Track Times Today

Bernie's Blog

Tuesday, June 2, 2020
5 races. four tracks . . .

    LAUREL, MD - The Stronach 5, which has consistently offered a strong return on investment, returns Friday with a $100,000 guaranteed pool, an industry-low 12-percent takeout, and races from Laurel Park, Gulfstream Park, Golden Gate Fields and Santa Anita Park

    The five-race sequence will begin at approximately 3:51 ET when 11 maiden 3-year-olds go to post in Laurel’s seventh race, a 1 1/16-mile turf event. Laurel’s eighth race, also a turf event, will serve as the third leg of the Stronach 5. The sequence will conclude with Santa Anita’s fourth race, a turf event for fillies and mares. 


Friday’s races and sequence

Leg One – Laurel Park 7th Race: (11 entries, 5 1/2 furlongs turf) 3:51 ET, 12:51 PT

Leg Two –Gulfstream Park 9th Race: (9 entries, 1 1/16 mile) 4:13 ET, 1:13 PT

Leg Three –Laurel Park 8th Race: (13 entries, 1 1/16 mile turf) 4:25 ET, 1:25 PT

Leg Four –Golden Gate Fields 3rd Race: (8 entries, 5 furlongs) 4:54 ET, 1:54 PT

Leg Five –Santa Anita Park 4th race: (9 entries, 1 mile turf) 5:09 ET, 2:09 PT

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

    If a change in racing surface is made after the wagering closes, each selection on any ticket will be considered a winning selection. If a betting interest is scratched, that selection will be substituted with the favorite in the win pool when wagering closes.

Sunday, May 31, 2020
Saturday's payoff was a monster . . .

     HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $1.8 million today at Gulfstream Park.

    The multi-race wager went unsolved for the 13th consecutive racing day Saturday, when multiple ticket with all six winners were each worth $140,821. The huge payoff came after Sunsation ($112.20) won the 10th race and Atakan ($105.60) won the 11th and final leg of the sequence.

    The 11th race payoff also resulted in a Super Hi 5 carryover of $24,651.

    The Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 7-11, including the featured six-furlong optional claiming allowance carded as Race 8. Multiple stakes-winners Royal Squeeze and First Deal are prominent contenders in the field of six older horses.

Spring Meet Stakes Action Gears Up Next Weekend                     

    The Spring Meet stakes action at Gulfstream Park gears up next weekend with four stakes scheduled. The $100,000 Soldier’s Dancer, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for Florida-bred 3-year-olds and up; the $100,000 Ginger Punch, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for Florida-bred fillies and mares; and the $75,000 Game Face, a 6 ½-furlong dash for 3-year-old fillies, will be run next Saturday. The $60,000 Treasure Coast, a 1 1/8-mile overnight stakes on turf for fillies and mares, will be featured next Sunday.

Saturday, May 30, 2020
Jockey was injured on April 24 . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Five weeks after suffering two broken ribs in a spill at Gulfstream Park, jockey Luca Panici is scheduled to return to riding this weekend.

    Panici, 46, was hurt when his mount, Mrs. Miniver, collapsed from a heart attack during the running of the fourth race on April 24 and crashed into the inner rail. It was the third time in six months the Italy native has been forced to sit out due to racing-related injuries.

    “I am glad to be back," Panici said. "It’s part of the job, having these accidents, but most important is staying positive and always looking forward. Hopefully from now I’ll have some better luck.”

     Regular rider for Triple Crown prospect Sole Volante, Panici is named on two horses today – Carolynn Stable’s 3-year-old colt General Mathis in Race 1 and Al Moorhouse’s 3-year-old filly Fall Moon in Race 4. “I always try my best,” Panici said. “It’s not the first time and probably won’t be the last that you have to stop and come back. I always try to do my best when I come back.”

     Panici is expected to be aboard when Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Andie Biancone and Limelight Stables Corp.’s Sole Volante makes his next scheduled start in the Belmont Stakes, shortened to 1 1/8 miles and rescheduled to June 20 to open the Triple Crown series.

     Sole Volante broke his maiden last October at Gulfstream Park West, ran third in the one-mile Mucho Macho Man in his sophomore debut Jan. 4 at Gulfstream and captured Tampa’s Sam F. Davis  Feb. 8 with Panici aboard. Most recently, Sole Volante was second behind 49-1 upset winner King Guillermo in the Tampa Bay Derby March 7.

     Trained by Patrick Biancone, Sole Volante is scheduled to have his next work June 3 on the turf course at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County. It will be the fourth breeze since his last race.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Racing on Wednesday Begins 

     Gulfstream’s summer schedule will change a bit beginning next week when live racing will be conducted Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

      Next week’s racing schedule includes three stakes races on Saturday – the $100,000 Ginger Punch, $100,000 The Soldier’s Dancer and $75,000 The Game Face.
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Jackpot for Thursday guaranteed at $1.350 million . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Racing returns to Gulfstream Park with a nine-race program Thursday, featuring a jackpot pool guarantee of $1.350 million in the 20-cent Rainbow 6. First race post time is 12:45 p.m.

    The multi-race wager has gone unsolved for the past 10 days since a mandatory payout of $31,476 on May 9. Multiple tickets with all six winners on Monday’s Memorial Day program each returned $26,219.

    Thursday’s sequence begins in Race 4. Race 5 is a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight for Florida-bred fillies and mares 3 and up that drew a field of 13 led by 2-1 program choice Baseline Drive, a first-time starter by Point of Entry trained by Chad Brown.

    The feature is Race 8, an entry-level optional claiming allowance where seven older females passed the entry box to sprint 6 ½ furlongs on the main track. Top choice at 2-1 on the morning line is 4-year-old stakes-winner Midtown Rose, who has been in the money in 12 of 13 lifetime tries at Gulfstream, four of them winning races. Also entered is her 6-year-old stablemate Archumybaby, a 12-time winner making her 39th career start and first since being moving to the barn of trainer Saffie Joseph Jr.

     Race 2 on Thursday is a 4 ½-furlong maiden claiming event that attracted a field of 13 2-year-olds topped by 5-2 program choice Paladio, one of nine first-time starters. The Gone Astray colt is one of two trained by Antonio Sano, along with Alternation colt Turpial, listed at 9-2.

     Notes: Jockey Nik Juarez doubled Monday with Ocala ($5.80) in the opener and Cpt. Rhett Butler ($19.60) in Race 6. Emisael Jaramillo rode back-to-back winners on Notsosubtle ($3.60) in Race 3 and Gibberish ($12.20) in Race 4.
Monday, May 25, 2020
10-15 percent begins in June . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Gulfstream Park announced Sunday that overnight purses will be raised 10-15 percent beginning in June.

    “We were very conservative with our purse structure beginning in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gulfstream’s Vice President of Racing Mike Lakow. “Without our casino operating and with no on-track attendance and handle we had to make adjustments with the purse account. The horsemen have been incredibly understanding and have worked with us throughout this process. We want to thank them for their support and we’re pleased to provide this increase.”

    The holiday weekend of racing continues today with a 12-race program beginning at 12:45 p.m. and a guarantee of $1.2 million in the 20-cent Pick 6. Sunday's winners each received $19,092. 
Sunday, May 24, 2020
Equibase needs to do better job on racing charts . . .

    Since 'Notes From North and South' hasn't been part of this space for a long time, how about a one-time return.

    Note No. 1: One of the puzzling oddities of the sport is that every facet of the game is dissected, bisected and trisected from every angle by writers, bettors, management, various organizations and the vast horde of on-line tweeters and others who make comments - pro and con - at the end of the many racing columns they agree or disagree with. But nobody comments, at least publicly, on the errors that are apparent in a myriad of Equibase's race charts. 

    Serious bettors use the Equibase charts as if they are a bible, spotlighting final times, fractions, lengths behind at every call in the race, type of trip and a bevy of other stats. So, if there are errors in a chart, it can make a huge difference in how the big bettors attack the race. 

    Remember many years ago when Steven Crist led a crusade to report the fractions in hundredths instead of tenths so handicappers could get a better picture of the race? He got it done. 

    Latest case in point. In yesterday's fifth race at Tampa Bay Downs, David Flores achieved a rare accomplishment in a game that doesn't boast of that many rare accomplishments. Most of what runners or jockeys accomplish has been achieved many times before. But David, who has been living in Ocala since his retirement in 2017, won the race with a superior ride aboard Calypso Key. The accomplishment? David is also the trainer of the 5-year-old mare owned and bred by Firefly Racing. 

    I've seen jockey-trainer combos in the past, but not often. Clyde Martin comes to mind, and I think Robbie Davis did it for a while, too, but I'm not positive about him. Flores shot Calypso Key out of the gate and they raced in third place all the way down the backstretch before he slipped her through on the inside to win it. My problem? The Equibase chart has the mare in fifth place at the half, and it just wasn't so - she was third. So Calypso Key's position is incorrect at that juncture, as is the number of lengths she was behind the leader. For the once-in-a-while bettor, it won't make a difference. For the serious guys, only they know.

    Another place where the Equibase chart-callers are extremely delinquent is in 'lengths behind,' usually down the backstretch. I have watched MANY horses who have been 16 to 20 lengths out of it after negotiating the first turn, or coming out of the chute, and the chart later has it as 12 or 13 or 14 lengths. I've seen many more where a horse was 10 lengths behind and the chart later showed it as 7 or 8 lengths. And these are races that I've re-checked one or more times to make sure I wasn't mistaken - and I wasn't.

    Back in the early 90s, when I was the Florida breeding columnist for Racing Times, there were charts in my paper and in Daily Racing Form, constructed by each company's different chart-callers. I used to check both every day and found a great many differences between the calls in the two papers.    

    Note No. 2 - Flores retired in 2017 with 3,608 winners and purses earned of more than $150 million. He has been training for Firefly at Classic Mile in Ocala, and after Calypso Key ran poorly for two other jockeys, he came out of retirement and has been aboard the mare in her last four trips. Before yesterday he previously posted a second with her back on April 1. Last year, David was the trainer of Higgins, a back-to-back winner at Tampa on March 15 and April 14. His Mexican friend Jesus Castanon was the rider.

   Note No. 3 - After 13 or 14 years riding in this country, super French jockey Julien Leparoux still can't get announcers and analysts to pronounce his name correctly. It's not Leppa-roo, as so many say, or Lay-paroo, which the rest spout. It's Le-paroo. The only two who have ever had it right are announcer Larry Collmus and analyst and handicapper Bob Neumeier.  (I miss Larry Collmus). 

Note No. 4 - Churchill Downs' latest announcer, Travis Stone, does an excellent job. His voice sounds a lot like Dave Johnson. 

Note No. 5 - In Friday's eighth race at Tampa, a $5,000 claimer, Ronnie Allen guided Sum Overture from behind and into second place. Sum Overture went off at 126-1 and paid $80.80 to place and $27.60 to show. 

Enough notes for now.  

Saturday, May 23, 2020
Today's winners collected $23,501 . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - There will be a jackpot pool guarantee of $1.2 million in Sunday’s 20-cent Rainbow 6 wager at Gulfstream Park. Post time for the first of 11 races is 12:45 p.m.

    The multi-race wager has gone unsolved for the past eight days since a mandatory payout of $31,476 on May 9. Multiple tickets with all six winners Saturday were each worth $23,501.

    There will also be a Super Hi 5 carryover of $20,069.

    Four of the six races in Sunday’s Rainbow 6, which spans Races 6-11, are scheduled for the turf. The quartet attracted 50 entries, an average of 12.5 horses per race. Among the sequence are back-to-back optional claiming allowances for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles in Race 9 on the dirt and Race 10 on the grass.

    Juddmonte Farms’ multiple stakes-winning homebred Seismic Wave will make his season debut in Race 3, a one-mile optional claiming allowance for 4-year-olds and up on the grass where the 4-year-old son of Tapit is the 5-2 program choice. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott – now eight wins shy of 5,000 for his career but 0-for-29 at Gulfstream’s spring-summer meet – Seismic Wage hasn’t raced in seven months since taking the one-mile English Channel at Belmont Park. He is two-for-two on the grass at Gulfstream, breaking his maiden and winning the Cutler Bay during last winter’s Championship Meet.

     Also in the field are 8-year-old Class and Cash, whose 13 career wins include the 2018 Laurel Dash; graded stakes-placed Colonist and Tizzarunner, the latter exiting a 31-1 upset at the course and distance on April 23; 2019  Gio Ponti winner Temple; English Gr. III winner Monarchs Glen; and Renaisance Frolic, a two-time stakes-winner on the Gulfstream turf.

NOTES: Victor Lebron swept the early daily double aboard Cardiac Kid ($5) and Macho d’Oro ($7.40), and added a third winner on Malibu Max ($4.60) in Race 9, moving the 35-year-old native of St. Croix, Virgin Islands into the top 10 in wins and purses at the spring-summer meet . . . Edgard Zayas also had two wins, with Witch Hunter ($3.60) in Race 4 and Well Connected ($17.80) in Race 6.
Friday, May 22, 2020
Gets No. 7,058 on debuting 2yo Flying Aletha . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Jockey Edgar Prado moved past fellow Hall of Famer Angel Cordero to grab sole possession of eighth place in the all-time standings for races won with victory No. 7,058 Thursday at Gulfstream Park.

    The 52-year-old Lima, Peru native scored aboard Wesley Ward-trained Flying Aletha ($9), who defeated stablemate Lime by 5 ½ lengths in the five-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies that was transferred from the turf course to the main track

    “I’m very excited. After the recent setback with the quarantine and the coronavirus, I’m glad to be back and riding again,” Prado said. “I’m extremely excited and happy to pass a legend like Cordero. The next goal is eight away, so hopefully we can get there sooner than later.” Prado moved to within eight victories of still-active Perry Ouzts, who ranks seventh on the all-time list.

   Prado hustled Flying Aletha out of the gate to beat Lime, the 2-5 favorite ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., for pacesetting honors on the backstretch. The daughter of Tiznow withstood a mild challenge from her stablemate before drawing away to a comfortable victory.

    CJ Thoroughbreds LLC’s Flying Aletha, who was purchased for $175,000 at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July sale, ran five furlongs in :58.73 seconds after setting fractions of :22.66 and :46.21 for the first half-mile. Lime, who finished second in her April 16 debut at Gulfstream, finished 6 ½ lengths clear of Whistler Dixie and Victor Lebron.

   Flying Aletha was making her debut, following several impressive workouts on turf at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream Park’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County.

.    “Isn’t that nice? I rode with him here at Calder when he first came to this country. We rode together at Calder in 1987,” said Ward, the Eclipse Award-winning apprentice in 1984.

    Prado, who rode as an apprentice in Peru, began riding in the U.S. in 1986. He notched his first win aboard Single Love at Calder on June 1, 1986. The 53-year-old jockey, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008, has amassed countless highlights during his illustrious career, including a Kentucky Derby win aboard Barbaro in 2006, when he was honored with an Eclipse Award as North America’s outstanding jockey, and Belmont Stakes wins aboard Birdstone (2004) and Sarava (2002), as well as five Breeder’s Cup victories.

    Prado’s mounts have earned nearly $270 million in purse money.
Thursday, May 21, 2020
Bargain filly went through sales ring twice . . .

    Blue Heaven Farm’s two-time OBS graduate Starship Jubilee has been named Canada’s Horse of the Year and champion female turf horse at the 45th annual Sovereign Awards ceremony.

    Never off the board in seven starts in 2019, the now 7-year-old daughter of Indy Wind posted four stakes victories, three in graded stakes company. She took the Gr. II Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa Stakes at Saratoga in August, the Gr. II Canadian Stakes at Woodbine in September and came right back a month later to score in Woodbine’s Gr. I E. P. Taylor Stakes.

    She’s off to a good start in 2020, winning all three starts including the Gr. III Suwanee River at Gulfstream and the Gr. II Hillsborough at Tampa Bay Downs. Trained by Kevin Attard, she has compiled a 35-17-5-3 career record and earned $1,498,667 to date.

    At her first visit to OBS, she was purchased for $6,500 by Laurence F. Leavy out of The Acorn consignment at the 2014 August Yearling Sale. She was next consigned by Halcyon Hammock Farm to the 2015 April Sale, but she was an RNA at $34,000.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Track will be open without spectators on Mondays and Wednesdays . . .
    OLDSMAR - Tampa Bay Downs has added eight dates in June to its 2019-2020 racing calendar after its request was approved by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

    The track will conduct racing in June on Mondays and Wednesdays: June 1, 3, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22 and 24. Spectators will not be allowed, nor will they be permitted to attend the track’s annual two-day Summer Festival of Racing on June 30 and July 1.

    The Silks Poker Room remains closed until further notice. The Downs Golf Practice Facility is open for business.

    Tampa Bay Downs is racing on a Wednesday-Friday-Saturday schedule through May 30. Management expects the additional dates will help ease the financial hardship felt by many horsemen during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

    Fans can continue to wager on the Tampa Bay Downs races through online betting sites such as NYRA Bets, DRF Bets and TVG.
Monday, May 18, 2020
Saez triples on Sunday program . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - A jackpot pool guarantee of $900,000 in the 20-cent Rainbow will greet bettors when action returns to Gulfstream Park with a live 10-race program on Thursday.  First race post time is 12:45 p.m.

    The multi-race wager went unsolved Sunday, and multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $18.48. The winning tickets included three "alls" due to scratches, leading to the low payoff.

    Thursday’s Rainbow 6 spans Races 5-11 and includes three races scheduled for the grass which attracted 43 entries, an average of 14.3 horses per race.

    The feature comes in Race 9, a $48,000 optional claiming allowance for 4-year-olds and up sprinting 6 ½ furlongs. Admiral Lynch, third by a neck in the 2019 Gr. III Chick Lang and second by less than a length last out in the Gr. III World of Trouble Sprint on Feb. 22 at, is the narrow 3-1 program choice.

NOTES: Jockey Luis Saez registered a riding triple Sunday aboard Geonosis ($3) in Race 5, Sniper Shot ($4) in Race 7 and Just Whistle ($10.40) in the $75,000 Sunday Silence for 4-year-olds and up in Race 9. … Irad Ortiz Jr. won twice, with R U Lucky ($3.60) in Race 3 and Unrighteous ($2.80) in Race 4. Sniper Shot and Unrighteous are both trained by Todd Pletcher. … Jockey Victor Lebron swept the late daily double with Helping Lisa D ($11.40) in Race 10 and The Great Kath ($22.60) in Race 11.

Saturday, May 16, 2020
Asking for 8 more days in June . . .
    OLDSMAR - In an effort to aid horsemen uncertain of their next step, Tampa Bay Downs is seeking approval from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation to add eight racing dates in June to its 2020 season. The dates requested are Mondays and Wednesdays: June 1, 3, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22 and 24.

    Tampa Bay Downs is currently racing each Wednesday, Friday and Saturday through May 30. The meeting ends on Tuesday, June 30, which is also the first day of the track’s annual two-day Summer Festival of Racing.

    The Wednesday, July 1 card counts as the official start of the 2020-2021 meeting (which would then likely resume in late November).

    While other tracks in the country are beginning to reopen – most notably Santa Anita, which resumed yesterday, and Churchill Downs, which opens today – the majority of spring-summer venues have pushed back their start dates or have yet to announce a revised schedule.

    Tampa Bay Downs plans to continue racing without spectators, which has been the case since March 18 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fans by the thousands, forced indoors by the pandemic, have gravitated to online betting sites such as NYRA Bets, DRF Bets and TVG in record numbers, providing the wherewithal to keep purse money steady.

    By adding the June dates, Tampa Bay Downs management hopes to help ease the financial hardship many horsemen are facing.

    “The last two months have presented a challenge unlike any our sport has faced,” said Peter Berube, the track’s Vice President-General Manager. “Our trainers, jockeys, backstretch workers and security personnel have met it head-on and continued to provide racing that has brought positive recognition to Tampa Bay Downs. We are proud of how everyone has responded and are hopeful the additional dates, if approved, will sustain the majority of our participants until they move to their summer and fall bases of operation.” 

    Tampa Bay Downs has enforced strict protocol since March 18 in an effort to keep its human and equine populations healthy and safe. Measures include limiting person-to-person contact by designating one person from each barn to interact with veterinarians and farriers; decreasing the number of people allowed in a tack room or office at one time; practicing social distancing; wearing masks; cleaning and sanitizing water and feed buckets, tack, grooming supplies and other implements often throughout the day; and taking employees’ temperatures every day.
Thursday, May 14, 2020
Gulfstream will be alone early in the day . . .

    With the Oaklawn Park season already finished, racing has been held to just four tracks in recent days - Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs in the east, along with Fonner Park in Nebraska and Will Rogers Downs in Oklahoma. That line-up ends today with the re-opening of four additional venues.

    Gulfstream Park continues its run with a 1 p. m. first post and will have the benefit of being the only track taking bets for its first six or seven races. Tampa Bay Downs doesn't race on Thursdays. 

    Santa Anita will be next with a 3:30 post for its nine-race card, followed by Golden Gate Fields with a 3:45 start and another a nine-race program, along with Santa Anita. At 7 p. m., Charles Town kicks off with its nine-race card and Remington Park goes with a strong 11-race card. Based on the success of Fonner Park and Will Rogers Downs, the three newbies, other than Santa Anita, should be able to compete with some degree of success, too. It will be interesting to see which achieves the highest handle.

    On Saturday, Churchill Downs will be added to the wagering menu, and the New Yorkers are out in force trying to get Gov. Cuomo to allow racing at Belmont Park in advance of the opening of Saratoga.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Gr. I winner training well in Ocala . . .
     HALLANDALE BEACH - Gary Barber’s Got Stormy is scheduled to flaunt her gaudy Gr. 1 credentials in Saturday’s $75,000 Powder Break at Gulfstream Park, where the daughter of Get Stormy kicked off an auspicious 2019 campaign with an optional claiming allowance victory.

     Got Stormy had been under consideration for the May 25 Gr. I Shoemaker Mile, but trainer Mark Casse has instead opted to send Barber’s Preakness winner, War of Will, to the West Coast for his first start on turf since his juvenile season at Santa Anita.

     “She’s already a Gr. 1 winner, so the Shoemaker Mile wouldn’t be as important to her as War of Will,” said Casse, whose goal is to make Barber’s War of Will a Gr. 1 winner on turf, as well as dirt, to enhance his stallion potential.

     Got Stormy, who broke her maiden at Gulfstream in February of 2018 before blossoming into a star turf performer, raced at Santa Anita in her most recent start, finishing second in the Gr. I Frank E. Kilroe Mile, coming up a neck short of victory after setting the pace.

     “She’s training extremely well," Casse said. "She went out and ran a great race in California her last start. It’s tough when you ship all the way to California. You’re taking a disadvantage there. She got beat a neck. She ran her rear end off in their house. I’m very proud of her.”

     Got Stormy has given her Hall of Fame-elect trainer a lot of reasons to be proud, coming off 2019 in which she collected two Gr. 1 victories and two Gr. 1 placings. She trounced the boys in the Fourstardave at Saratoga in August before finishing second in the Woodbine Mile and the Breeders’ Cup Mile against males and capping her season with a victory in the Matriarch at Santa Anita. 

     After breaking her maiden at Gulfstream in her third start, Got Stormy went on to win three stakes, including her first graded stakes score in the Ontario Colleen at Woodbine. She came into her own last year as a 4-year-old, as did the Casse-trained Tepin, the multiple Gr. 1 stakes-winning mare and two-time Eclipse Award-winning superstar.

    Casse, who credits his Ocala training center as a valuable asset in developing future stars, has named Luis Saez to ride Got Stormy. She's slated to take on 10 rivals in the Powder Break, a mile turf stakes for fillies and mares that also drew a main-track-only entrant.

     Todd Pletcher-trained Valiance developed early, winning her first three starts before going to the sidelines. The undefeated 4-year-old daughter of Tapit is set to return to action off a 10-month layoff.

     “She’s been training lights out. I feel like she’s in great form, but it won’t be an easy spot off the layoff,” said Pletcher, who trains Valiance for breeder China Horse Club International Ltd., Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Martin Schwartz. “I feel like she’s training like she’s ready to go.”

    Valiance debuted impressively in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight race at Gulfstream in April 2019, breaking sharply from the No. 12 post position to press the early pace before drawing clear to score by 1 ¼ lengths over a next-out winner. She came back six weeks later to win an optional claiming allowance at Monmouth before scoring a stakes victory in the Open Mind at Monmouth a month later.

     Nik Juarez, who was aboard for Valiance’s last two wins, has the return mount.

     Trainer Chad Brown is represented by two entrants in the field – Tapit Today and Noor Sahara. William Lawrence and Bradley Thoroughbreds’ Tapit Today finished third in the Feb. 8 Suwanee River last time out.  Ecurie Jean-Louis Bouchard’s Noor Sahara is scheduled to make her U.S. debut after winning two of eight starts in France.

     Dylan Davis has the mount on Tapit Today, while Irad Ortiz Jr. has the call on Noor Sahara.

     Valedictorian, a multiple graded stakes-winner who captured the 2019 Suwanee River, will return to graded-stakes competition after finishing third in the Sand Springs on March 28. Joe Bravo has been named to ride the Kelly Breen-trained daughter of Temple City, who is owned by Epic Racing.

    Silver Kitten, who is owned by Daniel Feiss, Brian Terner, Corms Racing Stable, Stephen Kennedy and Hugh Lynch, is slated to seek her fourth victory in her last five starts. The Danny Gargan-trained daughter of Kitten’s Joy finished second in the Honey Fox, sandwiched between a pair of optional claiming allowance wins during the Championship Meet.
Emisael Jaramillo is scheduled to ride Silver Kitten for the first time.
    Three Diamonds Farm’s Jakarta, who captured a March 19 optional claiming allowance in her 2020 debut, and first start for trainer Michael Maker since being purchased at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December sale, is slated to make her stakes debut under Edgard Zayas.


Sunday, May 10, 2020
Guaranteed pool of $100,000 begins today . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Multiple winning tickets in Saturday’s mandatory payout of Gulfstream Park’s 20-cent Rainbow 6 were each worth $31,476.

    The sequence included Halladay winning the $75,000 Sunshine Forever and ended with 27-1 shot Areyoutalkingtome winning the 12th and final race and returning $57.

     The multi-race wager had gone unsolved for 10 days since an April 19 mandatory payout. There was a carryover jackpot pool of $1,481,488 at the start of wagering on Saturday.

    The Rainbow 6 starts anew today with a $100,000 guaranteed pool. There will also be a Super Hi 5 carryover of $17,662 in the first race. First-race post time is set for 1 p.m.


    Repole Stable’s Hyperfocus debuted victoriously Saturday, providing red-hot sire Constitution with his first winner from his second foal crop.

    Trained by Todd Pletcher, Hyperfocus rated behind a hotly-contested pace set by Breakthrough and pressed by Peppi in the 4 ½-dash for 2-year-olds. After racing somewhat greenly in the stretch, Hyperfocus straightened out and kicked in to pass the tiring pacesetters to score by 1 ¼ lengths under Irad Ortiz Jr.

    The son of 2014 Florida Derby winner Constitution raced 4 ½ furlongs in :52.63 seconds as the 5-2 second choice. He was purchased for $100,000 at the 2019 Keeneland September sale.

    Peppi held on for second, 4 ¾ lengths ahead of 2-1 favorite Breakthrough, who was the first runner for 2016 Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist.

Friday, May 8, 2020
Today's guarantee is $2 million . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool at Gulfstream Park will be guaranteed at $2 million today, the day before Saturday’s scheduled mandatory payout. Should the multi-race wager go unsolved through today’s card, the Rainbow 6 jackpot pool could rise to $6 million or more.

    The Rainbow 6 went unsolved Thursday for the ninth consecutive day since an April 19 mandatory payout. Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $14,379.

    Today’s Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 6-11. There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $13,177 heading into today’s card.

Ward-Trained 2YO Son of Nyquist Slated For Debut

    Wesley Ward-trained Breakthrough, a son of 2016 Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, has been installed at 6-5 in the morning line in a $65,000 maiden special weight race for 2-year-olds on today’s program.

    Breakthrough, who was purchased for $330,000 at the 2019 Fasig Tipton Kentucky July sale, is scheduled to be the first offspring of Nyquist to race. Irad Ortiz Jr. is slated to ride the Kentucky-bred colt in the 4 ½-furlong dash carded as Race 2. Owned by Ramon Tallaj and Constance Wickes, Breakthrough is a half-brother to Red Vine, a multiple Gr. 1 stakes-placed, multiple stakes-winner who earned more than $775,000.

    Nyquist kept an undefeated record in tact when he prevailed in the Kentucky Derby by 1 ¼ lengths after winning the Florida Derby by 3 ¼ lengths. The Doug O’Neill-trained son of Uncle Mo was named 2015's 2-year-old Eclipse Award winner after capturing the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland.

    Ward will also send out Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Chasing Artie, a homebred son of We Miss Artie.

    On Thursday’s program, owner/trainer Daniel Pita’s Princess Secret ($14) debuted with a sharp front-running victory in a 4 ½-furlong dash for 2-year-old fillies. The Florida-bred daughter of Khozan was quickest out of the starting gate in the $65,000 maiden special weight race and withstood pressure from Briella into the stretch before drawing clear by four lengths under Luis Saez.

    Princess Secret, who was purchased for $30,000 at the 2019 OBS October sale, ran 4 ½ furlongs in :51.94 seconds after setting fractions of :21.99 and :45.62. Briella finished second under Miguel Vasquez, 4 ½ lengths ahead of Race Day Speed and Rajiv Maragh.

    Princess Secret, who is eligible for the Florida Sire Stakes series that kicks off Aug. 1, was the first of four winners for Saez on Thursday’s card. Saez also scored aboard Bad Beat Brian ($5) in Race 5, Augusta Moon ($10.40) in Race 9, and Koko Star ($7.80) in Race 11.
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Winds up with $114.80 bankroll . . .
    OLDSMAR - Tampa resident David LaMarre Jr., experienced equal measures of excitement and worry entering Sunday’s final day of the “Live It Up Challenge” online handicapping contest.

    LaMarre figured his lead was probably secure, but he had exhausted his lifelines, which meant his choice in the seventh race needed to finish in the money or he would be disqualified. His assignment became more challenging when his original selection for the race, the Shug McGaughey-trained filly Windfall Profit, was scratched.

    “I was extremely nervous when the race started,” LaMarre said. That feeling intensified when his pick, 6-5 favorite All Others Follow, endured a rocky trip and was still eighth at the top of the stretch. But All Others Follow turned on the afterburners through the lane, finishing third by a half-length to clinch LaMarre’s victory in the 18-day event. His final “mythical” bankroll of $114.80 was best among 676 entrants, earning the technology and software salesperson first prize - a seat in next season’s “High Rollers Handicapping Contest” at Tampa Bay Downs.

    Phil Izzo of Frenchtown, N. J., finished second with a bankroll of $103.20, collecting second prize of $250. Anthonymichael Izzo of Wyckoff, N. J., was third with a $103 bankroll, earning $100.

    “It’s a cool feeling,” said the 38-year-old LaMarre. “Tampa Bay Downs is my home track, and it’s fun to win a contest at a track I enjoy and that I’ve been going to for 15 years. I’ve played in every ‘Live It Up Challenge’ since they started, and I’d been close a couple of times but never won before now. I hope they continue because it’s a fun track and the contests keep you interested.
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
He has the rare distinction of being in two Halls of Fame . . .

    Here's a little-known fact concerning Mark Casse, who has been inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in Saratoga and certainly is more than deserving.

    When Mark was about 16, I had a racing newspaper in Ocala called The Florida Scene. I also was the Marion County distributor for Daily Racing Form. I used to get the papers by bus from Tampa and leave them in three places around town for subscribers to pick up. One was at Bonnie Heath's Ramada Inn on highway 27, now a Motel 6, a second was at Frank Smith's convenience store at the Golden Hills Plaza, and the third was on the terrace of Norman Casse's home at Cardinal Hill Farm (now the Ocala Stud annex). 

    When I left the Forms with Joyce Reynolds on Norman's terrace, Mark would come home from school and grab the one marked 'Cardinal Hill.'

    One day, Norman said to me: "You know, you ought to do a story on Mark." I asked him what the reason would be - Mark wasn't an owner, or breeder, and didn't get his trainer's license until the next year. Said the proud papa, "Yes, but he's a great handicapper." 

    Shortly thereafter, Mark Casse was the subject of the lead story in The Florida Scene, and the rest, as they say, is history.

    Mark has saddled 2,865 winners, his horses have earned $174,628,624 (ninth all-time), he has amassed 11 Sovereign Awards in Canada, trained four Eclipse Award winners, and last year won the Preakness with War of Will and the Belmont Stakes with Sir Winston. And, he's one of only four trainers to have been elected to both the U. S. and Canadian Halls of Fame, along with Lucien Laurin, Roger Attfield and Horatio Luro. 

    I honestly don't know how Mark could have risen to his present heights without having been introduced to the world of racing in The Florida Scene. I take full credit for it. 




Monday, May 4, 2020
Zayas, Ortiz red-hot in Hallandale . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $1.75 million Thursday at Gulfstream Park.

    The multi-race wager went unsolved for the eighth straight racing day since an April 19 mandatory payout. Multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $15,693 Sunday.

Boerne Caps off Trainer’s Big Weekend with Feature Score -

    De Luca and Sons Stable’s Boerne romped to her third straight open-lengths victory in Sunday’s feature race, capping off trainer Juan Carlos Avila’s big weekend. A day after Avila-trained and Gulfstream-based King Guillermo followed up his Tampa Bay Derby victory with a solid second-place finish behind heavily favored Nadal in a division of the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park, Boerne notched a 4 ¼-length victory in Race 9, a 6 ½-furlong allowance for 3-year-old fillies.

  Boerne  ($4.60) broke quickly from the gate to open up a clear lead on the backstretch under a motionless Edgard Zayas and continued on to notch a dominating score, running 6 ½ furlongs in 1:17.20 after posting uncontested fractions of 22.86 and 45.66 for the first half-mile.

    "She does everything so easy," Zayas said. "She breaks out of the gate fast and as soon as she takes the lead, she relaxes really good. I know she has more in the tank.”

    The Texas-bred daughter of Fed Biz, who was purchased for $10,000 at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall yearling sale, debuted with a troubled off-the-board finish at Gulfstream West in November prior to romping in her next three at Gulfstream. She broke her maiden on March 15 by 3 ½ lengths before capturing an April 11 optional claiming allowance by 7 ¼ lengths and winning her third straight Sunday.

   “She’s a fun Texas-bred filly," Zayas said. "She’s pretty fast and handles things really good. So far, she’s done everything we’ve asked her.” She was one of three winners for the jockey on Sunday. “I think she has more in the tank. I’m very excited to see her future.”

    Zayas came back to capture Race 11, an allowance for fillies and mares aboard trainer Gustavo Delgado’s Cory Gal ($7). The 4-year-old daughter of Corfu collected her third-straight win after pressing the pace and drawing clear through the stretch to win by 2 ½ lengths, running six furlongs in 1:11.06. Zayas also scored aboard Competitive Saint ($14.60), a George Weaver-trained debut winner in Race 4.

Ortiz Stays on a Roll with Three More Winners 

    Irad Ortiz Jr. continued his hot streak, riding three more winners on Sunday’s program. The reigning two-time Championship Meet titlist pushed his win total to 15 since returning from a hiatus on April 25 with his fifth multi-win day. Ortiz had scored a pair of stakes victories on Saturday aboard Network Effect in the $100,000 Big Drama and Gufo in the $75,000 English Channel during a three-win afternoon.

Saturday, May 2, 2020
Khozan leading, but First Dude and Brethren have more runners . . .

    The abbreviated racing schedules around the country are wreaking havoc on handle, purses, local economies, employment, paychecks and much more. On a less important scale, it is already changing the look of the leading sire lists. 

    There is no question that the end-of-the-year lists won't look anything like those of the past. Last season, Ocala Stud Farm's Adios Charlie was Florida's leading sire with earnings of $3,767,013. The 2020 season is exactly one-third completed, and the son of Indian Charlie is sitting fourth with earnings of $609,296. Barring a really big horse somewhere down the line, Charlie has little chance of coming anywhere near his 2019 total. Last year he had 64 winners and 41 repeat winners - this year thus far he has 18 and 5. 

    With Adios Charlie dropping to fourth, it would seem as though last year's runner-up, First Dude, would inherit the top spot, but that is not the case. Journeyman Stud's Khozan, who more than lived up to Brent and Crystal Fernung's expectations as a freshman last year, is the early leader this season and it will be interesting to see if he can continue on top since he has less runners in training than the others in the top five. The son of Distorted Humor led the frosh division in 2019 with earnings of $1,258,517 and he's a cinch to pass that as a sophomore in the near future - he already has reached $765,209.

    It's not easy for a freshman sire to lead the general sire list in his second season. Kantharos got off to a quick start for Ocala Stud as a freshman in 2014 and was the leader with earnings of $868,968. In his second season, he jumped up to $1,780,874, but still finished eighth. He has continued on in Kentucky as a sire with a great impact on racing.

    First Dude has been solid for Double Diamond Farm every season since his freshman year of 2015. He was second last year at $3,446.428, and is second behind Khozan with $733,430 this season. The two will have a tough battle the rest of the way, and Dude appears to have the edge strictly by numbers. He's leading the division with 26 winners, five better than runner-up Big Drama, and has six repeat winners, which is also leading. 

    Another to keep an eye on is Arindel Farm's Brethren, who was third last year and again this season thus far. His current runners are all products of when he stood at Pleasant Acres for Joe and Helen Barbazon, and the best of them are all in the barn of Arindel's owners, the Cohens. Another son of Distorted Humor, Brethren has earnings of $622,698 and can't be discounted from here to Dec. 31 - he has 70 runners, and 19 winners thus far.



Tuesday, April 28, 2020
First Dude filly goes from 27-1 to 11-1 at Tampa . . .

    There's no doubt that racing - aside from the current virus dilemma - has a barnful of problems. Medication, short fields and eye-opening changes on the odds board after the start of a race are among the top 10. What follows is another tale of an odds drop that defies explanation.

    Enduros Tigress, a 4-year-old filly by Double Diamond Farm's First Dude, was listed at 15-1 in the morning line in the second race at Tampa Bay Downs Saturday. Tomas Mejia was aboard for the ride at 6 1/2 furlongs over the main track. 

    Midway through the betting, Enduro's Tigress sat on the board at 16-1 or 17-1, but as post time approached, she had slowly crawled upwards, passing 20-1, and as the field neared the gate, she was a juicy 27-1.

    When the gate opened, Mejia got the filly away in fifth place, and she settled in comfortably down the backstretch, tracking about four or five lengths behind the leaders. Mejia put her in another gear on the turn, and Enduros Tigress closed the gap quickly. She looped the four ahead of her, took the lead passing the eighth pole, and went on to score by nearly three lengths.

    It was a thing of beauty, except that as her followers savored the euphoria of a major score, and quickly checked the board, they found the number had plummeted like a falling tree; she was now 11-1. Sixteen points.

    Who was responsible for the drop and where it was initiated is something only the tote company involved can answer. But for the conspiracy theorists, and I am among them, something is definitely wrong here. If hackers can get into banks, major organizations and the like, it's hard to imagine they can't get into the tote companies, despite those companies constantly dismissing the idea.

    Enduro's Tigress paid $23.60 to win, so somebody still made a monster score. But it's a question as to just how long the betting public will stand for it.      

Sunday, April 26, 2020
Dr. Post romps in $75,000 Unbridled . . .
    After going unsolved for the third racing day since a mandatory payout on April 19, the 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $750,000 today at Gulfstream Park.

    Multiple tickets with six winners Saturday each returned $3,196. The sequence included victories by favored Dr Post in the $75,000 Unbridled Stakes for 3-year-olds and Global Campaign in a stakes-quality third-level optional claiming allowance.

    Today's Rainbow 6 spans Races 6-11 and includes the featured 10th, an entry-level optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds and up racing six furlongs over the main track. Homewrecker Stable's Hop Kat, a sophomore son of Stay Thirsty unraced since romping to an eight-length debut score last May, is the narrow 5-2 program favorite in his return.

    Five of the eight horses in the field are 3-year-olds, including Kathy Ritvo-trained stablemates Ournationonparade (3-1), winless in two starts this year since taking the Maryland Million Nursery in his juvenile finale in October at Laurel Park, and Double Crown (9-2), who beat Ournationonparade in their respective debuts last September.

NOTES: Luis Saez, who took over the spring-summer meet lead with three wins Friday, added three more on Saturday aboard Lanse Mitan ($4.40) in Race 3, Venezuelan Hug ($5.60) in Race 7 and Scars Are Cool ($11) in Race 8.
Friday, April 24, 2020
Meeting to continue through May 30 . . .

    Great news for horsemen that Tampa Bay Downs will not close after May 3, it's original end date, and will race through Saturday, May 30. The last four weeks of the meeting will feature racing on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

    Some of the barns no doubt could have shipped to Gulfstream, but for others, it would have caused great hardship. Trainers will always have to continue caring for their horses and paying their help, and this gives them another month after which, hopefully, we can get back to a normal schedule. 

    Unfortunately, many bettors don't understand the mechanics of purse structure and there have been many comments in various on-line sites, like the Paulick Report, condemning Stella Thayer for the reduced Tampa purses since spectator-less racing began. Those people need to comprehend that the track's take from on-track handle is much more than from on-line and phone wagering accounts.

    I haven't followed the percentages in a long while, but I seem to remember that a while back tracks received 7 or 8 percent from on-track wagering and 2 or 3 percent from account wagering. Don't hold me to those numbers now, they may have changed somewhat, just know that there is a huge difference between the two, so no track can afford to keep purses at the former levels, especially with slots parlors and poker rooms closed, too.  

Thursday, April 23, 2020
War Front colt sold for $345,000 at OBS April . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - In another year, the Triple Crown wouldn’t likely have been on trainer Mark Hennig’s radar for Americanus, a late-developing son of War Front yet to distinguish himself in stakes competition.

    With the Kentucky Derby being moved from May 2 to Sept. 5 and the dates for the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes up in the air, Americanus now has time to prove that he’s Triple Crown material.

    Courtlandt Farms’ colt can take a significant step toward fulfilling his considerable promise Saturday at Gulfstream Park in the $75,000 Unbridled, a 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-olds. 

     “He’s been doing great. We’ve been able to afford him the time and good spacing going into this,” Hennig said. “I’m happy Gulfstream added this race and is giving us the opportunity to stretch out.”

    Americanus, a $345,000 purchase at the 2019 OBS April sale, is coming off an impressive victory in a Feb. 22 first-level optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream Park. He rated off the pace in the seven-furlong race for sophomores before making a strong inside run to prevail by a length. It was his second victory in four career starts.

    The Hennig trainee debuted with an off-the-pace victory over next-out winner Toledo at Belmont in a six-furlong maiden special weight race in September.

    “He’s kind of a laid-back horse. He wasn’t the kind going over there that you’re thinking he’s a speedball and he’s going to run them off their feet first time out,” Hennig said. “But he had a lot of class. He has such a good mind, he just lay off of it and took everything in stride.  I wasn’t totally surprised.”

    Five weeks later, Americanus faded to eighth in the one-mile, Gr. III Nashua at Aqueduct.
“We felt he displaced in that race. We did a myectomy on him. It seems to have corrected things,” Hennig said. “We put a tongue-tie on and haven’t had any issues since.”

    Edgard Zayas has the call on Americanus, who finished second in his 3-year-old debut on Jan. 15 prior to his Feb. 22 score.

    St. Elias Stable’s Dr Post is scheduled to make a jump from maiden company to stakes competition while returning to action off a sharp off-the-pace victory in a seven-furlong maiden special weight race at Gulfstream on March 29.

    “He’s had two very strong breezes since then. With limited options, we had considered taking him to Oaklawn for an allowance race but staying at home was an option when this race came up,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “In light of how well he’s been training, we decided to go ahead and step up in class a little bit and see where we are.”

    The son of Quality Road, who was purchased for $400,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September sale, was making his first start since finishing fourth in his July 4 debut at Belmont Park. Irad Ortiz Jr. has the call on Dr Post on his first day of action since March 19.

    “I thought it was an impressive performance. It was a fast time and came back strong figure-wise,” Pletcher said. “What I liked is the way he finished. He’s a horse we always thought would improve stretching-out, so for him to be able to run that well going a distance that’s probably not his best was impressive.”

    Both Americanus and Dr Post will concede graded-stakes experience to Attachment Rate. Jim Bakke and Gary Isbister’s Attachment Rate is coming off a third-place finish in the March 7, Gr. III Gotham at Aqueduct. The son of Hard Spun, who finished two lengths behind winner Mischevious Alex in the mile Gotham, was being pointed to the Blue Grass Stakes before Keeneland’s spring meet was cancelled.

     Trained by Dale Romans, Attachment Rate finished off the board in his career debut at Churchill Downs last fall before returning to finish a fast-closing second going seven furlongs on Jan. 25 and graduating by 4 ¼ lengths going a mile at Gulfstream on Feb. 15. Luis Saez has the return call aboard Attachment Rate.

    Trainer Stanley Hough entered both Necker Island and South Bend in the Unbridled with the intention to start only one and running the other in next weekend’s English Channel, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds.

    “I’ll probably run Necker Island on the dirt and South Bend on the grass,” Hough said. “But I did want to try Necker Island on the grass also and I did want to try South Bend back on the dirt.”

    Necker Island, who is owned by Hough and Sagamore Farm LLC, closed out his 2-year-old season with a maiden victory at seven furlongs and an optional claiming allowance win at a mile around one turn at Churchill Downs. The son of Hard Spun finished fifth in the seven-furlong Swale at Gulfstream on Feb. 1 and fifth in the Gotham at Aqueduct in his two starts this year. Both races were won by Mischevious Alex.

    “Going seven-eighths, the speed got away. There wasn’t anything he could do about it. I think a mile and a sixteenth will be better at Gulfstream,” Hough said. “He came back against the same horse going a mile, but again I think the two turns will be better for him.”

     Sagamore Farm LLC’s South Bend, who launched his career with three straight wins on dirt, including a triumph in the mile Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs last year, has been stakes-placed in three races over Gulfstream’s turf course this year. The son of Algorithms finished third in the Gr. III Palm Beach.

     “I think the mile and a sixteenth will help him, too,” Hough said. “If I should run him, then I’ll probably run Necker Island next week on the grass.” Dylan Davis has the call on Necker Island, while Rajiv Maragh has been named on South Bend.

     Relentless Dancer, who finished fourth in both the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull at Gulfstream and fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Tampa Bay Derby in his last two starts, is scheduled to return in the Unbridled. Trained by Michael Maker for Paradise Farms Corp., Terry Raymond and Jana Wagner, Relentless Dancer previously broke his maiden at six furlongs at Churchill Downs and romped in a Louisiana-bred stakes at Delta Downs at seven furlongs around two turns. Chris Landeros has the mount.

    Soros, who won the mile Smooth Air at Gulfstream on Nov. 30 before finishing fifth in an optional claiming allowance off a three-month layoff, is scheduled to return in the Unbridled for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and trainer Gustavo Delgado. Emisael Jaramillo is named on Soros.
Sunday, April 19, 2020
Pool exceeds $8 million . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - A mandatory payout of the 20-cent Rainbow 6 pool yielded a payout of $20,158.94 for multiple ticketholders today at Gulfstream Park, where the total pool soared well past $8 million.

    There was a Rainbow 6 carryover of $1,366,159.50 heading into the program, generating $7,325,523 in wagering on the six-race sequence that spanned Races 6-11. The multi-race wager had gone unsolved for 11 consecutive programs leading up to the mandatory payout.

    The winners of the six-race sequence were Bareeqa ($4.20) in Race 6, Tiz Possible Dear ($9) in Race 7, Street Ready ($15.40) in Race 8, Yes I See ($7.20) in Race 9, No Way Jose ($14.20) in Race 10 and Follow the Flag ($17.80) in Race 11.

Sunday, April 19, 2020
Saturday's winners get rich . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - A mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 is scheduled for today at Gulfstream Park, where the pool is expected to grow to $6 million or more.

    The multi-race wager went unsolved Saturday, leaving a carryover jackpot of $1,366,159 heading into today’s mandatory payout. Multiple tickets with all six winners Saturday were each worth $198,535.

    The Rainbow 6 sequence will span Races 6-11.
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Has a filly and a colt ready for debuts . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - With 55 2-year-olds in training, Wesley Ward is more than ready for the start of the 2020 juvenile racing season to get under way Thursday at Gulfstream Park.

    Under normal circumstances, Ward would have already celebrated several juvenile victories by the middle of April, but the cancellation of Keeneland’s spring meet due to the Covid-19 pandemic has delayed his traditional early-season domination of 2-year-old races at the Kentucky track.

     Although he won’t be the grand marshal of his annual parade into Keeneland’s winner’s circle this year, Ward is grateful that Gulfstream will provide opportunities, beginning with Race 2 on Thursday’s program.

 “When the news came out [about Covid-19], I backed off early," Ward said. "The faster, quicker ones were meant for Keeneland. When Keeneland announced they were closing, we went ahead with a new plan and brought them back here. We’ve been right down here and getting ready for these races. Fortunately, Gulfstream is still running, so we’ve got some opportunities.”

     Ward is scheduled to saddle Mrs. Fitriani Hay’s Lime in the 4 ½-furlong dash for juvenile fillies. The Ward-bred daughter of Iqbaal produced ‘bullet’ four-furlong workouts at Keeneland [March 19] and Turfway Park [March 25] before a maintenance four-furlong breeze at Gulfstream West on April 4. 

     “The horses I run here right off the bat are very, very quick and speedy," Ward said. "Those are the ones I’ve targeted for these early races. She is all that. Very fast, very smart. She’s a big filly." He named Tyler Gaffalione to ride the Florida-bred filly. “The quicker fillies are usually the smaller fillies, but she’s very quick and agile.”

     Ward is also scheduled to saddle Golden Pal, a son of Uncle Mo, for a start in a $65,000 maiden special for 2-year-olds on Friday’s program.

“He’s very fast," Ward said. "Obviously, pedigree-wise he’s a lot stronger than the filly on that side of things. But they’re equally as talented; they’re both very fast, very forward, very smart and very well-schooled, being at different tracks. They’re going to bring their ‘A’ games to the races.”

Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Guaranteed at $1.5 million

    The Rainbow 6 will span Races 6-11 on Thursday’s program. First-race post time for Thursday’s 11-race card is set for 1 p.m.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Fillies go Thursday for $65,000, colts on Friday . . .

    Under normal circumstances - and we are experiencing anything but these days - the first 2-year-old races of the year are run in New Mexico. However, with about 90 percent of the tracks in North America shuttered, the honor of hosting the first two races for juveniles goes to Gulfstream Park.

    The leadoff will be the second race on Thursday, a $65,000 maiden special for fillies at 4 1/2 furlongs. It has drawn a field of eight, and it will be the first race to be run under the new conditions for juveniles; they cannot compete until they have reached their actual second birthday, instead of all turning two on Jan 1. 

    As has been the norm for many years, the lowest morning line price belongs to a filly trained by Wesley Ward, who has made a habit of getting his youngsters ready earlier than his rivals and banking a ton of cash before the others know what has hit them. Ward's Lime is a Florida-bred by Iqbaal, who stands at Ward Farm, and who Wesley doesn't bother to advertise. Just about every foal by Iqbaal has been a Ward homebred. Lime is listed at 7/5 with red-hot Tyler Gaffalione aboard and will go from the No. 2 post.

    An interesting foe will be Sophisticurl, who will be the first runner for Pleasant Acres Stallions freshman sire Ride On Curlin. As of now, there are only two freshman sires in Florida, until we might find one or more not listed in the Stallion Register. The other is Ocala Stud Farm's Jess's Dream. Sophisticurl, bred by Joe and Helen Barbazon, is listed at 10-1 and has drawn post 4 for owner/trainer Lester Barbazon III with talented rider Fanny Olsson, the Swedish gal who is a long shot player's dream.

    Aside from Ride On Curlin, there are three others in the race who are by current or former sires from Pleasant Acres. They are: No. 3, Kitten's Dream, by Csaba; No. 5, Yafa, by Handsome Mike, and No. 7, Pretzel, by Brethren, who moved to Arindel Farm after his first few years at Pleasant Acres and has been a bright light for owners Alan and Karen Cohen. The Cohens also have the No. 8 horse, Quinoa Tifah, with Emisael Jaramillo. She's by Gemologist, and is listed at 9/2.

    Yafa comes from the barn of Troy Levy's Tropical Racing LLC, which buys young horses and mares and syndicates them at his Circle 8 Ranch. She's 8-1 for trainer Michelle Nihei and has Luca Panici, one of the most under-rated riders in Florida and one of the best finishers in the Gulfstream jockey colony. 

    The No. 6 horse, Sister Aurora, is a New York-bred by Majestic City, the Empire State's leading freshman sire of 2019.  

    The Friday race, also for $65,000 at 4 1/2 furlongs, has drawn a field of nine colts and geldings and Wesley Ward has No. 7, Golden Pal, an Uncle Mo colt with Tyler Gaffalione. There are three former Pleasant Acres stallions involved - No. 3, Arindel's Gatsby, by Brethren; No. 6, Poseidon's Warrior, by Poseidon and bred by the Barbazons, and No. 9, Bailey, another of Arindel's Brethrens. 

    The nos. 4 and 5, Peppi and Just Right Mike, are both by Stonehedge Farm's rising star, Cajun Breeze. Both are owned, bred and trained by Beau Yates and his Shadybrook Farm, which fared so well with sons and daughters from the first crop of Cajun Breeze in 2018.







Monday, April 13, 2020
10-cent superfecta pays more than $52,000 . . .

    It didn't take long for Friday's sixth-race payoff explosion at Tampa Bay Downs to be upstaged, and eclipsed, by the first race at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.

    Friday's sixth at Tampa was precipitated by 38-1 winner Automatic, who paid $79. He was followed across the finish line by 71-1 Brown Essence, 13-1 Neat Street and 12-1 Ready to Mingle. The $2 exacta paid $2,669.80, the 50-cent trifecta $4,202.95, and the 10-cent superfecta $7,919.14. 

    The next day came No. 1 at Gulfstream, a $12,500 claimer at five furlongs on the grass. Luis Reyes, on No. 8, 73-1 Freddy Soto, a gelding by Adios Charlie, sat second behind 22-1 Congrats That with Miguel Vasquez, and beat him home by one-half length in :56.59. Felon, a 10-1 prospect with Leonel Reyes finished third, and Shanghai Levi checked in fourth at 11-1. The 2-1 favorite, Bold, with Emisael Jaramillo, had traffic problems and wound up 11th and last. 

     The $2 exacta paid $2,593.40, slightly below Friday's $2,669.80. But the 50-cent trifecta came back $9,442.40, more than double the Friday price, while the 10-cent superfecta - $52,510.06 - was taken home by one lucky bettor, and was more than six times the Friday payoff of $7,919.14.   

Saturday, April 11, 2020
Winner is 38-1 Autograph; Brown Essence is second at 71-1 . . .

    Long shots winners are a way of life at every racetrack in the country, but the sixth race at Tampa Bay Downs yesterday was a favorite-haters dream. 

    The race was a $10,000 claimer at 1 1/16 miles on the grass offering $6,380 to the winner, who turned out to be Automatic, a 3-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Carpe Diem. Angel Suarez rode Automatic, who went of at odds of 38-1 and paid $79.00, $29.80 and $15.20 after defeating Brown Essence by one-half length.

    Brown Essence was 71-1 under Tomas Mejia, and paid $49.80 and $19.80, finishing a nose ahead of Neat Street.

    Neat Street, with Samy Camacho, was a mere 13-1 and paid $8.80 to show. He finished 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Ready to Mingle, who was 12-1 with Olaf Hernandez. 

    After the race, the tote board bore a resemblance to the scene in The Natural when Roy Hobbs hit one off the scoreboard and started an explosion of lights. The $2 double with Don H, the $12 winner of the previous race, paid $458, and the $2 exacta paid $2,669.80.  

    The 50-cent trifecta came back $4,202.95, and the 10-cent superfecta paid $7,919.14. The 50-cent Pick 3 including Magdalena ($17.20) in the fourth race paid $1,152.50. 

    Sinatra Devil, the 6/5 favorite with Wilmer Garcia, finished fifth.  




Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Tyler is off to his best season yet . . .

    In a profession where the roost is ruled by such stalwarts as Castellano, Rosario, Leparoux, Velazquez, Geroux, two Ortiz's, Saez, Lopez, and even a Smith, to name just a few, somehow the name Tyler Gaffalione doesn't seem to fit the mold.

    But the South Florida product whose father, Steve Gaffalione, rode for 20 years in Miami, and whose grandpa, Robert Gaffglione, was an outright star in the formative days of Calder Race Course, has made a startling climb up the ladder in the world of riding thoroughbreds. All before reaching his 26th birthday.

    First, why the last two Gaffaliones aren't named Gaffglione, like grandpa, is very simple. When Steve was born in a South Florida hospital, the nurse filling out the birth certificate mistook the 'g' for an 'a,' and presto, just that quickly the name Gaffalione was born.

    Although most of today's South Florida racetrackers weren't around to witness the exploits of Robert Gaffglione, his impact on summer racing was dramatic. In 1971, when Calder made its debut amidst the controversy surrounding the synthetic Saf-T-Turf surface developed by William L. McKnight's 3M Company, Gaffglione was the track's first leading jockey, gaining fame as the rider of the fabulous Hickory Gray, a King Hairan filly with whom he seemed a perfect fit. 

    Campaigning from 1971 through 1974, she compiled a record of 18-9-8 in 50 tries with earnings of $104,193. Based on her record in stakes, if she was competing today Hickory Gray would be a millionaire. Gaffglione, one of the great gentlemen of the sport in his day, was content to take her off the pace in all her starts, and she closed like a gray comet to win seven stakes at Calder, adding three seconds and four thirds. He passed away at the age of 68 in December of 2004, when his grandson was only 10. According to Tyler, his grandmother kept all the Gaffglione-Hickory Gray newspaper stories of the 70s.

    With his father as his teacher, Tyler began his career in 2014, just one year out of high school, and immediately experienced a good degree of success. He won his first race at Gulfstream Park on Sept. 7 in just his third try, and wound up the year with 28 victories and earnings of $563,582. He was 439th on the list of leading jockeys for the year.

    From there, he made steady progress each year, winning with 217 mounts who earned $5,805,176 in 2015, shooting up to 33rd on the end-of-season list, and walking away with the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Apprentice Jockey. Then, in succession, he moved up to 28th in 2016, 12th in 2017,  11th in 2018, and 10th last year, during a milestone season highlighted by winning the Preakness for trainer Mark Casse with War of Will. 

    This year, Tyler has already moved into fourth place behind Eclipse Award winner Irad Ortiz Jr., winning 72 races aboard runners who have earned $3,621,572. 

    The current Gulfstream meeting began last Thursday and Tyler rode four winners on Friday, and three each on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday for a total of 13 and a lead of six over Luis Saez. Getting a price on his mounts has become quite difficult, and eight of the 13 winners paid less than $10, although every once in a while one slips through the cracks like Fancified, who paid $19.20.

    Despite his youth, many of the country's leading trainers have been impressed with Tyler's patience, his keen sense of racing strategy, and his finishing ability, conjuring memories of many of the great riders of the past - Eddie Arcaro, Angel Cordero, Bill Hartack, Jorge Velasquez, Jacinto Vasquez, Jerry Bailey - and 2020 should be his shining hour.

    Robert Gaffglione would be very proud.   



Monday, March 30, 2020
Florida Derby alone handles more than $9 million . . .

    For some reason, Equibase is no longer closing out Gulfstream's charts with the handle statistics of the day. In these harrowing times, those numbers are important - they reveal how the country is responding, via the various wagering accounts, to the main track still in operation. 

    Based on a quick evaluation of Saturday's 14-race card at Gulfstream, the racing community is self-quarantining itself in front of their computers, or on the couch with their phones of all kinds.

    I didn't have the patience to add up the individual handles of each of Gulfstream's 14 races, but I did a few to try to get some idea of how the track is being supported. Here's what I found:

 Race No. 1 - This one went off at 11:36 so it's fair to assume the West and Mid-West hadn't gotten involved yet. Total handle for all pools: $1,017,296. 

Race No. 2 - More people getting involved - Total handle - $1,412,895.

Skip races 3 through 12 and go to No. 13, the Appleton - Total handle - $3,427,974.

Then the piece de resistance: The Florida Derby - Total handle - $9,896,403. 

    That adds up to $15,754,568 for just four races. If we estimate that the other 10 races averaged $2 million each, the total for the day would be about $35 million. (However, after a quick check of the other races, it appears that I underestimated the other 10 - several appear to have handled more than $3 million and the day's total could be $40 million or more). 

    Of course, Gulfstream receives a much larger percentage of the pools from on-track wagering than from the betting accounts, but at least Florida racing isn't going completely in the tank during this horrendous time for other businesses. 

    On Saturday, Tampa's ITW handle was $6,555, and the ISW handle $4,888,525. Oaklawn Park's number was $5,122,231. 



Sunday, March 29, 2020
7-year-old gelding - 10 of last 11 in the money . . .
    OLDSMAR - Fast Fire had won racing a mile-and-a-half last September on the Tapeta surface at Presque Isle Downs and finished second there in a 2-mile race in his next start. So when jockey Antonio Gallardo asked the 7-year-old Florida-bred gelding for his best in the late stages of Saturday's mile-and-three-eighths Tampa Turf Test starter handicap, he wasn’t surprised when Fast Fire answered with determination.

    The son of War Chant, owned by Melvin Jackson and trained by Teresa Connelly, staved off Dover Cliffs by three-quarters of a length, with Hope Again finishing third. Fast Fire’s time was a course-record 2:15.83, with the portable turf rail set at 12 feet.

    The victory was the ninth in 45 starts for Fast Fire, who has finished out of the money only once in his last 11 starts, and his first triumph in four races at Tampa Bay Downs. He paid $11 to win.

    A date in Tampa Bay Downs history – March 28, 2004: In the final Arabian-bred race contested at Tampa Bay Downs, FRYNCH, a 4-year-old filly bred in France, won the $62,650 Jewels Of The East Sapphire Sprint Stakes under jockey Oliver Castillo. FRYNCH was owned by Dianne Waldron and trained by Phil Saxer Jr. Her time for the 7 furlongs was 1:36.35. Tampa Bay Downs conducted Arabian-bred racing from 1983-2004 and was the first racetrack to hold a regular program for the breed.
Friday, March 27, 2020
My Boy Lenny changes barns again . . .
    OLDSMAR - Leading trainer Gerald Bennett and rival Darien Rodriguez enjoy claiming horses they think are capable of improvement with a few adjustments, or by just standing pat. Considering their records at the current Tampa Bay Downs meeting (Bennett leads with 38 victories and Rodriguez is fifth with 14), it’s no surprise when they fall head over heels with the same horse.

    My Boy Lenny, a speedy 5-year-old Florida-bred son of Wildcat Heir, has been a recent subject of their shared affections. Rodriguez claimed the gelding from Bennett out of a 6 ¼-length victory in an allowance/$32,000 optional claiming victory here on Feb. 22 for Acclaimed Racing Stable and Gumpster Stable.

    Rodriguez then worked My Boy Lenny 4 furlongs in a swift 47 3/5 seconds on March 9, and entered him in Wednesday's fifth race, a $21,000, 7-furlong contest for older horses for the same claiming price as last time. The razor-sharp My Boy Lenny aired again, winning by 6 lengths in 1:21.95 under leading jockey Antonio Gallardo.

    And, once again, My Boy Lenny was on the move after the race - re-claimed by Bennett for $32,000 for J J Brevan Stable, the horse’s previous owner. “As long as I can rent them and make money with them,” Rodriguez said after the race, “I’m fine with that.”

    The runner-up to My Boy Lenny was the 7-year-old Town Classic, a gelding Bennett had claimed from Rodriguez two starts back for $ 16,000 for Mercy Man Racing. Town Classic turned in a fine effort, finishing 3 ½ lengths ahead of General Paddy.

    Another claiming horse, the 6-year-old gelding Last Promise, continued to excel, winning for the fifth time in seven starts at the meeting. He won a $25,000 claiming race on the grass by two lengths from The Curt Fox. Ademar Santos rode Last Promise, a son of Spring at Last-Breaking Promises, by Broken Vow, who was making his first turf start since June 9 at Monmouth. Santos is the fourth jockey to win here on Last Promise. Owned by Efrain Cambray-Diaz and Promise Racing Stable and trained by Tim Padilla, Last Promise leads the meeting by number of victories, with no other horse having more than three.

AROUND THE OVAL - Racing continues today with an eight-race card beginning at 12:45. The track is conducting racing without spectators for the foreseeable future. Eight races are scheduled for Saturday, with the first race at 12:20.


Thursday, March 26, 2020
Sackatoga colt won the Holy Bull in last . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Sackatoga Stable’s Tiz the Law surged to the top of the list of 2020 Triple Crown candidates with a dominating triumph in the  Gr. III Holy Bull on Feb.1, and the son of Constitution will try to cement his No. 1 ranking in Saturday’s $750,000, Gr. I Curlin Florida Derby.

     The 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds will be the main event on a sensational 14-race Gulfstream Park program (first-race post –11:30 a.m.) featuring 10 stakes, six graded, worth $1.825 million in purses. The $200,000, Gr. II Gulfstream Park Oaks presented by Fasig-Tipton and the $200,000, Gr. II Kitten’s Joy Pan American will be highlights on the undercard, along with three Gr. III stakes, the $100,000 Hal’s Hope, the $100,000 Orchid presented by Rood & Riddle and the $100,000 Appleton.

    A mandatory payout of the 20-cent Rainbow 6 has been scheduled for Saturday. There will also be guaranteed pools for the Late Pick 4 ($500,000) and the Late Pick 5 ($400,000).

    Tiz the Law’s smashing 2020 debut became all the more impressive when Ete Indien, who finished three lengths behind him in the Holy Bull, went on to produce an eye-catching 8 ½-length front-running victory in his absence on Feb. 29 in the Gr. II Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth.

    The Barclay Tagg-trained NewYork-bred colt will also try to cement a place in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby, which has been postponed from May 2 to Sept. 5, when he takes on 12 rivals, including Ete Indien, in the 69th running of the Florida Derby. The winner will earn 100 qualifying points for the Run for the Roses.

    “One of the big reasons is we want to get our points and then not have to worry about that and hopefully keep him healthy and sound so we’re able to actually run the race on the first Saturday in September,” said Jack Knowlton, managing partner of Sackatoga Stable, which campaigned 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Funny Cide, a New York-bred gelding also trained by Tagg. While Knowlton purchased Funny Cide for $22,000 at the 2001 Saratoga yearling sale, it cost him $110,000 to land Tiz the Law 17 years later.  

    Although Tiz the Law bypassed the Fountain of Youth, Knowlton is confident that he will be up to the task of maintaining his top ranking Saturday. The colt drew the No. 7 post and is listed at 6/5 in the morning line. Manny Franco will ride. 

    “He certainly proved in his last race that he can run off a layoff, so I don’t think there’s any question about that," Knowlton said. "He showed he liked the track there at Gulfstream. Probably the top competitor there is a horse that we beat in Ete Indien. We beat him going a mile and a sixteenth and I think our horse is absolutely well suited to go more than a mile and a sixteenth. A mile and an eighth, I don’t think is any challenge to him at all.”

    Tiz the Law distinguished himself as a top-tier horse last season when he debuted with a 4 ½-length triumph in an Aug. 8 maiden special weight race at Saratoga before going on to capture the Gr. I Champagne at Belmont Park by four lengths a month later. His only loss in four starts came in his 2019 finale in the Gr. II Kentucky Jockey Club, when he finished a close third over a sloppy Churchill Downs track after lacking room entering the stretch.

    Ete Indien’s triumph in the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth was particularly impressive considering that he had to break from the No. 10 post. The son of Summer Front made quick work of the short run to the first turn with an alert break. The Patrick Biancone-trained colt shook off early pressure while setting the pace on the backstretch and cruised to a comfortable victory under Florent Geroux. Biancone is confident that the longer distance will be well within Ete Indien’s capabilities.

    “I don’t think he has a problem with stamina,” Biancone said. “He’s very manageable. The other day [in the Fountain of Youth], we had to ask him to get out of a bad hole. When he got the lead, he relaxed immediately and he was very manageable. Florent said he came back to him very nicely. He slowed down and relaxed.”

    Ete Indien, who breezed four furlongs in :48.40 seconds at Palm Meadows Training Center Wednesday morning, has shown considerable versatility during his five-race career, which he kicked off with a fast-closing victory in a Sept. 13 maiden special weight victory over Gulfstream’s turf course. Following an extremely wide trip in an off-the-board finish in the Gr. III Bourbon on Keeneland’s turf course, Ete Indien captured his dirt debut with a front-running 2 ½-length victory in a mile optional claiming allowance Dec. 20 at Gulfstream. He set a pressured pace in the Holy Bull before settling for second, 11 ½ lengths ahead of third-place finisher As Seen On Tv. Ete Indien made a considerable move forward in his Fountain of Youth victory.

    “The horse keeps improving from race to race,” Biancone said. “Hopefully, he’ll keep improving and we should have a really good horse in the summer.” He has again drawn an outside post position (No. 12).

    Geroux has the return mount aboard Ete Indien, who is listed second at 4-1 for owners Linda Shanahan, Sanford Bacon, Dream With Me Stable Inc., Horse France America, D P Racing LLC and Patrick L. Biancone Racing LLC.

    Trainer Todd Pletcher, who has saddled a record five Florida Derby winners, will be represented by Gouverneur Morris and Candy Tycoon in his quest for a sixth winner of Gulfstream’s signature race that has produced the winners of 59 Triple Crown events, including 24 Kentucky Derby winners. Team Valor International and WinStar Farm LLC’s Gouverneur Morris has raced only once this year, capturing a Feb. 14 optional claiming allowance at Tampa Bay Downs, where he came close to the track record for a mile and 40 yards while winning by 1 ½ lengths.
    “I thought it was a good comeback," Pletcher said. "It wasn’t a cupcake field. He finished up well and seemed to come out of it and has trained strongly since then. We weren’t 100 percent sure what his next start was going to be, but based on the strength of his last breeze and the fact that the Florida Derby is right in front of us we felt like we better go ahead and go now.” 

    Gouverneur Morris created a buzz at Saratoga when he debuted with a nine-length victory on Sept. 2. The son of Constitution went on to finish second behind Maxfield in the Gr. I Futurity at Keeneland to finish off his juvenile campaign. “He’s training as well as ever," Pletcher said. "I thought in particular his last breeze was the one we were hoping for and kind of sold us on the time to go is now."

    Mathis Stable LLC’s Candy Tycoon closed to finish a distant second behind Ete Indien in the Fountain of Youth in his stakes debut. The son of Twirling Candy had broken his maiden by four lengths in his prior start at Gulfstream a month earlier while stretching out around two turns for the first time on dirt. “The last race was an improved performance by him," Pletcher said. "He’s one that we’ve kind of had high hopes for. He’s kind of frustrated us a little bit because he trained a little better than he had been running in the afternoons but that was kind of the first time he settled off the pace a little bit. He seemed to make a move forward doing that. This race on paper appears to have plenty of pace so it could be a good setup for him, but once again he needs to step up and make another move forward to get a piece of it.
    Hall of Famer John Velazquez has the mount aboard Gouverneur Morris, while Javier Castellano has the call on Candy Tycoon.

    Independence Hall, who is owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Twin Creek Racing Stables LLC, and Kathleen and Robert Verratti, will seek to make amends for his first career loss. The Michael Trombetta-trained son of Constitution, who had won his first three races by a combined 21 lengths, moved to the lead in the stretch before being caught by Sole Volante in the Gr. III Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb.8. Beaten by 2 ½ lengths in his first start around two turns, Independence Hall finished 11 ¼ lengths clear of third-place finisher Ajaaweed.

     “Some circumstantial things went against him in the Sam Davis," Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners' AronWellman said. "He got beat that day on the square, but if you consider the trouble that he had in that race, between the tongue tie and losing his right front shoe, the race shape and setup playing against him, I thought it was a really strong effort. He’s never run a bad race and since that time we’ve really put a circle around the Florida Derby and he’s trained exceptionally well. We’ve got reason to expect him not to show up and run his ‘A’ race come Saturday.”

    Previously, Independence Hall won his Sept. 21 debut at Parx by 4 ¾ lengths before capturing the Gr. III Nashua by 12 ¼ lengths on Nov. 3 and the Jan. 1 Jerome by four lengths, both at Aqueduct.

    “With the shift in the schedule and the Kentucky Derby pushed back four months, we’re really viewing this as our Kentucky Derby right now," Wellman said. "It’s a prestigious Grade I that’s very meaningful to his stallion potential. His sire won it, his dam’s sire won it, so it would be a huge feather in his cap to be able to add this to his resume. We’re treating this as though it’s the Kentucky Derby right now. Hopefully he’ll be able to use this to propel himself toward the first Saturday in September, but that’s a long way off. This is an important Grade 1 on the calendar right now.”

     Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners will also be represented by Soros, who is trained and co-owned by Gustavo Delgado. The son of Commissioner has been idle since breaking his maiden with a 2 ½-length victory in the Nov. 30 Smooth Air Stakes at Gulfstream. Soros had previously debuted with a second-place finish at Gulfstream Park West. Joel Rosario is scheduled to ride Independence Hall for the first time Saturday, while Hall of Famer Edgar Prado will have the return mount aboard Soros.

    Rounding out the field are  Shadwell Stable’s Ajaaweed, who finished a close second in the Gr. II Remsen at Aqueduct before finishing third in the Sam F. Davis; Screen Door Stables LLC’s As Seen On Tv, who lost a photo-finish in the Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream prior to his third-place finish in the Fountain of Youth; Jacks or Better Farm’s Shivaree, who finished second in the Gr. III Swale and the Hutcheson in his two most recent starts; and Frank Carl Calabrese’s Disc Jockey, a son of Bodemeister who finished second in a Feb. 17 starter stakes at Gulfstream. Also, Martha Borchetta’s Sassy But Smart, who finished fourth on turf in the Gr. III Palm Beach last time out; and Maria Ines Mejia’s My First Grammy, who is still a maiden. Calumet Farm’s Rogue Element, who finished second in a maiden special weight last time out, is the lone also-eligible.
Monday, March 23, 2020
19 of 19 in top 4 . . .

    Lost in the world of viruses, health experts, deaths, masks, testing, curfews, isolation, quarantine, poor leadership, Rand Paul's idiocy, and much more, Mike Mulligan's BetBestBreeze knocked it out of the park Saturday. And, like the tree falling in the forest, we have to wonder how many people were able to pay attention.

    With so many tracks shuttered, BBB was left with 19 selections from Fair Grounds, Gulfstream, Oaklawn Park and Santa Anita and the results were eye-opening: 8 winners, 7 seconds, 2 thirds and 2 fourths - 19 of 19 in the top 4. 

    Fair Grounds was particularly fruitful with winners Dreamalildreamofu ($4.20); Factor This ($21); Sydster ($5); Vacherie Girl ($12.20), and Wells Bayou ($8.40). There were also two seconds.

    At Gulfstream, there were three seconds, one third and three fourths, and Oaklawn had winners Long Weekend ($4.60) and Ruling ($5.80). Santa Anita added one winner, Outright ($8.40) and one fourth.   

    A great day for those sitting at home and utilizing computers, phones and any other form of wagering devices.  


Monday, March 23, 2020
Prado pulls to within one victory of Cordero . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 will offer a guaranteed jackpot pool of $1.9 million Wednesday at Gulfstream Park. The multi-race wager went unsolved for the 18th racing day Sunday since being hit for a jackpot of $468,945 on Feb. 27. Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $1,139.

WHO'S HOT: Edgar Prado closed to within one win of pulling even with fellow Hall of Fame rider Angel Cordero in career races won when he guided The Queens Jules ($4) to victory in Sunday’s Race 9. Cordero is eighth all-time with 7,057 victories.

    Trainer Christophe Clement moved to within two victories of the 2,000-win milestone, getting to the winner's circle with Just for One Day in race 2. Joel Rosario enjoyed a victorious return to Gulfstream with a pair of winners, scoring aboard Just for One Day ($2.60) and Dominate Themoment ($18) in race 5. Joe Bravo doubled aboard Pleasant Orb ($4.80) in race 4 and Special Liaison ($25.20) in race 6.

    Fresh off his record-tying seven-win day Saturday, Paco Lopez rode a pair of winners, scoring aboard Noble Hope ($4.80) in race 3 and Charlie the Greek ($8) in race 7.

Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool: $1.9 million guaranteed for Wednesday.
Sunday, March 22, 2020
Joins Gaffalione, Saez and Bailey with 7 victories . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Cara Oliver’s Hear My Prayer sprinted to the lead and kept on going, shaking off Foolish Humor early and turning away Compensate by 1 1/2 lengths to earn her first career stakes victory in the $75,000 Melody of Colors, giving jockey Paco Lopez his fifth of a record-equaling seven victories on Saturday’s 12-race program at Gulfstream Park.

Lopez, a past Championship Meet riding champion who sits third in the current standings, previously won aboard Strike Magic ($21) in Race 1, Time to Two Step ($2.40) in Race 2, French Quarter ($3.60) in Race 5 and Quick Step Ed ($8.80) in Race 6, adding a sixth win aboard We Miss Susie ($6) in Race 10 and a seventh aboard National Honor ($11.80) in Race 12.

With his seventh win Lopez joined the company of Luis Saez (twice), Tyler Gaffalione and Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey. Saez achieved the feat on Jan. 24, 2018 and March 29, 2018. Gaffalione won seven on July 4, 2017, while Bailey was the first to accomplish it on March 11, 1996.

Trained by David Fisher, Hear My Prayer was a popular winner in the field of 11 3-year-old fillies, cutting back to five furlongs following her 2020 debut, in which she was sixth after setting the pace in the 7 ½-furlong Ginger Brew Jan. 4 at Gulfstream. She paid $4 after racing the distance in :55.89 seconds over a firm turf course.

Hear My Prayer was intent on the lead from post 4 and dueled through an opening quarter in :21.23 seconds with Foolish Humor at her right hip. Foolish Humor began to fade around the turn and Compensate picked up the chase down the center of the track after a half in :43.80, but was unable to reel in the winner. 

  Hear My Prayer improved to 3-0 when sprinting five furlongs on the grass, her other wins coming last fall at Gulfstream and Gulfstream West, each in front-running fashion. She was unable to sustain her lead in the Ginger Brew and wound up beaten 3 ¼ lengths.

Two races later, Smart Angle LLP’s Cajun Casanova rallied from far back to win the $75,000 Texas Glitter, a five-furlong turf race for 3-year-olds. Trained by Michael Pino, Cajun Casanova, who captured the five-furlong Hollywood Beach on turf last year at Gulfstream, was claimed for $50,000 out of an eight-length victory in a five-furlong off-the-turf optional claiming allowance Jan. 23. The son of Stonehedge Farm's Cajun Breeze set the pace before finishing second in a five-furlong optional claiming allowance on turf for his new connections on Feb. 17.

This time, Cajun Casanova ($9.40) and jockey Miguel Vasquez employed different tactics with success. He chased the pace in fourth as R Man Joe set solid fractions of :21.47 and :43.36 for the first half-mile, then swung wide entering the stretch and kicked in to win by a neck. R Man Joe held on for second under Emisael Jaramillo, 1 ½ lengths ahead of late-charging Guildsman and Saez. Cajun Casanova was clocked in :55.28 seconds.


Saturday, March 21, 2020
Money will be allocated to overnight purses . . .
    OLDSMAR - The Florida Cup, a series of six $110,000 stakes races for registered Florida-breds and the annual showcase for Tampa Bay Downs' state thoroughbred breeding and racing industries, has been cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

    The event had been scheduled for Sunday, March 29. The Tampa Bay Downs Racing Office had reported 111 nominations by the March 14 deadline

    Peter Berube, the track’s Vice President-General Manager, said a portion of the $660,000 in Florida Cup purse money will be allocated to the track’s overnight purse account, enabling Tampa Bay Downs to continue its 2019-2020 meeting beyond next week, as circumstances allow.

    Tampa Bay Downs began racing without fans Wednesday as public-health officials urge citizens to adhere to social distancing to slow the spread of the virus.

    “It’s a huge blow to everyone to have to cancel one of the biggest days on our racing calendar,” said Berube. “At the same time, we are committed to keeping the track free of spectators at least through that date, and the social aspect of Florida Cup Day, which includes a buffet luncheon for horsemen and their families under the Picnic Pavilion Tent, has always been an important part of the day.

    “We are dedicated to helping ensure to the best of our ability the health and well-being of everyone associated with Tampa Bay Downs, and the logistics of putting on a multi-stakes event in the midst of a national health crisis made this the only decision possible,” Berube said. “The silver lining is this gives us an opportunity to help our horsemen continue racing. We will work closely with them, the breeders and owners and our stakes sponsors to make the 2021 Florida Cup memorable and exciting for all.”

The canceled races include:

·         The $110,000 DRF Bets Sprint, for 4-year-olds-and-upward going 6 furlongs on the main track.

·         The $110,000 Pleasant Acres Stallions Distaff Turf, for fillies and mares 3-years-old-and-upward going 1 1/16-mile on the turf.

·         The $110,000 Equistaff Sophomore Turf, for 3-year-olds going 1 1/16-mile on the turf.

·         The $110,000 Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Fillies, for 3-year-old fillies going 7 furlongs on the main track.

·         The $110,000 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Sophomore, for 3-year-olds going 7 furlongs on the main track.

·         The $110,000 Touch Vodka Turf Classic, for 4-year-olds and upward going 1 1/8-miles on the turf.

    The Florida Cup, which was first run in 2003, is the brainchild of track President-Treasurer Stella F. Thayer and Margo Flynn, the track’s Vice President of Marketing & Publicity. After witnessing a similar event the previous summer at Delaware Park featuring enhanced purses and a horsemen’s luncheon, Flynn contacted representatives from the Tampa Bay Downs horsemen’s group, the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association and some of the state’s leading breeders, and their overwhelming levels of interest and support led to the event’s creation with six $75,000 stakes – three each on the main track and the turf course.

    Some of the top horses to shine on Florida Cup Day include two-time winner World Approval, who kicked off his 2017 Eclipse Award Champion Turf Male campaign with a victory in the Turf Classic; another two-time winner, crack
sprinter Imperial Hint, who boasts four Gr. I victories and career earnings exceeding $2.2-million; It’s Me Mom, who defeated males as a 4-year-old filly in the 2012 Sprint while setting the still-standing 6-furlong track record of 1:08.67; and the popular Hooh Why, a Gr. I winner and career millionaire who won back-to-back editions of the Distaff Turf in 2012 and 2013.

AROUND THE OVAL - Jockey Pablo Morales, who won Friday's second race aboard 4-year-old filly Dreaming Diamonds in his first ride since injuring his foot in a starting-gate mishap during training hours, reported via his Twitter account that a subsequent X-ray revealed a break and he will be out “for a little while.” The victory was No. 1,996 in his career.

    Tampa Bay Downs will continue racing without spectators for the foreseeable future. A pair of eight-race cards have been scheduled for this weekend, with today’s action starting at 12:35 p.m. and Sunday’s racing starting at 12:25 p.m.

Thursday, March 19, 2020
Son of Upstart breezed in 21 seconds flat . . .

    Hip No. 598, a son of Upstart consigned by Woodford Thoroughbreds, Agent, went to Mike Ryan, Agent for $600,000 to top the second and final session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2020 March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training. The bay colt, who breezed a quarter in :21 flat at Saturday’s session of the Under Tack Show, is out of Blue Beryl, by Bernstein, a half-sister to graded stakes-placed stakes-winning OBS March graduate Brigand.

    Hip No. 424, a daughter of Bernardini consigned by Eddie Woods, Agent, was sold to Stonestreet Stables LLC for $575,000. The dark bay or brown filly, who breezed a quarter in :21 flat at Friday’s Under Tack Session, is out of Song Collection, by Unbridled’s Song, a full sister to graded stakes-winner Old Fashioned.

    Hip No. 386, a son of Constitution consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent, went to Dennis O’Neill for $550,000. The bay colt, who turned in a quarter in :20 4/5 on Friday, is out of Screwgie, by Smart Strike, a daughter of graded stakes-winner Roshani.

    Hip No. 550, a son of Tapizar consigned by Brick City Thoroughbreds, Agent, was purchased by Narvick International for $500,000. The bay colt, who worked an eighth on Saturday in :10 flat, is a half-brother to stakes-winner Miss Frost out of Allencat, by Storm Cat.

    West Bloodstock, Agent for Repole Stable, Inc. went to $420,000 for Hip No. 456, a son of Frosted consigned by Kings Equine, Agent. The gray or roan colt, who breezed an eighth in :10 flat at Saturday’s Under Tack Session, is a half-brother to graded stakes-placed Der Lu out of Taboo, by Forestry.

    Hip No. 640, a son of Daredevil whose quarter in :20 3/5 was the session’s fastest, went to Carolyn Wilson for $400,000. The bay colt out of Chapellerie (IRE), by Acclamation, from the family of graded stakes winner Secret Form (GB), was consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent.

    Hip No. 358, a son of Outwork consigned by Pike Racing, Agent, was purchased by Mike Ryan, Agent, for $380,000. The bay colt, who worked an eighth on Friday in :10 flat, is out of Riding Point, by Speightstown, a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Onus.

    Hip No. 568, a son of Medaglia d’Oro consigned by Sequel Bloodstock, Agent, went to Narvick International for $350,000. The dark bay or brown colt, who breezed an eighth on Saturday in :10 1/5, is out of graded stakes-placed Arch Support, by Arch, a daughter of stakes-winner Two Ninety Jones.

    Hip No. 443, a bay filly by Uncle Mo consigned by Paul Sharp, Agent, was sold to Dennis O’Neill for $340,000. A half-sister to stakes-placed Romeo Lima out of Storybook (UAE), by Hailing, she breezed an eighth on Friday in :10 1/5.

    Team Casse, Agent, went to $335,000 for Hip No. 381, a daughter of War Front who turned in an Under Tack eighth in :10 flat on Friday. The dark bay or brown filly bred in Great Britain, consigned by Kings Equine, Agent, is a half-sister to stakes-placed Segra out of graded stakes-winner Sarah Lynx (IRE), by Montjeu.

    Hip No. 379, a son of Into Mischief also consigned by Kings Equine, Agent, who breezed an eighth in :10 2/5 on Friday, was sold to Town & Country Racing LLC for $300,000. A half-brother to stakes-winning OBS graduate South Bend, he’s out of graded stakes-placed Sandra’s Rose, by Old Trieste.

    Hip No. 454, a daughter of Union Rags who breezed an eighth in :10 2/5 on Friday, was sold for $300,000 to Jun Park, Agent. The bay filly, consigned by Woodford Thoroughbreds, Agent, is out of graded stakes placed Sweet Success, by Candy Ride (ARG), a daughter of graded stakes-placed Aspiring.

    John C. Kimmel, Agent, paid $300,000 for Hip No. 559, Caller Two, a son of Malibu Moon consigned by McKathan Bros. Sales, Agent. The bay colt, who breezed an eighth on Saturday in :10 flat, is out of Ameristralia (AUS), by Fastnet Rock, a full sister to graded stakes-winner Fiano Romano. 

    For the session, 146 horses sold for $14,893,000, averaging $102,007 with a $55,000 median figure. The buyback percentage was 39.4%.

    For the entire sale, 291 horses sold for $27,902,500 compared with 306 bringing $44,248,500 a year ago. The average price was $95,885, compared with $144,603 in 2019 while the median price was $50,000 compared with $80,000 a year ago. The buyback percentage was 39.6%; it was 23.9% in 2019.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020
First session averages $93,660 . . .

    Hip No. 237, a daughter of American Pharoah consigned by Wavertree Stables Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent was sold to Katsumi Yoshida for $650,000 to top the first session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2020 March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training. The bay filly, whose quarter in :20 2/5 at Friday’s Under Tack session was the sale’s fastest at the distance, is out of Megalicious, by Songandaprayer, and is a half sister to stakes placed My Sweet Stella.

    Hip No. 258, a son of Into Mischief consigned by de Meric Sales, Agent, was sold to and Spendthrift for $500,000. The bay colt, who turned in a quarter in :21 flat at Friday’s Under Tack session, is out of stakes-placed Montessa G, by Montbrook, a daughter of stakes-winner Doc’s Doll.

    Hip No. 320, Brother Lob, by Runhappy, who breezed a quarter on Friday in :20 3/5, was purchased by Tom Durant for $475,000. Consigned by Pick View LLC, Agent, he’s out of stakes-placed Pledge Pin, by Chatain, a half-sister to graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Great Mills.

    Katsumi Yoshida also went to $420,000 for Hip No. 65, a son of Medaglia d’Oro who breezed an eighth at Thursday’s Under Tack session in :10 1/5. The bay colt, consigned by Top Line Sales LLC, Agent, is out of Flagstaff (GB), by Dansili, a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Starformer.

    Hip No. 27, a son of Air Force Blue consigned by RiceHorse Stable (Brandon & Ali Rice), was purchased by Willis Horton Racing LLC for $390,000. The chestnut colt, who turned in an Under Tack eighth in :10 flat on Thursday, is a half-brother to graded stake-winner Daddy Long Legs out of stakes-winner Dreamy Maiden, by Meadowlake.

    Hip No. 167, a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro consigned by Sequel Bloodstock, Agent for Chester & Mary Broman, was sold to OXO Equine LLC for $330,000. The dark bay or brown filly, who worked an eighth in:10 flat on Thursday, is a full sister to Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) winner Bar of Gold out of graded stakes-winner Khancord Kid, by Lemon Drop Kid.

    Team Casse, Agent, went to $320,000 for Hip No. 226, an Irish-bred daughter of Frankel consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc., (Ciaran Dunne), Agent. The bay filly, who breezed a quarter in :21 1/5 on Thursday, is out of stakes-placed Manderley, by Clodovil, a full sister to stakes-winner Gregorian.

    Hip No. 319, a son of American Pharoah consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent, went to John C. Kimmel, Agent for $320,000. The bay colt, who worked a quarter in :21 1/5 on Friday, is a half-brother to Gr. I  stakes-winner Certify, out of graded stakes-placed stakes- winner Please Sign In, by Doc’s Leader.

    Hip No. 149, a daughter of Empire Maker consigned by Randy Miles, Agent, was sold for $280,000 to August Dawn Farm. The bay filly, who breezed a :10 1/5 eighth on Thursday, is out of Jaded Glory, by Smart Strike, a daughter of Gr. I stakes-placed Jade Queen.

    Hip No. 141, a son of Dialed In consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent, was sold for $275,000 to North Hills. The bay colt, whose quarter in :20 3/5 was fastest at the distance at Thursday’s Under Tack session, is a half-brother to stakes-winner Meadowood out of stakes-winner Into Reality, by Untuttable.

    Sandin Syndicate Stable LLC, W.E. Morey Agent, paid $255,000 for Hip No. 241, a son of Curlin consigned by Eddie Woods, Agent. The bay colt, who worked a :21 1/5 quarter on Friday, is out of Michelle d’Oro, by Bernardini, a daughter of Gr. I winner Champagne d’Or.

    For the session, 134 horses old for $12,550,500, averaging $93,660 with a $50,000 median figure. The buyback percentage was 44.4. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
It will remain shuttered until further notice . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - With the utmost regard for the safety and well-being of our customers and employees and in following the best available guidance from local and international health authorities, the Casino at Gulfstream Park was closed to the public last night at 10:00 p. m. and will remain closed until further notice.

    Gulfstream will continue live racing as scheduled with only those personnel essential to racing who are licensed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Racing in attendance which will provide people at home with the opportunity to stay connected.

    All areas of the clubhouse, including the walking ring and the apron, will be closed with perimeter fencing and security. The Village at Gulfstream Park will remain open.

Sunday, March 15, 2020
Noble Indy returns with a bang . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - After going unsolved for the 13th consecutive day, the 20-cent Rainbow 6 will have its carryover jackpot pool guaranteed at $1.4 million when live racing is scheduled to return to Gulfstream Park on Wednesday. First race post time is 1 p.m.

    Multiple tickets with all six winners today were worth $522.92.

    Wednesday’s Rainbow 6 covers Races 5-10 and features four races on turf topped by the featured ninth, a five-furlong race for fillies and mares 4-and-up featuring Ms Meshak, winner of the 2019 Added Elegance on the dirt at Gulfstream, plus multiple stakes-placed Just Ain’t Right and Starship Nala.

    The multi-race wager has been solved four times during the 2019-20 Championship Meet, including payoffs of $1.2 million on Feb. 17 and $468,945 on Feb. 27.

G2 Winner Noble Indy Makes Successful Season Debut 

    Repole Stable’s Gr. II winner Noble Indy, unraced since Nov. 24, made a triumphant return in his 5-year-old return today. Ridden by Luis Saez for trainer Todd Pletcher, Noble Indy ($8.60) led from start to finish to win the $53,000 third-level optional claiming allowance by 1 ½ lengths over late-running Sand Dancer. Monarchs Glen, the 7-5 favorite, was third.

    Noble Indy, by Take Charge Indy, won three of his first four career starts, two at Gulfstream, including the Gr. II Louisiana Derby to earn him a shot in the 2018 Kentucky Derby, where he finished 17th behind eventual Triple Crown winner Justify.

    Gunnison tracked Noble Indy through a half in :49.29 seconds trailed by Monarchs Glen and Golden Dragon. Monarchs Glen split horses to get within a half-length midway on the turn after six furlongs in 1:12.78, but Noble Indy was up to the task and edged clear once straightened for home and set down by Saez. The winning time for 1 1/8 miles over a firm turf course was 1:47.64.

    Noble Indy also opened his 2019 season at Gulfstream, finishing fourth in an optional claiming allowance in February. His last previous win came Sept. 20 at Belmont Park, also at 1 1/8 miles on the grass, and he capped last year by running fourth in an off-the-turf optional claimer Nov. 24 at Aqueduct.

WHO'S HOT: Jockey Luis Saez visited the winner’s circle twice today, aboard maiden winner Youngest of Five ($3.80) in Race 6 and Noble Indy ($8.60) in Race 8.   

Thursday, March 12, 2020
Coronavirus hitting all sports venues . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - With the utmost regard for the safety and well-being of our customers and employees and in following the best available guidance from local and international health authorities, Gulfstream Park will temporarily close to the public for racing and simulcast at the conclusion of racing today.

    Gulfstream Park will continue live racing as scheduled with personnel licensed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering in attendance which will provide our fans at home with the opportunity to stay connected via our on-line wagering.

    The Florida Derby, scheduled to take place on March 28, will move forward with live racing but will also be closed to the public.

    The Casino at Gulfstream Park will remain open for slot machine play only. All areas of the Clubhouse including the walking ring and apron will be closed with perimeter fencing and security. The Village at Gulfstream Park will remain open however, we encourage our guests to check with specific retailers’ operating hours.

    We will continue to monitor the situation and will post any updates on our website at We look to welcoming our fans and guests back again soon.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Rainbow 6 jackpot guaranteed at $1 million tomorrow . . .
     HALLANDALE BEACH - At Gulfstream Park this morning, trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. was still trying to wrap his head around Chance It’s subpar performance in Saturday’s Tampa Bay Derby.

    Chance It, a multiple stakes-winner who had never been worse that second in six prior career starts, finished sixth at Tampa Bay Downs, 9 ½ lengths behind 49-1 upset winner King Guillermo.

   “It’s so easy to make different excuses,"Joseph said. "We haven’t come up with an idea yet. We’ll just go over him for the rest of the week and maybe around Sunday come up with a reason why he didn’t run better.” Joseph added that the son of Currency Swap has shown no physical evidence that would explain his subpar showing. “It could be many things. We don’t know at the moment.”

    Chance It rated off the pace between horses and advanced mildly on the turn into the stretch before flattening out in the stretch. “They were going slow that day, I don’t know why he was that far back," Joseph said. "They ran 48 - I don’t think he’s run that slow in his life. It’s hard to say."

   Chance It was coming off an impressive victory in the Jan. 4 Mucho Macho Man.

   “We just have to let everything play out for a week and come up with a game plan,” Joseph said. “By the end of the week, we’ll go over him to see if anything starts to show up. If nothing shows up, then we’ll make plans – if we give him another race or just keep going one turn.”

Thursday’s Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Guaranteed at $1 Million - 

    The 20-cent Rainbow 6 will offer a guaranteed jackpot pool of $1 Million Thursday. The multi-race wager went unsolved for the ninth racing day in a row since being hit for a jackpot of $468,945 on Feb. 27. Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $584.30.

Who’s Hot: Leading jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. rode four winners on today’s program, connecting with Alaskan ($4) in Race 1, Thenorthremembers ($5.20) in Race 5, Gemo ($5) in Race 9, and Aerodynamic ($3) in Race 10.

    Emisael Jaramillo rode back-to-back winners, scoring aboard Southern Toddy ($17.60) in Race 6 and Solar ($9.20) in Race 7.
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
For accomplishments on and off the track . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Jockey Tyler Gaffalione was honored for his accomplishments on and off the track Tuesday when Broward County proclaimed March 10 as “Tyler Gaffalione Day.”

    Commissioner Michael Udine, representing Broward County’s District 3, said the proclamation “recognized how he grew up in Broward County, how he was voted and won the Champion Apprentice Jockey award, and his work with non-profit organizations throughout the county and how he won the 2019 Preakness.”

    Gaffalione, who entered the week third in money won and fourth in wins at Gulfstream’s Championship Meet, said he couldn’t believe it when he was informed of the proclamation. "It’s my home and for [Broward] County to acknowledge and notice my accomplishments is truly amazing,” he said. “I couldn’t have done it without the support of Gulfstream Park and all the workers who put in countless hours, along with the trainers, and, of course, my agent, Matt Muzikar. I’m so thankful for this.”

    Gaffalione added he was proud of being recognized for his work in the community. “This is very humbling,” he said. “This sport has given so much to me, so it’s always nice to be able to give back. Hopefully, we can continue to build on that support and grow the recognition for these non-profit foundations.”

    When asked about his goals, Gaffalione said: “I’d like to win the Kentucky Derby this year, hopefully. I just hope to have a long and prosperous career, staying healthy and see where it takes me.”
Monday, March 9, 2020
Spring season begins April 2 . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Gulfstream Park’s spring and summer stakes schedule will offer horsemen $3.775 million in purses, featuring the $1.4 million Florida Sire Stakes and $300,000, Gr. II Princess Rooney, which will be moved from June to September along with the $200,000, Gr. III Smile Sprint.

    The spring racing season begins Thursday, April 2. The stakes schedule kicks off on Kentucky Derby Day, Saturday, May 2, with the $100,000 Big Drama for Florida-breds and the Honey Ryder and English Channel, both contested on the turf.

    The biggest change to the stakes schedule will be moving the Princess Rooney and Smile Sprint to Sept. 5. The distance of the Princess Rooney has been cut back from seven furlongs to six furlongs and the purse increased by $50,000. The race day will also include the $75,000 Miss Gracie and $75,000 Bear’s Den.

    “Both the Princess Rooney and Smile were moved from the middle of the summer to September in hopes of more participation moving closer to the fall,” said Mike Lakow, Gulfstream’s Vice President of Racing. “We also noticed there was a void in filly and mare Gr. 1 and 2 races under seven furlongs. Therefore we changed the distance of the Princess Rooney to six furlongs and brought the purse to $300,000.”

    This will be the 39th anniversary of the $1.4 million Florida Sire Stakes, for 2-year-olds sired by accredited Florida stallions. The rich series, which has produced Awesome Feather, Three Ring, Big Drama, Smile and Jackson Bend, kicks off Aug. 1 with the $100,000 Dr. Fager and $100,000 Desert Vixen divisions. It continues Aug. 29 with the $200,000 Affirmed and $200,000 Susan’s Girl and culminates Sept. 26 with the $400,000 In Reality and $400,000 My Dear Girl.     

    Gulfstream’s live card on Preakness Day, May 16, will include the $100,000 Musical Romance for Florida-breds and the $75,000 Roar and $75,000 Powder Break. Belmont Stakes Day, June 6, will feature the $100,000 Soldier’s Dancer and $100,000 Ginger Punch, both for Florida-breds.

    Gulfstream will also have stakes races on three Saturdays during the Saratoga meeting as well as three stakes on the July 4 weekend. “We set the stakes schedule to accompany important racing days and holidays,” Lakow said.
Sunday, March 8, 2020
Former slugger wins 40th Derby with King Guillermo . . .

    OLDSMAR - Retired Major League Baseball star Victor Martinez played on five teams that reached the post-season, was an American League All-Star five times and slugged 246 home runs in his 16-year career, which ended in 2018.

But in the glow of a raucous winner’s-circle celebration late Saturday afternoon at Tampa Bay Downs, he said that nothing in his baseball career compared to the experience of his 3-year-old colt King Guillermo winning the Gr. II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby at odds of 49-1.

    “My dad died when I was six, and I always wanted to have a horse named for my dad,” an emotional Martinez said after King Guillermo posted a 4 ¾-length victory over 3-2 favorite Sole Volante in 1:42.63 for the mile-and-a-sixteenth. As a bonus, Martinez’s Venezuelan countryman, Samy Camacho, was in the saddle. The clocking was the third-fastest in the 40 editions of the Tampa Bay Derby.

“This is absolutely something else," Martinez said."  I thank God for this opportunity and putting a great horse in my hands. My mom (Margot, part of the festive scene) taught me how to dream. She taught me dreams are for free. We believed in this horse and he made our dream come true.”

Another Venezuelan, Juan C. Avila, is the trainer of King Guillermo, who improved to 2-for-4 with the victory, in his first start of 2020. He paid $100.40 to win, the second-biggest payoff in the history of the race, surpassed only by Bold Southerner’s $179.40 in 1984.

    The Tampa Bay Derby is a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points race, and King Guillermo earned 50 points with his victory – virtually assuring him a spot in the May 2 Run for the Roses, as long as his connections pay the late Triple Crown nomination fee. He was one of only two horses in the 12-horse field not yet nominated. That bit of paperwork could wait Saturday.

“I hope he is going to the Kentucky Derby,” said Camacho, whose smile stretched almost to Caracas after the race. “I’m so happy, I say thank you to God and all the team – Mr. Juan Carlos Avila, the trainer, the owner, Victor Martinez, and everybody who made this dream possible. From the 3/8ths-mile pole I had a lot of horse and I was worried a little about Chance It and Sole Volante, but I had a lot of confidence in my horse because he was doing really well in the mornings and he felt strong,” Camacho said.

Sole Volante, the Gr. III Sam F. Davis Stakes winner here four weeks ago, picked up 20 points with his second-place finish, 1 ¾ lengths ahead of Texas Swing – the other horse not nominated to the Triple Crown. Pace-setter Relentless Dancer held on for fourth, followed by disappointing second choice Chance It.

    King Guillermo is a Kentucky-bred son of Uncle Mo, out of Slow Sand, by Dixieland Band. He was bred by Carhue Investments, Grouseridge Ltd. And Marengo Investments and was purchased by Martinez for $150,000 at the 2019 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s April Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training. The winner’s share of $210,000 raised his career earnings to $240,350. King Guillermo’s previous victory came on Nov. 2 at Gulfstream Park West in a one-mile maiden special weight race on the turf, but his team decided his workouts on the dirt at Gulfstream since early January merited a shot today.

    Sole Volante also came out of the OBS April sale, going for a bargain $20,000 from the consignment of New Hope AB, which had purchased him for just $6,000 out of the 2018 Keeneland September yearling sale. 

    The Tampa Bay Derby was one of five stakes races, four graded, on a Festival Day card that drew 10,021 fans in sunny, breezy weather. Handle on the 12-race card was $13,155,349, third largest in the track's history, and on-track handle of $856,300 was up 4.5-percent over last year’s Festival Day card.

  In the Gr. II, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes for older fillies and mares on the turf, Florida-bred mare Starship Jubilee, the favorite, withstood a strong stretch challenge from Chad Brown-trained Beautiful Lover to post a 1 ¼-length victory in 1:47.83 for the mile-and-an-eighth. Kelsey’s Cross finished third and Magic Star was fourth in the 11-horse field.

The 7-year-old Starship Jubilee, owned by Blue Heaven Farm and trained by Kevin Attard, improved to 17-for-35 lifetime. The $145,000 winner’s share of the purse raised her earnings to $1,498,667. Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano was aboard for the victory. “She’s such a classy horse,” Castellano said. “This is the type of horse you can do whatever you want – you can dictate the pace or you can come from behind. I enjoyed the ride and I’m very fortunate to be part of it. It looks like she is getting better and better and better.” Tino Attard claimed Starship Jubilee for $16,000 at Gulfstream in 2017.

    In the Gr. III, $200,000 Florida Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on the turf, the Eddie Kenneally-trained Outburst held off a frantic rally by Walk In Marrakesh to post a head victory in an excellent 1:42.03 for the mile-and-a-sixteenth. Outburst was also ridden by Castellano, who probably won the race when he managed to slow her down on the lead through a second quarter in :25.62 seconds after a :22.91 opening split. Secret Stash finished third and How Ironic was fourth in the 12-horse field.

    In the $75,000 Columbia Stakes for 3-year-olds on the turf, Kentucky-bred colt Doc Boy rallied from well back to grab a 1 ¾-length victory from Mr. Kringle. Summer Assault finished third and pace-setter Alley Oop Johnny was fourth. Doc Boy, who is owned by Stallionaire Enterprises, improved to 3-for-6 with the victory, achieved in 1:34.67 for the one-mile distance, .15 seconds off the stakes record. The son of Into Mischief-Peggy May, by Lemon Drop Kid, is trained by Michael Stidham and was ridden by Joe Bravo.

AROUND THE OVAL - In the second race, the $40,000 Manatee Overnight Handicap for fillies and mares, 4-year-old Florida-bred stakes-winner J P’s Delight withstood a challenge from Gr. II stakes-winner Point of Honor at the top of the stretch and powered home to a four-length victory under jockey Paco Lopez. Her time for the 7 furlongs was 1:22.48.

  J P’s Delight, who is owned by Brent Fernung (Journeyman Stud) and Eugene Cahalan and trained by Kathleen O’Connell, improved to 4-for-5 with the victory. She had won the FTBOA City of Ocala Florida Sire Stakes on Dec. 14, also going 7 furlongs.

Thursday, March 5, 2020
Pick 6 already hit 4 times . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 will have a guaranteed pool of $700,000 when live racing returns to Gulfstream Park with a 10-race program Friday. First-race post time is 1 p.m.

    Multiple tickets with all six winners today each returned $5,524.

    Friday’s Rainbow 6 spans Races 5-10, four on the turf, including a pair of allowance sprints in Races 7 and 9. The multi-race wager has been solved four times during the Championship Meet, including payoffs of $1,208,573 on Feb. 17 and $468,945 on Feb. 2.
Thursday, March 5, 2020
Feature is the Gr. II, $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby . . .

    OLDSMAR - A field of 12 3-year-olds headed by Sole Volante will compete for the winner’s share of a $400,000 purse in the 40th edition of the Gr. II Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs.

    The Tampa Bay Derby is one of five stakes, four graded, on a Festival Day card offering $1 million in stakes purse money alone. It is also a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points race, awarding qualifying points for the Run for the Roses on May 2 to the first four finishers on a 50-20-10-5 scale.

    Also on Saturday’s 12-race card, which begins at 12:15 p.m., are the Gr. II, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes for fillies and mares 4-years-old-and-upward at a mile-and-an-eighth on the turf; the Gr. III, $200,000 Florida Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf; the Gr. III, $100,000 Challenger Stakes for horses 4-and-upward at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track; and the $75,000 Columbia Stakes for 3-year-olds racing a mile on the turf.

    The five stakes will be run consecutively, comprising a Pick-5 wagering offering, with the Columbia as the seventh race, followed in order by the Challenger, the Hillsborough, the Florida Oaks and the Tampa Bay Derby.

    Sole Volante, the lone gelding in the field, drew the No.7 post position for the mile-and-a-sixteenth Tampa Bay Derby on the main dirt track and has been established as the 2-1 morning-line wagering choice, based on his impressive victory here on Feb. 8 in the Gr. III Sam F. Davis Stakes.

    Now 3-for-4 in his career, Sole Volante is owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Andie Biancone and Limelight Stables Corp. and trained by Patrick Biancone. Florent Geroux will be the jockey, replacing Sam F. Davis-winning rider Luca Panici, who suffered a fractured collarbone in a fall on Feb. 21.

    The second choice at 5-2 is Chance It, a Florida-bred colt owned by Shooting Star Thoroughbreds and trained by Saffie Joseph Jr. He will break from the No. 4 post under Paco Lopez. Chance It is 4-for-6 with three stakes victories, including a triumph in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes on Jan. 4 at Gulfstream Park in which he defeated Sole Volante. Chance It was scratched from last Saturday’s Gr. II Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream because of concerns about breaking from the No. 11 post position and the short run to the first turn.

    Todd Pletcher, who has trained five Tampa Bay Derby winners, including three in a row from 2015-2017, will send out three lightly-raced starters: maiden winners Market Analysis and Texas Swing along with Unrighteous, who is still a maiden.

    Market Analysis, owned by WinStar Farm and China Horse Club International, won his lone start going 7 furlongs on Jan. 25 at Gulfstream. Texas Swing, owned by Harrell Ventures, won his second career start, a mile-and-40-yard maiden special weight contest here on the Feb. 8 Sam F. Davis Stakes undercard. Unrighteous, a homebred colt racing for Calumet Farm, has a fourth and a second in two starts at Gulfstream.

    Pletcher’s five Tampa Bay Derby winners are Limehouse (2004), Verrazano (2013), Carpe Diem (2015), Destin (2016) and Tapwrit (2017). He has won the Kentucky Derby twice, both times with horses that raced at Tampa Bay Downs. In 2010, his Super Saver won the Kentucky Derby after finishing third in the Tampa Bay Derby; in 2017, Pletcher sent eventual Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming here to break his maiden on Jan. 25.

    The only other horse to win the Kentucky Derby after competing at Tampa Bay Downs was Street Sense, who won both the Oldsmar showcase and the Kentucky Derby in 2007.

    Here is the full Tampa Bay Derby field in post position order, followed by each horse’s trainer and jockey:

1. Texas Swing, Todd Pletcher, Javier Castellano; 2. Spa City, Kiaran McLaughlin, Daniel Centeno; 3. Relentless Dancer, Michael Maker, Antonio Gallardo; 4. Chance It, Saffie Joseph Jr., Paco Lopez; 5. Market Analysis, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez; 6. Mo Mosa, Michael Maker, Pablo Morales; 7. Sole Volante, Patrick Biancone, Florent Geroux; 8. Letmeno, Ian Wilkes, Chris Landeros; 9. Unrighteous, Todd Pletcher, Joe Bravo; 10. Bye Bye Melvin, H. Graham Motion, Julien Leparoux; 11. King Guillermo, Juan Carlos Avila, Samy Camacho; 12. Tons of Gold, Alexis Delgado, Angel Suarez.

    The Hillsborough Stakes, which has launched the Eclipse award-winning seasons of 2012 winner Zagora and 2016 winner Tepin, has attracted a field of 12 older fillies and mares, headed by Lael Stables’ 5-year-old Jehozacat, Blue Heaven Farm’s 7-year-old Starship Jubilee and 5-year-old Altea, one of three Chad Brown-trained entrants.

    Jehozacat, who is trained by Arnaud Delacour, captured the Gr. III Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes on the turf here on Feb. 8, her second stakes victory of the meeting. Starship Jubilee, who is a career millionaire, is 16-for-34 lifetime, including a victory in the Gr. I E. P. Taylor Stakes on the turf at Woodbine on Oct. 12. Altea is looking for her first stakes victory, but was a fast-closing second in the Endeavour.

Here is the full Hillsborough Stakes field in post position order, followed by each horse’s trainer and jockey:

1. Dynatail, Mike Dini, Jose Ferrer; 2. Get Explicit, Barbara Minshall, Samy Camacho; 3. Magic Star, Chad Brown, John Velazquez; 4. Juliana, Ignacio Correas IV, Joe Bravo; 5. Kelsey’s Cross, Patrick Biancone, Florent Geroux; 6. Wish Upon, John P. Terranova II, Pablo Morales; 7. Starship Jubilee, Kevin Attard, Javier Castellano; 8. Beautiful Lover, Chad Brown, Paco Lopez; 9. Hanalei Moon, Mark Casse, Antonio Gallardo; 10. Jehozacat, Arnaud Delacour, Daniel Centeno; 11. Lady Oxbow, Kent Sweezey, unnamed; 12. Altea, Chad Brown, Julien Leparoux.

    The Florida Oaks has produced two winners of the Kentucky Oaks, Luv Me Luv Me Not in 1992 and Secret Status in 2000. That was before the race was switched to the turf course in 2011, achieving Gr. III status in 2013. This year’s event has drawn a field of 12, led by undefeated (4-for-4) New York Groove, owned by Commonwealth New Era Racing and trained by Michael Trombetta. The daughter of Verrazano posted back-to-back stakes victories last fall in the Presque Isle Debutante Stakes and the Glorious Song Stakes at Woodbine. All of New York Groove’s races have been achieved on all-weather synthetic surfaces.

    Here is the full Florida Oaks field in post position order, followed by each horse’s trainer and jockey:

1. Ivyetsu, George “Rusty” Arnold II, Florent Geroux; 2. New York Groove, Michael Trombetta, Antonio Gallardo; 3. Secure Connection, Claude “Shug” McGaughey III, Julien Leparoux; 4. Mirabell Mei, John P. Terranova II, Pablo Morales; 5. Correctness, Arnaud Delacour, Daniel Centeno; 6. Walk In Marrakesh, Ignacio Correas IV, Joe Bravo; 7. Galileos Ballerina, Brett Brinkman, Jesus Castanon; 8. Outburst, Eddie Kenneally, Javier Castellano; 9. How Ironic, Victoria Oliver, Angel Suarez; 10. Secret Stash, Mark Casse, Samy Camacho; 11. Blame Debbie, H. Graham Motion, John Velazquez; 12. Micheline, Michael Stidham, Paco Lopez.

    The Challenger was upgraded to Gr. III status this year, following an eight-year run of winners that included subsequent Breeders’ Cup Classic champion Fort Larned in 2012, multiple graded stakes-winner Stanford in 2017, $3.2-million-plus earner War Story in 2018 and multiple Gr. III-winner Flameaway last year.

    Heading this year’s field is 5-year-old gelding Admiralty Pier, owned by Hoolie Racing Stable and Bruce Lunsford and trained by Barbara Minshall. Admiralty Pier notched his first graded stakes triumph here on Feb. 8 in the Gr. III Tampa Bay Stakes. Other likely contenders are Prompt, from the barn of Bill Mott, and Noble Drama, who appears to be in excellent form, trained by David Fawkes.

Here is the full Challenger Stakes field in post position order, followed by each horse’s trainer and jockey:

1. Big Dollar Bill, Ian Wilkes, Chris Landeros; 2. Debbie’s Passion, Luis Carvajal Jr., Scott Spieth; 3. Trophy Chaser, Juan Carlos Avila; 4. Prompt, Bill Mott, Florent Geroux; 5. King for a Day, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez; 6. Sandino Ruler, Ignacio Correas IV, Joe Bravo; 7. Noble Drama, David Fawkes, Javier Castellano; 8. Admiralty Pier, Barbara Minshall, Samy Camacho

    The Columbia Stakes, known as the Chris Thomas Turf Classic from 2000-2009, has drawn a field of 10 3-year-old colts and geldings. Top contenders include Chapalu, who won the Gr. III Grey Stakes on the all-weather surface at Woodbine on Oct. 27 but failed to contend in the Sam F. Davis; stakes-winner Doc Boy, from the barn of trainer Michael Stidham, and Zaino Boyz, who won the Inaugural Stakes here on Dec. 7 on the main track.

Here is the full Columbia Stakes field in post position order, followed by each horse’s trainer and jockey:

1. Doc Boy, Michael Stidham, Joe Bravo; 2. Summer Assault, Michele Boyce, Angel Suarez; 3. Glorious Tribute, Barbara Minshall, Samy Camacho; 4. Alley Oop Johnny, John Rigattieri, unnamed; 5. King Theo, Carlo Vaccarezza, Florent Geroux; 6. Chapalu, Arnaud Delacour, Javier Castellano; 7. Me and Mr. C, Ned Allard, Carol Cedeno; 8. Mr. Kringle, John P. Terranova II, Pablo Morales; 9. Valiant Virtue, Juan Arriagada, Jesus Castanon; 10. Commence, Arnaud Delacour, Daniel Centeno.


Monday, March 2, 2020
Fountain of Youth day exceeds $36 million . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Gulfstream Park’s 14-race program Saturday, highlighted by Ete Indien’s victory in the $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth, produced a record handle on Fountain of Youth Day of $36,522,388. The previous record was $31.230 million set on last year’s 14-race program.

    Fountain of Youth Day handle has grown each year since 2015, when total handle was $20.585 million.

    “We want to thank our patrons and horsemen for participating and supporting this great day of racing,” said Gulfstream’s Vice President of Racing Mike Lakow. “There was a tremendous energy in the building from morning until evening. We’re looking forward to more great racing and entertainment during the last month of the Championship Meet culminating in the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby March 28.”

Maximum Security Wins Saudi Cup, Pegasus Winner Mucho Gusto Fourth - Last year’s Florida Derby winner and disqualified Kentucky Derby winner, Maximum Security, trained by Jason Servis and ridden by Luis Saez, won Saturday’s $20 million Saudi Cup. Midnight Bisou was second, Benbatl third and 2020 Pegasus winner Mucho Gusto fourth.
Thursday, February 27, 2020
Bettor collects more than $468K . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 at Gulfstream Park was solved again today, when a lucky bettor cashed for a $468,945 jackpot payoff. The Rainbow 6 had gone unsolved since Feb. 17, when a single unique ticket was worth a $1,208,573 payoff.

   The winning combination was 9-5-2-6-3-6. It
will start anew Friday with a $100,000 guaranteed pool. 

    Friday’s sequence will span Races 5-10, including the featured 6 ½-furlong optional claiming allowance for 3-year-old fillies in Race 9. Todd Pletcher-trained Eve of War, who debuted with an eye-catching 7 ½-length triumph at Gulfstream Feb. 2, will make her highly anticipated return to action. The daughter of Declaration of War will be ridden by Hall of Famer John Velazquez. The Rainbow 6 will be kicked off by a maiden special race for Florida-bred 3-year-olds in Race 5, featuring Freedom Force, a Rodolphe Brisset-trained son of American Pharoah who will be making his debut in the mile race that attracted a field of six, including Pletcher-trained Roman Empire, who finished a late-closing third on turf in his recent debut.

    Race 8, a mile turf race with a full field of $16,000 claimers, and Race 10, a 1 1/16-mile turf race with a full field of $16,000 claimers, will be included in Friday’s Stronach 5, which will offer a carryover of $167,951.

    The Stronach 5, which offers a 12-percent takeout, will be kicked off by Laurel Park’s Race 8, followed by Gulfstream’s Race 8, Golden Gate Fields’ Race 3, Santa Anita’s Race 3 and Gulfstream’s Race 10.



Monday, February 24, 2020
Irad Ortiz gets 100th winner . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Gulfstream Park’s 20-cent Rainbow 6 will have a guaranteed pool of $350,000 when racing resumes Wednesday. First race post is 1 p.m.

    There was no single winning ticket on Sunday’s Rainbow 6. Multiple tickets with six winners returned $4,160.

NOTES - Saturday’s Fountain of Youth Day program, featuring nine graded races, will have a first race post of 11:30 a.m. The post-position draw for the $400,000, Gr. II Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth, featuring Dennis’ Moment and Chance It, will be shown live during Wednesday’s Gulfstream broadcast after the first race. There will be a Gulfstream umbrella giveaway Saturday while supplies last.

    Irad Ortiz Jr. rode his 100th winner of the meet Sunday aboard Pick Five Racing LLC’s Linny Kate. It marks the third consecutive 100-victory season for Ortiz, who led all riders last year with 135 trips to the winner's circle.

Sunday, February 23, 2020
Son of Kantharos wins $100,000 World of Trouble . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Tracy Pinchin’s Jackson, a multiple stakes-winner in Florida-bred company, established himself as a graded stakes-winner Saturday at Gulfstream Park, capturing the $100,000, Gr. III World of Trouble by three-quarters of a length.

    “Hey, he’s a homebred, so we must be happy,” said trainer Jose Pinchin, whose wife bred the 4-year-old son of Kantharos. “The mare is worth something. It’s a Grade 3.”

    Lasting Legacy, the 4-5 favorite, found a world of trouble at the start of the six-furlong stakes, before finishing a late-running fourth under Paco Lopez. Jackson, who was severely compromised by an extremely wide trip during a third-place finish in the Jan. 18 Sunshine Millions Sprint, had a perfect trip under Luis Saez Saturday to collect his fifth stakes victory – his first in open company.

   Jackson ($28.80) tracked pacesetter Admiral Lynch, who set fractions of :22.52 and :45.15 seconds under Irad Ortiz Jr. for the first half mile. On the turn, Saez sent Jackson after Admiral Lynch, and his ever-gritty mount responded to edge away to victory in the stretch.

    “I was really pleased," Pinchin said. "He broke good; he tracked the horse. Luis went around and gave him a great ride. He should have won last time.” Jackson ran six furlongs in 1:09.55.

    “He warmed up so good," Saez said. "He broke so well, he was right there. When we came to the three-eighths pole I know we can fire. We came to the stretch and he did it.”

    Admiral Lynch finished 1 ½ lengths clear of third-place finisher Epic Dreamer, who checked in a half-length ahead of Lasting Legacy.

    Jackson, who has won at distances between 4 ½ furlongs and a mile and 40 yards, registered his first victory in his fifth start at the six-furlong distance.
 “We always knew he had talent. He just had to get it together,” Pinchin said. “He’s better 4-year-old than he was as a 3-year-old,”

    Pinchin said Jackson, who has earned nearly $450,000, will race next in a state-bred stakes at Tampa Bay Downs (Florida Cup day).   
Sunday, February 23, 2020
Jean Elizabeth wins for 14th time . . .
    OLDSMAR - After her 7-year-old gelding Faction Cat toyed with five opponents in the Turf Dash Prep here on Jan. 24, trainer Georgina Baxter expected even better things in Saturday’s main event, the $100,000 Turf Dash Stakes.

    “I said last week, the way he ran here last time and the way he’s been training, I knew he would step up and turn in a big performance today,” said Baxter, who thought the Tampa Bay Downs 5-furlong turf course record could be in jeopardy.

    Baxter experienced the exultation of having her hopes fulfilled as Faction Cat broke alertly, established a quick lead and went into cruise-control mode up the backstretch under jockey Albin Jimenez, who was riding the Florida-bred son of Wildcat Heir for the first time.

    Faction Cat courageously staved off a belated late run by 2-1 favorite Justaholic, posting a ¾-length victory in course-record time of 53.97 seconds, .66 hundredths faster than Bold Thunder’s 2015 stakes and course record. Mai Ty One On finished third, with End Play fourth in the 10-horse field.

    The 16th edition of the Turf Dash was the first of two stakes on Turf Sprint Showcase Day. Two races later, i
n the 16th running of the $100,000 Lightning City Stakes for older fillies and mares, 5-year-old Jean Elizabeth extended her winning streak to seven races – all in stakes – with a gritty half-length victory over 33-1 shot Miss Deplorable.

    The Gr. III winner Jean Elizabeth, who was also ridden by Jimenez, set a stakes record of 55.09 seconds, .28 hundredths better than Miz Mayhem’s winning time in last season’s Lightning City.

    Faction Cat improved to 8-for-33 lifetime, with 13 seconds, and the $60,000 winner’s share of the purse as a Florida-bred raised his career bankroll to $334,634. He paid $11.40 to win. Bred by Ann Ferrentino, he is owned by Sabrina Machado-Chin’s Asterace Group LLC, which purchased him privately after a victory at Colonial Downs in allowance/optional claiming company on Sept. 5. Faction Cat set blazing fractions of 20.61 seconds for the first quarter-mile and 42.66 for the half, perhaps tiring imperceptibly late.

    He had finished second to Turf Dash second-choice Extravagant Kid, beaten only a length, in the Janus Stakes on Dec. 28 at Gulfstream Park after leading into the stretch. That race had been switched from the turf to the main track, and Baxter was heartened by his effort that day.

    “Jose Ortiz (the jockey on Faction Cat that day) said if that race had stayed on the grass, it would have been a different story,” she said. “I was very confident today, and I told (Jimenez) this horse is a lot sharper than he used to be.”

    The Lightning City unfolded in similar fashion to the Turf Dash, with Jean Elizabeth breaking alertly and setting a quick pace (20.83 seconds for the quarter-mile, 43.57 for the half), with Escapade and R Happy Ending not letting her get too far away. Through the stretch, Jean Elizabeth turned back a valiant try by R Happy Ending to narrow the deficit, then had enough in the tank to keep Miss Deplorable a half-length behind. R Happy Ending lasted for third and Ode to Joy finished fourth.

    The Lightning City was only Jean Elizabeth’s second lifetime turf start, having won the Ladies’ Turf Sprint in her previous start on Jan. 25 at Gulfstream. She is 14-for-20 lifetime with four seconds, and has never finished worse than third. First-place money of $45,000 upped her career earnings to $607,668. Jean Elizabeth, a striking gray Illinois-bred daughter of Ocala Stud Farm's 2020 leading Florida sire, Adios Charlie, is owned by breeders Larry Rivelli and Richard Ravin in partnership with Vince Foglia’s Patricia’s Hope LLC. Rivelli trains the mare.

    “She’s just an amazing horse. She’ll run on broken glass, I guess,” Rivelli said from Chicago, where he was planning to attend son Dominick’s hockey game. “It’s been a total team effort with her from day one, and you just pinch yourself with a horse like this. I thought she made the lead pretty easy and he didn’t send her, but then I saw the fractions and they were flying. It looked like those others were taking a shot at her in the stretch, but he kind of angled her out and she took off again.”

    Jimenez, who had ridden Jean Elizabeth to victory on Dec. 6 on Turfway Park’s all-weather track in the Holiday Inaugural Stakes, sensed her determination today to not get beat. I knew when I asked her she would take me there. She is a game mare, and she has a big heart,” Jimenez said. “She keeps improving every race.”

AROUND THE OVAL - Leading jockey Antonio Gallardo rode three winners Saturday. He won the fourth race aboard Pretty Chitu, a 3-year-old Florida-bred gelding owned by Francisco Alanis and trained by Antonio Machado. Gallardo returned to the winner’s circle after the fifth race, the Lambholm South Race of the Week on the turf, with Serve the King, a 4-year-old colt owned by Peter Brant and trained by Chad Brown.

    Gallardo’s third victory came in the ninth on Our Petunia, a 4-year-old filly owned by Lucio Tucci and trained by Joan Scott.
Friday, February 21, 2020
Two $100,000 stakes at Tampa . . .
    OLDSMAR - Jean Elizabeth, whose current six-race winning streak consists entirely of stakes victories, headlines the field for Saturday’s 16th edition of the $100,000 Lightning City Stakes for fillies and mares 4-years-old-and-upward at Tampa Bay Downs.

    The Lightning City and the 16th running of the $100,000 Turf Dash comprise the track’s Turf Sprint Showcase, with both races at a distance of 5 furlongs. The Turf Dash is the sixth race and the Lightning City is the eighth on a 10-race card beginning at 12:45 p.m.

    There are 14 entrants for the Lightning City, with only 12 permitted to start. Ten have entered the Turf Dash, including the talented 7-year-old Florida-bred gelding Extravagant Kid.

    The 5-year-old Illinois-bred mare Jean Elizabeth, who has 13 victories and has never finished out of the money in 19 starts, won the 5-furlong Ladies Turf Sprint on Jan. 25 at Gulfstream in her first-ever try on grass. She won the Gr. III Ontario Fashion Stakes on Woodbine’s all-weather track on Oct. 19, the second of her ongoing stakes streak.

    Jean Elizabeth, a daughter of Ocala Stud Farm's Adios Charlie out of the Lit de Justice mare Rooney Doodle, was bred by Larry Rivelli and Richard Ravin, who own her in partnership with Patricia’s Hope LLC. Rivelli, the trainer, won the 2015 Lightning City with Richies Sweetheart. Albin Jimenez has been named to ride.

    Extravagant Kid appears to be coming up to the Turf Dash in excellent form, with a victory in his most recent start on Jan. 18 at Gulfstream in the Sunshine Millions Sprint Stakes. The winner of last year’s Florida Cup Sprint at Tampa Bay Downs is 13-for-40 lifetime and finished second last June to Wet Your Whistle in the Gr. I Highlander Stakes on the grass at Woodbine. Extravagant Kid is owned by DARRS Inc., and trained by Brendan Walsh. Leading Oldsmar jockey Antonio Gallardo has been named to ride.

    Also entered is the 10-year-old Florida-bred gelding Pay Any Price, whose 18-for-30 career record includes a victory in the 2018 Turf Dash. Pay Any Price is owned by Matties Racing Stable and Averill Racing and trained by Georgina Baxter. Pablo Morales will be the jockey.


Tuesday, February 18, 2020
$203,726 carryover for Thursday's late pick 5 . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 at Gulfstream Park was solved Monday, when a bettor cashed for a $1,208,573 jackpot payoff with a ticket that cost $51.60 played on Xpressbet. The  ticket numbers were 5/1-8/4,5/1,9/1-8/6.

   The Rainbow 6 had gone unsolved for 14 days.

   Aye Aye Sir ($7) kicked it off in Race 6 and was followed to the winner’s circle by Quenane ($11.60), Scarto ($153.20), Monforte ($5), Home Base ($11.60) and Aquaphobia ($9.20).

    The Rainbow 6 will start anew Thursday.

    There were no Late Pick 5 tickets with all five winners, leaving a carryover of $203,726 for Thursday.
Monday, February 17, 2020
Florida Cup Sprint winner heads Turf Dash . . .
    OLDSMAR - Florida-bred Extravagant Kid, whose victory here last year in the Florida Cup Sprint kicked off a bountiful season featuring four stakes victories and a Gr. I runner-up effort, heads the list of probable starters for Saturday’s $100,000 Turf Dash Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

    The Turf Dash, for horses 4-years-old-and-upward, and the $100,000 Lightning City Stakes, for fillies and mares 4-and-upward, headline the track’s annual Turf Sprint Showcase Day card. Both races will be contested at a distance of 5 furlongs on the turf course.

    Extravagant Kid, who is owned by DARRS Inc., and trained by Brendan Walsh, was well-traveled in 2019. After winning the Florida Cup Sprint, the 7-year-old gelding shipped to Toronto, where he finished second to Canadian superstar Pink Lloyd in the Gr. III Jacques Cartier Stakes on the all-weather track at Woodbine.

    Next up was a trip to Louisville for a victory in the Mighty Beau Overnight Stakes on the Churchill Downs turf. Then, back to Woodbine, where he finished second to Wet Your Whistle in the Grade I Highlander Stakes on the grass.

    Kept fresh and keen by Walsh, Extravagant Kid went on to win the Da Hoss Stakes at Colonial Downs in Virginia and finish second in the Gr. II Kennedy Road Stakes at Woodbine. He concluded 2019 on Dec. 28 by capturing the Janus Stakes (taken off the turf) at Gulfstream and began 2020 on Jan. 18 by winning the Sunshine Millions Sprint Stakes on the dirt at Gulfstream.

    Extravagant Kid is 13-for-40 lifetime, with 11 seconds, and has career earnings of $787,354.

    Other probables for the Turf Dash are multiple stakes-winning 5-year-old Justaholic, trained by Tom Clark; End Play, a 7-year-old gelding from the barn of last season’s Turf Dash-winning trainer, Jason Servis; Backtohisroots, trained by John P. Terranova II; and Mai Ty One On, a 6-year-old gelding trained by Jane Cibelli.

    Heading the list of Lightning City probables is 8-year-old mare Rocky Policy, owned by Barry Ostrager and trained by Robert B. Hess Jr. Sporting an 8-for-38 lifetime record, with career earnings of $449,709, she turned in a superb performance in September to win the 5-furlong Turf Amazon Stakes at Parx Racing.

    A likely Lightning City contender is 4-year-old Ireland-bred filly Mae Never No, trained by Wesley Ward. Although she has raced only twice on the turf, with two thirds, she is a stakes- winner who has been working well at Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach for her 2020 debut.

    The Lightning City field could also include stakes-winner Miss Deplorable, a 5-year-old Florida-bred mare trained by Baltazar Galvan; 5-year-old Florida-bred mare R Happy Ending, owned by Averill Racing and trained by Georgina Baxter; lightly-raced Ode to Joy, a 5-year-old mare trained by Arnaud Delacour; 4-year-old Ambassador Luna, trained by James Gulick; and conditioner Chandradat Goberdhan’s filly Sea Sparkle.

AROUND THE OVAL - For the second day in a row, a Gerald Bennett-trained horse bobbled at the break. And just like Saturday, Bennett’s charge made it to the winner’s circle, as the improving 3-year-old colt He’s Smokin Now overpowered eight rivals to win the featured ninth race, the $20,200 Cody’s Original Roadhouse Race of the Week

Bred in Florida by Bennett and his wife Mary and campaigned by their Winning Stables, He’s Smokin Now took command on the turn and rolled to a 4-length victory from Catch Ya Later Bro, a Florida-bred 3-year-old twin colt owned by Josie Gump and trained by Bill Sienkewicz.
He’s Smokin Now’s time for the 6 furlongs on the main track was 1:11.67. Now 3-for-6, he is a son of Drill-Smokin Mary, by Texas Glitter.

    In Saturday’s Minaret Stakes, Bennett’s 6-year-old mare Lady’s Island nearly went to her knees at the start, but was much the best in scoring her 14th career victory.

    The triumph by He’s Smokin Now was one of two on the card for Bennett, who leads the Tampa Bay Downs trainer standings with 27 victories. Bennett, who has won the last four Oldsmar titles, won the seventh race with Cpl. Dionicio, a 3-year-old Florida-bred gelding owned by Juan Rosario and ridden by Ademar Santos.

Sunday, February 16, 2020
$25,000 claim Math Wizard set for Gr. III Razorback . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr., who saddled Cookie Dough to victory Saturday in the Gr. III Royal Delta at Gulfstream and Ny Traffic to a third-place finish in a division of the Gr. II Risen Star at Fair Grounds, hopes to build on the momentum in the next couple weeks with Gr. 1 winner Math Wizard and Mucho Macho Man winner Chance It.

    Joseph, the third leading trainer at the Championship Meet behind Todd Pletcher and Mike Maker, sends out Pennsylvania Derby winner Math Wizard Monday at Oaklawn in the $500,000, Gr. III Razorback. The 4-year-old, who Joseph claimed for $25,000 in January of 2019, will be making his first start since finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

    “I think he’s doing good,” said Joseph this morning of Math Wizard. “He likes to go into cold weather places; it kind of puts a little more energy into him. Hopefully, he runs well. He doesn’t have to win. I just want a good showing.”

    Chance It, a son of Currency Swap who won the $400,000 In Reality division of the Florida Sire Stakes in September and kicked off his 3-year-old campaign Jan. 4 in the Mucho Macho Man, is scheduled to work 5 furlongs Monday morning in preparation for his next start at Gulfstream in the Gr. II Fountain of Youth on Feb. 29. The race is expected to also draw Dennis’ Moment

    “Dennis’ Moment has been impressive,” Joseph said. “I think Chance it…I feel confident against other horses. I just want to make sure everything is right. Talent? There’s no question about the talent.”

    Joseph said Arindel’s homebred Cookie Dough came out of her Royal Delta victory well and could be pointed toward the $1 million, Gr. I Apple Blossom on April 18 at Oaklawn. Ny Traffic, third to Modernist in a division of the Risen Star, will likely stay on the Derby trail.

    “He ran a very good race,” Joseph said. “Watching him through most of the race I wasn’t sure how well he was handling the track, and he looked a little green still. I’m going to run him back with blinkers. I think they’re going to make a big difference. We picked up 10 [Kentucky Derby] points so we’ll take another shot in a stakes to try and get him into the Derby field.”

    Joseph will be represented Monday in seven of Gulfstream’s starter stakes on a special Presidents’ Day program with a first race post of 12:35 p.m.

    The 20-cent Rainbow 6 was not hit today for the 14th consecutive day. There will be a guaranteed pool on the Monday program of $1.250 million. Multiple tickets with all six winners returned $64.82
Thursday, February 13, 2020
No winners for 11 days . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $900,000 Friday at Gulfstream Park. First race post is 1 p.m.

    The multi-race wager went unsolved for the 11th consecutive racing day today, and multiple tickets will all six winners were each worth $34,235.

    There were three live tickets going into the last race after Shellphone ($69.80) kicked off the sequence and Lena Horn ($32.40) won the fifth leg, but the victory in the 10th and final race went to R Boy Bode, who went off at odds of 7-2.

    Gulfstream will also have two races in Friday’s Stronach 5, which has a guaranteed pool of $100,000 and a 12-percent takeout. Gulfstream’s featured races in the national wager will be the seventh and 10th.

Monday, February 10, 2020
Eclipse winner adds 6 on Sunday . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - Two-time Eclipse Award winner Irad Ortiz Jr., who rode three winners Friday and four winners Saturday, brought home six more winners on Sunday’s 11-race card at Gulfstream Park.

    “I’m having a great meet so far," Ortiz said. "I’m so happy right now. I’m enjoying the moment. My agent [Jay Rushing] is doing a great job. I’m getting the best support from all the owners and trainers. They support me a lot here. I’m so happy. My family is here with me. I’m living the dream right now.”

    The 27-year-old Ortiz, who won the Championship Meet title last season with 135 winners, tops the current standings with 88 winners. Ortiz scored aboard aboard Sassy Justice ($6) in race 1, Fashion Babe ($6.60) in race 6, Liana Susquehanna ($5.80) in race 7, Sweet Mia ($10.20) in race 9, Miss Munnings ($7.60) in race 10, and Lookin At Roses ($4.80) in race 11.

Rainbow 6 Jackpot Pool Guaranteed 

    The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $800,000 Wednesday. The multi-race wager went unsolved for the ninth consecutive day Sunday, when multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $225.90.

Friday, February 7, 2020
Gr. III Suwanee River heads program . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $600,000 Saturday at Gulfstream Park.The multi-race wager went unsolved for the seventh racing day today, when multiple winning tickets were each worth $1,125.

    Saturday’s Rainbow 6 will span Races 7-12, including the $150,000, Gr. III Suwanee River in Race 11.

    Gr. 1 winner Starship Jubilee, a $16,000 claim at Gulfstream two seasons ago, has been installed at 7-5 in the morning line for the 1 1/8-mile turf stakes for older fillies and mares. Trained by Kevin Attard, the 7-year-old daughter of Indy Wind will be in search of her sixth graded stakes score while facing six rivals, including Magic Star, who captured the Gr. III Marshua’s River (G3) at Gulfstream last time out.

Who’s Hot: Luis Saez, who rode four winners on Thursday’s card, notched three more victories on today’s card, scoring aboard La Chauffeur ($2.80) in Race 2, Descente ($3.40) in Race 3 and Luxury Suite ($14) in Race 5. Marcos Meneses continued his breakthrough meeting with three winners, scoring aboard Harper Go Lucky ($22.40) in Race 1, Saint Larned ($13.20) in Race 6 and the amazing 9-year-old gelding French Quarter ($7) in Race 10.

    French Quarter's dam, Cent Nouvelle, was a rescue mare in 2010 with her ribs protruding, and was nursed back to health by breeder Kathleen Taylor, who then bred her to Shakespeare, resulting in the birth of French Quarter. The gelding has now won 12 times and earned more then $406,000, and was claimed for $8,000.  

    Irad Ortiz Jr. won two races with Arrivederla ($6) in Race 7 and Royal Flag ($3.60) in Race 8. 


Super Hi-5 Carryover: $3,021.13.

Thursday, February 6, 2020
Four stakes highlight 12-race card . . .

    OLDSMAR - Unbeaten Independence Hall drew the No. 4 post position for Saturday’s Gr. III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes, the centerpiece of Festival Preview Day 40 at Tampa Bay Downs. Eight 3-year-olds are entered in the Sam F. Davis, a mile-and-a-sixteenth race on the main track. It is part of the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” qualifying series, with points awarded to the top four finishers on a 10-4-2-1 scale, and is scheduled as the 11th race on a 12-race card.

    Post time for the first race is 12:12 p.m. Several of the top jockeys in the country will be in Oldsmar for Festival Preview Day 40, including John Velazquez, Jose Ortiz, Joel Rosario, Julien Leparoux and Tyler Gaffalione.

    Independence Hall, who won the Gr. III Nashua on Nov. 3 at Aqueduct by 12 ¼ lengths and the Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct on Jan. 1 by 4 lengths, will be racing around two turns for the first time in four career starts while carrying co-top weight of 122 pounds. Those factors didn’t stop the morning-line maker from listing him at 6-5.
Ortiz will be aboard.

   In horse racing, there are a lot of circumstances that can come into play,” said trainer Michael Trombetta. “You have a lot of horses testing the waters to see how good they are, and all of us have the same goal: to see how far they can take us. We’d love to show up and run big and win the race, but the big picture is a little further down the line.”

    Three other stakes races, two of which are graded, add luster to a lucrative Festival Preview Day card featuring total stakes purse money of $750,000. The Gr. III, $175,000 Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes, a mile-and-a-sixteenth event on the turf for fillies and mares 4-and-upward, is the eighth race. It features a standout in 5-year-old Got Stormy, a multiple Gr. I stakes-winner who was a finalist for the 2019 Eclipse Award in the Turf Female category. She will break from the No. 7 post position in an eight-horse field. Got Stormy is 8-for-18 lifetime with career earnings of $1,430,578, is trained by Mark Casse and will be ridden by Tyler Gaffalione.

    The Gr. III, $175,000 Tampa Bay Stakes, at a distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf for horses 4-years-old-and-upward, is slated as the 10th race. The nine-horse field is headed by Halladay, trained by Todd Pletcher with Velazquez in the saddle, and Caribou Club, trained by Tom Proctor and to be ridden by Ortiz.

    The remaining stakes is the $150,000 Suncoast for 3-year-old fillies going a mile-and-40-yards on the main track. It goes as the ninth race, and is a “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” qualifying race, awarding points on a 10-4-2-1 scale. The favorite is likely to be Florida-bred Two Sixty, who won the 7-furlong Gasparilla Stakes by a neck on Jan. 18. Owned by Gary Barber and trained by Casse, Two Sixty will be ridden by Gaffalione. Top trainer Steve Asmussen has supplemented Comical to the race; she won the Gr. III Schuylerville last summer at Saratoga and has two Gr. I placings. Rosario will be aboard.

    Independence Hall breezed 4 furlongs Sunday in 48 3/5 seconds, and despite his sterling credentials and the impressive appearance he has made since his arrival in Oldsmar a month ago, most, if not all, of the others will be trying to establish themselves as serious candidates for the next round of Kentucky Derby prep races by leaving Independence Hall on the statehouse steps.

    Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who won the 2016 Sam F. Davis with Ocean Knight, is sending his colt Ajaaweed, a Shadwell Stable-owned homebred who finished a fast-closing second in the Gr. II Remsen Stakes on Dec. 7 at Aqueduct. That race was a mile-and-an-eighth, the second time he has raced around two turns. Rosario will ride Ajaaweed, who has turned in a string of solid workouts at McLaughlin’s Palm Meadows Training Center base.

    McLaughlin praised Ajaaweed’s performance in the Remsen, in which he missed catching Shotski by a half-length despite racing wide on the final turn. “The race was on a track that had been favoring speed all day, and he was the only one who really closed,” the trainer said. “He was unlucky not to win, but we were very pleased with his effort. He’s doing very well and we’re excited about getting his 3-year-old campaign started and taking the first step to the first Saturday in May, if he’ll take us there.” 

The field for the Sam F. Davis Stakes in post position order:

1.  Ajaaweed, Joel Rosario; 2. Sole Volante, Luca Panici; 3. Albert Park, Pablo Morales; 4. Independence Hall, Jose Ortiz; 5. No Getting Over Me, Samy Camacho; 6. Premier Star, John Velazquez; 7. Tiz Rye Time, Julien Leparoux; 8. Chapalu, Daniel Centeno.

The Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes:

1.  A. A. Azula’s Arch, Julien Leparoux; 2. Altea, Joel Rosario; 3. Jehozacat, Daniel Centeno; 4. Andina Del Sur, Jose Ortiz; 5. Dynatail, John Velazquez; 6. Kelsey’s Cross, Luca Panici; 7. Got Stormy, Tyler Gaffalione; 8. Phantom Opening, Antonio Gallardo.

The entries for the Tampa Bay Stakes:

1.  March to the Arch, Tyler Gaffalione; 2. Devamani, Joel Rosario; 3. Admiralty Pier, Samy Camacho; 4. Caribou Club, Jose Ortiz; 5. Renaisance Frolic, Antonio Gallardo; 6. Halladay, John Velazquez; 7. Hembree, Pablo Morales; 8. Real Story, Jesus Castanon; 9. My Bariley, to be announced.

The field for the Suncoast Stakes:

1. Lucrezia, Daniel Centeno; 2. We the Clouds, Angel Suarez; ; 3. Two Sixty, Tyler Gaffalione; 4. Motu, Jose Ortiz; 5. Comical, Joel Rosario; 6. Miss Important, Willie Martinez; 7. Blame Debbie, John Velazquez; 8. Turtle Trax, Julien Leparoux; 9. Embossed, Pablo Morales.

Sunday, February 2, 2020
Tiz the Law rolls in Gr. III Holy Bull . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Tiz the Law rolled to a three-length victory in Saturday’s $250,000, Gr. III Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park, giving Sackatoga Stable’s Jack Knowlton and trainer Barclay Tagg a very serious prospect for a second Kentucky Derby victory.

    The 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds highlighted a 12-race program that also featured four other stakes, three graded, for sophomores.

    Knowlton and Tagg were in the winner’s circle with Funny Cide following the 2003 Kentucky Derby and 2003 Preakness Stakes.

    Tiz the Law lived up to his 6-5 favoritism to add the Holy Bull to a resume that includes a debut victory, a Champagne Stakes score, and a troubled third-place on a sloppy track in the Kentucky Jockey Club, in which he lacked running room in heavy traffic.

    Tiz the Law broke alertly to take the lead into the first turn before Ete Indien and jockey Luca Panici made a sweeping move to the lead entering the backstretch. Ete Indien ran the first quarter in :23.31 seconds, pressed by Relentless Dancer and stalked by Clear Destination on the outside of Tiz the Law. Franco took a strong hold of Tiz the Law midway on the backstretch and managed to maneuver off the rail to get clear running room. Ete Indien continued to show the way into the far turn past a half-mile in :46.60 as Franco asked Tiz the Law for some run. The favorite responded with a three-wide move to engage Ete Indien and take the lead on the turn into the homestretch before drawing off to a popular victory.

    “His race was perfect," Tagg said. "We told [Franco], ‘Stay off the rail no matter what you have to do. Lose the ground and go around them. “It worked out perfectly.” The son of Constitution, like Funny Cide a New York-bred, ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.04 over a fast track.

    “He ran like I expected him,” Franco said. “He got out of there and I was able to decide where I wanted to be. For a second, I had to make the turn and I was back on the rail, but when I saw those guys putting pressure on I was able to drop back and get outside where I wanted to be. After that, he jumped in the bit and I was traveling like I wanted.”

    Patrick Biancone-trained Ete Indien, the 4-1 third betting choice, continued gamely to finish second, 11 ½ lengths ahead of 8-5 second choice Toledo. Ete Indien was coming off a win over Toledo in an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream. "He ran good and I have no complaints at all,” Panici said. “He was relaxed in front. He likes to be in front. He ran a really, really good race. It was a good performance.”

   Gulfstream’s road to the Triple Crown continues on Feb. 29 with the 74th running of the $400,000, Gr. II Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth and on March 28 with the 69th running of the $1 million, Gr. I Florida Derby. Tagg, however, may not go that route, possibly opting instead for the Louisiana Derby. 


Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Colt goes for $165,000 . . .
    Hip No. 4, a son of Union Rags consigned by Pelican State Thoroughbreds, Agent, went to Blue Sky Stables for $165,000 to top the Consignor Preferred Session and first day of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2020 Winter Mixed Sale. The dark bay or brown yearling colt, a half-brother to stakes-winner Ginger N Rye, is out of La Milanesa, by Mr. Greeley, a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Bowman’s Band.

    Bill & Corinne Heiligbrodt paid $135,000 for Hip No. 64, a yearling daughter of Liam’s Map consigned by Stuart Morris, Agent. The gray or roan filly is out of Stellabymoonlight, by Mailbu Moon, a daughter of stakes-winner Five Star Dream.

    Hip No. 11, a yearling daughter of Exaggerator consigned by Stuart Morris, Agent, was sold to de Meric Stables, Agent, for $100,000. The bay filly, a half-sister to graded stakes-winning OBS graduate Catalina Red, is out of stakes- placed Lovely Dream, by Freud.

    Team Casse, Agent, went to $90,000 for Hip No. 40, a yearling daughter of Tapiture consigned by Abbie Road Farm (Lisa McGreevy), Agent. A half-sister to stakes-winner Appealing Spring, the gray or roan filly is out of Pretty Springs, by Wekiva Springs.

    For the Consignor Preferred session, 85 horses sold for $1,913,500 compared with 106 horses grossing $1,777,100 in 2019. The average price was $22,512, up 34.3% compared with $16,765 a year ago, while the median price was $13,000, up 8.3% from $12,000 last year. The buyback percentage was 37.9%; it was 26.9% last year.

    The Horses of Racing Age Session sale topper was Hip No. 219, Summer At the Spa, a 3-year-old daughter of Summer Front consigned by Niall Brennan Stables, Agent, sold to Ralph M. Evans for $125,000. The dark bay or brown filly, winner of her only start, is out of Myself, by Giant’s Causeway, a daughter of graded stakes-placed Obsequious.

    Jeremiah O’Dwyer went to $100,000 for Hip No. 327, First Law, a 3-year-old son of Constitution whose three eighths in :32 3/5 was co-fastest at Monday’s Under Tack Session. The chestnut colt is out of Miss Mary K, by Speightstown, a half-sister to stakes-winner Eleusis.

    For the Horses of Racing Age session, 67 horses grossed $1,314,400 compared with 64 selling for $1,194,000 in 2019. The average was $19,618, up 5.2% from $18,656 a year ago, while the median price was $11,000, up 22.2% compared to $9,000 last year. The buyback percentage was 15.2%; it was 15.8% in 2019.

Sunday, January 26, 2020
Pool reaches more than $14.2 million . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The mandatory payout of the 20-cent Rainbow 6 yielded an $11,600 payout to those bettors holding tickets with all six winners at Gulfstream Park today.

    The Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot stood at $3,612,593 at the start of wagering, and $10,675,853 was bet into the pool. The multi-race wager had gone unsolved for 41 racing days of the 2019-2020 Championship Meet prior to the mandatory payout.

WHO'S HOT - Irad Ortiz Jr., who guided Mucho Gusto to victory in Saturday’s $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational, rode three winners on today’s card: Blazing Desire ($7) in Race 6, Free to Fly ($5) in Race 7, and Hay Dakota ($12) in Race 10.

    Jason Servis-trained Hay Dakota set a course record for the about 7 ½-furlongs on turf while winning the optional claiming allowance for 4-year-olds and up with a 1:26.91 clocking.

    Apprentice Cristian Torres and trainer Joe Orseno teamed for a double, scoring with Combination ($9) in Race 4 and Babie Monster ($51.40) in Race 9.
Sunday, January 26, 2020
Five Pegasus World Cup horses could have produced winning ticket yesterday . . .

    The purses may have been down for the Pegasus World Cup races yesterday, but the bottom line was up.Total wagering on the card at Gulfstream Park checked in at $41,896,435 on a warm, sunny day in South Florida, a big boost of 10.9% from the $37,786,967 wagered on a rainy Pegasus Day a year ago.

    Saturday's handle was just a shade under Gulfstream's all-time record of $41,983,882 set in 2018.

    Beyond that, it would be no surprise if Gulfstream officials let out a sigh of relief over Mucho Gusto's victory in the $2.94 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes as he was not one of the five horses who would have generated a single winning ticket and the jackpot payout in the Rainbow Pick 6 wager.

    There were five horses who would have produced a single winning ticket, and, quite surprisingly, one of them was Higher Power, the 5-2 betting favorite who finished 10th and last. The other single winning-ticket possibilities were on War Story (third), Bodexpress (fifth), Tenfold (sixth) and True Timber (eighth).

    Without a single winner, there will be a mandatory payout of the pool today with a carryover of $3,612,594, and
Gulfstream officials estimate there could be a Pick 6 pool of at least $15 million.

    Winners of the the Pick 6 Saturday still made a major score, collecting $394,349 for a 20-cent ticket.

Friday, January 24, 2020
Light swelling in hind fetlock narrows field to 10 . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Out of an abundance of caution, trainer Richard Mandella has scratched Omaha Beach from Saturday’s $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational presented by Runhappy.

    “It was observed this morning that Omaha Beach had light swelling in his right hind fetlock,” Mandella said. “While we are disappointed to have to miss the Pegasus World Cup Invitational, Omaha Beach’s safety and well-being comes first and we wanted to do what was best for him.  He has been a great pleasure to have around the barn and we are grateful for the opportunity to train such a magnificent horse.”

    “We appreciate the willingness of Mr. Mandella to put the safety of Omaha Beach above all else,” said Belinda Stronach, Chairman and President, The Stronach Group.  “His decision was the right thing to do and reflects the new standard of care set for this year’s Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series.”

    The Pegasus World Cup Invitational will now have 10 starters.
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Pegasus post position draw today . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool for Thursday’s program at Gulfstream Park will be guaranteed at $4 million. The multi-race wager went unsolved for the 38th day of the 2019-2020 Championship Meet at Gulfstream Monday, and multiple tickets with six winners were each worth $1,421.

    A mandatory payout of the pool is scheduled for Sunday, when the entire pool will be shared by those ticket-holders with the most winners. Should the Rainbow 6 continue to go unsolved through Saturday’s Pegasus World Cup Day card, the pool is expected to exceed $10 million.

Pegasus Post-Position Draw 

    Post positions will be drawn and odds assigned for the $3 million Pegasus World Cup and $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf today at 11:30 a.m. at Frankey’s Sports Bar at The Village at Gulfstream Park. The two Pegasus World Cup races, presented by Runhappy, along with seven other stakes races, will be contested Saturday.

    The draw for both races will be shown live on and


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

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,

    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 . 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 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. 


     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 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.