this one, Yates will be trying to upset Cajun Firecracker with Cajun Embers, another son of Cajun Breeze, who closed from last to fifth in the Dr. Fager.
“I thought it was a productive race. Our goal was to try to make sure he was running at the end,” said Yates, who will also be represented by Nancysaidso, a two-time winner by Cajun Breeze, in Saturday’s $200,000 Susan’s Girl for fillies. “The further the races go for him, we feel like the better chance we’ll have.” Jesus Rios has the mount aboard Cajun Embers.
Calypso Stable and Rousseau Racing’s Fully Loaded, who was disqualified and placed third in the Dr. Fager for interference in the stretch after pressing a strong pace, looms as the horse to beat again in the Affirmed. The Jose Pinchin-trained colt sustained his first loss in the Dr. Fager after winning his first two starts impressively. Nik Juarez has the mount aboard the son of Two Step Salsa.
Garter and Tie, who finished third and was placed second in the Dr. Fager, returns in the Affirmed for owner/breeder Jacks or Better Farm, which has notched a record 18 FSS victories. The son of Brooks ’N Down made a strong stretch run to fall short of graduating in the Dr. Fager by two necks. Emisael Jaramillo has been named to ride the Nicks-trained Garter and Tie.
Trainer Stanley Gold, who saddled all of the Jacks or Better’s winners, will seek to add to his personal record total with a pair of Arindel homebred sons of Brethren – Nacho Papa and Homeboy. Nacho Papa, who won his May 12 debut and finished second behind Fully Loaded in a July 6 optional claiming allowance, showed brief speed before fading to eighth at the finish of the Dr. Fager.
“He just didn’t show up. He had no excuses,” Gold said. “He came back to breeze two weeks ago in 47 (seconds), which was the fastest of 92.”
Homeboy closed from far back to capture a six-furlong maiden race on Aug. 18 by 1 ¼ lengths to graduate in his fourth career start. “He won very workmanlike. He kept coming. He’s definitely getting better,” Gold said. “He wants to run two turns.”
Jeffrey Sanchez has the return mount aboard Nacho Papa, while Jonathan Gonzalez will ride Homeboy.
HALLANDALE BEACH – John Oxley and Kathy Machesky’s Capture Your Dream is poised for a bid to win back-to-back divisions of the Florida Sire Stakes series Saturday in the $200,000 Susan’s Girl at Gulfstream Park.
The daughter of Ocala Stud Farm's Uncaptured, who captured the $100,000 Desert Vixen at six-furlongs on Aug. 4, is scheduled to meet nine other fillies in the seven-furlong second leg of the series for 2-year-old fillies sired by accredited stallions standing in Florida.
Trainer Mark Casse isn't too concerned about the added distance in Capture Your Dream’s quest to win her third straight race in her third career start.
“Her dad won going 4 ½ and won running a mile and three-sixteenths,” said Casse, who trained Uncaptured, a highly promising first-year sire whose multiple stakes victories include a triumph in the 1 3/16-mile Prince of Wales at Fort Erie in 2013. “She looks like her dad, just a little smaller version of him.”
Bred by Machesky, Capture Your Dream produced a flashy debut at Gulfstream on May 13, scoring by 10 ½ lengths in a performance that caught the eye of Oxley, who owned her multiple graded stakes-winning sire. Oxley struck a deal with Machesky, who maintained an ownership interest, and transferred the Anna Varsi-trained filly to Casse to prepare her for the Desert Vixen.
“She won the race very impressively and we were fortunate enough to make a deal,” Casse said. “I kind of backed off on her, because it was two months [between races]. I thought she might be vulnerable but she still got it done.”
Emisael Jaramillo is named to ride Capture Your Dream, replacing Tyler Gaffalione, who has mounts at Kentucky Downs Saturday.
The seven-furlong distance of the Susan’s Girl is also of no concern for David Fawkes, the trainer of Desert Vixen runner-up Select Friday.
The Kales Company LLC’s daughter of Kantharos, who debuted with an off-the-pace 3 ¼-length victory on July 1, broke slowly from the starting gate in the Desert Vixen before closing to finish 1 ¼ lengths behind Capture Your Dream. “I expect the added distance will help us a lot,” Fawkes said. “I thought she ran huge. I was actually disappointed she didn’t win the first leg, but it didn’t set up well for her.” Nik Juarez has the return mount aboard Select Friday.
Shadybrook Farm’s Nancysaidso, who brought a two-race winning streak into the Desert Vixen, will seek to rebound from a fourth-place finish in the first leg of the series.
“She’s training good. Her last race, although she was beaten about three lengths, was a good effort. Yet it was a little disappointing,” said breeder/owner/trainer Michael Yates. “I think there’s a little bit more there than we got last time.” Yates is hoping for a less stressful trip in the Susan’s Girl than she had last time.
“It was a big field, so my rider was forced to go a little bit. I really don’t think she wants to be sent, but that remains to be seen also. He had to chase the pace a bit due to the field size to keep from getting covered up by a bunch of horses,” Yates said. “If the pace is a little softer than the three-quarters race, I think she’ll run well.”
Nancysaidso surprised her trainer during a ‘maintenance work’ last Saturday when she breezed a half mile in 47.54 seconds, the fastest of 102 workouts at the distance.
“She’s been a filly that looked like she wanted a little more ground to begin with. She got her maiden broke going 5 ½, which was somewhat of a surprise and something that makes me feel better about her,” said Yates, who named Richard Mitchell to ride Nancysaidso for the first time.
Yates is also scheduled to saddle Jessica for a start in the Desert Vixen. Purchased by Yates’ Shadybrook Farm for $8,000 at the 2017 OBS October sale, the daughter of Prospective debuted with a 1 ¼-length victory at Gulfstream on July 28. Samy Camacho has the return mount.
Trainer Stanley Gold, who has saddled the winners of a record 18 FSS races, will be represented by three Arindel homebred fillies, Cookie Dough, Snowzilla and Samoa, in the Susan’s Girl. The three, who are all by Brethren, finished a neck and a head apart while finishing sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively, in the Desert Vixen.
Although Cookie Dough is still looking to graduate, Gold remains confident that she is worthy of competing with the best Florida-bred fillies. She finished third in her first two races after being pushed into the inside rail both times, before setting a pressured pace and fading to sixth under Jeffrey Sanchez in the Desert Vixen.
“She had tough luck twice and then Jeffrey had to send her to get out of there and was pushed by two legit speed horses. She went 45 and change and got tired from her efforts.” Gold said. “She doesn’t need to be there. She needs to be tactically close to the lead and to put in her run when it’s time.”
Snowzilla won one of three start prior to making a strong late run to close from 13th to eighth in the stretch. Samoa, who broke her maiden in her second career start, lagged early in the Desert Vixen before making a belated rally. “She raced wide. She could never get in, but she gave a good kick at the end,” Gold said. “There will be plenty of speed in this race.”
Sanchez will retain the mount on Cookie Dough, while Jonathan Gonzalez and Luca Panici have been named to ride Snowzilla and Samoa, respectively.
Also entered in the Susan’s Girl: Starship Nala, who finished an even fifth in the Desert Vixen, Blazing Brook and Gerry’s Big Win.
Ocala tax specialist Judy White, who plys her trade from two offices, one in the Golden Hills complex and another in town, is part of a partnership called 'In To Win Racing' that owns the Oklahoma-bred 3-year-old Wolfzing. The ridgling trained by Lynn Chieborad was a $4,900 RNA at the Oklahoma yearling sale in 2016.
Wolfzing has raced six times and hasn't won yet, but it's just a matter of time. He has two seconds and three thirds on his resume and is getting better each week. That resume includes a recent third in the Iowa Stallion Stakes. Yesterday, in a maiden special at Remington Park for 3, 4 and 5-year-olds bred in Oklahoma, Alex Birzer got Wolfzing home second, 1 1/4 lengths behind Daaher's Success, in a swift 1:10.37 for six furlongs.
Wolfzing sat close to a pace of :22.15, :45.15 and :57.46 and was still there at the end, collecting a check of $9,203. That raised his total to a nifty $30,186, not bad for a horse who has raced just six times without visiting the winner's circle.
THEY NEED HELP - Even after all this time, several of the people at TVG still drive me nuts, mostly by what they have to say and how they say it. Joaquin Jaime is a nice kid, good-looking, great voice, but he's the king of redundancy. When the horses are getting into the gate, he constantly tells us who the 'post-time' favorite is, I guess so we won't get it mixed up with who the favorite was with five minutes to post time, or 10 minutes.
When I thought there were two horses who came out of the same race, Joaquin told us that "these two horses came out of the 'exact' same race." He also mentioned that in the H. Allen Jerkens Stakes Firenze Fire "flattened out" in the stretch; anybody watching the late run of the son of Poseidon's Warrior knows he finished fastest of all.
And, of course, my No. 1 pet peeve, the 12-year mispronunciation of Leparoux by all the TVG-ites. Yesterday, Julien won the Gr. I Sword Dancer Handicap by daylight and track announcer Larry Collmus, as he always does, gave us the correct pronunciation of Le-paroux. Trainer Ron Ellis quickly chimed in with Leh-paroux, and Scott Hazelton with the infamous Lay-paroux.
EXCHANGE IT FOR A REAL BET - In New Jersey, they're still trumpeting exchange wagering, the "new" type of wagering introduced by Betfair that was supposed to put the oomph back in racing and save it from extinction. Some keep calling it "popular" but it certainly hasn't helped the handle at Monmouth Park. Look at the results from the Jersey shore, they're miserable.
GIVE ME A BREAK - It's anybody's guess why The Jockey Club has allowed breeders and owners to name horses after others who raced before them fairly recently. Something about running out of names. Phooey.
At least put in a rule that you can't name a horse after a recent millionaire, as in why is there a new Revved Up to conflict with Live Oak Stud's son of Sultry Song who is one of the four millionaires produced by the great broodmare Win Approval. It makes no sense, so I guess that's why they allow it.
Despite the lack of a great many names on the 2018 Florida freshman sire list, the battle for leadership in two important categories - number of winners and earnings - appears to be going down to the wire based on the latest standings.
In the winners' department, it's Pleasant Acres Stallions' Handsome Mike, Ocala Stud Farm's Uncaptured and Woodford Thoroughbreds' He's Had Enough, all with four.
By earnings, it's Uncaptured with $337,287, followed by Stonehedge Farm South's surprising Cajun Breeze with $282,520, He's Had Enough with $202,716, Handsome Mike with $138,240 and Get Away Farm's Drill, who has three winners, with $107,426.
The whole earnings picture can change on Sept. 1 with the running of the second legs of the Florida Sire Stakes - the Affirmed for colts and geldings and the Susan's Girl for fillies.
HALLANDALE BEACH – Nacho Mama made her debut a memorable one Sunday at Gulfstream Park, setting a track record on her way to a two-length victory in the fourth race, a $65,000 maiden special weight allowance.
The juvenile daughter of Brethren ran 4 ½ furlongs in 50.86 seconds, eclipsing the mark of 51.07 set by Awesome Banner on June 5, 2015.
Arindel Farm’s homebred filly stalked the early pace set by Abuela’s Love, a first-time starter by Cairo Prince trained by Eddie Plesa Jr. who set sharp half-mile fractions of 21 and 44. Nacho Mama, under Jeffrey Sanchez, made a three-wide move on the turn into the homestretch and kicked in through the lane to win going away over Abuela’s Love.
Stanley Gold trains Nacho Mama and also trained Awesome Banner, who went on to become a multiple graded stakes-winner.
“She breezed good and galloped very good,” Sanchez said. “She broke good. I didn’t want to use her too early. When I asked her to go, she finished very, very strong.”
One race after Nacho Mama set the track record, her 3-year-old multiple staked-placed full sister, Awesome Mass, won a hard-fought victory by a nose in a $47,000 second-level optional claiming allowance at 6 ½-furlongs. The Gold-trained Arindel homebred was also ridden by Sanchez.
Nacho Mama is eligible for the FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes series. The $200,000 Susan’s Girl for fillies, and the $200,000 Affirmed, are scheduled for Sept. 1.
HALLANDALE BEACH – Capture Your Dream lived up to her 3-5 favoritism Saturday at Gulfstream Park while winning the $100,000 Desert Vixen Division of the FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes, proving to be a smart purchase for owner John Oxley and trainer Mark Casse.
Capture Your Dream had captured her May 13 debut at Gulfstream Park by 10 ½ lengths for owner/breeder Kathy Machesky and trainer Anna Varsi before Oxley bought into the juvenile daughter of Uncaptured. The stallion was a multiple graded-stakes winner whom Oxley campaigned during his racing career and who now stands at Ocala Stud Farm.
Following the purchase, Capture Your Dream joined Casse’s Palm Meadows stable that already housed another talented daughter of Uncaptured, Catherinethegreat, who would go on to break her maiden easily at Gulfstream Park before winning the Gr. III Schuylerville at Saratoga.
“Working with her and Catherinethegreat, Uncaptured’s horses seem to be really smart. They know what they’re doing. It’s like it’s bred in them,” said Allen Hardy, Casse’s assistant trainer at Palm Meadows.
Capture Your Dream broke alertly under Tyler Gaffalione to press a quick early pace set by Cookie Dough, who registered fractions of 21.94 and 45.37 for the first half mile of the six-furlong race. Capture Your Dream grabbed the lead on the turn and into the stretch and kicked in through the lane to win by 1 ¼ lengths.
“The filly broke real good today and put herself in a good spot," Gaffalione said. She showed she could relax and when I asked her to run she showed a nice turn of foot. I don’t see seven furlongs being a problem.” The rider was looking ahead to the second leg of the Florida Sire Stakes on Sept. 1, when the $200,000 Susan’s Girl for fillies and the $200,000 Affirmed will be run at seven furlongs.
Capture Your Dream ran six furlongs in 1:11.31 to finish clear of late-running Select Friday.
HALLANDALE BEACH – Shadybrook Farm’s Cajun Firecracker upset heavily favored Fully Loaded in Saturday’s $100,000 Dr. Fager Division of the FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes. Trainer Michael Yates’ homebred colt scored at odds of 7-1, a small price compared to the odds that were stacked against a successful stallion career for his sire, Cajun Breeze.
A tough-as-nails warrior who amassed earnings of nearly $250,000 prior to his 2015 retirement, Cajun Breeze never won a stakes during his 32-race career. But he became a stakes-winning sire Saturday when his son crossed the finish line a neck ahead of the 3-5 favorite in the six-furlong race for 2-year-olds sired by accredited stallions standing in Florida.
Yates, who campaigned Cajun Breeze, took a chance at giving the son of Congrats a career at stud, sending him to Stonehedge Farm South in Williston and breeding many of his mares to him, including Clara Bow, Cajun Firecracker's dam.
“We owned the mare – she ran a little up the east coast – she’s a pretty mare. She had some talent but had some issues as a race horse so we just bred her,” Yates said.
Cajun Firecracker's only experience was a two-length triumph in an April 13 maiden special weight race at Gulfstream. He stalked the pace set by Jackson, who was pressed by Fully Loaded along the backstretch. then began advancing on the far turn. Fully Loaded took over the lead under Edgard Zayas leaving the turn and into the stretch as his pacesetting stablemate Jackson tired, and the colt by Two Step Salsa appeared to be on his way to his third victory in three starts. However, Cajun Firecracker kicked in through the stretch under Miguel Vasquez and wore down the tiring favorite, who drifted out into the Yates homebred nearing the finish.
“I thought we would stalk the speed because she was on the outside," Yates said. "I was thankful to be outside of it because [Fully Loaded] is a pretty good horse.” The racing gods were with us today.”
Before the race became official, Cajun Firecracker had to survive a foul claim by Tyler Gaffalione, who finished a fast-closing third aboard Garter and Tie. Although Cajun Firecracker drifted into the path of Garter and Tie, the stewards determined that Fully Loaded had initiated the incident and disqualified the favorite and placed him third.
Cajun Firecracker ran six furlongs in 1:09.94, after fractions of 22:08, 44.80 and 56.96.
The next leg of the Florida Sires Stakes is set for Sept. 1, when the $200,000 Affirmed and the $200,000 Susan’s Girl for fillies will be contested at seven furlongs.
Note: Total handle on Gulfstream’s Sire Stakes program was $9.576 million, a 13-percent increase over last year’s handle of $8.433. Handle on the opening day of the Sire Stakes has risen each of the last four years after $6.244 million was wagered in 2015.