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Bernie's Blog

Monday, January 20, 2020
Rainbow guaranteed at $4 million today . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Sackatoga Stable’s Tiz the Law breezed five furlongs Sunday at Gulfstream Park in preparation for a planned start in the $350,000, Gr. III Holy Bull on Feb. 1.

    Trainer Barclay Tagg shipped the Gr. 1 stakes-winning 3-year-old son of Constitution from Palm Meadows Training Center for the workout, which was timed in 1:01.55.  New York-based jockey Manuel Franco came in for the breeze before returning to Aqueduct, where he rode the first-race winner. “He got some distance under him and got a feel for the track, that’s all I wanted to do,” Tagg said. “He seemed to handle it all right.” The breeze was his fourth since he finished third in the Nov. 30 Gr. II Kentucky Jockey Club.

    “He does every right. He’s no problem at all to train,” said Tagg, who saddled Sackatoga Stable’s Funny Cide for victories in the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

    Tiz the Law won his first two starts before finishing third in the Kentucky Jockey Club, which was run over a sloppy, sealed racetrack at Churchill Downs. He debuted at Saratoga on Aug. 8 with a 4 ½-length romp before capturing the Oct. 5 Gr. I Champagne at Belmont by four lengths.

Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Pool Guaranteed at $4 Million

    The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $4 million for today’s special Martin Luther King Jr. Day program.  (First-race post: 12:35 p.m.) The multi-race wager went unsolved for the 37th consecutive racing day Friday, and tickets with all six winners were worth $9,572.

        

            
Friday, January 17, 2020
Guarantees also for World Cup program . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Pool guarantees for the Late Pick 4 and the Late Pick 5 will be offered on the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series program at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 25.

    The Late Pick 4, which will span the final four races on the program, will have a $1 million pool guarantee. The Late Pick 5, which will span the last five races on the card, will offer a $750,000 pool guarantee. Both are 50 cent-base wagers.

    The $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational will highlight a program that will feature nine stakes, six graded, worth $4.2 million in purses
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Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Pool Guaranteed at $3 Million

    The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot pool will be guaranteed at a life-changing $3 million for today’s program. The multi-race wager went unsolved for the 34th consecutive racing day of the 2019-2020 Championship Meet at Gulfstream Thursday, when multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $2,484.

        
WHO'S HOT: Jairo Rendon rode three winners Thursday, scoring aboard Scatnap ($8.40) in Race 7 and Dr. Harlan ($10.20) in Race 9 after an upset victory in Race 1 with Conquer ($67.80).

    Tyler Gaffalione doubled aboard Queen Nekia ($4.20) in Race 3 and Dermot ($8.20) in Race 5. Luis Saez also doubled with Drop Kick ($12.60) in Race 6 and Kitten By the Sea ($7.80) in Race 10.
Monday, January 13, 2020
Pletcher million-dollar yearling wins by 12 . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 32nd consecutive racing day of the 2019-2020 Championship Meet Sunday, producing a carryover jackpot of $2,371,994 for Wednesday’s program. Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $2,223.

Million-Dollar Spice Is Nice Debuts Impressively

    Todd Pletcher unveiled an exciting 3-year-old filly prospect in Spice Is Nice on Sunday’s program. The daughter of Curlin scored a 12-length victory in Race 6, a mile maiden special weight race. Spice Is Nice, who was purchased for $1.05 million at the 2017 Keeneland September sale by Robert and Lawana Low, rated off the early pace before moving to the lead along the rail under John Velazquez on the turn into the stretch and drawing clear. Spice Is Nice ran a mile in 1:36.06 in her impressive debut.

    Earlier on the card, Motivated Seller, a 3-year-old daughter of Into Mischief trained by Chad Brown, set a fast pressured pace before drawing away to a six-length score. Owned by Klaravich Stables Inc., Motivated Seller ran six furlongs in 1:10.99 under Javier Castellano in her career debut.

Who’s Hot:  Luis Saez tripled Sunday, scoring aboard Mr. Atila ($6) in Race 2, By the Sey Shore ($11.40) in Race 5, and Bold Painter ($14.40) in Race 7. Defending champ Irad Ortiz Jr. rode a pair of winners, scoring aboard Hard Count ($2.40) in Race 3 and New York’s Finest ($5) in Race 9.


Saturday, January 11, 2020
Rainbow 6 soaring . . .

    LAUREL, MD – Without a favorite winning even one race, there were seven winning tickets in Friday’s Stronach 5, each returning $25,941. The wager, with a 12-percent takeout, had a guaranteed pool of $100,000, but the final total handle reached $206,397.

   The lowest payoff in the sequence was $11.20, and that came in the opening leg at Laurel Park. Also featured were races from Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park and Golden Gate Fields

Friday’s Stronach 5 Sequence:

?    Leg One: Laurel Park 8th Race: Factor It In - $11.20

?    Leg Two: Santa Anita 1sr Race: Lavender - $13.40

?    Leg Three: Gulfstream Park 9th Race: Ekhitibaar - $14.40

?    Leg Four:  Golden Gate Fields: Hot n’Famous - $12.80

?    Leg Five: Gulfstream Park Race 10th Race: Lady Grace - $13.40

    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.

    The Rainbow 6 at Gulfstream survived again, and there's a guaranteed pool of $2.5 million today.
The multi-race wager went unsolved for the 30th consecutive racing day of the 2019-2020 Championship Meet, and multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $13,234.

Thursday, January 9, 2020
Ocala Stud sire was bred to 149 mares in 2019 . . .
From the Blood-Horse
 
     Ocala Stud's Girvin  sired his first reported foal when a Florida-bred filly out of the stakes-placed D'wildcat mare C d'Cat was delivered Jan. 4 at 1:55 a.m. The filly was bred by Grand Oaks' Brad and Misty Grady and Mary Ellen Coenen.

    Girvin, by Tale of Ekati —Catch the Moon, by Malibu Moon , was campaigned by Brad Grady throughout his career with trainer Joe Sharp. He won or placed in five of eight graded stakes starts, including victories in the Gr. I Haskell Invitational in 2017, Gr. I Louisiana Derby, and Gr. II Risen Star Stakes, earning $1,624,392 in his racing career. Girvin covered 149 mares in his first book a year ago. The 6-year-old stallion's 2020 fee remains at $7,500.

    Girvin was bred in Kentucky by Bob Austin and John White. Grand Oaks purchased him for $130,000 from Legacy Bloodstock's consignment to Fasig-Tipton's 2015 October Yearling Sale. The horse is a half-brother to Gr. III winner Cocked and Loaded and Gr. III-placed Pirate's Punch. His 2-year-old half-brother, a Tiznow  colt bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, was purchased for $525,000 by Winchell Thoroughbreds from Warrendale Sales' consignment to the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

    The Jan. 4 filly is the third foal out of C d'Cat. The mare also has a 2-year-old Street Boss  filly and a Dominus  yearling filly. Both were bred in Florida by the Gradys and Coenen.
Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Wednesday winners cash for $20,721 . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 pool will be guaranteed at $2 million Thursday at Gulfstream Park. The multi-race wager went unsolved for the 28th consecutive day of the 2019-2020 Championship Meet today, when multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $20,721.

   There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $3,903.83 heading into Thursday’s program.

WHO'S HOT - Irad Ortiz Jr. rode three winners on today’s program, scoring aboard Hey Kitten ($3.80) in Race 4, Elusive Ro ($7.40) in Race 7, and Codrington ($4) in Race 8.


Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Rider of Proud Clarion is 84 . . .

    After the passing of Dave Erb on Nov. 22, the oldest living Kentucky Derby-winning jockey is now Bobby Ussery. Erb was the rider of Needles, the first Derby winner bred in Florida, in 1956. He was 95. Ussery won the Derby in 1967 aboard Proud Clarion; he'll be 85 in September.

    Ussery is three years older than Gulfstream steward Don Brumfield, winner of the 1966 Derby aboard Kauai King, and Gustavo Avila, winner in 1971 on Canonero II.

    Braulio Baeza, winner in 1962 with Chateaugay and now a jockey's agent, will be 80 in March; Ronnie Turcotte, two-time winner with Riva Ridge (1972) and Secretariat (1973), will be 79 in July; Angel Cordero, winner in 1974 with Cannonade and also a jockey's agent, will be 78 in November, and Ocala's Jacinto Vasquez, winner on Foolish Pleasure (1975) and Genuine Risk (1980), turned 76 on Jan. 4.  

    

Monday, January 6, 2020
Son of Distorted Humor winds up with more than $1.2 million . . .

    A little more than a year ago, Brent and Crystal Fernung, owners of Journeyman Stud, announced that their confidence in Khozan's first crop was so great that if the son of Distorted Humor did not end 2019 as Florida's leading freshman sire, the first 25 breeders who sent mares to the stallion in the spring of 2019 would not have to pay the stud fee of $4,000. After Khozan bounced out of the gate with a flurry of early winners, there was never a doubt that the Fernungs had nothing to worry about.

    Khozan opened up a big lead in the money-earnings department, greatly aided by Gilbert and Marilyn Campbell's many winners from their Stonehedge Farm South farm in Williston, and the outcome of that race was a foregone conclusion. He wound up with earnings of $1,258,517, easily outdistancing Ocala Stud's The Big Beast ($678,306). Double Diamond Farm's Bahamian Squall was third with $292,966, followed by Journeyman's Fury Kapcori ($280,002). 

    Khozan also led in the winners department all season, although The Big Beast made a big move late in the year that fell just short. Khozan wound up with 18 winners, two better than The Big Beast and 11 more than both Bahamian Squall and Fury Kapcori. 

    Four other Florida freshmen had winners - Bridlewood Farm's Chitu (5), Goldmark Farm's Young Brian (2), and Pleasant Acres' Amira's Prince and Champagne Farm's Katz My Song, one apiece.  

     

Thursday, January 2, 2020
Jackpot up to $1.3 million . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 23rd consecutive racing day of the 2019-2020 Championship Meet Wednesday, producing a carryover jackpot of $1,322,193 for today’s program.

    Multiple tickets with all six winners on the New Year’s Day card were each worth $67,649.


Omaha Beach Arrives - Omaha Beach, one of the favorites for the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Jan. 25, arrived safely from California Tuesday evening. Omaha Beach, a son of War Front, was the early morning-line choice for the Kentucky Derby after victories in the Gr. II Rebel and Gr. I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park. He was scratched three days before the race, however, after being diagnosed with an entrapped epiglottis.

    The colt owned by Fox Hill Farms returned five months later to win the Gr. I Santa Anita Sprint Championship before a game second-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. In his last start prior to arriving at Gulfstream, he handily beat four others in the Gr. I Malibu Dec. 28 at Santa Anita.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020
At Richard Grunder's Morning Glory Club . . .

    OLDSMAR - Hall of Fame jockey Jacinto Vasquez will be the featured guest on track announcer Richard Grunder’s “Morning Glory Club” Show at 10 a.m. on Saturday on the first floor of the grandstand.

    Vasquez retired in 1996 with 5,228 victories, which is 26th best all-time among North American jockeys. The Ocala resident rode an additional race in 2008 at Santa Anita that included eight Hall of Fame riders.


   Vasquez won the Kentucky Derby on Florida-bred Foolish Pleasure in 1975 and on the filly Genuine Risk in 1980, but may be more well known as the jockey for Ruffian, who won her first 10 starts before breaking down in a match race against Foolish Pleasure on July 6, 1975 at Belmont Park. Attempts to save her were unsuccessful and she was euthanized the following day. Vasquez rode Ruffian in the match race, saying she was the better of the two horses.


    The rider’s other filly of renown, Genuine Risk, was the first of her sex to win the Run for the Roses since Regret in 1915. Both Ruffian and Genuine Risk are in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga. Among the many other top thoroughbreds ridden by Vasquez were Turkoman, Smile, Highland Blade, Forego, Forever Silver, Sensitive Prince and Princess Rooney. He won the Tampa Bay Derby in 1990 on Champagneforashley.

    Vasquez will be accompanied Saturday by his close friend, sports writer Bernie Dickman, whose Tampa Bay Downs selections appeared in the Tampa Bay Times (formerly St. Petersburg Times) for 22 seasons. Dickman, who also gave handicapping seminars at Tampa Bay Downs for 15 years, will sign copies of his book “Thrills of a Lifetime – My 62 years as a sports writer.” He currently opines on various facets of the racing and breeding industries on his website, www.tracktimestoday.net.

    Copies of the book signed by Dickman and Vasquez will be on sale for $22. Vasquez will also sign glossy photographs of Ruffian and Genuine Risk for $12 apiece and will be available to sign other memorabilia.

    Fans who attend the “Morning Glory Club” Show on Saturday will receive free coffee and donuts and free admission to the races in the afternoon.

CHANCE TO WIN BIG - The second annual High Rollers Handicapping Contest, featuring a potential first-place prize of $20,000, will be held Saturday, Jan. 11 in the VIP Room.

    Players are required to deposit $1,000, of which $500 will serve as the player’s wagering bankroll and $500 will go to the prize pool. Any dollar amount remaining in their bankroll at the conclusion of the contest goes directly to the player, meaning all of the prize money is returned to the entrants.

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

    Only races at Tampa Bay Downs on Jan. 11 will be included in the contest, and players must wager at the contest site to be eligible. The first and second-place finishers will also earn a seat in either of the next two National Thoroughbred Racing Association National Handicapping Championships in Las Vegas (this year’s event will be held Feb. 7-9 at Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino). Players can enter online at www.tampabaydowns.com . The entry deadline is noon on Jan. 11. For additional details, call (813) 855-4401, extension 1368.










Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Mulligan's selections pay off big-time . . .

    The official fireworks don't begin until around sundown this evening, but Mike Mulligan's BetBestBreeze.com got off to an early start on the final Sunday of the year. If one of the firecrackers is known as a blockbuster, the first one exploded two days ago.

    Sunday's selections included just six tracks - Aqueduct, Fair Grounds, Gulfstream Park, Laurel Park, Santa Anita and Sunland Park. After scratches, there were 17 starters remaining and they compiled a record of 5 victories, 6 seconds and 2 thirds, which means just four were off the board. That produced a winning percentage of 29.4 and an eye-opening in-the-money percentage of 76.4. 

    Here's how it transpired:

Aqueduct: 3 winners out of four starters - Bobbyfromthepalm ($9.00), Hellbender ($4.00) and London House ($6.10).

Fair Grounds: The day's blockbuster was Runchiefrun, who paid $91.60, $25.20 and $11.20. The $1 exacta paid $259.70, 50-cent trifecta $3,777.80 and 10-cent superfecta $2,512.75. There were also two seconds and a third in New Orleans. 

Gulfstream Park: Three runners, three seconds, one by a nose and another by a neck. 

Laurel Park: One runner off the board.

Santa Anita: Three runners, one winner (Venetian Harbor - $4.00, by 10 3/4 lengths) and one third at 21-1.

Sunland Park: Two runners, one 2nd. 

A $20 win bet on all 17 runners would have cost $340 and returned $1,147. 
Monday, December 30, 2019
Meneses, Ortiz, Gaffalione sizzling at Gulfstream . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 pool will be guaranteed at $1.5 million for Wednesday’s New Year’s Day program at Gulfstream Park. The multi-race wager went unsolved for the 22nd racing day of the 2019-2020 Championship Meet Sunday. Multiple winning tickets returned $1,019.

    WHO'S HOT: Marcos Meneses notched a triple on Sunday’s card riding back-to-back winners Gran Causeway ($3) in Race 4 and Pango ($11) in Race 5, before scoring aboard Rebelde ($6.40) in Race 7.

    Irad Ortiz Jr., who rode five winners on Friday and three Saturday, made two visits to the winner’s circle, scoring with Gufo ($5) in Race 3 and Blood Moon ($4) in Race 6.

    Tyler Gaffalione, who rode two stakes winners on Saturday’s card, rode back-to-back winners Sunday aboard Tap the Mojo ($19.80) in Race 9 and Krammy Boy ($5.40) in Race 10.

 

Saturday, December 28, 2019
8-year-old remains unbeaten with impressive score . . .
    OLDSMAR - Five years can seem like an eternity in horse racing. But when owner-trainer Tim Padilla traveled to Purcell, Okla., early this year to pick up former stable star Merango Tango, it seemed like 2014 all over again, and he devised a plan to get him back to the races.

    The 8-year-old gelding brought the heartfelt reunion to fruition in Friday’s third race, drawing off to win by fpur lengths in his first start since Sept. 17, 2014 at Remington Park. “He’s always wanted to be a racehorse,” Padilla said. “I’m just happy for the horse to get him back doing what he loves.”

    The victory, achieved with Dean Butler in the saddle, upped Merango Tango’s career record to 3-for-3. His previous victories, both at six furlongs, came in a maiden special weight contest (in 1:10.13) and a conditional allowance (in 1:09.49), both at Remington.

    “He just had some little problems, and then when he came back something else went wrong,” Padilla said of Merango Tango, who was purchased as a weanling at Keeneland November in 2011 for $80,000 by Alan Booge Racing. “As a 2-year-old he got his back leg caught under a fence and had to have surgery to have bone fragments removed. We gave him a year off and some other problems occurred, so the owner turned him out. When Mr. Booge died earlier this year, I decided to give him one more chance because I knew he wanted to be a good horse,” Padilla said. The trainer and Booge had a close relationship, making the victory especially meaningful.

    Merango Tango’s time for the 5 ½ furlongs on a fast track was a swift 1:04.46. The Virginia-bred is a son of 1999 Belmont Stakes winner Lemon Drop Kid, out of the Red Ransom mare Ransom Dance. He paid $8 to win as the second betting choice in the seven-horse field.

    Butler was visibly impressed by Merango Tango’s effort, but not surprised. “I knew he’d win. I get on him every morning to gallop and work him, and everything he did was telling me he was ready and fit. He has a lot of ‘back class.’ When I gallop him he goes around there pretty nice and easy, and he’s real kind to me. He was just out there today having fun.”

    Padilla, who re-acquired Merango Tango earlier this year, began working him out in May at Canterbury Park in Minnesota. He put him through four 4-furlong breezes at Tampa Bay Downs since Nov. 16, including a 4-furlong move from the starting gate in 49 3/5 seconds on Nov. 23, to prepare for Friday’s race.

    According to Tampa Bay Downs Association Steward Dennis Lima, Merango Tango fulfilled all of the track’s requirements to be eligible to compete after such a lengthy layoff. Any horse that has not raced in the previous 24 months must have two officially recorded workouts, with at least one being 4 furlongs from the starting gate in 52 seconds or better, and be approved by the starter.

    Further, the gate work must be observed and approved by an Association Veterinarian, with blood drawn after the gate workout at the owner or trainer’s expense and tested and cleared by the testing laboratory, before the horse is allowed to enter or start.

    Padilla risked having Merango Tango claimed for the relatively low price of $8,000; but that bargain just left the station. “I figured after a 5-year layoff, someone would have to be pretty strong in the game to want him,” Padilla said. “He just had too much class for these horses, and he ran fast and he ran good. Now that he has this race underneath him, we’ll point for something different.”






Thursday, December 26, 2019
Rainbow 6 guarantee up to $1.25 million . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Gulfstream Park’s handle today of $12.303 million was a record for a weekday in December. The 10-race program, which featured the return of jockey Edgard Zayas and a five-victory afternoon by Luis Saez, topped the previous December weekday record of $10.2 million set on Dec. 29 of 2017.

    Gulfstream’s Championship Meet continues Friday with a guaranteed pool in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 of $1.25 million. First race post is 12:35 p.m. Saturday’s program features six turf stakes including the Tropical Park Derby and Tropical Park Oaks. First race post is noon.


Thursday, December 26, 2019
A Threat of Blue unbeaten on Gulfstream Turf . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Leonard C. Green’s A Threat of Blue will be on a quest to maintain a perfect record over the Gulfstream Park turf course in Saturday’s $75,000 Tropical Park Derby, a 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-olds, one of six stakes on an 11-race program.

    The son of Hard Spun was undefeated in three starts during the 2018-2019 Championship Meet. The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained colt won an optional claiming allowance by 2 ¾ lengths before capturing the Dania Beach by 3 ½ lengths and the Palm Beach by three-quarters of a length
.

    The Tropical Park Derby could well prove to be a prep for the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational on Jan. 25.

    “We were going to Del Mar for the [Nov. 30] Hollywood Derby, but with all the weather and flight issues, we changed up,” McLaughlin said. “We were looking at the Pegasus, then we decided to run here. We still could go to the Pegasus. We’ll see. It was either this race or others here and there. Doing this we might be able to do both, because it’s back in four weeks."

     The McLaughlin-trained Lucullan, a graded-stakes winner owned by Godolphin LLC, is also a prospect for the 1 3/16-mile Pegasus Turf, in which all participants will run medication-free. “I think it’s a good thing,”McLaughlin said. “I commend them for doing the changes.”

     A Thread of Blue, who will be ridden by Luis Saez, has been installed at 7-2 in the  morning line, a price that likely would have been lower had he not drawn the No. 14 post position.

Harrell Ventures LLC’s Halladay, who is coming off a pair of third-place finishes in New York stakes, and Calumet Farm’s English Bee, who won the Gr. III Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs and the Parx Fall Derby in his last two starts, were rated second and third in the morning line at 9-2 and 6-1, respectively. Halladay (No. 12) and English Bee (No. 11) also drew outside post positions. John Velazquez has the call on Halladay, while Chris Landeros is scheduled to ride English Bee.

    Patricia Generazio’s Timmy M. drew the No. 1 post position for a quest to win his first stakes race. The homebred son of Morning Line has placed three times in stakes, including a runner-up finish in the Sept. 21 Bear’s Den, in which he recovered from a bumping incident entering the stretch. “He belongs and it’s the last 3-year-old race of the year,” trainer Joe Orseno said. “He’s pretty honest. He’s had some rough trips. That’s his biggest problem. He’s been beaten by bad luck.” Paco Lopez has the mount.

    Arindel’s Scraps, a homebred son of of Brethren who defeated Timmy M. in the Bear’s Den, enters the Tropical Park Derby off a fast-closing victory in an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream. Jairo Rendon has the return mount.

    Monarch Stables Inc.’s Art G Is Back is a multiple stakes-winner who will seek his first stakes victory on turf. The son of Exchange Rate, who finished fourth behind A Thread of Blue in the Palm Beach, has been second or third in four of his six turf starts, including a second-place finish in the English Channel, which he lost by a nose.
“I think he’s a little better on dirt, but he’s been close on turf,” trainer Ron Spatz said. “It’s the last race for 3-year-olds, so why not?” Rajiv Maragh is scheduled to ride Art G Is Back for the first time Saturday.

    Paradise Farms Corp. and Mad Dog Racing’s Temple and Phoenix Thoroughbred III’s Kadar, who finished first and second, a nose apart, respectively, ahead of Halladay in the Nov. 29 Gio Ponti at Aqueduct, will return to action in the Tropical Park Derby. Both horses are trained by Michael Maker, who also entered Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Faraway Kitten. Temple, who was claimed for $25,000 at Gulfstream in July before winning the $600,000 Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs, will be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. Kadir, a 3-year-old son of Scat Daddy who started his career in England before arriving n the U.S. this year, will be ridden by Jose Ortiz.
Tyler Gaffalione has the mount aboard Faraway Kitten, who captured the Arlington Derby (G3) in July.

    Forever Mo, Stirling Drive, Notorious Nick, Jais’s Solitude and Armistice Day round out the field.

Monday, December 23, 2019
Sunday's winners get $14,865 . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 18th racing day in a row Sunday at Gulfstream Park, producing a carryover jackpot of $874,46 for Thursday’s program.Tickets with all six winners were each worth $14,865.

    There will also be a Super Hi-5 Carryover of $10,921.94 heading into Thursday’s card.

HE'S HOT:  Luis Saez rode four winners on Sunday’s card, including three straight aboard Fearless ($2.60) in Race 2, Take Charge Tina ($3.80) in Race 3 and Squeezadios ($10.80) in Race 3. He completed the four-win day aboard Mean Mary ($6.40) in Race 9.

 
Saturday, December 21, 2019
Expected rain and wind a major concern . . .
    OLDSMAR - Sunday’s nine-race card has been cancelled due to concerns of inclement weather throughout the entire Tampa Bay area and along Florida’s west coast. The card will be made up on Thursday, Jan. 23, pending state approval.

    “The safety of our jockeys and horses, as well as fans traveling to and from the racetrack, is of paramount concern,” said Peter Berube, the track’s Vice President-General Manager. “The forecast is for at least a couple of inches of rain and high winds overnight and into Sunday, and we have decided to err on the side of caution and make the card up at a later date.”

    The track will remain open Sunday for simulcast wagering and action in The Silks Poker Room. The next day of Thoroughbred racing is Thursday, with post time for the first of nine races at 12:46 p.m.

    Today’s second race, the Lambholm South Race of the Week on the turf, marked the stateside debut of 20-year-old English apprentice jockey Cieren Fallon, the 2019 champion apprentice in Great Britain and son of retired six-time British champion rider Kieren Fallon. The youngster finished third aboard the Christophe Clement-trained 3-year-old colt Uhtred, 2 ¼ lengths behind winner Dream Liner. The younger Fallon’s mother, Julie Bowker, is also a former rider.

    After breaking alertly and angling to the inside from the No. 7 post position, Fallon found himself in tight quarters aboard Uhtred entering the first turn. He was able to secure good position up the backstretch in the mile-and-a-sixteenth allowance event and loomed a threat on the far turn, but had to settle for third after getting in tight in mid-stretch.

    For Fallon, who has been working for Clement at Payson Park Training Center in Indiantown since early November, the plan is to return to England in February and come back to the United States next fall.

    Thursday’s card coincides with the start of the track’s “Calendar Giveaway” promotion. The 2020 edition of the calendar will be distributed throughout the weekend to the first 10,000 patrons, with paid admission. It includes photographs by some of the area’s top equine photojournalists, as well as key racing dates throughout the season.

    Beginning next week, Tampa Bay Downs will race on a Wednesday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday schedule throughout the meeting with the exception of Christmas, Dec. 25, and Easter, April 12, when the track is closed, and the Dec. 26 and (tentative) Jan. 23 racing cards.


Friday, December 20, 2019
Challenger Stakes now a Gr. III . . .
    OLDSMAR - For the first time in track history, Tampa Bay Downs will stage four graded stakes races on a single afternoon when many of the leading thoroughbreds in training compete on the March 7 Festival Day card.

    The $100,000, mile-and-a-sixteenth Challenger Stakes for horses 4-years-old-and-upward was upgraded from Listed status to a Gr. III event during this week’s Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association American Graded Stakes Committee meeting in Lexington. The Challenger joins the Gr. II Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, the Gr. II Hillsborough Stakes on the turf and the Gr. III Florida Oaks on the turf as Festival Day 40 graded races.

    Tampa Bay Downs will now feature seven graded stakes in all for the 2019-2020 meeting, including the Gr. III Sam F. Davis Stakes, the Gr. III Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes on the turf and the Gr. III Tampa Bay Stakes on the turf on Festival Preview Day, Feb. 8.  

    Also upgraded by the TOBA American Graded Stakes Committee, from non-Listed black type to Listed status, are the $100,000, 6-furlong Pelican Stakes for horses 4-years-old-and-upward on Feb. 15 and the $75,000, 1-mile Columbia Stakes on the turf for 3-year-olds on March 7.

    The five March 7 Festival Day card stakes races are worth a combined $1 million in purse money.





Thursday, December 19, 2019
Thursday winners collect $8,480. . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 continued to elude bettors today, and the  multi-race wager went unsolved for the 15th consecutive racing day at Gulfstream Park. A carryover jackpot of $649,106 awaits bettors for Friday’s program.

    Tickets with all six winners today were each worth $8,480.

    The carryover jackpot stood at $591,970 at the start of wagering today, and $238,079 was bet into the multi-race pool.

    Friday’s sequence will span Races 5-10. Races 8-10 will also be included in the Stronach 5 sequence that will be kicked off by Laurel Park’s Race 8.  Laurel’s Race 9 will be the third leg of the Stronach 5.

     Race 9 at Gulfstream is a one-mile optional claiming allowance for 2-year-olds, featuring Juddmonte Farms’ Toledo, a son of Into Mischief who broke his maiden at Aqueduct in his second career start.

    Among the other prominent entrants are Ian Wilkes-trained Churn N Burn, a gelded son of Liam’s Map who broke his maiden at Churchill Downs in his second career start; Patrick Biancone-trained Ete Indien, a son of Summer Front who will make his dirt debut after breaking his maiden at first asking at Gulfstream and finishing off the board in the Gr. III Bourbon at Keeneland; Jorge Abreu-trained Liveyourbestlife, a debut winner who finished off  the board in the Gr. III Nashua at Aqueduct last time out; and Gilberto Zerpa-trained Masterday, who scored an impressive debut win at Gulfstream Park West.

WHO'S HOT:  Emisael Jaramillo scored a four-bagger today, winning aboard Clamor ($34) in Race 3, Micah’s Girl ($6.20) in Race 4, Fast Loaded ($20.20) in Race 9 and Abaca Dream ($5.60) in Race 10.

Monday, December 16, 2019
Son of Imperialism worked in 59 flat . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Raymond Mamone’s Imperial Hint continues to please trainer Luis Carvajal Jr. with his preparation for a return to action in Saturday’s $100,000, Gr. III Mr. Prospector at Gulfstream Park.

    The 6-year-old millionaire son of Imperialism breezed five furlongs in 59 seconds Sunday morning at Tampa Bay Downs under assistant trainer Alejandro Contreras
.

     “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bad or so-so work. Usually, he puts effort in the work, even though he’s settling and doing everything himself,” Carvajal said. “That was a good work this morning.” The move was the third bullet workout in a row since the ‘Little Rocket’ was scratched on the morning of his scheduled run in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita Nov. 2.

    “He’s been very sound. He had a small issue with his foot, but it’s not a concern,” Carvajal said. “It was a mild thing.”


    Imperial Hint will seek his third straight graded stakes victory in the Mr. Prospector, a seven-furlong test for 3-year-olds and up. The Carvajal trainee, who captured the 2017 Smile Sprint in his only start at Gulfstream, won the Sept. 28 Vosburgh at Belmont Park after shattering a Saratoga track record in the July 27 Alfred G. Vanderbilt, in which he ran six furlongs in 1:07.92.

    Imperial Hint is on course for a clash with X Y Jet in the Mr. Prospector. Prior to his back-to-back Gr. 1 victories, Imperial Hint finished third behind X Y Jet in the $2.5 million Golden Shaheen on the March 30 Dubai World Cup undercard at Meydan. X Y Jet, who hasn’t raced since his Golden Shaheen win, is scheduled to breeze at Palm Meadows Training Center for a final tune-up. “These workouts now are just to keep him happy,” trainer Jorge Navarro said.

    Owned by Rockingham Ranch and Gelfenstein Farm, X Y Jet has breezed five times at Palm Meadows in preparation for his highly-anticipated return.
Monday, December 16, 2019
Rainbow carryover for Wednesday - $543,690 . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Gulfstream Park’s Championship Meet has gotten off to a flying start with consecutive record weekends in the month of December.

    Sunday’s 11-race program wrapped up a record December weekend in which total handle Saturday and Sunday was $26.088 million, eclipsing the previous record of $22.143 million, set Dec. 7-8.

    Total handle on Saturday’s card, featuring five stakes, was $17.318 million, a record for a Saturday in December. The program included victories by multiple graded stakes-winner War Story in the Gr. III Harlan’s Holiday, Instilled Regard in the Gr. II Fort Lauderdale and Pink Sands in the Gr. III Rampart.

    The weekend of Dec. 7-8 featured the $1.11 million Claiming Crown and $690,000 Clasico Internacional del Caribe.

    The Championship Meet resumes Wednesday with a 10-race program and a 12:35 p.m. first race post. The 20-cent Rainbow 6 kicks off with the fifth race, a maiden special weight event for 2-year-olds going one mile on the main track. The second leg will feature 2-year-old fillies and mares going five furlongs on the turf.

            RAINBOW 6 CARRYOVER: $543,690

            SUPER HI 5 CARRYOVER: $4,737.88
Saturday, December 14, 2019
Wager unsolved for 11 days . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - The pool for the 20-cent Rainbow 6 will be guaranteed for $600,000 today at Gulfstream Park. The multi-race wager went unsolved Friday for the 11th consecutive racing day of the 2019-2020 Championship Meet that got under way Nov. 29.

    Tickets with all six winners were each worth $4,845 Friday.


    The $100,000 Sugar Swirl (G3) will kick off today’s Rainbow 6 sequence that will span Races 6-11. The $100,000 My Charmer has been carded as Race 7 and will be followed by the $100,000 Rampart (G3) in Race 8, the $200,000 Fort Lauderdale (G2) in Race 9, the $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday (G3) in Race 10 and a maiden claiming race at 1 1/16 miles on turf in Race 11.

    There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $9,028.
Monday, December 9, 2019
Hauntedbythemusic runs faster than $100,000 Inaugural time . . .

    It's a little too late for Ocala Stud Farm's The Big Beast to catch Journeyman Stud's Khozan for the Florida freshman sire money-earnings title, but the winners crown figures to go right down to the wire.

    Hauntedbythemusic saw to that Saturday with an eye-opening score in his six-furlong debut at Tampa Bay Downs. It was the 15th winner for the son of Yes It's True, tying Khozan for the lead with 23 days remaining on the racing calendar. 

    With Antonio Gallardo aboard, the colt bred by Sorrento Oaks Farm was in a three-way battle for the lead from the outset through fractions of :22.19, :45.34 and :57.48, but from the top of the stretch home it was no contest. Hauntedbythemusic left the other two behind and scampered off to win by 6 1/4 lengths, clocked in a sharp 1:09.69, just one second off the track record. He paid a generous $19.20, earned a check for $16,300, and promises to be a major factor in the upcoming 3-year-old races at Tampa.   

    To put Hauntedbythemusic's performance in perspective, two races earlier Zaino Boyz was an easy winner of the $100,000 Inaugural Stakes and was clocked in 1:09.95. He received a 92 'E' rating from Equibase compared to the 95 for Hauntedbythemusic an hour later.   

Sunday, December 8, 2019
Wagering reaches nearly $14 million . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 21st running of the Claiming Crown Saturday at Gulfstream Park produced an all-time handle record of $13.846 million. The previous record for the event was $13.612 million set last year.

     The 11-race program was highlighted by Leitone’s victory in the $200,000 Claiming Crown Jewel and four stakes victories by jockey Paco Lopez.

     “We’re ecstatic with the results from the Claiming Crown,” said Mike Lakow, Gulfstream’s Vice President of Racing. “It continues to grow and we witnessed some special performances from our horses and jockeys. We appreciate the support from the horsemen as well as our fans. We believe this is a special weekend at Gulfstream with the Claiming Crown and the Clasico Internacional del Caribe. We’re looking forward to another memorable day Sunday with the best thoroughbreds from Latin America and the Caribbean. The energy in the building will be incredible once again.”

    Dan Metzger, President of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, said; “It’s extremely gratifying to see the Claiming Crown set a wagering record. It is improving every year and it’s become a real can’t-miss spot on the calendar for horsemen and fans alike. We appreciate the support of Gulfstream Park, the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, and all the fans and horsemen.”  

    Today’s card will be highlighted by the $300,000 Clasico Internacional del Caribe, and five races featuring the best from Latin America and the Caribbean. First race post is 11:40 a.m. The Clasico will feature a Taste of the Caribbean as well as a concert after the races by De La Ghetto.

Rainbow 6 carryover will have guaranteed pool

     The 20-cent Rainbow 6 will have a guaranteed pool of $300,000 when racing resumes. It will begin with the sixth race, an allowance race at a mile on the turf for fillies and mares. The remaining five races in the sequence will feature the races of the Clasico Internacional del Caribe.

Thursday, December 5, 2019
Young rider lives in nearby Davie . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Jockey Tyler Gaffalione registered his first victory of the 2019-2020 Championship Meet aboard 1-2 favorite Durlyn in Thursday’s seventh race at Gulfstream Park. After spending the past several months riding primarily in Kentucky with a summer sojourn to Saratoga, the 25-year-old native of nearby Davie is happy to be home for the winter.

    “It’s really nice to be back home," Gaffalione said upon his return. "It’s been a great summer and fall but it’s nice to come home and see my family and enjoy the nice weather. It’s been pretty cold in Kentucky so I’m definitely enjoying all this. I’m just looking forward to the meet and riding some nice horses, hopefully.”

    Represented by Matt Muzikar, Gaffalione tied for second at both the Keeneland spring and fall meets, each with 14 wins; amassed 24 wins and $1.5 million in purse earnings at Churchill Downs’ fall stand; and had 12 victories – two in graded-stakes – and nearly $1.3 million in purses earned in his first full summer at Saratoga.

    Of his 14 graded stakes wins this year, 10 have come since the 2018-19 Championship Meet ended topped by his first Triple Crown victory with War of Will in the Preakness Stakes on May 18. Most recently, he won the Gr. I Matriarch at Del Mar with Get Stormy on Dec. 1.

    “I’m just very blessed, very fortunate," Gaffalione said. "I have a great agent and he finds me good horses to ride. I’ve been able to ride for some good connections, the owners, trainers and some really nice horses. Hopefully we can just keep building on everything and we’re looking forward to a good winter.”

    Gaffalione was fourth in wins (70) and sixth in purses ($3.2 million) at last winter’s Championship Meet, after ranking third in wins in both 2017-18 (87) and 2016-17 (62), with respective earnings of $4.039 million and $2.28 million.      

 

          
Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Irad and Jose kick it off today . . .
     HALLANDALE BEACH - Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. will make his 2019-2020 Championship Meet debut at Gulfstream Park today, when he will launch his title defense with five mounts on a 10-race program.

     Ortiz, the 2018 Eclipse Award winner, is making a strong run at repeating as North America’s top jockey with 289 winning rides and a record $32 million in purse earnings during a stellar campaign that was kicked off with a riding title at Gulfstream. The 27-year-old edged two-time titlist Luis Saez, 135-134, to win the Gulfstream title last year, when he rode Bricks and Mortar to victory in the inaugural $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf .

    Ortiz, who later rode Bricks and Mortar to victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf and Vino Rosso to a win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last month, will ride Florida Cotton in Race 2, Sturgeon in Race 6, Inter Miami in Race 7, Dancie in Race 8 and Year of the Kitten in Race 10.

    Jose Ortiz will also make his first appearance in the Championship Meet while riding in Races 2, 4 and 9. Irad’s younger brother, who was the 2017 Eclipse Award winner, has won 263 races this year and ranks second with $26.3 million in purse earnings.

    Tyler Gaffalione is also scheduled to return to his roots in South Florida today. The 25-year-old native of Davie has the mount aboard Keep It Up in Race 10. Gaffalione entered the last day of the Churchill Downs fall meeting Sunday ranked first in purses-won with $1.9 million and second in wins with 25 trips to the winner’s circle.


    Paco Lopez will also return to local action after riding the winners of three graded stakes Saturday at Del Mar, where he capped his big day with a victory aboard Mo Forza in the Hollywood Derby.

Claiming Crown, Clasico Internacional del Caribe Highlight Week Ahead


    The Championship Meet kicks into high gear with the running of the $1.1 million Claiming Crown Saturday afternoon and the $670,000 Clasico Internacional del Caribe Sunday. Saturday’s Claiming Crown, featuring nine stakes for horses who have started in claiming races during the year, drew 261 nominations. Sunday’s Clasico Internacional del Caribe, featuring five races for horses from Latin America and the Caribbean, will be highlighted by the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe. The top horsemen and horses from Panama, Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica will be represented.

           

            

        

 


Friday, November 29, 2019
Bettors not thrilled with daily doubles . . .

    The Ocala Breeders Sales Co. was scheduled to run eight quarter horse races followed by the two OBS sprints worth $125,000 each on Tuesday, with betting allowed on races 1-8. It turned out that only four quarter horses races filled, so racing secretary Jay Friedman was able to substitute four thoroughbred races, with betting, instead. 

    Here's a breakdown of how the betting went, for the edification of those who would like to bring pari-mutuel wagering to Ocala. 

Race 1 - Win, place, show: $1,271; exacta: $1,873. Total - $3,144.

Race 2 - WPS: $1,757; daily double: $102; exacta: $810. Total - $2,669.

Race 3 - WPS: $1,644; daily double: $75; exacta: $1,170. Total - $2,889.

Race 4 - WPS: $1,436; daily double: $75; exacta: $1,362. Total - $2,873. 

Total betting for 4 quarter horse races = $11,575.

 Race 5 - WPS: $2,622; daily double: $137; exacta: $1,176. Total - $3,935.

Race 6 - WPS: $2,007; daily double: $215; exacta: $1,031. Total - $3,253. 

Race 7 - WPS: $1,937; daily double: $241; exacta: $1,007. Total - $3,185.

Race 8 - WPS: $15,435; daily double: $256; exacta: $1,301. Total - $16,992. 

Total for 8 races - $38,940. 

What can be learned from this, if anything?

(1) The daily double, locally, isn't too popular. 

(2) Exactas are the most popular, since the win-place-show totals have to be divided by three. 

(3) The big jump in WPS for Race 8 can probably be explained thusly. First, Kitchen Fire was such a standout (he went off at 2/5 and won by 17 1/4 lengths) that he commanded some huge bets, and second, a late-arriving crowd that came just to see the two stakes. Kitchen Fire's payoffs were stunning - $2.80, $6.00, $3.60.

    The 4-year-old gelding had finished 10th by 14 1/4 lengths at Tampa Bay Downs on the grass in his first 2019 start. Switching to synthetic tracks - Presque Isle Downs and Woodbine - and Kitchen Fire went 3-3-1 in seven tries, so his liking for the OBS track was no surprise. 

    EARLY NEW YEAR'S WISHES:

     I wish all racetracks would close their windows when the first horse enters the gate. Maybe - just maybe - I wouldn't be so disappointed when a horse I bet was 6-1 as they neared the gate, and went to 2-1 during the running. It happens way too often and I am far from being the only one who is angered by the policy. 

    I wish the Blood-Horse - on its stallion website pages - would stop the practice of not including all runners by a stallion who are to compete on any day in the "upcoming races" column. I complained about this once before several years ago and received an answer from one of the editors (Mark Simon, I believe), who explained that stallion owners don't want to see entries for cheaper runners listed. Why not? Do they think the people who search for runners are stupid and don't know that some of the stallion's horses run in cheaper races?

    If a horse's victory total is updated on a stallion's ledger, and how much it earned in the cheaper race is included in its totals, then it should also be included in upcoming entries. Quick example: in today's entries for Handsome Mike, Love Daddy isn't mentioned and she's running in the first at Woodbine. The 3-year-old filly is 3-2-2 in 8 starts with earnings of $64,849 and she's in a $40,000 claimer with a purse of $45,000 plus thousands in enhancements. Doesn't make sense.  

    Wire-to-Wire magazine has its Florida Stallion Progeny page, and it includes EVERY horse by a stallion running at every track in North America that day. Regardless of class.

    Speaking of Wire-to-Wire, every race story in the magazine that discusses winners, and every advance detailing upcoming races, leads off with the owner/owners of each horse mentioned. So why is it that the charts for Gulfstream, Gulfstream West and Tampa Bay Downs include the breeders, but don't include the names of the owners? If the owners are so important that they make up a good part of every column, why aren't they important enough to be listed in the charts?

    And, why do the Florida Stallion Progeny pages list stallions that haven't been here for years, and the runners listed so often are not Florida-breds. Quick example - in today's pages Formal Class is listed under the stallion Formal Dinner, who hasn't been in Ocala since the War of 1812. Formal Class is a 7-year-old mare bred in Pennsylvania. What person reading Wire-to-Wire cares about this horse?   

    

Thursday, November 28, 2019
Fans will benefit from $20 million modernization project . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 2019-2020 Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park will get under way Friday for 89 days of world-class racing, and featuring the country's top tier thoroughbreds, trainers and jockeys.

    An eight-decade tradition of racing will continue through March 29 while the bar will be raised to provide Gulfstream patrons with a more enjoyable and exciting day at the races
.

    Gulfstream is undergoing an extensive $20 million modernization project designed to enhance the racing, dining and entertainment experiences of its fans. Although not all elements will be completed by Friday, highlights of the project include a new infield tote board measuring 100 feet by 30 feet boasting a high-density pixel LED screen; an enhanced sound system on the apron and grandstand areas; additional LED screens and televisions throughout the facility; a new open-air Dining Terrace on the second floor overlooking the racetrack, featuring luxury boxes with private TVs, as well as a lounge section, both offering food and beverage service from Ten Palms.

    First-race post time is set for 12:35 p.m. for Friday’s 10-race program that will feature a $100,000 pool guarantee for the 20-cent Rainbow 6. Live racing will primarily be conducted on a Wednesday-Sunday schedule through the fall and winter months.

    The Championship Meet schedule includes 98 stakes (39 graded) worth more than $28.6 million in purses.

    The $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational series will bring together the best in thoroughbred racing and entertainment for a memorable world-class event on Jan. 25. The $9 million Pegasus World Cup, won in 2019 by City of Light, and the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf, captured by Bricks and Mortar in last season’s inaugural running, will co-headline a program with nine stakes, including four other graded stakes.

    The $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby will headline a seven-stakes program on March 28 that will include the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks for 3-year-old fillies. The Florida Derby, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds that has produced the winners of 59 Triple Crown races, was won last year by Maximum Security, who went on to finish first in the Kentucky Derby, only to be controversially disqualified.

    The Road to the Triple Crown will also include the $350,000 Holy Bull, which will anchor a program with six graded stakes on Feb. 1, and the $400,000 Fountain of Youth, which will headline a blockbuster Feb. 29 program that will offer nine graded stakes.

    The stakes schedule will be kicked off Saturday by the Juvenile Showcase program featuring six stakes for 2-year-olds.

    The second weekend of the Championship Meet will be co-headlined by the $1.1 million Claiming Crown, an event with nine stakes for horses that have started in a claiming race. The colorful Clasico Internacional del Caribe card with five stakes for horses from the Caribbean and Latin America, featuring the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe, is set for Sunday, Dec. 8.

    Irad Ortiz Jr., who edged two-time defending champion Luis Saez, 135-134, to capture his first Championship Meet riding title last season, will return for a title defense, joining his brother, Jose Ortiz, as well as Hall of Famers John Velazquez and Javier Castellano, in a world-class jockey’s room.

    Jorge Navarro, who snapped his streak of three consecutive second-place finishes behind 15-time training titlist Todd Pletcher to win the 2018-2019 Championship Meet crown, is gearing up for a title defense while saddling horses beside Hall of Famers Bill Mott and Shug McGaughey, along with reigning three-time Eclipse Award winner Chad Brown and numerous other prominent conditioners.

    Brown will be in the running for a fourth honor at the 49th annual Eclipse Awards, which will be hosted by Gulfstream for the eighth consecutive year on Jan. 23.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Acacia, Blewitt, Nicoletti provide insight . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - While Gulfstream Park’s Championship Meet provides fans an opportunity to see many of the top horses and jockeys in the world, it can also be a bit of a puzzle for bettors looking to cash tickets and make a score.

    “From a betting perspective, with so many top trainers and jockeys, it can be a little confusing,” said Gulfstream handicapper and host Acacia Courtney. “Positive statistics are important, but so are negative ones. For me, when you have two horses that both look competitive on paper coming into a race, that’s when recent statistics for trainers and jockeys can help.”

     “There’s also the question of trainers who might excel in sprints or distance races, turf or dirt, claiming races or stakes,” said Gulfstream handicapper and host Ron Nicoletti. “There’s also trainer-jockey combinations to look at when putting together tickets.” For instance, Nicoletti said, Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey and jockey Jose Ortiz are a combined 7 for 17 (40 percent) over the past two years, trainer Kathleen O’Connell and jockey Luis Saez are 6 for 17 (35 percent) and the combination of Todd Pletcher and Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez is 15 for 52 (29 percent).

    Courtney points to the combination of trainer Stanley Hough and jockey Tyler Gaffalione, who are 57 percent in the money with 23 starters the past year, while trainer Armando De la Cerda is 7 for 24 the past year with jockey Luis Saez in the saddle.

    Host and handicapper Jason Blewitt will be looking at some “young guns” and former assistants during the Championship Meet. Former Jason Servis assistant Carlos David is winning at a 33 percent clip first off a claim while former Gustavo Delgado assistant, Jorge Delgado, is 30 percent off the claim.

    Nicoletti adds that David’s average win payout was $16 while trainer Juan Rizo went 7 for 31 with a $25 average payout.

    Blewitt is also looking at some more established trainers. “No news flash here, but looking back through last winter’s statistics I forgot just how dominant Jason Servis was,” he said. The trainer of Florida Derby winner Maximum Security, Servis finished third in the standings with a 35-13-9 record from 77 starters.

    Courtney points out that Servis was 18 for 30 with favorites on the dirt last year with 87 percent of those runners finishing in the money.

    Blewitt says to keep an eye on Lilli Kurtinecz. Of her 36 winners at Gulfstream since 2015, 31 have come on the turf (86 percent). Meanwhile, over the past six months, Peter Walder has won 18 of 58 races (31 percent). “He’s really dangerous in claiming races over the Gulfstream dirt with 75 wins over the last five years.” 

    “I think everyone wants to get off to a strong start,” Nicoletti said. “So I also look at trainers who start a meet strong with their first or second start at the meet.” He points to Tom Bush (4 for 16), Jeremiah Englehart (5 for 24) and Mark Hennig (18 percent), who have won with their first or second starter at the meet the past two years.  
Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Both nearing $300,000 mark . . .

    A large crowd turned out in sunny weather for the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company 2019 November Day of Racing, headed by the pair of six-furlong OBS Sprint Stakes for OBS graduates.

    Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables LLC, Darsan Inc., Bethlehem Stables and David Simon’s A Bit of Both stalked the early leader in the $125,000 OBS Filly and Mare Sprint, took command on the turn, opened daylight in the stretch and was best by 3 1/2 lengths over Lonnie Stokes’ Caramel Martini (January ’19). Northwest Thoroughbreds LLC’s Ms Meshak (August ‘16) checked in third. That’s three stakes victories for the 3-year-old Florida-bred filly by Paynter, now 9-7-1-1 with earnings of $289,310. Trained by Jason Servis, she was ridden by Paco Lopez and raced the distance in 1:10 4/5. She was sold by breeder Darsan Inc. for $10,000 at the 2017 OBS October Selected Yearling Sale. 


    In the day’s final race, the $125,000 OBS Sprint, Crawford Farms Racing’s Archidust slipped through on the inside to take charge in the stretch, then held off a late charge by Ed and Susie Orr’s Boldor (April ’18) to score by a length and three quarters, with Dawn Mendez and Steve Henry’s Front Loaded (August ’15) settling for third by the same margin.  It’s the third stakes victory for the 3-year-old colt by Verrazano, who turned in an Under Tack eighth in :10 flat before he was purchased by Juan Pacanins, Agent, for $300,000 out of the Whitman Sales consignment at the 2018 OBS March Sale. Now 10-5-1-1 for trainer Jorge Navarro, he has earned $264,050 to date.
Monday, November 25, 2019
Winners receive $4,761; Gulfstream Park opens Friday . . .

    MIAMI GARDENS - Gulfstream Park West closed its 40-day Fall Turf Festival meet Sunday with a mandatory payout in the 20-cent Rainbow 6, which returned $4,761 to multiple tickets with all six winners.

    Unsolved by a single bettor for the duration of the meet, which began Oct. 2, the multi-race wager had a total pool of $4,709,660 after $3,615,196 was bet Sunday on top of a carryover of $1,094,464 from Saturday’s program.

    Sunday’s card also had mandatory payouts of $1,656 in the 50-cent Late Pick 5, $337 in the 50-cent Late Pick 4 and $4,364 in the $1 Super Hi-5.

    Jockey Paco Lopez won once on Sunday and finished as the meet’s leading rider with 38 victories, six more than Emisael Jaramillo and apprentice Cristian Torres. His mounts earned more than $825,000, despite the fact that he was riding at Monmouth Park for the first month of the meeting.  

    Saffie Joseph Jr. earned his second straight fall meet championship with 22 winner's circle visits from 57 starts, with earnings of more than $450,000. Ralph Nicks, Jorge Navarro and Victor Barboza tied for second with eight winners. Frank Calabrese led the owners with eight victories, and Arindel's $245,000 led the money-winning title. 

    Live racing moves to Gulfstream Park for the 2019-2020 Championship Meet, the premier winter meet in the country, which opens its 89-day stand on Friday. Post time for the first of 10 races is 12:35 p.m.

Saturday, November 23, 2019
Jackpot just short of $1.1 million . . .
    MIAMI GARDENS - Who wants to be a multi-millionaire?

    A mandatory payout of the 20-cent Rainbow 6 pool at Gulfstream Park West Sunday opens the possibility that a lucky bettor could walk away with a multi-million-dollar payoff.

    The Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 39th racing day during the Fall Turf Festival meet today, producing a carryover jackpot of $1,094,464 for Sunday, when betting on the multi-race wager is expected to generate a multi-million-dollar pool.


   There will also be mandatory payouts for the Late Pick 5, Late Pick 4 and the last-race Super Hi-5.

   Multiple Rainbow 6 tickets with all six winners Saturday were each worth $3,251.28. The carryover jackpot stood at $1,028,040 at the start of wagering, and a total of $276,816 was bet into the multi-race pool.

   The Rainbow 6 was solved at Gulfstream Park for a $2.2 million jackpot payoff Sept. 27 after going unsolved for 47 consecutive racing days.

    First-race post time for Sunday’s card is set for 12:30 p.m. The Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 4-9.

            

                
Saturday, November 23, 2019
Includes new infield 100 x 30-foot tote board . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - When Gulfstream Park opens for its Championship Meet Friday, guests will be greeted by a $20 million modernization of the legendary venue that will transform the fan experience and enhance its world-class events.

    While not all elements will be completed by Opening Day, the remodeled and renovated Gulfstream will include:

 ?    A new open-air Dining Terrace on the second floor overlooking the racetrack featuring luxury boxes with private televisions and a lounge section, both offering food and beverage service from Ten Palms.

?   A new infield tote board measuring 100 feet by 30 feet boasting a high-density pixel LED screen.

?   Enhanced sound system on the apron and grandstand areas, plus additional LED screens and televisions throughout the buildings for a more convenient viewing experience.

?   Additional dining tables around the walking ring with food service offered from Char #3, a barbeque smokehouse, or Tito’s Raw Bar.

    This modernization comes just one year after launching The Flamingo Room on Gulfstream’s third floor. The Flamingo Room is a multi-use space offering sushi, flatbreads and stunning views of the racetrack.

     “We believe these new additions and the modernizing of Gulfstream Park will elevate the experience of our guests whether they’re attending the races, the casino, our poker room, the Village at Gulfstream Park, or our new concert series,” said Joe Lopez, Vice President of Hospitality and Venue Management. “The experience of attending a sports or entertainment event has vastly changed in the past 10 years. Fans expect new technology, a variety of seating and dining options, and unique VIP experiences. The Stronach Group continues to lead the way in reimagining the thoroughbred racing experience as well as other unique entertainment events we will have at Gulfstream Park.

     “Due to the extent of this project, we will be in the process of completing work when our Championship Meet opens. But management, staff and our customer service representatives will do all we can to make your visit an enjoyable experience.”

     Gulfstream’s Championship Meet, featuring 98 stakes races, including 39 graded, will be highlighted by the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series, $1 million Florida Derby, the Clasico Internacional del Caribe, Claiming Crown, Holy Bull and Fountain of Youth.

           

            
Thursday, November 21, 2019
Million dollars will be in the pot today . . .
    MIAMI GARDENS - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot grew to $982,619.32 for today’s program at Gulfstream Park West when the multi-race wager went unsolved Thursday for the 37th racing day.

    A mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot has been scheduled for Sunday, the closing day of the Fall Turf Festival. There will also be mandatory payouts for the Late Pick 5, Late Pick 4 and the last-race Super Hi-5.


    Multiple Rainbow 6 tickets with all six winners Thursday were each worth $921.56.

     The Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot stood at $946,215 at the start of Rainbow 6 wagering Thursday, when a total of $151,696 was bet into the multi-race pool.

             

                         

             
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Oldsmar track opens next Wednesday . . .

    OLDSMAR - Thoroughbred racing returns to Tampa Bay Downs on Wednesday, Nov. 27 with the opening-day card of the 2019-2020 meeting. Admission is free.

    The track is celebrating its 94th anniversary season with a boatload of activities and promotions planned throughout the 90-day meeting to enhance the equine energy. Oldsmar oval visitors will notice a new face picking the races and providing handicapping information: TVG analyst Matt Carothers, a lifelong fan and racing follower.

    Carothers, TVG’s first on-the-air handicapper in 1999, will present his selections over the Tampa Bay Downs closed-circuit telecast each racing day. Before joining TVG, he worked for three years as the on-track handicapper and TV host at Canterbury Park in Minnesota; at Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands in New Jersey; and for New York City OTB, partnering with track announcer Dave Johnson.

    Carothers says he looks for natural speed and value for his buck when handicapping and wagering, and he is eager to offer his angles on profiting from the consistently large Tampa Bay Downs fields.
Bettors should expect Carothers to pay close attention to the track’s exciting new wager: the Ultimate Pick-6, requiring bettors to select the winners of six consecutive races on a single card.

    The minimum Ultimate Pick-6 wager is 20 cents. Because of the wager’s carryover jackpot format, the Ultimate Pick-6 could be a life-changer for one or more bettors. For anyone to collect the jackpot on a given day, they must have the only ticket correctly selecting all six winners. Otherwise, 75 percent of the pari-mutuel pool will be split among those bettors selecting the greatest number of first-place finishers, with the remainder added to the carryover jackpot the next day.

    The Saturday, Nov. 30 program offers fans chances galore to win cash and prizes. In addition to the racing action, the meeting’s first Saturday is “Tampa Bay Sport Day,” with in-the-know fans having an opportunity to win tickets to various professional and college events by correctly answering trivia questions and spinning a prize wheel.

    Tickets will be awarded for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Lightning, the Rays, the Outback Bowl, the Gasparilla Bowl, USF men’s and women’s basketball and the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship.

    Nov. 30 also marks the start of the “10 Days of Festivus On-Line Handicapping Contest,” which runs through Dec. 21. There is no charge to enter and the winner receives a $1,000 cash prize, with a second prize of $500. The Festivus contest allows fans and bettors to test their skills against the best Oldsmar oval handicappers from across the nation. Go to www.festivuschallenge.com for rules and to enter.

    The primary focus throughout the winter and spring, as always, will be on the racetrack, where excitement has been building to a fever pitch the last three weeks during morning workouts. A stakes schedule that gets underway on Dec. 7 with a pair of $100,000, 6-furlong races for 2-year-olds will be highlighted by the March 7 Festival Day program, featuring the 40th edition of the Gr. II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby for 3-year-old Kentucky Derby prospects at a distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth. The first four finishers in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby earn qualifying points on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby.”

    Also part of the Festival Day program are a pair of big-money graded races on the turf course: the Gr. II, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes for older fillies and mares and the Gr. III, $200,000 Florida Oaks for 3-year-old fillies.

    The track’s three other graded stakes will be contested on Festival Preview Day Presented by Lambholm South, Feb. 8: the Gr. III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes for 3-year-olds, the Gr. III, $175,000 Tampa Bay Stakes for older horses on the turf and the Gr. III, $175,000 Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes for older fillies and mares on the turf.

    The Sam F. Davis awards points on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” to the first four finishers, while that day’s $150,000 Suncoast Stakes for 3-year-old fillies awards points on the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” to the first four finishers.

    Florida Cup Day is March 29, with six stakes on both dirt and turf offering $110,000 apiece to the owners of registered Florida-bred horses.

    Almost all of the track’s top trainers and jockeys have returned. Heading a powerful training contingent are Gerald Bennett, who has won the last four conditioner titles and five overall; last year’s runner-up, two-time track champion Kathleen O’Connell; third-place finisher Michael Stidham, who is two shy of 2,000 career victories; and 2019 Breeders’ Cup-winning trainers Ignacio Correas IV and H. Graham Motion.

    Leading jockeys set to compete include defending champion Samy Camacho; four-time kingpin Antonio Gallardo; six-time champion Daniel Centeno; and Pablo Morales.

    Tampa Bay Downs races on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with Sundays added to the mix on Dec. 22. There is no racing on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, and Easter, April 12. A special Thursday card will be offered on Dec. 26.

    The track is open every day except Thanksgiving (Nov. 28), Christmas and Easter for simulcast wagering, no-limits poker action and tournament play in The Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at The Downs Golf Practice Facilit
y.

Monday, November 18, 2019
Hasn't been hit at Gulfstream West meeting . . .

    MIAMI GARDENS - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 35th consecutive day Sunday at Gulfstream Park West, and the carryover jackpot jumped to $909,175 for the return of live racing on Wednesday.

    First-race post time is 1:20 p.m.

    A total of $196,968 was wagered into the Rainbow 6 Sunday, on top of a carryover of $861,911 from Saturday’s program. Multiple tickets with all six winners each returned $1,003.66.

    No single bettor has solved the multi-race wager during the Fall Turf Festival meet, which began Oct. 2 and runs through Sunday. The Rainbow 6 was last taken down for a $2.2 jackpot payoff Sept. 27 at Gulfstream Park.

    Wednesday’s Rainbow 6 spans Races 3-8. The sequence includes the return in Race 7 of Bodexpress, fresh off his maiden triumph last month,in a $45,000 allowance for 3-year-olds and up going one mile on the main track.

NOTES: Jockey Jairo Rendon rode three winners Sunday, including back-to-back scores on Lavi ($94.60) in Race 2 and Shyza ($8.60) in Race 3. Rendon completed his triple aboard Victor Lounge ($5.80) in Race 7.

Sunday, November 17, 2019
10-race card will feature two $125,000 sprints . . .
    Entries for the OBS Day of Racing will be taken Tuesday, Nov. 19 at the OBS office by racing secretary Jay Friedman and the racing office staff. They may be reached at (352) 237-2154. The 10-race card will be run Tuesday, Nov. 26 with first post time at noon.

     There are two non-wagering races for OBS graduates, restricted to 3-year-olds and upward which have gone through the ring at an OBS sale: the $125,000 OBS Sprint Stakes and $125,000 OBS Filly & Mare Sprint. Both races will be run at six furlongs. Free nominations closed Nov. 12 but supplemental entries may be made at entry time. The condition book and lists of nominees and their past performances may be found on the OBS website at: https://www.obssales.com/2019/09/obs-day-of-racing-november-26-2019.

    Eight pari-mutuel races will be drawn from the condition book which includes races for quarter horse maidens, allowance (NW2 or NW in 2019), and open allowance races at distances of 220, 330 and 440 yards, with purses up to $7,000. The condition book also includes races for 2-year-old thoroughbred maidens and maiden and starter allowance races for thoroughbreds 3-years-old and up. All races for thoroughbreds will be run at six furlongs. 
Thursday, November 14, 2019
$300,000 race set for Dec. 8 . . .

    MIAMI GARDENS - No single bettor solved the 20-cent Rainbow 6 for the 31st consecutive racing day Wednesday at Gulfstream Park West, with the carryover jackpot rising to $768,774 for today’s eight-race card. First race post time is 1:20 p.m.

Multiple tickets with all six winners Wednesday were each worth $4,250

  Today’s Rainbow 6 covers Races 3-8 highlighted by a $39,000 optional claimer going a mile on the turf in Race 6 which attracted a field of nine Florida-breds led by 9-5 program favorite Mozzo Bello.

Horses Arriving Wednesday from Mexico for Clasico del Caribe

     Three contenders for the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe were among 14 horses arriving from Mexico Wednesday to compete in the Clasico Internacional del Caribe Sunday, Dec. 8 at Gulfstream Park.

     El Santo, Lopecitos and Thibaut are all expected to run in the 1 1/8-mile Clasico del Caribe for 3-year-olds, the richest of five stakes worth $690,000 in purses on the Clasico Internacional del Caribe program.

    This will be the third consecutive year that Gulfstream has served as host for the Clasico Internacional del Caribe, remaining the only pari-mutuel facility outside Latin America and the Caribbean to host the event since its inception in 1966.

Notes: Jockeys Paco Lopez and Jairo Rendon alternated winning Wednesday’s first four races. Lopez took Race 1 with Frank’s Legacy ($2.80) and Race 3 on Babie Monster ($16.60) while Rendon was first on Itsmyluckyknight ($6) in Race 2 and Captain Ron ($6) in Race 4.

Monday, November 11, 2019
Jackpot passes $727,000 . . .
    MIAMI GARDENS - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 30th consecutive racing day of Gulfstream Park West’s Fall Turf Festival Sunday, producing a carryover jackpot of $727,235 for Wednesday’s program

    Multiple Rainbow 6 tickets with all six winners Sunday were each worth $167.52


 

            
Monday, November 11, 2019
Journeyman sire has big lead on The Big Beast . . .

    It's been almost a year since Brent and Crystal Fernung announced an intriguing deal concerning their soon-to-be freshman sire, Khozan. It was a simple premise - if the son of Distorted Humor didn't wind up 2019 as Florida's leading sire, the first 25 breeders who sent a mare to him would receive free breedings.

    With an announced stud fee of $4,000 for this year, that would have amounted to a $100,000 hit for the Fernungs' Journeyman Stud. 

    With about a month and a half remaining in the season, it would take a miracle for runner-up The Big Beast to catch Khozan in the money-earnings department. Khozan is on top today with his runners collecting $1,037,820, and TBB is well behind at $564,471. 

    However, in the winners department, TBB had a winner at Gulfstream West yesterday - Quality On Tap - who became his sire's 13th winner, and he's now just one behind. Khozan has also been the leader on that list since day one, and he's sitting at 14 today. But even if TBB caught Khozan before Dec. 31, the money-earnings list will rule. 

    The third and fourth sires on the frosh list with six winners each are Double Diamond's Bahamian Squall and Journeyman's second-stringer, Fury Kapcori.   

Thursday, November 7, 2019
Wednesday winners get $24,744 . . .
    MIAMI GARDENS - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 once again eluded bettors at Gulfstream Park West Wednesday when the multi-race wager went unsolved for the 27th racing day of the Fall Turf Festival.

     A carryover jackpot of $575,659.46 will be up for grabs on today’s program. First-race post time is set for 1:20 p.m.

     Multiple tickets with all six winners Wednesday were each worth $24,744. The Rainbow 6 was solved at Gulfstream Park for a $2.2 million jackpot payoff Sept. 27 after going unsolved for 47 racing days.

     There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $1,591.21 heading into today’s program
Monday, November 4, 2019
Sunday winners get $29,224 . . .
    MIAMI GARDENS - Racing returns Wednesday at Gulfstream Park and bettors will be welcomed with a 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover of $533,241.

    For the 26th consecutive racing day, there was no single winning ticket on Sunday’s Rainbow 6. Multiple tickets with all six winners each returned $29,224.

    First-race post time Wednesday is 1:20 p.m. The Rainbow 6 sequence begins with the third race, a maiden claiming event for 2-year-old fillies going six furlongs. The sequence also includes two turf races and concludes with a $48,000 maiden special weight event for 2-year-old fillies going 5 ½ furlongs.

    The Rainbow 6 was last solved at Gulfstream Park for a $2.2 million jackpot payoff Sept. 27 after going unsolved for 47 consecutive racing days.

    Wednesday’s first race will have a Super Hi 5 carryover of $1,884.04.

    NOTES: LLP Performance Horse LLC’s Zenden, fourth in the Gr. II Tampa Bay Derby and second in the Gr. III Swale last winter, returned from more than six months off to win Sunday’s sixth race, an optional claimer at six furlongs. Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Edgard Zayas, Zenden covered the distance in 1:09.59. Zenden defeated Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Frosted Grace. Zenden’s prior start resulted in an eighth-place finish in the Gr. III Lexington in April at Keeneland.
Sunday, November 3, 2019
Scores 10th victory in BC Sprint . . .

    William and Corrine Heiligbrodt’s Mitole made an emphatic case for one or more Eclipse Awards with a sharp score in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint yesterday.

    Cleverly rated off the early pace by Ricardo Santana Jr., he went after front-running fellow OBS graduate Shancelot (March ’18) in the stretch, caught him a furlong from home and beat him to the wire by a length and a quarter. OBS graduate Engage (March ’17) settled for fourth.

    Mitole was consigned to the 2017 April Sale by Grassroots Training & Sales. The 4-year-old colt by Eskendereya was sold for $140,000 after an under tack eighth in :10 seconds flat. Trained by Steve Asmussen, his seventh stakes victory leaves him with a sensational career record of 14-10-2-2 with earnings of $3,104,910. 

Saturday, November 2, 2019
Mulligan tabs 3 monsters in final BC race . . .
    It should go down as one of the greatest single handicapping feats in the history of thoroughbred racing - maybe THE greatest.

    Mike Mulligan's BetBestBreeze knocked it out of the park in the last of the five Breeders' Cup races at Santa Anita Friday - the TVG BC Juvenile - not simply nailing the first three finishers, but lighting up the tote board in every category possible.

    The winner was Storm the Court, who had received a BBB rating of 5 at the OBS April under tack show, and was then purchased by Exline-Border Racing for what has since turned out to be a bargain $60,000. The colt paid $93.80 for $2, leading No. 4 BBB-rated Anneau d'Or (28-1) to the wire by a neck and producing a $1 exacta payoff of $488.20. With No. 1 BBB-rated Wrecking Crew finishing third at odds of 39-1, the 50-cent trifecta paid $1,965. 

    In four races, Storm the Court has earned $1,172,951.  

    BBB's success wasn't limited to just the Juvenile. Four Wheel Drive opened the Breeders' Cup segment of Friday's program by winning the Juvenile Turf Sprint. The No. 1-rated BBB choice paid $5 as the only favorite to win in the five BC tests. Another Miracle, who received a 7 rating, finished third at odds of 19-1. 

    The second BC race was the Juvenile Turf, and it was captured by No. 5 BBB-rated Structor, who paid $12.60. He won by three-quarters over No. 1-rated Billy Batts, who was sent off at 55-1, and the $1 exacta came back $259.10.

    As noted here in the past, with 14 BBB horses competing in the five races, there could only be five winners. The BBB's won 60% of the five, with two seconds and two thirds, leading to a monetary bonanza
Friday, November 1, 2019
Big weekend ahead . . .
    MIAMI GARDENS - No single bettor solved the 20-cent Rainbow 6 for the 23rd consecutive racing day Thursday at Gulfstream Park West, growing the carryover jackpot to $435,465 for today’s nine-race card. First race post time is 12:30 p.m.

    Multiple tickets with all six winners Thursday were each worth $11,408.

    Today’s Rainbow 6 covers Races 4-9 highlighted by a pair of veterans going for their 11th career wins – 7-year-old gelding To Dare in Race 6, a starter optional claimer going one mile, and 6-year-old gelding Big Boy Bruno in Race 8, a Florida-bred allowance sprinting 6 ½ furlongs, both on the main track.

    At Gulfstream Park there will be advance wagering today on Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup program from Santa Anita, which includes the $6 million Classic, $4 million Turf and $2 million Distaff.

   Gulfstream’s Breeders’ Cup Watch Party will take place Saturday in the Flamingo Room with $5,000 in prizes up for grabs from noon to 8:30 p.m. There will be a $50 lunch buffet from noon to 6 p.m. and live entertainment by Leo Quintero
.
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Son of Imperialism was bred by Shade Tree Thoroughbreds . . .
    Two-time Tampa Bay Downs stakes-winner Imperial Hint will attempt to score his most significant victory Saturday in the $2-million Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita.

    The Sprint is the eighth race on the Saturday program, with post time scheduled for 5:36 p.m. Tampa Bay Downs-based trainer Luis Carvajal Jr. said 6-year-old Imperial Hint is approaching the 6-furlong race in top form as he attempts to improve on a second-place Sprint finish in 2017 at Del Mar and a third-place effort last year at Churchill Downs.

    The 36th renewal of thoroughbred racing’s year-end championships begins Friday with five races for 2-year-olds. Saturday’s card consists of nine races, with the $6-million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic, the 12th race of the day, scheduled for 8:44 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

    Tampa Bay Downs will simulcast both days of Breeders’ Cup action, in addition to racing from tracks across the country. Concession stands will be open throughout both days, as will the Riders Up! pub on the first floor of the Grandstand.

    Friday’s first race from Santa Anita is set for 1:45 p.m. EDT, with the Juvenile Turf Sprint, Friday’s fifth race, kicking off the championship action at 4:12 p.m. Saturday’s first race is at 1:07 p.m. EDT, and the Breeders’ Cup excitement begins at 2:55 p.m. with the fourth race, the Filly and Mare Sprint.

    Imperial Hint, a son of Imperialism who was bred in Florida by Ocala's Shade Tree Thoroughbreds, and is owned by Raymond Mamone, will break from the No. 9 post in the 10-horse field under Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano, his regular pilot.

    “You have to have your horse at his best when you run against these kind of horses, and I think that’s where we’re at right now,” Carvajal said after Imperial Hint worked 4 furlongs in 46 seconds Thursday at Monmouth Park under assistant Alejandro Contreras, three days before flying to California. “I think we saw a great horse working out. Every horse that goes into the starting gate in the Breeders’ Cup has a legitimate chance to win, but I don’t fear anybody. Everything points to him running a big race, and I think he deserves to win a Breeders’ Cup race.” 

    Imperial Hint is the co-second choice on the morning line at odds of 4-1, with 4-year-old Mitole listed at 9-5. Imperial Hint defeated Mitole on July 27 in the Gr. I Alfred G. Vanderbilt, setting a Saratoga track record of 1:07.92 for 6 furlongs. He also won the Gr. I Vosburgh on Sept. 28 at Belmont, marking the second consecutive year he has captured both New York stakes fixtures. Imperial Hint is 14-for-23 in his career with earnings of $2,199,155.

    Imperial Hint’s Tampa Bay Downs stakes victories came in 2016 in the Florida Cup Ocala Breeders’ Sales Sophomore in his second lifetime start and in 2018 in the Florida Cup Sprint. The only other Breeders’ Cup Sprint entrant to race at Tampa Bay Downs, 4-year-old Firenze Fire (third in last season’s Florida Cup Zaxby’s Sprint), battled Imperial Hint to the wire in this year’s Vosburgh, finishing second by a nose.

    Carvajal said training on the deep, sandy Tampa Bay Downs surface throughout much of his career has been beneficial to his horse’s development as a hard-nosed competitor and his longevity during an era when few thoroughbreds race beyond age five. “A lot of horses do great up north when they come out of Tampa," Carvajal said. "They get fresh, they get sound and they come back in the summer to win races. The dirt track is unbelievably good, and the turf is like a carpet.”

    Trainer Ignacio Correas IV also subscribes to the philosophy that horses that train at Tampa Bay Downs throughout the winter have a “leg up” on many of their rivals when the Oldsmar oval closes and the action heats up elsewhere. Correas trains 6-year-old Distaff contender Blue Prize, owned by Merriebelle Stable and to be ridden by Joe Bravo. Blue Prize never competed at Tampa Bay Downs, but she made good use of her opportunities training here to hone her skill, confidence and stamina. In her most recent start on Oct. 6, Blue Prize won the Gr. I Spinster at Keeneland for the second consecutive year.

    “She was in Tampa for three years, and there is no doubt it helped her form a lot,” Correas said. “It’s a good, safe surface that is well-maintained, and the weather is usually good. A lot of horses come out of there in very good shape for the big spring and summer races.”

    Two Breeders’ Cup Classic entrants have raced at Tampa Bay Downs. Vino Rosso, a 4-year-old colt owned by Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable and trained by Todd Pletcher, finished third in last year’s Gr. III Sam F. Davis and fourth in the Gr. II Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby. The 5-year-old mare Elate, who will challenge males for owners Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm and trainer Bill Mott, finished second in the 2017 Suncoast Stakes. Irad Ortiz Jr. rides Vino Rosso and his brother Jose is on Elate.
Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Advance wagering begins on Friday . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH – Fans will be able to watch and wager on the world’s greatest thoroughbreds and jockeys Friday and Saturday when Gulfstream Park plays host to Florida’s finest Breeders’ Cup Watch Party.

    Gulfstream Park West will have live racing Wednesday through Sunday with first post time Friday and Saturday of 12:30 p.m.

    There will be advance wagering Friday on Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup program which includes the $6 million Classic, $4 million Turf and $2 million Distaff. Saturday’s live races from Gulfstream Park West will include the $75,000 Showing Up and $75,000 Cellars Shiraz.

    Gulfstream’s Breeders’ Cup Watch Party will take place Saturday in the Flamingo Room with $5,000 in prizes up for grabs from noon to 8:30 p.m. There will be a $50 lunch buffet from noon to 6 p.m. and live entertainment by Leo Quintero.

    Reservations available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/breeders-cup-watch-party-tickets-78284626425?aff=tsg

    A number of horses who have raced or are based at Gulfstream, Gulfstream Park West or Palm Meadows will be competing in the Breeders’ Cup including Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) winner Bricks and Mortar, Pennsylvania Derby (G1) winner Math Wizard, Fountain of Youth (G2) winner Code of Honor, Smile Sprint (G3) winner Diamond Oops, Gulfstream-based Grade 2 winner Imprimis, FTBOA My Dear Girl winner Two Sixty, and Proud Man and Armed Forces winner Graceful Kitten.
Monday, October 28, 2019
Closing in on $400,000 . . .
    MIAMI GARDENS - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 21st consecutive racing day at Gulfstream Park West Sunday, and the carryover jackpot jumped to $362,757 for the return of live racing on Wednesday.

    First post on the eight-race program is 1 p.m.


    Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $1,206.

    The Rainbow 6 was solved at Gulfstream Park for a $2.2 million jackpot payoff Sept. 27 after going unsolved for 47 consecutive racing days.

    NOTES: Magic Stables LLC’s Bella Ciao, who finished fourth in last summer’s Gr. I Spinaway, returned from a seven-month layoff to win a seven-furlong allowance race Sunday, getting up in the final yards over Dancie while covering the distance in 1:23.45 . . . Bella Ciao ($8) was one of three winners for leading jockey Leonel Reyes. He also won aboard Stormy Boss ($3.40) in the second and Go Gator Girl Go ($6.20) in the fifth.
Saturday, October 26, 2019
Five winners collected Saturday . . .
    MIAMI GARDENS - Gulfstream Park West’s 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover will be $323,261 when racing resumes Sunday with a first race post of 1 p.m.

    The Rainbow 6 will begin with the third race, a $50,000 maiden claiming event for 2-year-old fillies on a mile turf course. The sequence will also include a maiden special weight event for state-bred 2-year-old fillies, a $45,000 allowance race at seven furlongs for fillies and mares, and a $35,000 maiden claimer for 2-year-olds at a mile on the turf.

    Multiple tickets with five winners today returned $370.44.
  
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
    MIAMI GARDENS - The Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park has traditionally been...
    MIAMI GARDENS - The Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park has traditionally been well-represented in the Breeders’ Cup, but the year-round program in South Florida will also have a very solid presence at this year’s World Championships at Santa Anita Nov. 1-2.

    Based at Gulfstream, Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained Math Wizard has been pre-entered in the $6 million Classic; Joe Orseno-trained Imprimis drew into the field for the $1 million Turf Sprint; and Amador Sanchez-trained Graceful Kitten is pre-entered for the $1 million Juvenile Turf.

    Math Wizard, a most fortuitous $25,000 claim during the Championship Meet, has trained at Gulfstream Park during the summer and fall, as has Imprimis, the Silks Run winner during the winter at Gulfstream who shipped to Keeneland to win the Shakertown. Graceful Kitten has won all three of his career starts at Gulfstream, including stakes wins in the Armed Forces and Proud Man Stakes.

    Based at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream Park’s satellite training center in Palm Beach County, Patrick Biancone-trained Diamond Oops drew into the field for the $2 million Sprint and Mark Casse-trained Two Sixty has been pre-entered in the $2 million Juvenile Fillies.

    Diamond Oops, who captured the $250,000 Smile Sprint on the June 29 Summit of Speed card, finished second on dirt in the six-furlong Vanderbilt at Saratoga and on turf in the Shadwell Mile at Keeneland in his two most recent starts. Two Sixty captured the $400,000 My Dear Girl, the finale of the Florida Sire Stakes series, at Gulfstream in her most recent start. 

    Bricks and Mortar, the winner of the inaugural $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, and Code of Honor, who captured the Fountain of Youth, are prominent names on the list of horses that competed during Gulfstream Park’s 2018-2019 Championship Meet and have been pre-entered in Breeders’ Cup races.

    Chad Brown-trained Bricks and Mortar will seek his sixth straight win in the $4 million Turf, while Code of Honor will vie for his third Gr. 1 victory in the $6 million Classic.

Rainbow 6 Carryover Grows to $250,535 for Thursday’s Card

    The 20-cent Rainbow 6 continued to elude bettors Wednesday, going unsolved for the 17th consecutive racing day of the Fall Turf Festival meeting. A Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot of $250,535 will be up for grabs on Thursday’s program.

    Multiple tickets with all six winners Wednesday were each worth $14,682. The Super Hi 5 carryover will be $17,97
5.

           

         
Thursday, October 17, 2019
Ton of winners hit for $1,109 . . .

    MIAMI GARDENS – The Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 12th consecutive racing day at Gulfstream Park West Thursday, producing a $150,928 carryover jackpot for today’s program. Tickets with six winners were each worth $2,927.96.

    The Rainbow 6 was solved at Gulfstream Park for a $2.2 million jackpot Sept. 27 after going unsolved for 47 consecutive racing days.

Double Late Pick 5 Carryover Sparks $1.25 Million in Betting

    A double carryover for the 50-cent Late Pick 5 of $163,572 sparked $1,253,056 in new betting on Thursday’s sequence that spanned Races 4-8. No tickets with all five winners were purchased on Sunday or Monday, creating a strong incentive for value-seeking bettors.

    Tickets with all five winners Thursday were each worth $1,109.80.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Late Pick 5 soars to $163,572 . . .
    MIAMI GARDENS - For the second day in a row, there were no tickets with all five winners of the Late Pick 5 at Gulfstream Park West Monday, producing a double carryover of $163,572 for Thursday’s program.  

    There was a carryover of $31,618 when Late Pick 5 betting started Monday, when $206,987 was bet into the multi-race wager that spanned Race 5-9. Tickets will four of five winners were each worth $2,404.
    The Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 11th consecutive racing day, producing a $127,086 carryover jackpot for Thursday’s program. Rainbow 6 tickets with five out of six winners were each worth $3,600.86.


    The Rainbow 6 was solved at Gulfstream Park for a $2.2 million jackpot Sept. 27 after going unsolved for 47 consecutive racing days.

    The Rainbow 6 will span Races 3-8, while the Late Pick 5 will span Races 4-8 on Thursday’s card.
There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $1,109.50 heading into Thursday’s card.

A BOMBER - First-time starter Irish Expectations lit up the tote board in Race 9, paying $142.60 for a $2 win ticket and creating THE double Late Pick 5 carryover for Thursday’s program,. Irish Expectations keyed a 10-11-4 trifecta that returned $52,335.60 for a 50-cent bet.
Sunday, October 13, 2019
Monday's jackpot passes $110,000 . . .

    MIAMI GARDENS - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 10th racing day in a row at Gulfstream Park West today, producing a carryover jackpot of $110,111 for Monday’s Columbus Day program. Multiple tickets with five of six winners were each worth $12,869.

    The Rainbow 6 was solved at Gulfstream Park for a $2.2 million jackpot on Sept. 27 after going unsolved for 47 consecutive racing days.

    There will also be a Late Pick 5 carryover of $31,618, as well as a Super Hi-5 carryover of $7,327 for Monday’s card that will get underway at 1 p.m.

Saturday, October 12, 2019
Hall of Fame rider is 26 wins away from Cordero . . .
    MIAMI GARDENS - Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado returned to the saddle Friday at Gulfstream Park West after being sidelined for nearly two months. Although his return was not triumphant, Prado was otherwise pleased to get back in action after recovering from a rib injury sustained in a last-race spill at Gulfstream Park Aug. 16.

    “It’s nice to back,” said Prado, who finished off the board on long shot Hannah Catherine in Race 5. “It took about a month-and-a-half, which is average for that type of injury. My plan is to stay here unless there’s an offer to go somewhere else. You never know.”    

    Prado has one mount today – Barbie’s King in Race 1 – before he ventures to Belmont Park Sunday to ride Paret, a James Lawrence II-trained Australian import who has been stakes-placed in his last three starts in the U.S., in the Point of Entry Stakes.

    Prado ranks ninth all-time among North American riders with 7,031 victories, 26 fewer than No. 8 Angel Cordero Jr. His ride aboard Florida Derby winner Barbaro in the 2006 Kentucky Derby is among his numerous high-profile stakes triumphs that include Belmont Stakes wins aboard Birdstone (2004) and Sarava (2002), as well as five Breeders’ Cup victories.

    The Eclipse Award-winning jockey in 2006 was inducted into the Hall of Fame two years later. 
Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Average reaches $46,000 . . .

    Hip No. 224, a son of Liam’s Map consigned by Select Sales, Agent, went to de Meric Stables, Agent, for $230,000 to top the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2019 Selected Sale of Yearlings. The gray or roan colt is out of Dad’ssilverpitcher, by Giant’s Causeway, a half-sister to stakes-winner Melodic.

    Hip No. 185, a son of Empire Maker consigned by Summerfield (Francis & Barbara Vanlangendonck), Agent, was also sold to de Meric Stables, Agent, for $190,000. The bay colt is out of Sweetest Sound, by Smart Strike, a full sister to graded stakes-placed Saint Vigeur from the family of champion Sweet Catomine.

    Hip No. 103, a chestnut colt by Palace Malice consigned by The Acorn LLC, Agent, was sold to Golden Star Farm for $170,000. He’s out of stakes-placed Like a Queen, by Corinthian.

    Hip No. 223, a daughter of Into Mischief consigned by Select Sales, Agent, was purchased by Blue Collar Stable for $140,000. The gray or roan filly is out of Unbridled Quest, by Unbridled’s Song, a half-sister to grade one stakes-placed Aripeka.

    Insignia Bloodstock went to $125,000 for Hip No. 105, a son of Nyquist consigned by Select Sales, Agent. The bay colt is out of graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Little Ms Protocol, by El Corredor.

    Hip No. 92, a Bernardini filly consigned by Summerfield (Francis & Barbara Vanlangendonck), Agent, was purchased for $120,000 by Patrice Miller, EQB, Inc., Agent. The bay filly is out of J. Quirk, by Unbridled’s Song, from the family of champion and major sire Tiznow.

    Insignia Bloodstock paid $110,000 for Hip No. 188, a bay colt by Runhappy consigned by Stuart Morris, Agent for Highclere. He’s a half-brother to stakes-placed Moms Choice out of Tazarine, by Cat Thief.

    Hip No. 175, a daughter of Liam’s Map consigned by Sequel New York, Agent, was purchased by Patrice Miller, EQB, Inc., Agent, for $105,000. The gray or roan filly, a half-sister to stakes-placed Salute With Honor, is out of stakes-winner  Snow Cone, by Cryptoclearance.

    For the day, 121 horses sold for a total of $5,605,200, compared with 138 yearlings bringing $5,658,000 at the 2018 Selected Sale. The average price was $46,324, up 13% compared with $41,000 last year, while the median price was $35,000, a 25% increase compared with $28,000 in 2018. The buyback percentage was 34.9%; it was 24.3% a year ago. Sixteen horses sold for $100,000 or more compared with nine a year ago.

Saturday, October 5, 2019
Son of Dialed In has earned $5.5 million . . .
    MIAMI GARDENS - Unraced since finishing third in the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 30,  multiple graded stakes-winner Gunnevera is set for a return to training at Gulfstream Park West.

    “Gunnevera will be here Monday,” trainer Antonio Sano said. “He had a fracture in his left hind leg, but he’s 100 percent now.” Sano said if all goes well in Gunnevera’s training, the 5-year-old son of Dialed In could make a return to the races in late December at Gulfstream Park. He was sidelined while preparing for a scheduled start in the Aug. 31 Woodward at Saratoga.

    Margoth’s veteran campaigner completed his 2018 campaign with a runner-up finish behind Accelerate in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs, This year he finished sixth in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream before venturing to Dubai. He's earned $5.5 million during his 21-race career.

Gemo Prevails over California Chrome’s Half Brother in Maiden Test

    Rodrigo Cunha’s Gemo made good use of his good turn of foot to win Race 5 on Friday’s program at Gulfstream West, prevailing by three-quarters of a length over Fort McHenry, a 2-year-old half-brother to two-time Horse of the Year California Chome.

    Gemo ($7.20) opened a clear lead in the backstretch run of the mile maiden special weight race, withstood a three-wide bid by Fort McHenry on the far turn and held off the 7-5 favorite late under Jeffrey Sanchez.

   The Todd Pletcher-trained Fort McHenry, a son of Tapit who sold for $1.1 million at the 2018 Keeneland September sale, was making his second career start and first around two turns. He finished fifth in a seven-furlong off-the-turf race at Saratoga in his debut on Aug. 17.

   “He came running. I think the horse in front kind of stopped and just kind of stayed even and we were able to gain some ground on him,” said jockey Edgard Zayas. “It looks like he’s still a little green. I feel like he has more potential in him; we’ve just got to figure him out. The way speed has been holding didn’t help him a lot, either, but there was a lot of speed at the beginning and I was hoping he’d kick on from there and he kind of evened out.”

    Gemo, a homebred son of Gemologist, was making his third lifetime start after finishing third at Gulfstream going seven furlongs in his first start for trainer Rohan Crichton on Aug. 10.



Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Two $75,000 stakes head Wednesday card . . .
    MIAMI GARDENS - With the conclusion of the Summer Meet at Gulfstream Park Sunday, racing in South Florida will move to Gulfstream Park West on Wednesday for the Fall Turf Festival Meet. Live racing will be conducted five days a week, Wednesday to Sunday, through Nov. 24.  Racing will also be conducted on Monday, Oct. 14. Post time is scheduled for 1 p.m. daily.

     “The Fall Turf Festival at Gulfstream Park West serves as the perfect bridge between our summer season and our Championship Meet,” said Gulfstream’s Vice President of Racing, Bill Badgett. “Over the last several weeks we’ve seen more stables ship to South Florida in preparation for the winter racing season and, over the next several weeks, we will begin to see more horsemen from throughout North America shipping in and running at Gulfstream West. We’re looking forward to a strong meet.”

    The stakes schedule will kick off on Nov. 2 with the $75,000 Showing Up, a one-mile turf race for 3-year-olds, and the $75,000 Cellars Shiraz, a one-mile turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

    The Sunshine Millions Preview card is slated for Nov. 9, when nine $75,000 stakes will be run, several serving as early preps for the Sunshine Millions program at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 18.

    Half of the eight-race program will be contested on the turf course. The sixth race, a starter optional claiming event, will feature Cash Call Kitten seeking his fourth consecutive victory and sixth win in eight career starts. The seventh race, a $45,000 allowance optional claiming event, attracted a field of seven fillies and mares including the stakes-placed Worth Avenue and 8-5 favorite Bella Tormenta.

    Edgard Zayas, who was atop the Summer Meet jockey standings at Gulfstream, will defend his title at Gulfstream Park West, where he won 47 races last year. Saffie Joseph Jr., who saddled Chance It for a dominating victory in the $400,000 FSS In Reality Saturday, captured the trainer’s title at Gulfstream Park West with 15 winners.

    Live racing will return to Gulfstream Park on Nov. 29 for the 2019-2020 Championship Meet.
Sunday, September 29, 2019
Lightner says next test is up in the air . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Chance It’s obvious talent wasn’t in question leading up to Saturday’s $400,000 In Reality Division of the Florida Sire Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The prospect of the son of Currency Swap carrying his abundant talent around two turns, though, was a subject of debate leading up to the third leg of the series for 2-year-olds sired by nominated Florida stallions.

    Shooting Star Thoroughbreds rising star demonstrated emphatically that he is much more than just a talented sprinter, dominating nine rivals with a 7 1/4-length triumph in the 1 1/16-mile In Reality, which co-headlined Saturday’s 14-program that featured eight stakes worth $1.325 million, including the $400,000 My Dear Girl for fillies.

    Chance It gave trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. his second big-money victory in a week, following up Math Wizard’s upset win in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby at Parx last Saturday.

    "The other one was unexpected, but this was the important one," Joseph said. “We had unknown questions as far as if he could go the distance, which we thought he could. But, in racing, they have to do it first before you can become a believer. Today he answered all the questions.” Joseph said the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita was “on the radar.”


    Chance It was outsprinted for the early lead by Smash Factor, who was making his first start since to a very comfortable victory in 1:44.26.defeating Saturday’s 1-2 favorite in his June 1 debut at Gulfstream Park. Smash Factor set fractions of 23.66 and 47.78 second for the first half-mile, pressed by Chance It into the far turn. Chance It, who relaxed under Tyler Gaffalione while pressing the pace, moved to the lead on the turn into the homestretch and coasted away to a comfortable victory in 1:44.26.

    “The horse broke good and put himself right where he needed to be and traveled well throughout the race. He had a ton of confidence going around the second turn and I just let him out a little bit and he finished the job,” said Gaffalione, who traveled from Churchill Downs to ride Chance It for the first time. “He got to looking around a little bit down the lane, but then he opened up so much on the field. He’s still a young horse and just keeps improving, all the credit goes to Saffie and his team. They do a fabulous job. It has been a heck of a two weeks for him, so I’m incredibly happy and proud for him.”

    Smash Factor finished second under Jesus Rios, well ahead of third-place finisher Liam’s Lucky Charm.

    Chance It, Gaffalione, and Joseph were greeted in the winner’s circle by 45 members of the Shooting Star Thoroughbreds LLC syndicate managed by long-time thoroughbred Florida trainer Mary Lightner, who said she wasn’t sure what would be in Chance It’s immediate future.

    “I don’t know," she said. "He’s run five times. Can’t really say yet. I think five races for a 2-year-old is a lot. I know he’s had high Beyer numbers every single time. I think we’ll let him have a little bit of a break and see how he comes out of it.
Saturday, September 28, 2019
Summer meeting ends Sunday . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Two days before a mandatory payout has been scheduled, the 20-cent Rainbow 6 was solved for a jackpot payoff of $2,211,783 at Gulfstream Park Friday. The multi-race wager had gone unsolved for 47 consecutive racing days. The winning combination was 5-1-3-9-6-5.

     A mandatory payout for the Rainbow 6, as well as the Late Pick 5 and last-race Super Hi-5, are still scheduled for Sunday, closing day of the Summer Meet. If no one had hit the Rainbow 6 before Sunday, the pool could have been be as high as $10 million.

    The Rainbow 6 was last solved July 6, when one bettor hit for a $173,583 jackpot payoff.

    The carryover jackpot stood at $1,965,546 at the start of Rainbow 6 wagering Friday, and $307,901 was bet into the pool.

    The Rainbow 6 will start anew on today’s Florida Sire Stakes program. First race post time for the 14-race program featuring eight stakes worth $1.35 million is set for noon.

    The 14-race program will be co-headlined by the $400,000 FSS In Reality in Race 13 and the $400,000 FSS My Dear Girl in Race 11. Liam’s Lucky Charm, the $200,000 FSS Affirmed winner, and Chance It, the $100,000 Dr. Fager victor, will clash in the In Reality for 2-year-old colts and geldings. Ceci Valentina, the winner of the $200,000 FSS Susan’s Girl, will seek to double up in the $400,000 FSS My Dear Girl for 2-year-old fillies.

    Both stakes will be included in the Rainbow 6 (Races 9-14), Late Pick 5 (Races 10-14) and Late Pick 4 (Races 11-14). There will be pool guarantees for the Late Pick-5 ($100,000) and the Late Pick 4 ($150,000).

    

Thursday, September 26, 2019
In Reality is worth $400,000 . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Stonehedge Farm’s Liam’s Lucky Charm and Shooting Star Thoroughbreds’ Chance It are ready to battle for Florida Sire Stakes supremacy in Saturday’s $400,000 In Reality at Gulfstream Park.

The In Reality, the 1 1/16-mile final leg of the lucrative series for 2-year-old colts and geldings sired by nominated stallions standing in Florida, will co-headline Saturday’s program with the $400,000 My Dear Girl for fillies. A total of eight stakes worth $1.325 million in purses will be contested on the 14-race card.

    There will be a $150,000 guaranteed pool in the Late Pick 4 and a $100,000 guaranteed pool in the Late Pick 5.

    The Flamingo Room will also play host to the third and final Taste of the Track – Bourbon, Beer & BBQ. Fans can sample hand-selected bourbons, local craft beers and BBQ bites and sliders while watching the races. The event starts at 1 p.m.

     And finally, closing day Sunday will feature mandatory payouts on the 20-cent Rainbow 6, Late Pick 5 and Super Hi 5. If no one hits the Rainbow 6 through Saturday, the pool could be as high as $10 million Sunday afternoon.

    Liam’s Lucky Charm, who finished second behind Chance It in the $100,000 FSS Dr. Fager on Aug. 3, turned the tables in the $200,000 FSS Affirmed with a narrow decision over Chance It on Aug. 31. The Stonehedge homebred rated in third behind pacesetting Chance It, who was pressed by Absolute Grit along the backstretch run, before making a three-wide move on the far turn to engage the Dr. Fager winner at the top of the stretch. A memorable stretch duel ensued before Liam’s Lucky Charm edged away to win by a head.

    “He showed guts and steadiness. He never quit. He maintained his pace and kept running,” said trainer Ralph Nicks, who saddled Soutache for an In Reality victory in 2017. “Chance It is a very, very good horse that I have the utmost respect for. It’s a shame they’re in the same year, probably.”

The battle for FSS Supremacy will rage around two turns between a pair of colts who will both enter the In Reality with a lack of experience beyond the seven furlongs of the one-turn Affirmed.

    “I think two turns is well within his grasp. I think it will be beneficial to him if anything,” said Nicks, who will also be represented in the In Reality field by Jacks or Better Farm’s Shivaree, a maiden who finished fourth in the Affirmed. “I think he’s been asking for distance. I’ve said that all along. We’ll see what happens Saturday.

  Liam’s Lucky Charm, who finished third in his May 12 debut, graduated by 6 ¾ lengths at five furlongs on June 9. He would go on to finish 3 ¼ lengths behind Chance It in the six-furlong Dr. Fager, in which the son of Khozan was bumped leaving the backstretch and staged a four-wide move on the turn and into the homestretch. Reylu Gutierrez has the return mount aboard Liam’s Lucky Charm. Jeffrey Sanchez has been named on Shivaree.

In defeat in the Affirmed, Chance It registered his third straight 91 Beyer Speed Figure to claim three of the 10 fastest numbers recorded by a 2-year-old in the country this year. “If a horse runs a good Beyer or a good figure once, I’m always questioning it, but to do it repeatedly, that’s legit. He’s no phony. He’s a legit horse,” Joseph said. “I think he has a lot of talent. I’m excited to see him run Saturday.”

    Chance It’s two-turn quest may well hinge on how he breaks in the 1 1/16-mile test, which will have a relatively short run to the first turn. “I believe, on the dirt, you have to break well. The break is important,” Joseph said. “On turf, you have to be patient. On dirt, you have to use a little to get position, after that the race is easier once you break from there.”

    Chance It, who finished second in his debut, turned in a dazzling performance while graduating by 9 ¼ lengths at 5 ½ furlongs on June 9, registering the fastest Beyer Speed Figure in the country at the time. He came right back to score a front-running victory in the Dr. Fager before coming up just short in valiant effort in the Affirmed. Tyler Gaffalione is scheduled to ride Chance It for the first time Saturday.

    Chance It will be double-teamed by a pair of Stonehedge-bred and -owned sons of Khozan. Smash Factor is slated to join Liam’s Lucky Charm in the starting gate. The Michael Yates-trained Smash Factor also owns a decision over Chance It, having scored a 1 ½-length victory over the Joseph trainee in their respective debuts on June 1.

    Smash Factor hasn’t raced since his debut triumph due to ‘baby’ issues, but has trained well preparing for Saturday’s return to action around two turns. Jesus Rios has the return mount.

    Owner Ramiro Rosas Medina and trainer Angel Rodriguez will also be represented by two sons of Khozan in the In Reality, Rebelde and Rosas Way. Rebelde closed from last to finish a distant third in the Affirmed after breaking his maiden by nine lengths on Aug. 2.

    “I think he’s going to enjoy the distance,” Rodriguez said. “He’s an easy horse to ride. You can relax him, save ground, and make a run with him.”

  Rosas Way closed from seventh to finish third in a Sept. 6 starter optional claiming allowance won by front-running Man With a Plan. Jose Batista has been named on Rebelde, while Marcos Meneses is scheduled to ride Rosas Way.

Arindel will also be represented by a pair of homebred sons of Brethren. Both Juan Alvarado-trained Genghis and Stanley Gold-trained Poe are coming off impressive maiden special weight victories. Genghis launched his career with three second-place finishes, including a runner-up finish in Chance It’s brilliant maiden victory. He came right back to score by 2 ¾ lengths in his most recent start. Poe finished third in his first two starts before breaking through with a two-length maiden victory Aug. 31. Emisael Jaramillo and Jairo Rendon have the return mounts aboard Genghis and Poe, respectively.


Tuesday, September 24, 2019
    The announcement that Belmont Park will be the new home of the New York Islanders...

    The announcement that Belmont Park will be the new home of the New York Islanders brings back memories from 51 or 52 years ago for this veteran observer.

    In 1967 or '68, the Islanders were set to announce the building of the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale in the center of Nassau County and wanted to make the announcement in the team's program, as opposed to the media. I was working at the Suffolk Sun in Deer Park at the time when sports editor Larry Conroy came to me and told me that Islanders' owner Roy Boe and president Lou Carnesecca (former St. John's University basketball coach) wanted a reporter from our paper to handle the program story. Conroy elected me for the job.

    I met the two in their offices and spent an hour or so gathering all the info, and I wound up announcing the birth of the Coliseum a short time later. At the time, the Islanders were playing at the Commack Arena, a dump of a building which the Long Island Ducks also used as home ice. 

    The Coliseum opened in 1972 located on 63 acres of Mitchel Field, a former Army airfield which also brings back many memories for me. First, during World War II, my father, an Army Captain, was stationed there for a time; second, it is right across the road from my alma mater, Hofstra University, which was Hofstra College in those days; third, it is right up the street from the former site of Roosevelt Raceway, the harness track where I and my buddies learned what wagering on equines was all about; and fourth, it's just a few miles east of Belmont Park, where, with two high school buddies, I watched my first thoroughbred race on a Wednesday during the first week of June in 1957, two days before we became part of the final graduating class from Woodmere High School. 

    You can bet that many of the Islanders' players will be spending many off-the-ice hours enjoying the races at one of the great racetracks in the world. Like I did. 

    The Coliseum gained a great deal of notoriety in the '70s because it also became the home of the (ABA and NBA) New York Nets and their All-World star, Julius Irving. The Islanders played there exclusively from '72 to 2015 and again part-time in 2018 after the building received a major renovation.  

    I'm hurt that the latest owner of the Islanders didn't call and ask me to write the story of the building of the new Coliseum at Belmont Park. I guess nobody told him I wrote the first story five decades ago.    

 

Monday, September 23, 2019
Jackpot hasn't been hit for 45 days . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 45th racing day in a row Sunday, producing a carryover jackpot of $1,852,653 for Wednesday’s program at Gulfstream Park. First-race post time is set for 1:15 p.m.

    Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $19,507
.

The Rainbow 6 was last solved July 6, when one bettor cashed a $173,583 jackpot payoff.

     The carryover jackpot stood at $1,763,111 at the start of Rainbow 6 wagering Sunday, and $373,127 was bet into the pool. There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $2,481.74 heading into Wednesday’s card

Events, Big Races and Mandatory Payouts Closing Week

    There will be lots of action during closing week of the Summer Meet, which begins with a special eight-race program Wednesday. Saturday will mark the finals of the Florida Sire Stakes featuring the $400,000 In Reality for 2-year-old colts and geldings and the $400,000 My Dear Girl for 2-year-old fillies. The Saturday program will also include the $150,000 Wildcat Heir for 3-year-olds and up, as well as five other stakes each worth $75,000.

    The Flamingo Room will also play host Saturday to the third and final Taste of the Track – Bourbon, Beer & BBQ. Fans can sample hand-selected bourbons, local craft beers and BBQ bites and sliders while watching the races. The event starts at 1 p.m. 

    Finally, closing day Sunday will feature mandatory payouts on the 20-cent Rainbow 6, Late Pick 5 and Super Hi 5. If no one hits the Rainbow 6 through Saturday, the pool could reach as high as $10 million for the finale.

Saturday, September 21, 2019
Longshots rule . . .
    LAUREL, MD - There will be a $107,353 carryover in the Friday, Sept. 27 Stronach 5 after there were no winning tickets yesterday. 

    There were plenty of longshots in the sequence which kicked off with $27.40 winner Laddie Liam in Laurel Park’s eighth race. It concluded with the 30-1 Seeking The Truth winning Gulfstream’s ninth race and returning $67.40. There was just one winner that paid under $10.

Friday’s Stronach 5 results:

 o   Leg One: Laurel Park, 8th Race – Laddie Liam $27.40

o   Leg Two: Gulfstream Park, 7th Race – Gnarly $11

o   Leg Three: Golden Gate Fields, 4th Race – Passionate Reward $5.40

o   Leg Four: Laurel Park Race, 9th Race – Letmeslidebyyou $19.60

o   Leg Five: Gulfstream Park, 9th Race – Seeking the Truth $67.40

     The minimum wager on the multi-race, multi-track Stronach 5 is $1. If there are no tickets with five winners, the entire pool iscarried over to the next Friday.


 


Tuesday, September 17, 2019
He's had vast experience in all facets of the industry . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The Stronach Group announced today that Mike Lakow has been appointed Vice President of Racing Operations at Gulfstream Park.

    Lakow brings extensive knowledge and experience to Gulfstream Park in all facets of the industry.  Most recently he served as Racing Secretary for the New York Racing Association at Saratoga Race Course and for all meets at Aqueduct Racetrack. He takes over the position formerly held by Bill Badgett, who has accepted a position with the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.

    “I’m thankful to The Stronach Group for offering me the opportunity to return home and join Gulfstream Park, which was my favorite racetrack when I started in the thoroughbred industry,” Lakow said. “Gulfstream has unlimited potential and has so much to offer for the racing fan and horseman year-round.”

    Lakow’s valuable and varied experience includes serving as President and CEO of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, General Manager at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms, jockey agent for Hall of Fame rider Javier Castellano, and working as a steward in Florida and for the Emirates Racing Authority. He has been a voting member on a number of committees, including Breeders’ Cup Selection, Graded Stakes, North American Ratings and Experimental Weights.

    “We’re extremely pleased to welcome Mike to The Stronach Group and Gulfstream Park,” said Tim Ritvo, COO of The Stronach Group. “Mike’s expertise in thoroughbred racing and his credibility with horsemen will make Gulfstream’s year-round product even stronger. We’re very fortunate to have someone of Mike’s caliber running Gulfstream’s racing program.”

    Lakow originally served as racing secretary in New York from 1993-2005 and was racing director at Santa Anita Park from 2013-2014.
Tuesday, September 17, 2019
13th victory for Starship Jubilee . . .



    Blue Heaven Farm’s Starship Jubilee successfully defended her title in Woodbine’s $253,500, Gr. II Canadian Stakes (G2) on Saturday, taking the lead at the start and never looking back, opening a long lead on the turn and coasting to victory by 4 1/4 lengths. It’s the sixth stakes victory for the multiple graded stakes-winning 6-year-old Florida-bred daughter of Indy Wind. Trained by Kevin Attard, she's now 30-13-4-3 with earnings of $865,670.

    A two-time OBS graduate, Starship Jubilee was sold by The Acorn at the 2014 August Yearling Sale and then consigned by Halcyon Hammock Farm, Agent, to the 2015 April Sale where she worked an eighth in :10 2/5 at the Under Tack Show. 

    ERJ Racing LLC, Great Friends Stable LLC and Tom Mansor’s Lazy Daisy is two for three and now a graded stakes-winner after dueling for the lead from the start of Saturday’s $200,000, Gr. II Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs, putting away her rival in deep stretch and easing away to win by a length and a quarter.

    The 2-year-old filly by Paynter is another two-time OBS graduate, consigned by First Finds to the 2018 October Yearling Sale before she was purchased for $39,000 by Mr. Mansor out of the Off the Hook consignment at the 2019 April Sale after turning in an Under Tack eighth in :10 1/5. Now 3-2-0-0 for trainer Doug O’Neill, Lazy Daisy has earned $174,880. 

    Marianne Stribling, Force Five Racing LLC and Two Rivers Racing Stable LLC’s Phat Man was in no rush in the early going of Sunday’s $75,000 Good Magic Mile Stakes at Monmouth Park, but circled horses on the turn to reach the leaders, took the lead in the stretch and held on gamely to score by a head. It’s the second stakes score for the 5-year-old gelding by Munnings, trained by J. Kent Sweezey, leaving him with a 23-6-6-1 career record and $353,823 in earnings. Consigned by Bobby Dodd, Agent, he went through the ring at the 2016 OBS March Sale after breezing an Under Tack eighth in :10 2/5
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Sunday, September 15, 2019
Jackpot nearing $1.5 million . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Today’s 12-race program at Gulfstream Park will include a Rainbow 6 carryover of $1,457,629. First race post time is 12:45 p.m.

    For the 40th consecutive racing day, there was no single winning ticket Saturday on the 20-cent wager. Multiple tickets with six winners returned $39,851. The Rainbow 6 was last solved July 6, when one bettor hit for a $173,583 jackpot payoff.

   
Today’s sequence begins with the seventh race, a five furlong event for 2-year-olds. The sequence will include three turf races.  There will also be a Super Hi 5 carryover of $3,437.

NOTES: Sanford Bacon’s and Patrick Biancone Racing’s 3-year-old filly Kelsey’s Cross, third in the Gr. III Wonder Again and third in the Saratoga Oaks, returned to Gulfstream Saturday to win a mile turf event in 1:35.05. The daughter of Anthony’s Cross broke her maiden at Gulfstream in May…Manuel J. Melean won his first race in the U.S. when guiding Angelus Warrior to victory in the seventh race. Melean is from Venezuela and is the brother of Manuel A. Melean, who has won six races in the U.S

Thursday, September 12, 2019
Richard the Great returns in style . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot continued to build to life-changing proportions at Gulfstream Park today, when the multi-race wager went unsolved for the 38th consecutive day. The carryover jackpot will stand at $1,294,231 for Friday’s 2:15 p.m. twilight program.

    Multiple tickets with five of six winners were each worth $1,646.88.

    Friday’s sequence will span Races 4-9, including a stakes-quality optional claiming allowance in Race 9. The six-furlong race will be contested by Quijote, the 2018 Sunshine Millions Sprint winner who will make his second start off a layoff; Three Rules, the 2016 Florida Sire Stakes champion who is set to return off a four-month layoff; Harryhee, a hard-hitting stakes-winner who is coming off an optional claiming allowance victory; and six others.

    The Rainbow 6 was last solved July 6, when one bettor hit for a $173,583 payoff. The carryover stood at $1,262,470 at the start of wagering and $132,377 was bet into the pool.


     There were no tickets with all five winners of the Late Pick 5, producing a carryover of $32,181 for Friday. The Late Pick 5 will span Races 5-9.

Richard the Great Makes Stellar Return

     Richard the Great, a stakes-winning son of Distorted Humor, returned from a 13-month layoff in top form in Race 4 on today’s program. The graded stakes-placed Arindel Farm homebred hustled to the early lead from the rail, rebuffed a backstretch challenge and drew off in the seven-furlong waiver claiming race by 8 ¾ lengths. Ridden by Emisael Jaramillo, the 7-year-old gelding set fractions of :22.94, :45.82 and 1:09.77 on his way to a final clocking of 1:23.83 over a sloppy sealed track.

    Richard the Great paid $4.60 and was not eligible to be claimed while making his return off the long layoff. He had been working sharply for trainer Juan Alvarado at both Arindel Farm in Ocala and Gulfstream in preparation for the race.

Thursday, September 12, 2019
10 races, wagering on 8 . . .



    Live racing returns to the OBS on Tuesday, Nov. 26.

    Two sprint stakes for OBS Sale graduates headline the day. Free nominations to both races close on Tuesday, Nov. 12. The position on the calendar provides horsemen a stakes opportunity before the kickoff of the Gulfstream Park Championship Meeting and the opening of Tampa Bay Downs.

    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. 19.

    The OBS Sprint and the OBS Filly and Mare Sprint are for three-year-olds and upward. Both races will be run over six furlongs, each with a guaranteed purse of $125,000, restricted to OBS graduates.

    The eight pari-mutuel races will feature quarter horse races for 2-year-olds as well as for three years old and upward 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.

Sunday, September 8, 2019
Today's winners get just $238 . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot continued to balloon to life-changing proportions at Gulfstream Park today, when the multi-race wager went unsolved for the 37th consecutive day.

    The Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot will stand at $1,262,470 when live racing resumes on Thursday. Multiple tickets with all six winners today returned $238.22. It was last solved on July 6, when one bettor hit for a $173,583 payoff.

   The carryover jackpot stood at $1,197,666 at the start of wagering, and $270,051 was bet into the multi-race pool.
Friday, September 6, 2019
Spotlighting winners coast to coast . . .

    Mike Mulligan's Betbestbreeze.com website has always seemed to kick it up a few notches on holiday weekends when the elite runners are competing from coast to coast. Labor Day's trio was no exception and they deserve more than a little mention, but not before noting what happened on the following Wednesday, normally a light racing day when many of the major tracks are dark.
 
    BBB had just nine runners on its three-pronged list of first-time starters, other BBB scored horses to consider, and stakes horses. Two of the entries were scratched, leaving seven possibilities. Here's what happened to the seven:

    In the first-timer department, Me and Mr. C made his debut at Delaware Park for Williston's Stonehedge Farm and was sent off at odds of 7-1. This, despite the fact that the colt is a son of leading freshman sire Khozan, who had been hot as a pistol with nine winners and a stakes-winner, six of the winners bred by Stonehedge Farm and five still owned by the farm. Me and Mr. C became No. 10, making a monster run down the lane and winning by two lengths, but if they had gone another furlong, it would have been 15. 
   
    Among the BBB horses to consider, Gotaheadache won at Colonial in her third start and paid $13.80, and Muchmorethanthis won in his second start and paid $5.60.

    In stakes company at Indiana Grand, Corruze was moved up from second place to first after a disqualification and paid $31.40 in the $200,000 Caesar's Stakes, while Amandrea finished second at odds of 8-1 in the $200,000 Indiana Grand Stakes.  

    Back to the weekend: BBB got off to a lukewarm start on Friday before exploding for a million-dollar day on Saturday. On Friday, first-timer Freewheeler, a $430,000 Fasig-Tipton Florida March 2-year-old, won by 5 1/4 lengths at Saratoga despite racing greenly the entire trip. He paid $12. At Woodbine, Bonnie Lee paid $10 after winning by 1 1/2, and at Del Mar, Georgian Road broke his maiden by 5 1/4 and paid $5.20.  

    On Saturday, after scratches there were 42 BBB runners left to compete and at day's end, nine had won, eight finished second, four third and two fourth. The big splash came in the stakes department led by Snapper Sinclair, a $180,000 OBS April product who captured the $750,000 Tourist Mile Stakes at Kentucky Downs for his fifth victory, good for a paycheck of $440,640; it raised his career total to more than $1 million.

    Also at Kentucky Downs, 2-year-old Peace Achiever paid $12 after winning the $500,000 Gainesway Farm Juvenile Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths and collecting $294,840. It was his fourth start. 

    There were two good winners at Colonial Downs, too, including a 3 1/4-length score by first-time starter Four Wheel Drive in the $100,000 Rosie's Stakes in which he defeated five last-out winners and earned $60,000. Doc Boy also collected $60,000 for his victory in the $100,000 Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Kitten's Joy Stakes. 

    There were also four second-place stakes finishes: Inspiressa in the Gr. I Del Mar Debutante in just her second start ($60,000); Jais's Solitude (lost by a head) in the Gr. III, $250,000 New Kent County Virginia Derby at Colonial ($50,000); Ask Bailey in the $500,000 Exacta Systems Juvenile Fillies Stakes at Kentucky Downs ($95,800); and Fujairah in the $117,500 Sharp Susan Stakes (by 3/4s) at Gulfstream ($19,200).

    The four stakes victories totaled $855,480 in purse earnings, and added to the four seconds ($225,000), BBB's selections collected $1,080,480 in just those eight stakes on Saturday. 

    There were many highlights on Sunday, not the least of which was Big City Bob winning the Sapling at Monmouth Park and paying $54.20, with Mischevious Alex finishing third, three-quarters of a length behind. Arlington Park first-timer Judy's Way romped by 6 1/2 lengths and paid $32.40, Billy Batts finished second by a head in the Del Mar Juvenile, first-timer Media Blitz was second by a nose at 9-1 at Del Mar; and Magical Anna won by four at Timonium and paid $4. At Saratoga, I'llhandalthecash won by two and paid $8.30, combining with My Galina for a $16 exacta. 

    Monday's stakes-winners were Spun to Run ($5) in the $300,000, Gr. III Smarty Jones; Jeltrin ($12.20), by 7 3/4 in the $150,000 Cathryn Sophia; and Engage ($11.20) in the $100,000 Bensalem, all at Parx Racing. Wrecking Crew finished second in the $300,000, Gr. I Del Mar Futurity, and there were five other seconds and thirds in stakes. Among the other winners, at Saratoga, first-timer Gouverneur Morris scored by nine lengths and paid $3.30, and Primal Destiny won at Remington Park and paid $17.40. 

    BBB is cruising along on all cylinders, and handicappers who don't pay attention to the first-timers in particular, are doing themselves a great disservice. 
Friday, September 6, 2019
Rainbow jackpot nearing $1.1 million . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Matalona Thoroughbreds' Stormy Embrace, who captured the Gr. II, $250,000 Princess Rooney on the June 29 Summit of Speed card, is scheduled for a return to action in Saturday’s $100,000 Sheer Drama at Gulfstream Park. Trained by Kathleen O’Connell, Stormy Embrace will clash with eight rivals in the seven-furlong race for Florida-bred fillies and mares.

    Stormy Embrace secured a fees-paid berth to the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 2 with her two-length triumph in the Princess Rooney, won by the 5-year-old daughter of Circular Quay by six lengths in 2018.

    Stormy Embrace finished a troubled 11th in the Filly and Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs last fall before finishing second by a neck behind Dream Pauline in the Gr. III Sugar Swirl and third behind Dream Pauline in the Gr. III Hurricane Bertie during Gulfstream’s 2018-2019 Championship Meet. She came off a four-month layoff to capture the $100,000 Musical Romance, a seven-furlong test for Florida-breds, by more than 10 lengths while tuning up for her title defense in the Princess Rooney.
Wilmer Garcia has the return mount.

    Todd Pletcher-trained Shanghai Starlet returns to Gulfstream and state-bred competition after finishing off the board in a 5 ½-turf stakes at Monmouth. King of Prussia Stables’ 4-year-old daughter of Shanghai Bobby has won three of five starts over Gulfstream’s main track, including a win in the Panama City last summer. She also won the Sunshine Millions Distaff Preview at Gulfstream West last November. Edgard Zayas, who was aboard for both stakes victories, has the mount Saturday.

    Northwind Thoroughbreds' Ms Meshak enters the Sheer Drama off a going-away 2 3/4-length victory in the July 27 Added Elegance. The Joe Orseno-trained 4-year-old daughter of Shackleford has won five races over the Gulfstream main track and also won a five-furlong turf race in April. Jairo Rendon has the mount.

  ones  Stakes-winners Wildwood’s Beauty and Starcloud are entered in the Sheer Drama, which also attracted stakes-placed last-out winners Heiresall and Amaluna, as well as Weekend Mischief and Bones.

Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Swells to $1,082,320    

    The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot grew to $1,082,320 for today’s 2:15 p.m. twilight card when the multi-race wager went unsolved for the 34th consecutive racing day Thursday. Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $13,252. The Rainbow 6 was last solved July 6, when one bettor hit for a $173,583 payoff. There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $4,248.

    The Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 4-9, including the $60,000 James H. Kyle Stakes in Race 5. Multiple stakes-winner Galleon Mast has been installed as the 2-1 morning-line favorite for the 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds and up. The 6-year-old son of Mizzen Mast, who has finished in the money in 18 of his 20 starts over the Gulfstream turf, finished a close second in his second start off a seven-month layoff last time out. The David Fawkes-trained gelding will be ridden by Emisael Jaramillo.


Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Purses total more than $11 million for 5 days . . .

    How about a day featuring a 10-race program, purses of $1,310,000, and a jockey colony including Joel Rosario, Florent Geroux, Joe Bravo, Rafael Bejarano, Julien Leparoux, Tyler Gaffalione and Jose Ortiz, among others? Has to be Saratoga, or Del Mar, or Gulfstream, or Belmont, right?

    Wrong on all counts! It would be Thursday's upcoming card at Kentucky Downs, highlighted by the $250,000 Old Friends Stakes, plus a maiden claimer with a purse of $53,000, a starter allowance ($42,000), four maiden specials ($130,000 each), an allowance ($145,100) and two allowance optional claimers ($150,000 each). 

    The meeting in southern Kentucky lasts just five days - it opened last Thursday with a record handle of $8.6 million. After this Thursday, the final three days will be Friday, Saturday and Sept. 12. Average daily purses of upwards of $2.3 million adds up to $11,532,000 for the five days.

    This abbreviated meeting enjoys another unique facet. Each race is limited to 12 starters, but there are 16 entered in six of the races and 14 in the other four. While so many tracks around the country are starving for horses, this day at Kentucky Downs has 32 on the also-eligible lists. 

    And where does the money come from to add up to more than $11 million? For the rest of the year, Kentucky Downs features historical racing. Here's a breakdown of all the purses, and how much of the total is a result of the historical racing program. Maiden claiming - $42,930; starter allowance - $34,020; four maiden specials - $113,100 each; allowance - $124,700; two allowance optional claimers - $129,000 each. That's a total of $912,050.

    Why don't other racing operators without a casino or poker room follow suit? As Yul Brynner might say, "It's a puzzlement." 

    

     

       

Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Pegasus and Florida Derby headline 98 stakes program . . .

     HALLANDALE BEACH - The $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series, which has become one of sport’s most prestigious and exciting days, and the $1 million Florida Derby, which has produced the winners of 59 Triple Crown events, highlight Gulfstream Park’s 2019-2020 Championship Meet beginning Friday, Nov. 29.

    The Championship Meet, which has attracted the world’s top horses, horsemen and jockeys since 1939, will feature 98 stakes races – including 39 graded – for total purses of $28.6 million.

    Along with the Pegasus and Florida Derby, Gulfstream will again be the hub of racing events during the Championship Meet, hosting the Clasico Internacional del Caribe, Claiming Crown, and the 49th annual Eclipse Awards.

    In just three years, the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series has attracted the sport’s biggest stars, including champions Arrogate, Gun Runner and California Chrome, as well as City of Light and international stars Magic Wand, Aerolithe and Kukulkan. In all, Pegasus World Cup Day will feature nine stakes – six graded –with total purses of more than $17 million.

    The $1 million Florida Derby, the country’s leading classic prep race that has produced 44 starters who have gone on to win 59 Triple Crown events, will be held March 28 as part of a Derby Day with seven stakes – four graded – and total stakes purses of $1.950 million. One of those stakes will be the $250,000, Gr. II Gulfstream Park Oaks, the 3-year-old filly counterpart to the Derby.

    The Derby will culminate a rich and diverse stakes schedule for 3-year-old classic contenders beginning Jan. 4 with the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man and continuing Feb. 1 with the $350,000, Gr. II Holy Bull and $150,000, Gr. III Swale, the Feb. 22 $100,000, Gr. III Hutcheson, and Feb. 29, Gr. II $400,000 Fountain of Youth.

    The Holy Bull has produced a number of Gr. 1 winners including Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby winners Always  Dreaming (2018) and Barbaro (2006), Florida Derby winners Audible (2018), Dialed In (2011), Friends Lake (2004) and Harlan’s Holiday (2002), as well as Gr. 1 winners Jackson Bend, Editor’s Note and Keen Ice.

    The Fountain of Youth has produced dozens of graded winners of the past 73 years, including Kentucky Derby and Florida Derby winners Orb, Thunder Gulch, Spectacular Bid and Tim Tam.

    The Gulfstream Park Oaks will be the final race in a lucrative 3-year-old filly series on dirt which begins Jan. 4 with the $75,000 Glitter Woman and continues with the $150,000, Gr. III Forward Gal on Feb. 1 and $200,000, Gr. II Davona Dale on Feb. 29.

    Gulfstream will also offer 3-year-old turf stakes, including the Jan. 4 $100,000 Ginger Brew on Jan. 4, the $100,000, Gr. III Sweetest Chant on Feb.1, the $150,000, Gr. III Herecomesthebride on Feb. 29 and the $125,000 Sanibel Island on March 28.

    The world-class turf course will host a number of major events for 3-year-olds and up beginning in December with the $200,000, Gr. II Fort Lauderdale going 1 1/8 miles on Dec. 14, as well as six stakes scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 28. Other graded turf races for 4-year-olds and up include the $200,000, Gr. II Mac Diarmida and $150,000, Gr. III Canadian Turf on Feb. 29, the $100,000, Gr. III Appleton on March 27 and $250,000, Gr. II Pan American on March 28.

    Graded turf stakes for older fillies and mares include the $150,000, Gr. III Suwannee River on Feb. 8, the $150,000, Gr. III Honey Fox and $150,000, Gr. III The Very One on Feb. 29, and the $100,000, Gr. III Orchid on March 28.

    The Clasico Internacional del Caribe, featuring the top horses from Latin America and the Caribbean, returns for the third year on Sunday, Dec. 8. The five stakes, totaling $690,000, will be highlighted by the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe for 3-year-olds.

    For the eighth, Gulfstream will play host to the $1.11 million Claiming Crown on Saturday, Dec. 7. Made up of nine stakes races, the day will be highlighted by the $200,000 Jewel. 


    The $600,000 Sunshine Millions, featuring the leading Florida-breds, will be contested on Saturday, Jan. 18 with the feature being the $200,000 Classic, a race whose past winners include Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man, multiple Gr. 1 winner Lava Man, and the popular Best of the Rest.

    The first Saturday of the Championship Meet will feature six stakes for 2-year-olds with purses of $450,000.

Monday, September 2, 2019
Khozan colt wins $200,000 Affirmed . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Stonehedge Farm’s Liam’s Lucky Charm prevailed by a neck over heavily favored Chance It following a stretch-long battle to win Saturday’s $200,000 Affirmed at Gulfstream Park, providing trainer Ralph Nicks with his third straight success in the second leg of the Florida Sire Stakes.

    “It was a tremendous race, a tremendous battle between two great horses,” said Liam’s Lucky Charm’s jockey, Reylu Gutierrez. “Last time, Chance It beat me pretty well. He had a little switching-leads problems last time. Mr. Nicks’ team does such a splendid job.”


    Nicks previously the Affirmed winner’s circle with Soutache (2017) and Garter and Tie (2018).

    Liam’s Lucky Charm’s hard-fought victory also gave Stonehedge owner Gil Campbell his 11th success in the Florida Sire Stakes series for 2-year-olds sired by nominated Florida sires.  

    The Affirmed co-headlined Saturday’s 13-race program with the $200,000 Susan’s Girl for fillies, won by Amalio Ruiz-Lozano’s Ceci Valentina.

     Chance It was sent to post as the 1-5 favorite on the strength of a 3 ¾-length triumph in the $100,000 FSS Dr. Fager on Aug. 3, while Liam’s Lucky Charm left the starting gate as the strong 7-2 second choice after finishing second in the first leg of the series.

    The favorite broke alertly from the starting gate to grab the early lead while pressed on the outside by Absolute Grit. Liam’s Lucky Charm, who had settled in fourth along the backstretch, was asked for some run on the far turn as Chance It slipped away from a tiring Absolute Grit.  Liam’s Lucky Charm responded to pull alongside the favorite leaving the turn into the stretch, setting up a most memorable stretch drive.

    The Stonehedge homebred son of Khozan got the better of the game Chance It at the wire to register his first stakes victory.

    “He was in a good position," Nicks said. "Saffie’s horse kind of got away had it his own way after getting some pace pressure early. We kind of got to him today and it was a battle of the two of them down the lane. Last time we couldn’t close and today we finished together. We were lucky enough to be a head better.”

            Liam’s Lucky Charm ran seven furlongs in 1:23.25, built on fractions of 22.67 and 46.07 seconds for the first half-mile. Chance It and jockey Edgard Zayas finished 17 ¾ lengths ahead of third-place finisher Rebelde, another Khozan colt, while coming up just short in the stretch.    



 

           
Sunday, September 1, 2019
Gulfstream is closed for live racing today and tomorrow . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - There will be a $1,042,563 carryover in Gulfstream Park’s 20-cent Rainbow 6 when live racing resumes Thursday with a 1:15 p.m. first race post. The track will miss the last two days of live racing on the Labor Day weekend to prepare for the hurricane. 

    The Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 33rd consecutive racing day Saturday, when multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $11,991. There was one live ticket heading into the 13th and final race, but 80-1 shot Rebelde finished third in the $200,000 Affirmed Stakes.


    Thursday’s sequence will kick off with the fourth race on the nine-race program, a starter optional claimer at a mile with a field of seven. The sequence also has three scheduled turf races and a maiden special weight event for fillies and mares at 5 ½ furlongs.

    Gulfstream will remain open today and Monday for simulcast wagering.




Friday, August 30, 2019
Final races will be on Saturday . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Gulfstream Park announced today it has cancelled its live racing programs for Sunday, Sept. 1 and Monday, Sept. 2 as Hurricane Dorian approaches the east coast of Florida.

    Gulfstream also announced its entire facility – including the Casino at Gulfstream and The Village at Gulfstream Park – will be closed beginning midnight on Saturday, Aug. 31 until further notice. The track will conduct its live racing program on Saturday, including the $400,000 FTBOA Sire Stakes.

    Horsemen stabled at Gulfstream and its satellite training facility Palm Meadows in Palm Beach County have been told they may stable at whichever facility they feel more comfortable depending on the track of Dorian. “The health and welfare of our employees, our equine athletes and our customers are always our priorities,” said Gulfstream’s Vice President, Bill Badgett. “We are closely monitoring the storm and are in constant contact with our horsemen in Florida.”

    Gulfstream will also be used if needed as a staging area for Florida Power & Light, Hallandale Beach Police and the City of Sunny Isles Police.
Thursday, August 29, 2019
Rainbow hasn't been hit for 30 days . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Gulfstream Park will kick off the week today with a carryover in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 of $934,782. First race post is 1:15 p.m.

    The Rainbow 6 was last hit on July 6, and has now gone unsolved for 30 consecutive racing days. The sequence will span Races 5-10 and include three races scheduled on the turf. There will also be a $9,111 carryover in the Super Hi 5.


    The card kicks off a racing week that will include Saturday’s Florida Sire Stakes with the $200,000 Affirmed Stakes and $200,000 Susan’s Girl Stakes. Gulfstream will also play host to its second Taste of the Track with Tequila & Tapas featuring Latin-inspired Tapas dishes paired with handcrafted Tequila cocktails
Wednesday, August 28, 2019
Won Dr. Fager by 3 1/2 lengths . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Shooting Star Thoroughbreds LLC’s Chance It will once again have the opportunity to live up to the hype in Saturday’s $200,000 Affirmed Division of the Florida Sire Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The seven-furlong Affirmed will co-headline the program with the $200,000 Susan’s Girl for fillies in the second leg of the series for 2-year-olds sired by accredited Florida stallions.

    Chance It created a buzz on June 29 when he broke his maiden by 9 ¼ lengths under wraps, producing the fastest Beyer Speed Figure (91) for a 2-year-old in the country at the time. The son of Currency Swap offered an impressive encore performance on Aug. 3 with a dominating victory in the $100,000 Dr. Fager, matching the speed figure of his maiden triumph while prevailing by 3 ½ lengths.

    “The margin wasn’t as big, but the number was the same," trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said. "It came back with 91 again. He was on the inside and he had to be used a bit. I knew he was legit, but it was nice to see that progression.”

    Chance It, who debuted with a second-place finish in a five-furlong maiden race on June 1, is slated to stretch out from six to seven furlongs in the open division of the series that will conclude with the $400,000 In Reality at 1 1/16 miles on Sept. 28.

    “I feel fairly comfortable with him going a mile, a mile and a sixteenth," Joseph said. "They have to do it, but he doesn’t show distance limitations right now. With Currency Swap, you think sprinting, but on his dam’s side, he has Pleasantly Perfect. “He’s a good-looking horse. The only thing you can knock him about is his pedigree. He has no pedigree. But he’s a good-looking horse and when you put him on the track, he wants to achieve. He’s willing. He always wants to do more.”

    Leading rider Edgard Zayas has the return mount aboard Chance It, who is 3/5 in the morning line, and who breezed three furlongs in 37.83 seconds Wednesday morning. 

    Trainer Ralph Nicks entered two horses in the Affirmed in a quest to saddle his third straight winner in the race named for the Florida-bred 1978 Triple Crown winner, with Stonehedge Farm's Liam’s Lucky Charm being the more formidable contender. The son of Khozan finished second behind Chance It in the Dr. Fager after being bumped at the start.

    “He was second best," said Nicks. "Chance It was the better horse that day. I think Liam’s moving forward as we go along. As we stretch out, we’re going to get better." Nicks scored Affirmed victories with Soutache (2017) and Garter and Tie (2018). “I don’t know if seven-eighths is enough to catch the other horse, but on the other hand, he’ll be someone to be dealt with.”

    At five furlongs, Liam’s Lucky Charm finished third in his May 12 debut before breaking his maiden by 6 ¾ lengths on June 9. In the Dr. Fager, he recovered from an early bumping incident to close for second, 10 ¼ lengths clear of third-place finisher Absolute Grit.

    Nicks expects Liam’s Lucky Charm to move even more forward when sent around two turns. “He trains like it and has acted like it all along,” he said. “I think you’ll see him get better as we move along. He’s maturing. He should run a better race Saturday. Is it going to be good enough? I don’t know.” Reylu Gutierrez has the mount.

    Nicks-trained Shivaree, a half-brother to Garter and Tie, will attempt to break his maiden in the Affirmed after finishing third in his second career race last time out. “We won it last year with his brother, who broke his maiden in there. So we’ll try to duplicate the same effort,” Nicks said. “That whole family - I’ve had three of them now - have been slow learners. A bit of ground will help him too. He’s training really well and has been moving forward since his last race.” The Jacks or Better Farm’s homebred colt will be ridden by Jeffrey Sanchez.

    Arindel’s Genghis enters the Affirmed off a 2 ¾-length victory 0n July 27 in his fourth career start. The homebred son of Brethren had finished second in his first three races, including behind Chance It on June 28 and Positively Awesome, an undefeated half-brother to multiple Gr. 1 winner Jackson Bend, on April 2. Emisael Jaramillo has the return mount aboard the Juan Alvarado-trained colt. Arindel will also be represented by Stanley Gold-trained Plato, another son of Brethren, who finished second last time out in a maiden $35,000 claiming race. Miguel Vasquez has the mount.

    Cathi and Karl Glassman’s Absolute Grit is slated to return in the Affirmed after an eventful trip in the Dr. Fager. The Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained colt, second betting choice in the first leg of the series, was bumped at the start and encountered more bumping leaving the backstretch while racing three wide before coming up short in the stretch. The son of Kantharos broke his maiden at first asking on April 26 before finishing second behind Positively Awesome in the June 30 Kodiak Island Stakes. Cristian Torres has the mount.

    Rounding out the field are Stonestreet Stables' Our Time, a son of Kantharos who was a dead-heat winner in his July 20 debut; Tracy Pinchin’s Northbrook, a son of Going Astray who finished fourth in the Dr. Fager; Patricia’s Hope LLC’s Jettin Out, a son of Adios Charlie who broke his maiden Aug. 17 after finishing second in his first three starts; and Ramiro Rosas-Medina’s Rebelde, a son of Khozan who broke his maiden in his seventh start last time out
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Monday, August 26, 2019
Desert Vixen winner is 3-for-3 . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Stonehedge LLC’s Lenzi’s Lucky Lady, who will likely be favored in Saturday’s $200,000 Susan’s Girl at Gulfstream Park, breezed in 50:80 seconds in a half-mile maintenance workout at Gulfstream West Sunday morning.

    Lenzi’s Lucky Lady is undefeated in three starts, including a 4 ¼-length romp on Aug. 3 in the $100,000 Desert Vixen, first leg of the Florida Sire Stakes series for 2-year-olds sired by accredited Florida stallions.

   The Susan’s Girl, a seven-furlong event for fillies, will co-headline Saturday’s card with the $200,000 Affirmed, the seven-furlong open division in which Shooting Star Thoroughbreds LLC’s Chance It, winner of the $100,000 Dr. Fager, is likely to be favored.

    Stonehedge LLC’s Marren’s Marvel, who finished a troubled eighth in the Desert Vixen, breezed five furlongs in 1:03.40 at Gulfstream West for O’Connell also in preparation for the Susan’s Girl.

EASY WORK - Sunday morning at Gulfstream, Saffie Joseph Jr. sent multiple graded stakes-placed Math Wizard to the track for an easy three-furlong breeze in 38.75 seconds with Edgard Zayas.

It was the 3-year-old son of Algorithms’ first workout since his sixth-place finish in the Gr. III West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer on Aug. 3. Math Wizard previously finished fourth in the Gr. II Wood Memorial, second in the Gr. III Ohio Derby and third in the Gr. III Indiana Derby.

    “He had a pretty hard campaign and we felt it was a good time to freshen him up a bit and bring him back in late September," Joseph said. "From what I've seen of him, I'm really happy with where we're at. We'll nominate to the Pennsylvania Derby (at Parx, Sept. 21) and I'd love to make the Oklahoma Derby (Sept. 27) with him at Remington.  He's still eligible for a starter allowance at Gulfstream, so depending on the timing, I'd love to use that race as a prep before putting him back into stakes company.”

Bonus Money Makes Sept. 28 Sire Stakes $1.15 Million Day

    The FTBOA has added $25,000 bonuses to both the Monroe Stakes and Hollywood Beach Stakes to be run on Sept. 28 as part of the finals of the Florida Sire Stakes. With both the Monroe and Hollywood now worth $100,000, the program will have total stakes purses of $1.15 million. The day will be highlighted by the $400,000 In Reality for 2-year-old colts and geldings and the $400,000 My Dear Girl for 2-year-old fillies. The $150,000 Wildcat Heir will also be contested.

    “We look forward every summer to the Florida Sire Stakes and working with our great partners at the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association,” said Vice President of Racing Bill Badgett. “We expect some great racing this weekend with the second leg of the Sire Stakes featuring the $200,000 Affirmed and $200,000 Susan’s Girl. Our summer program continues to grow with the support of the FTBOA, horsemen from across the country, and our fans.”

    Saturday’s second leg of the Sire Stakes will also be highlighted by Tequila & Tapas, featuring Latin- inspired tapas and handcrafted Tequila cocktails in the Flamingo Room.

Art G Is Back Headed Back to Turf after Benny the Bull Win

    Fresh off an impressive victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Benny the Bull, over Gulfstream Park’s main track, Monarch Stable’s Art G Is Back is slated to return to turf for his next start. “He’s going back to the turf on the 21st [of September},” trainer Ron Spatz said. “That’s what we’ve been aiming for. This race was to keep him busy.”

    The versatile son of Exchange Rate defeated a strong group of older horses to earn his second career stakes victory, closing strongly in the stretch to defeat Royal Squeeze by a neck under Victor Lebron.
Art G Is Back will be back with 3-year-olds in the $75,000 Bear’s Den, a 7 ½-furlong stakes on turf.

    “He’s better on the dirt, but he runs on the turf," Spatz said. He’s fine, but it seems like he gets beat in more photos on the turf. He’s never won on the turf. He’s been right there”

    Art G Is back has won four of six starts on dirt, while he is winless in five starts on turf. However, he finished fourth in the Gr. III Palm Beach and has stakes-placed finishes in all four of his other turf starts.

Friday, August 23, 2019
First post time set for 12:45 . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 28th consecutive racing day today at Gulfstream Park, producing a carryover jackpot of $827,226 for Saturday’s program.

    First-race post time is set for 12:45 p.m. Silks will open at 10:30 a.m. to accommodate the early 11:35 a.m. first-race post time for Saratoga’s Travers Stakes program. Travers merchandise and betting vouchers will be given away as part of a Spin and Win promotion in Silks. A special buffet will be offered in Ten Palms for $49.99-plus tax.

    There will also be a Super Hi 5 carryover of $2,530.

    Multiple tickets today with six winners were each worth $844.34.

    The Rainbow 6 was last solved on July 6, when one bettor hit for a $173,583 jackpot payoff.

    Today’s sequence generated a handle of $142,052. The carryover jackpot stood at $793,147 at the start of wagering on the multi-race wager. Saturday’s sequence will span races 7-12, anchored by the $100,000 Benny The Bull, a seven-furlong stakes for Florida-bred 3-year-olds and up.

   Flying Pheasant Farm LLC’s Ice Tea, a runaway winner of his last three starts in optional claiming company, has been installed as the 9-5 morning-line favorite in a field of 12. Trained by Mary Eppler, the 5-year-old gelded son of Adios Charlie came off a 15-month layoff to win a 1 1/16-mile race by 2 ½ lengths on May 31 before shipping to Gulfstream, where he won by five lengths at seven furlongs on July 4 and by 7 ½ lengths at a mile on July 21. Jairo Rendon will ride for the first time Saturday.

    Multiple stakes-winner Mr. Jordan, who has amassed more than $850,000 in earnings, and stakes- winners Hy Riverside and Royal Squeeze, are among a strong group of veteran campaigners assembled for the race 12 feature. Art G Is Back, who defeated older optional claiming allowance rivals by 13 ½ lengths last time out, and Take Command, who captured the Carry Back on the Summit of Speed program, are 3-year-olds set to challenge their elders.
Friday, August 23, 2019
Fury Kapcori filly impresses in debut . . .

    As impressive as Khozan has been for Journeyman Stud with his nine early winners, none of those victories was more eye-catching than the maiden-breaker of High On Gin at Evangeline Downs on Wednesday.

    The filly by Journeyman's other freshman sire, Fury Kapcori, came from sixth place with a huge run on the turn, then made up about five lengths in the final sixteenth with a monster burst to score by 2 1/4. Bred by Deborah Silveira, the filly earned a check for $13,800 and could loom a serious threat in Florida's 2-year-old division for the rest of the year.  

Thursday, August 22, 2019
Dr. Fager winner goes in :46.85 . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Shooting Star Thoroughbreds LLC’s Chance It has breezed a half-mile in :46.85 seconds under jockey Edgard Zayas at Gulfstream Park in preparation for a scheduled start in the $200,000 Affirmed Division of the Florida Sire Stakes Series on Aug. 31.

    The workout, which was the fastest of 79 recorded at the distance, was the son of Currency Swap’s first since capturing the $100,000 Dr. Fager, the first leg of the Florida Sire Stakes series, by 3 ¼ lengths on Aug. 3.

   “It was on the quick side, but, visually, you could tell how easily he did it,” trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said. “He has an efficient way of going. Even in the morning when he’s galloping, you’ll have him on the clock and he’ll be clicking 16s [seconds]. He looks like he’s going 19 or 20 – that’s his efficient way of going, that’s what makes him the horse he is.”

    Joseph had planned to work Chance It in company, but when he seemed especially keen to get back on the work tab, the decision was made to allow the long-striding colt to do his own thing. “He went good. It worked out good,” Joseph said.

    Chance It will be asked to stretch out a bit from the six furlongs of the Dr. Fager to the seven furlongs of the Affirmed. “I don’t think it’s going to be a problem," Joseph said. "Obviously, each time you’re doing the unknown, there’s always that doubt, but from what he shows, up to a mile and an eighth I don’t think is going to be any problem."

    Chance It, who finished second in his June 1 debut, bounced back to offer a brilliant 9 ¼-length triumph at Gulfstream on June 29. The Florida-bred colt won the 5 ½-furlong maiden special at Gulfstream in 1:03.95 while being wrapped up in the stretch and earning a 91 Beyer – a figure that was the fastest in the country at the time and one that he matched in the Dr. Fager.
Monday, August 19, 2019
Jackpot passes $763,000 . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 26th consecutive racing day Sunday at Gulfstream Park, producing a carryover jackpot of $763,478 for Thursday’s program. Multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $20,606.  

    The Rainbow 6 was last solved July 6, when one bettor hit for a $173,583 jackpot payoff. Multiple tickets with six winners Sunday were each worth $20,606.82. Sunday’s sequence generated a Rainbow 6 handle of $211,679. The carryover jackpot stood at $712,697 at the start of wagering on the multi-race wager.

    There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $2,642.40 heading into Thursday’s 1:15 p.m. program.

Grand Journey Prevails in Sunday Turf Feature 

    Whisper Hill Farm LLC’s Grand Journey ($7.80) captured his third straight victory in Sunday’s Race 11 feature at, prevailing by a head over multiple stakes winner Galleon Mast in the mile optional claiming allowance on turf.

    The 4-year-old gelded son of Giant’s Causeway sat off a contested early pace under Emisael Jaramillo before making a wide drive though the stretch to catch Galleon Mast, who had cut the corner to take the lead in mid-stretch only to be collared late. Grand Journey, who ran a mile in 1:34.56 over a firm turf course, had made his first four starts in claiming races,

    “He was a journey,” owner/breeder Mandy Pope said.

    Grand Journey, who broke his maiden for a $40,000 claiming price last September, has won three straight optional claiming allowances.

    “It was a journey to get here," trainer Ralph Nicks said. "He’s doing well. He’s putting it all together and is becoming more professional. It was a tough group today and he keeps stepping up.
Saturday, August 17, 2019
BBB selections finish 1-2-3-4 in Skidmore . . .

    Betbestbreeze has a boatload of runners scheduled to compete around the country today, including 10 first-time starters and seven stakes horses, three of the latter going at Saratoga. And Mike Mulligan prepped for the weekend on Friday with a rare accomplishment.

    The 10th race at the Spa was the $100,000 Skidmore Stakes, a black-type race at 5 1/2 furlongs on the grass. BBB had no less than four horses listed for the race, and amazingly they finished 1-2-3-4. Another Miracle won by 1 3/4 lengths as the second choice and paid $7.10, and Proven Strategies was second at odds of 10-1. The favorite, Montauk Daddy, was third and 20-1 shot Memorable completed the memorable superfecta.

    The $2 exacta paid $54.50, the $2 trifecta $90.48, and the $1 superfecta $235. Earlier on the card, Prairie Fire won the fourth race and paid $7.

    Today should prove to be very interesting.  

 

Friday, August 16, 2019
Raven's Lady wins first U. S. race . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - A carryover jackpot of $654,663 awaits Rainbow 6 bettors on Saturday’s 12:45 p.m. program at Gulfstream Park.

    The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 24rd consecutive racing day today when multiple tickets were each worth $28,637. The Rainbow was last solved July 6, when one bettor hit for a $173,583 jackpot payoff.

    Saturday’s sequence will span Races 7-12. There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $1,628 heading into Saturday’s card.

Multiple Group-Stakes Winner Raven’s Lady Wins Feature     

    Raven’s Lady, a two-time group-stakes winner in Europe last year, captured her first victory in the U.S. in today’s Race 8 feature. Owned by D. P. Racing and Medallion Racing, the 5-year-old daughter of Raven’s Pass had been winless in three previous U.S. starts, all graded stakes, before prevailing by 1 ½ lengths in the 7 ½-furlong optional claiming allowance for fillies and mares on turf.

    Making her first start for trainer Patrick Biancone, Raven’s Lady was crowded and fanned wide heading into the first turn before settling well off the pace set by stablemate Beachwood Ella, who put up fractions of :23.40 and :47.64 for the first half mile. Raven’s Lady, the 9-5 favorite ridden by Jairo Rendon, rallied leaving the backstretch before making an impressive four-wide sweep to the lead entering the stretch. The English-bred mare asserted her class and drew away to victory.

    “This is a nice filly,” Biancone said. “Next, she will be going to Kentucky Downs for the sprint for fillies and mares [$500,000, Gr. III Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint, Sept. 7].

     Last year, trainer Marco Botti saddled Raven’s Lady for back-to-back victories in the Gr. III Summer Stakes at York and the Gr. II Boldene Peitsche at Baden-Baden.


    Raven’s Lady raced 7 ½ furlongs in 1:30.47 over a good turf course. Zarina, who captured the Martha Washington Stakes at Gulfstream in July, rallied from last while following the lead of Raven’s Lady to finish second under Leonel Reyes. Midnight Soiree finished third under Albin Jimenez, another length back.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019
OBS March sale purchase went for $850,000 . . .

    At Del Mar on Sunday, Hronis Racing LLC, West Point Thoroughbreds and William Sandbrook’s Inspiressa was bet down to even money for her debut in a $61,000 maiden special dash and lived up to her billing. The Florida-bred daughter of The Big Beast, trained by John Sadler, went right to the front and stayed there to the finish, winning under a hand ride by a length and a quarter. At the March Sale, she sped a quarter in :20 4/5 at the under tack Show before she was sold for $850,000 by her breeder, Ocala Stud, where the Big Beast stands.

    Inspiressa became the fourth winner for her freshman sire, who is second in that department behind Khozan among Florida's first-crop stallions.    

Monday, August 12, 2019
Rainbow nearing $600,000 . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Trainer Antonio Sano cancelled a planned workout for Gunnevera at Gulfstream Park West Sunday morning, ruling out a start in the Aug. 31 Gr. I Woodward at Saratoga.

    Gunnevera, a multiple graded stakes-winner who has earned more than $5 million, had previously missed a planned start in the Aug. 3 Whitney at Saratoga with a bruised foot that had forced the cancellation of a pair of workouts. “His foot is fine. He just hasn’t come back as good as I want,” trainer Antonio Sano said. “The timing isn’t good for the Woodward.”

    The $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 4 remains the ultimate goal for Margoth’s 5-year-old son of Dialed In, who finished second in the race last year at Churchill Downs.

    Briannjenn Racing’s Addilyn ($2.60) brightened Sano’s day when the 2-year-old daughter of Palace Malice graduated by two lengths in a seven-furlong maiden special weight event in Sunday's second race.  The Kentucky-bred filly, who had finished second in her first two career starts while going 4 ½ furlongs and 6 furlongs, dominated her opposition under Edgard Zayas despite veering to the outside in mid-stretch. “She is a good filly. She’s still a little green,” Sano said.

    J & G Stables LLC and Nicholas Vaccarezza’s Shell Shock, a daughter of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, finished second behind Addilyn in her debut.

Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Swells to $596,772 for Thursday

    The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 22nd consecutive racing day Sunday, producing a carryover jackpot of $596,772 for Thursday’s card. Multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $135.18. The Rainbow was last solved on July 6, when one bettor hit for a $173,583 jackpot payoff.

Saturday, August 10, 2019
Saturday winners get $5,465 . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 21st consecutive racing day at Gulfstream Park Friday, producing a carryover jackpot of $560,067 for Sunday’s 12:45 p.m. program.

    Multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $5,465. The Rainbow 6 was last solved July 6, when one lucky bettor hit for a $173,583 jackpot payoff.

    Today's sequence will span Races 7-12.

Thursday, August 8, 2019
Stronach 5 - 3 at Gulfstream, two at Laurel . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - The Rainbow 6 will offer a $497,629 carryover jackpot for Friday’s 2:15 p.m. twilight program at Gulfstream Park.

    The multi-race wager went unsolved for the 19th consecutive program today, when multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $2,042.

    Friday’s Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 4-9.

    Race 7 is a five-furlong optional claiming allowance on the turf; Race 8, a 6 ½-furlong race for $15,000 claimers; and Race 9, a 7 ½-furlong maiden claimer on turf, and all will also be included in the Stronach 5 sequence as the second, fourth and fifth legs, respectively. Race 8 at Laurel Park will kick off the Stronach 5, while Laurel’s Race 9 will be the third leg.

Monday, August 5, 2019
Fanny Olsson hits with Chirping for $6.80 . . .


    HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Scandinavian jockey Fanny Olsson moved another step closer to achieving her goal of becoming established in the U.S. Sunday, riding her second winner of the weekend at Gulfstream Park.

    The 26-year-old native of Sweden, who has ridden more than 100 winners in Sweden, Denmark and Norway since embarking on her career in 2016, scored a front-running four-length triumph aboard Jorge Delgado-trained Chirping ($6.80) in Race 3, a 1 1/16-mile race for $6,250 claimers.

    “My dream has always been to ride races here,” Olsson said. “I’m just blessed.”

    Olsson ventured from Sweden to South Florida 10 months ago and worked as an exercise rider at Gulfstream while preparing to graduate to riding in the afternoon. She rode her first race on May 25, but didn't score her first U.S. victory until her fourth mount in Friday’s eighth race, winning by 12 ½ lengths on Delgado-trained Slingin Sammy B.

    “It’s a lot different here," Olsson said. "They ride a lot tighter. The races are much faster. The riders here are really good. I’m just going to have to step up my game.”

Rainbow 6 Jackpot Rising - The Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 18th consecutive racing day Sunday, producing a carryover jackpot of $472,901 for Thursday’s program. Multiple tickets with all six winners Sunday were each worth $35,083.20.

    There will also be a Late Pick 5 carryover of $38,054. Also, there will be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $18,901. 

    The Rainbow 6 was last solved on July 6, when one bettor hit for a $173,583 jackpot payoff.
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Sunday, August 4, 2019
Meneses stars on Saturday card . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Gulfstream Park’s afternoon program will feature 12 races with a 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover of $442,830. First race post is 12:45 p.m.

   The Rainbow 6 begins with the seventh race. Two of the races in the sequence will be $50,000 claiming events for 2-year-olds going six furlongs. There are also three races scheduled on the turf.

   Multiple winning tickets on Saturday’s Rainbow 6 returned $3,273. The Rainbow 6 was last solved on July 6, when one bettor hit for a $173,583.90 jackpot payoff.

NOTES - Jockey Marcos Meneses lit up the tote board while riding three winners on Saturday’s card. Meneses won aboard Sidney’s Charisma ($126.60) in the third, High Rolling Dude ($7.60) in the fourth and Ceci Valentina ($14.60) in the sixth . . . Edgard Zayas also had three winners. He rode two for Shooting Star Thoroughbreds – Chance It ($2.40) in the Dr. Fager division of the Sire Stakes and Island Commish ($7.20) in the 13th – along with Eights and Aces ($4.20) in the 11th . . . Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. also had a three-win day highlighted by the Shooting Star winners.
Sunday, August 4, 2019
Wins by 3 1/4 for his syndicate . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Shooting Star Thoroughbreds LLC’s Chance It kept the buzz alive Saturday at Gulfstream Park with a dominating 3 ¼ -length victory in the $100,000 Dr. Fager, first leg of the 2019 FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes series,

    The six-furlong test for 2-year-olds sired by nominated stallions standing in Florida, co-headlined the Florida Sire Stakes program with the $100,000 Desert Vixen, a six-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies.

    Chance It first created the buzz June on 29 when he earned the fastest Beyer Speed Figure (92) of any 2-year-old in the country at the time while breaking his maiden and was sent to post as the 1-5 favorite. The son of Currency Swap broke well from the No. 1 post under Edgard Zayas and was immediately taken on by Man With a Plan, who was ridden hard by Emisael Jaramillo to take a narrow advantage along the backstretch.

    Unable to ease his mount off the inside, Zayas remained patient aboard Chance It while being lapped on by the long-shot pacesetter. Zayas asked his mount for some run leaving the backstretch, and the Florida-bred colt quickly asserted himself to open a lead on the far turn. Liam’s Lucky Charm made a sweeping move on the turn into the homestretch but was no match for Chance It, who drew away to a comfortable victory.

    Liam’s Lucky Charm, the 12-1 third-choice, finished second, 10 ¼ lengths ahead of Absolute Grit, the 5-1 second choice who raced evenly under Christian Torres. Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained Chance It ran six furlongs in 1:11.22, a final clocking built on fractions of 22.53 and 45.82 seconds for the first half mile on a sealed ‘good’ track.”

    Chance It was greeted in the winner’s circle by a large contingent from Shooting Star Thoroughbreds, a first-year ownership group managed by longtime trainer Mary Lightner.

     “We had the speed right next to us so we were definitely concerned about that. But we went in thinking if he’s good enough he can overcome these things and he showed today he could,” Lightner said. “Edgard knows the horse really well and he does such a great job and Saffie, nobody could do a better job than Saffie getting him ready.”

     Chance It is out of Vagabon Diva, who had been adopted for $250 and subsequently given away to Ocala breeder Bett Usher. The long-striding colt was purchased privately after a Lightner-trained half-brother broke his maiden in his first start. Despite a modest pedigree, Chance It attracted several offers that were turned down.

     “We have had a little bit of interest, the phone has been ringing a few times, but we’re a racing syndicate and we wanted to do right by all these people,” Lightner said. “It’s hard to get a really good horse. So that’s the direction we decided to go. To keep him and see what we can do in the Sire Stakes.”

    The open division of the Florida Sire Stakes series will continue with the running of the $200,000 Affirmed on Aug. 31 and conclude with the $400,000 In Reality on Sept.28.

    “Mary turned down a lot of money, which is good for me because we get to keep the horse,” Joseph said. “The horse is going to have a bright future.”

Thursday, August 1, 2019
Betbestbreeze is in mid-season form . . .

    In his selections on his Betbestbreeze.com website, Mike Mulligan has pinpointed a great many first-time starters who have blossomed into superior runners in the past couple of seasons. The multiple graded stakes-winning millionaire Mitole is one of the best examples.

    Back on Feb. 16, Mike had Shancelot among his selections when the colt was making his career debut at Gulfstream Park. In Mike's 1-9 rating system, with 1 as the best, the son of Shanghai Bobby was rated as a 1 and he sold for $245,000 at the OBS March sale. All Shancelot did that day was win and pay $27.60. 

    The colt didn't start again until June 23, when he showed up at Monmouth Park and made it two in a row, but this time the price was a little different - $2.60. He raced six furlongs in 1:08.43 and received an E speed figure of 108.

    On Sunday, Shancelot continued to excel, winning the Gr. II Amsterdam at Saratoga by no less than 12 1/2 lengths. That type of winning margin is usually reserved for distance races of some kind, not for 6 1/2 furlongs, as in the Amsterdam. His clocking of 1:14.01 was eye-opening - Quality Road's track record is 1:13.74. That translates into about a length and a quarter.

    To add to the mix, BBB pick Nitrous finished second at 5-1, with the exacta paying $27.20.

    But that wasn't the only BBB success on Sunday. There were 25 horses listed on the website, with one scratch. But Mike couldn't get winners in the remaining 24, because there were five races around the country in which he had two runners, and another two races with three runners. 

    Aside from Shancelot, the big bang was contributed by Saratoga first-time starter Heartstrings, who followed up the Amsterdam by winning the 12th race and paying $81.50, leading to all kinds of monster exotic payoffs. Mike also tabbed Fujairah at Gulfstream for $30.20, Dreams Are Made at Ellis Park for $8.60, and Sunflower Girl at Monmouth Park for $3.40. 

    On Monday, Mike followed the Sunday heroics with just two first-timers listed on the sparse racing program. One of them, Bear Creek, won a $30,000 maiden special at Presque Isle Downs and paid $18.20. The other, Mizzen Beau, finished fourth at Ellis at odds of $6.90-1 after experiencing two bumping incidents and still missing second by just a head and a nose.

    The BBB first-timers from the recent 2-year-old sales have come out running. Knowing who they are can prove to be very lucrative.         

Thursday, August 1, 2019
Son of Currency Swap won last by 9 1/4 lengths . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Shooting Star Thoroughbreds rising star, Chance It, a dazzling winner in his most recent start, is scheduled to make his highly-anticipated return to action in Saturday’s $100,000 Dr. Fager division of the FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes at Gulfstream.

    The Dr. Fager, a six-furlong race for 2-year-olds sired by qualifying stallions standing in Florida, will co-headline Saturday’s program with the $100,000 Desert Vixen. First race post time is 12:15 p.m.

    Chance It broke his maiden in his second career start in brilliant fashion on June 29, scoring by 9 ¼ lengths in a 5 ½-furlong maiden special. The son of Currency Swap won under wraps while earning a 92 Beyer Speed Figure, which was the highest of any 2-year-old in the country this year until Dennis’ Moment was credited with a 97 after winning at Ellis Park last Saturday. Genghis, who finished second behind Chance It, returned to graduate by nearly three lengths.

    “Horses that he beat have justified his race,” trainer Saffie Joseph said. “I’m a big believer in ‘it’s who you beat’ and he beat horses that have come back and run good.”

    “This is the kind of horse you dream about when you’re in bed or in the shower," Joseph said. "You dream like getting a horse like him. To see him do it . . . now he has to continue to build on it. If he does the future really looks bright.”

    Chance It was produced by a broodmare who was adopted for $250 before being given away to his breeder, Bett Usher. “Physically, if you look at him, he’s a good-looking horse," Joseph said. "The only way you could knock him is if you look at his pedigree, because he doesn’t have the strongest pedigree. Other than that, physically, he looks like an athlete that could be a very nice horse.”

    After Chance It opened a lot of eyes while dropping as many jaws with his spectacular maiden score, a lot will be expected from the Florida-bred colt when he faces six rivals in the Dr. Fager.

    “It definitely adds pressure, but it’s the pressure you want," Joseph said. "If you could choose, you’d choose this kind of pressure. It doesn’t happen with a slow horse. The talent he has, when you have the kind of talent he has, it also kind of takes the pressure off, because you know he can overcome things when it doesn’t go his way.” Edgard Zayas has the return mount aboard Chance It.

    Trainer Michael Yates holds the distinction of saddling the horse that defeated runner-up Chance It in a maiden special on June 1, but Smash Factor will sit out the Dr. Fager with bucked shins. Yates has entered Stonehedge Farm’s Turn on the Magic, who set a pressured paced and fought back after being headed in the stretch to win his debut by a half-length pn June 9.

    “I expected he would run well," Yates said. "He trained well. He actually showed more speed than I expected, but I wasn’t surprised he ran that way. He kind of worked that way.” Despite winning at first asking, Turn on the Magic will return to action as a gelding.

    “He was a little bit on the nervous side," Yates said. "We gelded him right after the race. He’s been training well since. He breezed well the other day, worked well out of the gate.” Yates won the race last year with Cajun Firecracker. 

    Like Smash Factor, Turn on the Magic is by Journeyman Stud's Khozan, who is the leading first-crop sire in the country with eight winners, and second behind American Pharoah in money earnings, but Saturday's race could change the latter.

    “They’re runners,” Yates said. “I have four. The ones I have - they’re all different shapes - but they act like they want to run on. I think as the races go further, they’ll do well.”

    Diego Gomez has the return mount aboard Turn on the Magic.

    Trainer Ralph Nicks will also saddle a Stonehedge son of Khozan, Liam’s Lucky Charm, who followed up a third-place finish in his debut with a dominating 6 ¾-length triumph on June 9.
Nicks, who saddled Garter and Tie for a victory in last year’s $400,000 In Reality, has named Reylu Gutierrez to ride for the first time.

    Karl and Kathy Glassman’s Absolute Grit brings stakes experience into the Dr. Fager, having finished second behind undefeated Positively Awesome in the June 30 Kodiak Island. The son of Kantharos debuted on April 26 with an off-the-pace triumph at 4 ½ furlongs.

    Leading apprentice jockey Cristian Torres, who won his first stakes aboard Ms Meshak in last Saturday’s Added Elegance Stakes, has the call aboard the Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained colt.

    Jose Pinchin is scheduled to saddle a pair of colts – David Hunt’s Man With a Plan, who finished third in the Kodiak Island, and Tracy Pinchin’s Northbrook, who broke his maiden for a $50,000 claiming price in his third career start. Emisael Jaramillo and Samy Camacho have been named to ride Man With a Plan and Northbrook, respectively.

    Owner/trainer Steve Dwoskin’s One Turn Johnny, who finished third in his recent debut, rounds out the field. Jose Batista has the call.
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Veteran trainer has two entrants in $100,000 Desert Vixen . . .

  HALLANDALE BEACH - Stonehedge LLC’s Lenzi’s Lucky Lady is slated to put her undefeated record on the line in Saturday’s $100,000 Desert Vixen division of the FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The Desert Vixen, a six-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies sired by qualifying Florida stallions, will co-headline Saturday’s program with the $100,000 Dr. Fager, the six-furlong open division.

    Lenzi’s Lucky Lady prevailed following a race-long duel by a half-length while debuting at Gulfstream June 6. The daughter of With Distinction came right back to capture the June 28 Golden Isles Stakes, in which she rated just off the pace before drawing clear by 5 ¼ lengths.

    “She comes from a great family," trainer Kathleen O'Connell said. "I had the mother, I won stakes with her mother. She has a lot of class.”

    Jairo Rendon has the return mount aboard the homebred filly, whose dam, Blue Eyed Sweetie, was a multiple stakes-winner during her juvenile season.

    O’Connell is also scheduled to saddle Stonehedge Farm’s Marrens Marvel, a homebred daughter of With Distinction. Marren’s Marvel enters the Desert Vixen off a May 11 debut victory.

    “I love her," O'Connell said. "She’s matured. She’s gotten better and better every day.” Reylu Gutierrez is slated to ride Marrens Marvel for the first time Saturday.

    O’Connell, who has saddled 2,098 winners during an enduring career, has enjoyed long-standing success in the Sire Stakes, having saddled the winners of 11 series stakes, visiting the winner’s circle with such stars as Blazing Sword, Ivanavinalot and Well Defined, who all went on to graded stakes success.

    Gary Barber’s Two Sixty looms as a serious contender in the Desert Vixen off her recent debut victory at Gulfstream, in which she shook off pressure and drew away to a four-length victory on July 6. The daughter of Uncaptured, who was purchased for $260,000 at the 2019 OBS March sale, is trained by Mark Casse, who won the 2018 Desert Vixen with Capture Your Dream. Edgard Zayas has the mount.

    Alex and JoAnn Lieblong’s Ms Big Spring also enters the Desert Vixen off an eye-catching maiden score. The daughter of The Big Beast, who finished third in her debut, romped by 10 ½ lengths in front-running fashion on June 30. Trainer David Fawkes gave the call to Emisael Jaramillo.

    Arindel entered Raven and Sonar, both homebred daughters of their own stallion, Brethren, in the Desert Vixen. The Oscar Gonzalez-trained Raven finished second behind Lenzi’s Lucky Lady in the Golden Isles after winning her debut for a $25,000 claiming price. Juan Alvarado-trained Sonar, who broke her maiden on May 11 in her second career start, finished fifth after setting a pressured pace in the Golden Isles. Miguel Vasquez has the mount on Raven, while Rajiv Maragh has the call on Sonar.

    The field is rounded out by All Together Stable and Gary Grant’s Bahamian Girl, who finished third in the Golden Isles; John Liviakis’ Lady Joanna, who is coming off a debut victory for a $12,500 claiming price; and Our Sugar Bear Stable’s Sweetheart Deal, a 7 ½-length winner for a $50,000 tag.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Conceived by Dan Lasater in early 70s . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH – There are 36 years of history to the Florida Sire Stakes.

    And lasting memories.

    There have been champions Holy Bull, Smile, Big Drama, Awesome Feather and Brave Raj rising to national prominence in the series. Three Ring winning the Susan’s Girl before growing into a Gr. 1 winner. There’s popular trainer Bill Kaplan heading to the Breeders’ Cup after sweeping the series with Seacliff. Could anyone deter nationally renowned sports columnist Pete Axthelm from believing Sire Stakes hero What A Cooker would win the 1991 Kentucky Derby?

    Thirty-seven years later, the Florida Sire Stakes – a series of stakes dedicated to registered Florida-bred 2-year-olds by nominated stallions – continue to thrive and inspire hope.

    “A lot of dreams come out of it,” said Terry Meyocks, who was Calder’s racing secretary the first year of the Stallion Stakes in 1982.

    Said Manny Tortora, who retired as Calder’s all-time leading trainer: “Everybody wants to win it.”

    The $1.4 million FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes, formerly the Florida Stallion Stakes when held at Calder Race Course, kicks off Saturday at Gulfstream Park with the runnings of the Dr. Fager for 2-year-old colts and the Desert Vixen for 2-year-old fillies. The six-furlong races each carry a purse of $100,000.

    The series continues Aug. 31 with the Affirmed and Susan’s Girl, a pair of $200,000 races at seven furlongs, and culminates Sept. 28 with the In Reality and My Dear Girl, both to be staged at 1 1/16 miles and each carrying a purse of $400,000. 

    The idea for the three-pronged series was created in the late 1970s when Dan Lasater, the Ocala owner and breeder who led the nation's leading owners' list four years in succession, proposed a stakes program devoted exclusively to showcasing Florida-bred juveniles. The time was ripe,

    In 1978, Affirmed became the first Florida-bred to win the Triple Crown. Florida was established as one of the nation’s top breeding states in terms of foal production. And Calder, which opened in 1971 as South Florida’s “summer track,” was searching for an identity.

    It was a perfect storm and ultimately, Meyocks said, “It put Calder on the map.”

    While Calder couldn’t offer the kind of rich purses necessary to conduct stakes for the nation’s top older horses, its proximity to Ocala turned it into a natural haven for 2-year-olds launching their racing careers. As such, 2-year-olds dominated the South Florida racing scene.

    “Probably 60 to 70 percent of the horses on the grounds were 2-year-olds,” said Meyocks, who served as Calder racing secretary from 1979-93 and is now president of the Jockeys’ Guild. “We had 1,800 horses on the grounds and probably 1,200 of them were 2-year-olds. We ran five or six 2-year-old races a day in the fall. It saved us.”

    Most - though not all - of those 2-year-olds were Florida-breds. A few of the exceptions included eventual Kentucky Derby winners Spend a Buck and Lil E. Tee.

    But in sheer numbers alone, the Florida-breds ruled. And the Sires Stakes program gave horsemen an incentive to participate. “It kept the better 2-year-olds in Florida,” Meyocks said.

    Tortora, for one, went all-in on Florida-breds. “I did it all with Florida-breds,”he said, saddling more than 2,000 winners at Calder, nearly twice the number of the next-closest trainer, and amassing more than $34 million in purses. “All the money I made was with Florida-breds - horses that I either raised on my own, or me and my owners raised, or we bought in the sale.”

    All told, Tortora started 111 horses in the Sire Stakes from 1982-2008. He won the first In Reality (the pinnacle race in the series for colts) with Luv a Libra in 1982. His other standout winners were Boots ’n Jackie in 1992, Mecke in 1994 and Sea Emperor in ’94.

   “The Stallion Stakes is a big thing,” Tortora said. “I won my share of them.”

    The series has turned out to be a launching point for a number of future stars. Among them:

    Smile, who was trained by Frank Gomez and in 1984 became the first horse to sweep all three legs of the series. He would go on to win the Eclipse Award as the nation’s champion sprinter in 1986.

    Holy Bull, who shipped in to win the In Reality for trainer/owner Jimmy Croll in 1993, the year before he was voted the nation’s Horse of the Year.

    Big Drama, who swept the 2008 series for Harold Queen and trainer David Fawkes and went on to be named champion sprinter of 2010.

    “It was not only important to the Calder program,” Meyocks said, “but it was also important to the Florida racing industry. Sales prices jumped, which helped the breeders. It effected so many people.”

    Gulfstream, which took over the summer dates from Calder, has continued the tradition.

    Tortora, who is retired and now lives in Ocala, has fond memories of the Sire Stakes. “I miss all that,” Tortora said. “It’s big.”

Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Rainbow surpasses $356,000 . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Gulfstream Park’s special Wednesday program will have a special bonus with a 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover of $356,444. First race post time is 1:15 p.m.

    The Rainbow 6 sequence begins with the third race, a maiden claiming event for 2-year-olds going 5 ½ furlongs. The sequence also includes an allowance event at a mile on the turf that includes graded stakes- winner Speed Franco and stakes-winners Seismic Jolt and Art G Is Back.

     Multiple tickets with all six winners Sunday returned $4,193.74.

    The Rainbow 6 was last solved July 6, when one lucky bettor hit for a $173,583 jackpot payoff.


     Wednesday’s program kicks off a five-day week and the beginning of the $1.4 million FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes Series. Saturday’s feature races will be the $100,000 Dr. Fager for 2-year-old colts and geldings and the $100,000 Desert Vixen for 2-year-old fillies.

NOTES: Sound Machine, a 2-year-old daughter of Into Mischief owned by e Five Racing, won her career debut Sunday impressively under jockey Edgard Zayas while covering 5 ½ furlongs in 1:04.76. Trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., Sound Machine brought $500,000 at the Keeneland September Sale of 2018…Leading rider Zayas won two races on the day. Along with Sound Machine ($4) he also won aboard Sleeping Giant ($2.60) in the third…Jockey Miguel A. Vasquez won three times, winning aboard Helping Lisa D ($5.60) in the fourth race, Great Sister Diane ($8.80) in the fifth and Fujairah ($30.20) in the seventh…There was a rare double dead heat in Sunday’s final race. Karenina and Oblio’s Wish finished deadlocked for third while Mi Karlita and Regal Romance wound up in a dead heat for fifth.
Sunday, July 28, 2019
Pharoah vs. Khozan at Gulfstream today . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Gulfstream Park’s 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 12th consecutive racing day Saturday, producing a carryover for today’s 11-race program of $321,360. Multiple tickets with all six winners Saturday returned $507.90.

    First race post today is 1:15 p.m. The Rainbow 6 sequence will include two maiden special weight events for 2-year-olds. One of those races, the seventh, for juvenile fillies at 7 ½ furlongs on the turf, will include the racing debut for Liraz, a daughter of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, who wrested the freshman sire money lead from Khozan yesterday. Khozan had held the lead since May 11. However, Khozan still leads in the winners department with eight, one more than Tapiture and two more than Pharoah. 

    American Pharoah's money lead is slight, $358,171 to $354,157 and that could change today. When Liraz makes her debut in race 7 (she's listed at 5-1 in the morning line), she'll face Carolyn's Smile, a Khozan filly listed at 8-1. Also, Khozan will have Don't Get Khozy going in the 10th race.

    The Rainbow 6 was last solved July 6, when one lucky bettor hit for a $173,583 jackpot payoff.

IMPERIAL NOTES - Diamond Oops, winner of the Gr. III Smile Sprint at Gulfstream on June 29, finished second Saturday in the $350,000, Gr. I Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga. Trained by Patrick Biancone, Diamond Oops finished four lengths behind the amazing Florida-bred Imperial Hint, and another 3 1/2 ahead of Mitole, the 1/2 favorite. Mitole went into the race on a seven-race winning streak, five in stakes, including the Gr. I Met Mile in his last. 

    Imperial Hint, the 6-year-old son of former Get Away Farm stallion Imperialism, went off as the 5-1 third choice and paid a surprising $13.60. It was the first time he had not been the favorite in this country since he won the General George Stakes at Laurel Park on Feb. 18 of 2017. In that race, he was the 5/2 second choice behind Stallwalkin' Dude, the Florida-bred son of City Place who retired at the end of last year at age nine with a record of 20-12-11 in 65 starts and earnings of $1,741,397.    

    This was Imperial Hint's first start since returning from a trip to Dubai, where he finished third in the Golden Shaheen on March 30. He's now 13-2-3 in 22 lifetime starts with earnings of $2,034,155. 

STILL KISSIN - It seems like decades since Kissin Kris stood in Florida, but he still has a productive 10-year-old gelding racing at Belterra Park in Cincinnati. Kiss Sin George has earnings of $170,475 on a lifetime record of 20-6-10 in 66 starts. This year, he's 2-0-1 in three tries with earnings of $17,450. It will be interesting to see how long he can keep it going.

    Belterra has replaced dilapidated River Downs and judging by its website photos, looks pretty spectacular. It features a casino, and for us old Brooklyn boys, it's very close to the Coney Island Amusement Park. 

       


Thursday, July 25, 2019
Triple Crown winner is only $10,000 behind . . .

    It was back on May 11 that Journeyman Stud's Khozan moved into first place on the North American first-crop sire list. That was 2 1/2 months ago, and the son of Distorted Humor has been on top ever since, waking up today with eight winners and $354,157 in progeny earnings. 

    It's anybody's guess when the Khozan euphoria will end, since the stallion most horsemen assumed would be the league leader on Dec. 31 - American Pharoah with his 162 foals - has moved up to second place with earnings of $344,971, and is only two winners behind.

    Khozan has a chance to remain in the national battle if one or more of his winners show up in the soon-to-begin six races that make up the Florida Sire Stakes. The first two, the Dr. Fager for colts and geldings, and the Desert Vixen for fillies, are set for Aug. 3. Of course, by then American Pharoah may have taken over the lead. 

    Khozan still leads the Florida freshman group by a wide margin, and it's doubtful he can be caught, unless Ocala Stud's The Big Beast gets hot; but he has just two winners thus far.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Closing in on $2.9 million in earnings . . .

    Bloom Racing Stable, Madaket Stables LLC and Allen Racing LLC’s Midnight Bisou, an OBS graduate, continued her march toward a title with a victory in Saturday’s $147,000, Gr. III Molly Pitcher Stakes at Monmouth Park.

    The 4-year-old daughter of Midnight Lute, trained by Steve Asmussen, is 5-for 5 this year, all in graded stakes company. After saving ground early, she slipped through on the rail in the final furlong and eased away to score by a measured length. That’s her 10th graded stakes victory, and it leaves her with a 10-3-3 career record in 16 starts and $2,870,000 in earnings.

    After breezing an under tack eighth in :10 1/5, she was purchased by Jeffrey Bloom for $80,000 out of the Woodford Thoroughbreds consignment at the 2017 April Sale.