Pegasus World Cup and Turf Notes

Source: Gulfstream Park

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Rather than have Zulu Alpha try for a repeat win in the W.L. McKnight (G3) on Jan. 25, owner Michael Hui is opting for a far bigger prize later that afternoon at Gulfstream Park, the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) presented by Runhappy.

Hui said that when trainer Mike Maker laid out the possibilities for the 7-year-old’s first start of 2020 it was an easy decision. Though the McKnight launched a great 2019 season for Zulu Alpha, who won three graded stakes and $1.1 million in purses, Hui was eager to change course.

“The way Mike put it to me is you can go in the McKnight again for $200,000 and you will be even money or you can take a shot,” Hui said. “He knew when he said that…I’m all about taking a shot. Why not?”

That is pretty much the philosophy the Little Rock, Ark. resident has used since he made the transition from fan to owner in 2010. After a few seasons with lower-level claimers, Hui reached out to Maker, who has a sterling reputation for claiming horses that he develops into graded stakes-winning runners. Hui has degrees in math and physics and describes himself as a “black and white analytical guy.” He checked out Maker’s stats on the Internet and made his move in 2015.

“I called him up one day and said, ‘I’d like to claim one with you. Are you open to it? How does it work?’ He walked me through it.”

Through Maker, Hui, 56, bought a horse that won a stakes at Woodbine and claimed an allowance runner. Their relationship and success grew through the years.

“Over time, he would point them out to me and he does what he does,” Hui said. “We’ve been very blessed. We got Greengrassofwyoming. Three weeks later he wins the Stars and Stripes (G3). We claimed a horse named Taghleeb at Saratoga. He ran well at Kentucky Downs. It took a little while to figure him out and he ended up winning the McKnight.”

Taghleeb’s victory in the McKnight in 2017 was the first of Maker’s three straight wins in the Gulfstream Park fixture.

Maker and Hui also did well with their claim of Shadow Rock, which led them to Hogy, who won a pair of Grade 3s for them. While at Fair Grounds in March 2018 to run Galton in the Muniz Memorial (G2), Hui said he was asking Maker what he looks for when scouting horses to claim.

“He’s pointing all this out and Zulu walks by,” Hui said. “He said ‘That’s exactly what you are looking for.’ ”

Zulu Alpha was third to Synchrony and Arklow in the Muniz at 91-1 and Hui put him in his stable mail. Nearly six months later, Hui saw that the son of Street Cry was entered in a claiming race at Churchill Downs. He had trainer John Ortiz claim him for $80,000. The Calumet Farm homebred won for fun by 9 ½ lengths the day he was claimed promptly rewarding Hui and Ortiz with a win in the Sycamore (G3).

Pegasus statue at Gulfstream ParkHui subsequently moved Zulu Alpha to Maker to run in the grass stakes at last year’s Championship Meet at Gulfstream. After a well-beaten seventh in the Fort Lauderdale (G2), he won the McKnight and Mac Diarmida (G2) in what turned into a very good 2019 campaign.

Two races before Zulu Alpha was claimed blinkers were removed, an equipment change that looks to have had a positive impact. And right after Hui made the claim, the long-striding gelding was stretched out to longer distances. His past performances show he has thrived.

Hui and Maker thought enough of Zulu Alpha last year to run him in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), where he was fourth, 1¾ lengths behind the winner, Bricks and Mortar, who surely will be named the champion male turf horse and is likely to be the Horse of the Year. Hui is quick to credit Maker and his keen eye for talent.

“I’m biased, but I can’t see anyone any better spotting horses for two-turn or three-turn turf races, and getting the most bang for the buck,” Hui said. “I made the comment when we were in the Breeders’ Cup that you don’t usually see guys like me in this race. It’s typically dominated by Europeans or these larger farms.”

Hui was a co-founder of Transportation Insight, a company based in Hickory, N.C. that he and his partners sold five years ago, about the time he started working with Maker. He has a boutique-type racing and breeding operation that currently consists of six runners, three broodmares and three babies. He bred and sold the Grade 1-winning filly Nickname.

Zulu Alpha is Hui’s top earner, took him to the Breeders’ Cup and has delivered half of his eight graded stakes victories. The Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, where he is taking a shot, is the starting point for what he hopes is another solid season.

“Zulu has exceeded expectations,” Hui said. “I feel so fortunate to have a horse like this and one thing that I have picked up about this game is that it is race to race. He’s got to be competitive in this race. He’s got to come out of the race, come back and train again. Everything is on the table.”

Hall of Famer to Saddle Omaha Beach for Pegasus World Cup (G1)

Trainer Richard Mandella built his Hall of Fame career on consummate horsemanship, a no-frills, all-class approach to training Thoroughbreds that has produced enduring success spanning more than four decades.

“It’s always amazed me,” and Mandella, who saddled his first horse in 1974 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001. “Since I first started out and had my first couple of good horses – Bad ‘n Big being the first real good one – as soon as one started to wear out, another good one would pop up. It’s kind of still going on.”

More than 40 years after getting his first taste of graded-stakes success with Bad ‘n Big, Mandella will saddle Omaha Beach for Saturday’s $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) presented by Runhappy at Gulfstream Park – still very much a prominent player on Thoroughbred racing’s center stage.

Omaha Beach, the latest in a long, long list of stars to pop up in Mandella’s stable, will be the likely post-time favorite for the 1 1/8-mile medication-free Pegasus World Cup.

Remarkably, Mandella, who has saddled the winners of more than 2,150 races and $142 million in purses, has been blessed with a seemingly endless stream of Grade 1 stars without training huge numbers of horses.

“We don’t have a real big outfit. I used to be bigger – I used to keep Hollywood Park and Santa Anita with about 60 to 75 horses. That was my top,” Mandella said. “I tried to get a little bigger than that, but I couldn’t handle it. When I turned 60, which was nine years ago, I took myself down to just one barn with 40 horses and we’re still there.”

‘I Used to Think I was Stupid’

The bigger his stable grew, the more uncomfortable Mandella felt, a development he attributes to a less-than-stellar academic background.

“I barely made it through high school, seriously. I had a job before school and after school. I was riding horses before I went to school, exercising, breaking yearlings. I worked my tail off,” Mandella said. “I used to think I was stupid. Being a little more realistic looking back, I was working at 4:30 in the morning. I started school at 10:30 because I had a job at a farm breaking yearlings. At night, my father and I would meet and we’d train. We had a little track at home and we’d train until 9 o’clock at night. I rested in school and that’s about all I got out of it.”

Mandella stressed the importance of getting an education to fall back on.

“What a young person needs to realize is that if he ever has success, he’d better have a little education to work with the success, and I lacked that,” he said. “I could feel it as I got too big.

“I haven’t figured it out yet how Todd Pletcher and those guys do it and how good they do. I can appreciate what they can do and be consistently successful. I could never feel comfortable once I got over that 65 number,” he added. “Two barns, dealing with people and horses, it was more than I could take in at one time.”

Mandella’s stable surely would have grown into triple digits had he been more comfortable with a larger operation.

“I’ve never applied for a job in my life and I’ve never asked for a horse to train. Somebody has always put things in front of me,” he said. “Either we bought good ones or, as in the case of Gentlemen, Siphon, Virginie, who won the Beverly Hills (G1), and Romarin, who won the Early Times at Churchill (G2), I was asked to train those horses by people who had seen something they liked about me and called me and said, ‘I’ve got a horse named Sandpit from Brazil.’ I got calls from people asking would I take a horse. I’ve been very fortunate that they were the right people with the right horses.”

South America Calling

Gentlemen, Siphon, Virginie, Romarin and Sandpit, among several other graded-stakes winners, were imported from South America and flourished under Mandella’s care.

“This first reason is, it was the horses that were sent to me. Below that, I would say it was because I grew up on a ranch and broke hundreds of yearlings over a six-year period. Dealing with the minds of horses – when you break horses you have to read horses’ minds to get along – that’s the thing,” Mandella said. “It’s your job to teach them how to gallop, change leads, and all that stuff. It’s an important part of training South Americans – you have to retrain them. If you make a mistake in that process, you have an outlaw, a bad actor, or they get hurt or they’re unhappy. That’s part of the transition from South America, more than Europe – to back up and rebuild and put an education with it.”

Mandella, who also trained the French-bred 1993 Horse of the Year and turf champion Kotashaan, has experienced considerable success with veteran campaigners such as Gentlemen, Sandpit and The Tin Man through the years.

“We’ve always been known to have these 7, 8, 9-year-olds,” he said. “Sandpit was 10, I think, when I went to Dubai with him. The Tin Man won the Arlington Million when he was 8. We’ve kind of had a few of those.”

Mandella attributes his success with older campaigners with the lessons he learned working with his father, Gene, at their Cherry Valley, Calif. ranch while paying much less attention to his lessons in school earlier in the day.

“The first reason is the horses I’ve had. The underlying reason would be growing up on my father’s ranch where we had horses hurt badly. We had a small little ranch. Dad was a blacksmith. We trained and took care of horses almost as a hobby more than a job. We’d get horses that were hurt. We’d try to rest them and get them back training and getting them back to the races,” Mandella said. “We could see that people didn’t know when to stop at the first warning. That was the lesson I learned from that. You learn not to push your injuries too far and ask too much of them. Stop and fix it, and maybe you get a better horse after it’s over. I think my career stands for that.”

Keeping It ‘Old School’

While keeping current, Mandella has remained ‘old school’ in his training.

“I listen about every machine, every new vitamin and leg paint. You try it, but pretty soon you throw that out and go back to what you were doing. The basics are the most important things. I learned them from my father. The finer points I learned from Lefty Nickerson, V. J. Nickerson,” he said. “I only worked for him for one year, but he and I had a relationship where he could see me a little puzzled and he’d say three words and it would all come together for me. Everybody in life should have somebody like that. Lefty was very good for me.”

His tried-and true training methods have always served Mandella and his array of stakes winners well. Pleasantly Perfect would hardly have been able to win the 2003 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and 2004 Dubai World Cup (G1) without the special attention paid to him by his trainer.

“As a 2-year-old he had a virus that affected his heart. You’ve heard of people 35, 40-years old working out in the gym who drop dead of a heart attack and they don’t know why. They find out it’s Pericarditis, an inflammation of the heart sac and fluid around the heart. He had that as a 2-year-old,” Mandella said. “I turned him out for a year and he was better but not good enough. I turned him out again and at the end of his 3-year-old year he started running. He moved – Boom! Boom! Boom! – into some big stuff. He was that good of a horse.”

Pleasantly Perfect capped a record-setting four-win day for his trainer in the 2003 Breeders’ Cup.

“I’m sitting in the box with the owner and I’m thinking, ‘This poor guy doesn’t have a chance in hell. I’ve already won three of these. What chance has he got? He’s carrying 500 pounds going into the gate,’” Mandella said with a chuckle. “And he ran the race of his life.”

Mandella also visited the Santa Anita winner’s circle after Halfbridled’s win in the Juvenile Fillies (G1), Action This Day’s triumph in the Juvenile (G1) and Johar’s dead-heat victory with High Chaparral in the Turf (G1).

Pleasantly Perfect’s triumph in the Dubai World Cup ranks among Mandella’s favorite memories.

“Winning the Dubai Cup [was special] because I had been there five times and we’d ran good. It kind of made you want to win it,” he said. “For Pleasantly Perfect, particularly, to win it was special.”

Where It All Began

Pleasantly Perfect, Gentlemen, Sandpit, Kotashaan, Siphon, Dare and Go, The Tin Man, and, of course, Beholder, among so many others, have provided much success and joy, but Mandella didn’t hesitate when asked if any horse stood out as he looks back on his career.

“The one I owe probably the most is a horse called Bad ‘n Big – a horse I trained in the ‘70s. He won the Cinema Handicap and beat Iron Constitution. He won the Big Crosby Sprint in 1:07-and-4 at Del Mar. He ran against top competition and retired at 7 or 8 from being a 2-year-old,” he said. “Each one of his big races was as good as anything since, because it was new to me and I knew that if I didn’t get going then, it was going to be a long struggle. That’s the way this business goes. You don’t hang around for 20 years and all of a sudden just get going. You either make it or you don’t. I owe him so much.”

Nearly four decades later, Beholder demonstrated the same longevity at the top, earning Eclipse championships at 2, 3, 5 and 6 before retiring with $6.1 million in earnings and 12 Grade 1 victories, including wins in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, 2013 Breeders’ Cup Distaff, 2016 Breeders’ Cup Distaff and 2012 Pacific Classic.

“She had extreme freakish ability. She was a little hard-headed. When she was young, she was a challenge. As we got going, she wanted to leave the gate and run as far as she could as fast as she could, which was good enough most of the time,” Mandella said. “When she won the [2013] Breeders’ Cup [Distaff] and beat Royal Delta that was the day I told [jockey] Gary [Stevens] to take her back – we’d been training her that way for a year – she responded. She was a better horse and could do what you wanted her to do.”

It is clearly not by accident that Beholder and Bad n’ Big’s long and fruitful careers mirrored that of their Hall of Fame trainer.

AGOS Horses to Watch & Trip Notes – June 15

AGOS Horses to Watch & Trip Notes for Agameofskill.com visitors

BELMONT PARK

DOUBLE ORB (Race 1 @BEL, June 7).  This first time starter from the Steve Asmussen barn had no difficulty with the tough 7 furlong distance as he crushed a field of talented prospects.  Big future for the runner from the Maktoum barn.

SEPARATIONOFPOWERS (Race 5 @BEL, June 7).   Last year’s G1 Test winner is back on her game.  She spotted weight to a good field that included Breeders’ Cup runner-up Chalon, and she destroyed them in ultra impressive fashion.  A Grade 1 stakes should be on the agenda in the near future.

BIG BELLA BROWN (Race 7 @BEL, June 1).  This son of Big Brown exited a key race but faced a difficult fast pace scenario.  Despite that the Mike Maker trainee ran a very game race to finish second to the logical closer.   Excels on wet tracks.

 

GULFSTREAM PARK 

RED CARATS (Race 2 @GP, June 1).  Sammy Camacho, who is a good jockey, absolutely butchered the ride on the most likely winner in this field.  Had the maiden in all sorts of traffic issues and never had a chance to fully run his best race.  Can rebound at the cheap $10,000 maiden claiming level.

 

MONMOUTH PARK

STANDARD DEVIATION (Race 9 at MTH, June 1).  Son of Curlin looked like a new horse on the switch to the turf.  A half to one grass winner, the 3yo easily handled a field of proven turf runners.  Awad Stakes winner Empire Of War was a no-threat 2nd to the Chad Brown trainee that went off a juicy price.

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Big Guaranteed Pools for Pegasus World Cup 2019 Day

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Saturday’s 12-race program at Gulfstream Park, highlighted by the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series, will offer guaranteed pools for the Late Pick 4, the Late Pick 5 and the Rainbow 6.

The pool for the Late Pick 4 (Races 9-12) will be guaranteed at $1 million, while the Late Pick 5 (Races 8-12) and the 20-cent Rainbow 6 (Races 7-12) will offer guaranteed pools of $750,000. The Rainbow 6 pool will be guaranteed as long as the popular multi-race wager isn’t solved before Saturday.

Belinda Stronach countersues father, cites 'unprofitable projects'The multi-race sequences for all three wagers will include the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), North America’s richest race; and the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), North America’s richest turf race.

The third running of the Pegasus World Cup field will be headlined by $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner and 2018 Horse of the Year finalist Accelerate. The Pegasus World Cup Turf will feature an international field of grass stars, including Yoshida, a Grade 1 winner on turf and dirt, and Aerolithe, a multiple graded stakes-winning mare in Japan making her first start in the U.S.

Should the Rainbow 6 go unsolved through Saturday’s program, there will be a mandatory payout of the entire pool of the popular multi-race wager Sunday.

Saturday’s card will offer seven other stakes, including four additional graded stakes: $200,000 W. L. McKnight (G3); $200,000 La Prevoyante (G3); $150,000 Fred Hooper (G3); $150,000 Fasig-Tipton Hurricane Bertie (G3), $150,000 Gulfstream Turf Sprint; $150,000 Ladies Turf Sprint, $125,000 South Beach.

First-race post time for Saturday’s program is set for 11:30 a.m.

Source: Gulfstream Park

Key Dates in 2018-2019 Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park

Gulfstream Park grandstand copyright All Star Press 2012Gulfstream Park will celebrate its 80th anniversary during the 2018-2019 Championship Meet, honoring a long tradition of Thoroughbred racing while also envisioning a future of sustained success through innovation.

Gulfstream Park takes pride in having hosted racing’s all-time great horses and horsemen during its storied history and looks forward to maintaining its stature among the world’s premier racetracks by positioning the Hallandale Beach facility for a bright future while enhancing the fan experience through world-class entertainment, events and dining.

The 90-day Championship Meet, which got underway Saturday with an 11-race program headlined by the $1.11 million Claiming Crown and run through March 31, will be highlighted by the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series Jan. 26. The $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), the richest race in North America, and the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), the richest turf race in North America, will anchor the 3rd annual event that has already made significant inroads into enriching the fan experience of a day at the races in its first two years.

This inaugural running of the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, which has taken the place of the Gulfstream Park Turf (G1) on the Championship Meet calendar, will be contested over a turf course that has been fully renovated at the cost of approximately $1 million.

2018-2019 Championship Meet

The 2018-2019 Championship Meet stakes schedule will feature a record 105 stakes worth a record $29.079 million.

“There’s a great deal of anticipation and excitement about the Championship Meet,” said Gulfstream General Manager Bill Badgett. “Beginning with Opening Day and the Claiming Crown, there’s a big event nearly every weekend through March. The $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series will not only bring the world’s top dirt horses to Gulfstream but has expanded to include a turf race. Our 3-year-old series, the best in North America, will culminate with the $1 million Florida Derby. We look forward to playing host again to the Clasico Internacional del Caribe Dec. 8 with our friends from Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the Eclipse Awards Jan. 24. Fans will see numerous upgrades throughout the facility including a new turf course.

“Gulfstream will continue offering our fans and guests innovative and relevant entertainment, dining and events along with world-class Thoroughbred racing.”

The 68th running of the $1 million Florida Derby (G1), the prolific Triple Crown prep race for 3-year-olds, will be run on a March 30 program with seven stakes, four graded. The Florida Derby will again highlight Gulfstream’s heralded program for 3-year-olds. Three of the last six winners of the 1 1/8-mile marquee event have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby (G1).

While the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Series and the Florida Derby will be the highest profile events, the Championship Meet will be frequently celebrated by other multi-stakes programs, starting with the Claiming Crown, a nine-stakes tribute to the claiming horse, on Saturday’s opening day program.

The Claiming Crown will be followed a week later by the Clasico Internacional del Caribe, a five-stakes event for horses based in eight Latin American and Caribbean countries. Six $75,000 stakes for 2-year-olds will support the Clasico del Caribe on the program with more than $1.3 million in purse money.

Other dates to remember: Dec. 15, when 2018 Florida Derby winner Audible is scheduled to prep for the Pegasus World Cup in the Harlan’s Holiday (G3) on a card with five graded-stakes; Jan. 5, when the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man will kick off Gulfstream’s Road to the Triple Crown on a program with four other stakes for 3-year-olds; Jan. 19, when the Sunshine Millions will be renewed, anchored by the $200,000 Classic for Florida-breds; Jan. 26, when the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Series will be supported by seven other stakes, four graded; Feb. 2, when the $350,000 Holy Bull (G2) for 3-year-olds will headline a card of five graded-stakes; March 2, when the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2), the final prep for the Florida Derby, will top a card of nine graded-stakes.

Trainer Todd Pletcher, who won his record fifth Florida Derby last season with Audible, will seek his unprecedented 16th consecutive Championship Meet title, while Luis Saez will strive for his third straight jockey title following his record-setting 137 victories last winter.

Source: Gulfstream Park

$7M Turf Race Added. Pegasus Tickets Open Today

The Stronach Group, owners of the Pegasus World Cup, announced an exciting new element to what has become, in just two short years, one of the premier events on the Thoroughbred racing calendar. The Pegasus World Cup 2019, to be held on January 26, will be adding a Grade 1 turf stakes to this year’s race-day festivities.

The addition of the turf race, which will be run at 1 3/16 miles, aims to attract and showcase twelve of the best older turf horses from around the world turning the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational into a Championship Invitational Series. The total purse for the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational will sit at $7 million with $3 million awarded to the winner. The Pegasus World Cup Invitational, to be contested on the dirt at 1 1/8 miles, will offer a $9 million purse with a $4 million prize waiting for the winner of the twelve-horse field.

“The appetite for a turf race is strong and the decision to include a premier turf race is part of the ongoing evolution of the Pegasus World Cup,” said Belinda Stronach, Chairman and President, The Stronach Group. “We are excited to expand this event for both horse owners and fans, adding to what is already an incredible day of entertainment and world-class racing at Gulfstream Park.”

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Any horse owner who purchases a spot in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational will be given preference to purchase a spot in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational. The cost to secure an entry spot and enter a horse is $500,000 per race.

“As an international owner I am thrilled that the Pegasus World Cup will include a turf race,” said John Magnier, Founder, Coolmore. “Coolmore, like The Stronach Group, believes in growing our sport and there is no better way to do that than to provide a new platform to showcase the world’s best Thoroughbreds.”

pegasus world cup logoAs an added incentive and as part of the commitment to provide new, lucrative opportunities for horse owners, The Stronach Group will offer a $1 million bonus to the owner who wins both the Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational.
The Stronach Group will also introduce a new wager, the Pegasus Pick 24. The Pegasus Pick 24 will offer up the chance to bet on the exact finish order for both the Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, adding another layer to the race-day excitement. A whopping $5 million bonus awaits the lucky fan who hits on the Pegasus Pick 24.

Blending entertainment, innovation and Thoroughbred horse racing like no other event of its kind, the Pegasus World Cup has captured the attention of the racing industry, celebrities and fans from around the world. Past winners include Arrogate, the Horse of the Year for 2017 and the top earning Thoroughbred of all time, and 2018 Horse of the Year, Gun Runner.

Tickets for the 2019 Pegasus World Cup will be available at www.pegasusworldcup.com starting today October 1.

Is Horse Racing Dead? Not in South Florida

Gulfstream Park grandstand copyright All Star Press 2012Gulfstream Park’s 2018 Spring meet set new standards for total and average handle despite six fewer days of racing.

Is Horse Racing Dead?  Not in South Florida or many other locations throughout the country.

Gulfstream’s total handle for the Spring was a record $334 million, up $22 million over 2017. Total handle on the Spring meet has climbed approximately $88 million since 2015.

Average daily handle topped $6 million ($6.312) for the first time since Gulfstream began running in the spring. This year’s average was up $1.012 million from 2017 and $2.1 million since 2015.

Highlights of the Spring Meet included victories by Stormy Embrace in the $250,000 Princess Rooney (G2), a ‘Win & You’re In’ Breeders’ Cup race, X Y Jet winning the Smile Sprint, and a three-way tie for leading trainer between Todd Pletcher, Oscar Gonzalez and Victor Barboza Jr.

“We continue building and shaping Florida racing’s Spring and Summer meets,” said Bill Badgett, General Manager of Gulfstream Park. “We’re building a strong, year-round program with quality racing and full fields, and fans and horsemen are supporting our program. There is still more to do and much more to accomplish as we continue to combine racing with entertainment events.”

Source: Gulfstream Park

“Off the Charts” Horses to Watch and Trip Notes – April 21, 2018

Tampa Paddock

Up close and personal at Tampa Bay Downs paddock. Copyright AGOS

GULFSTREAM PARK

VIOLENT WAVE (Race 5 at GP, 4/6/18) – 3yo daughter of Violence closed willingly and sneaky good to just miss 2nd in a race won by the favorite.  Trainer Kathy Ritvo never has her firsters cranked up to win in their debut (5% win rate) so this was a very noteworthy effort by the well-bred filly.  Displayed some talent in the mornings, as well.

KEENELAND

ELECTRIC  FOREST (Race 3 at KEE, 4/7/18) – well bred firster was bet down to 5/2.  She broke slowly from the outside post and raced wide on the backstretch.  That didn’t stop this daughter of Curlin from continuing on in the lane and running down a frontrunner who had a great trip.  Big future ahead.

ANALYZE IT (Race 9 at KEE, 4/6/18) – what a surprise.  Trainer Chad Brown has another superstar turf horse in the making.  This 3yo son of Point Of Entry made easy work of a very good Grade 3 stakes field in his comeback race.  He has now won all three career starts by open lengths.  Total beast.

WHEATFIELD (Race 8 at KEE, 4/6/18) – this six year old mare was well meant on the drop in class and shipping in from Fair Grounds.  Jockey Luis Saez didn’t anticipate the trouble this one would encounter down the lane.  She was badly shut off and lost all chance at the 1/8th pole.  Needs pace to close into but she can rebound in the right spot.  She’s best at 6 furlongs and against non-graded stakes or allowance company.

ALMITHMAAR (Race 7 at KEE, 4/6/18)  – gelded son of Tapit for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin ran a bang-up race second time out and appears to have a bright future for Shadwell Stables.  Wouldn’t be surprised to see this guy in stakes company in the future.

DANCELAND (Race 8 at KEE, 4/11/18) – sneaky terrible trip on this layoff returnee for trainer Shug McGaughey.  This daughter of Tapit had “run” but was never given a chance to get into the clear and unleash her finish.  A winner last summer at Saratoga, she ended up well beaten in an effort that can be easily excused.  Moves forward second start back.

LADY APPLE (Race 2 at KEE, 4/12/18) – 2yo daughter of star Curlin, out of a Clever Trick stakes placed mare, ran a winning race but was second best behind the well-meant Wesley Ward firster Dragic.  Great pedigree and solid barn.  Should be very tough in second career start, pretty much anywhere.

 

“Off the Charts” Horses to Watch and Trip Notes – April 12, 2018

GULFSTREAM PARK

FERDINANDA (race 5 at GP, 3/31/18 FL Derby Day) – this daughter of Giant’s Causeway is a nose away from being three for three since trainer Barclay Tagg added Lasix.  Facing stakes company for the first time she flew home to just miss by a bob to the wire-to-wire winner who benefited from modest fractions.  This one will be tough next time out on the lawn.

STYLE ICON (race 7 at GP, 3/31/18) – trainer Graham Motion has a nice one in this Tampa shipper.  She was the only runner to close in this race and she encountered lots of trouble en route to her third place showing behind the Pletcher trainee.  The daughter of top turf sire Artie Schiller has finished well in both career races.

RHODE ISLAND (race 9 at GP, 3/31/18) – well meant second time starter on the grass for Shug McGaughey lost his best chance at the very start of this race.  He never gave up and continued on well.  This was only his second race and his first with blinkers on.  Half to four turf winners.

REP IPSA (race 10 at GP, 3/31/18) – despite her first race since October and facing a solid group in the G3 Honey Fox, this 5yo mare finished like a shot to just miss to the talented Lull, who took this field gate to wire.  Daughter of English Channel could be set for a strong year for Ian Wilkes.

KEENELAND

TRUE SAINT (Race 1 at KEE, 4/6/18) – the first race of the spring meet featured an impressive performance from this Bret Calhoun two year old.  The colt was steadied as they turned for home behind the even-money Wesley Ward frontrunner.  Lost nearly two lengths in momentum and then re-rallied to run that rival down in the late stages.  A lot of professionalism and talent from this baby.

Big Week on Tap for 2018 Florida Derby

Gulfstream Park paddockHALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The $1 million Florida Derby (G1) has produced the winners of a remarkable 59 Triple Crown events, including three of the last five Kentucky Derby (G1) winners.

But before the 67th running of the Derby Saturday, March 31, Gulfstream Park will offer a week of events.

The week kicks off Monday, March 26 with the Fasig-Tipton Breeze Show at 10 a.m. and runs through Sunday, April 1 with Easter Brunch in Ten Palms. Admission and parking is free at Gulfstream Park. First race post time will be 11:30 a.m. on Florida Derby Day, which features seven stakes races including five graded.

Breakfast at Gulfstream begins at 8 a.m.

There will also be a mandatory payout of the 20-cent Rainbow 6, which is currently over $4 million, and a guaranteed $750,000 pool for the Late Pick 4 and a guaranteed $500,000 pool for the Late Pick 5.

Gulfstream’s Derby Day program will also include the simulcast of Dubai World Cup Day. Doors to Silks open at 8 a.m.

There are several dining options at Gulfstream, including Ten Palms, Fountain Club, Frankey’s Sports Bar and a barbeque buffet in Sport of Kings.

The official drink of the Florida Derby, the Maker’s Mark Orange Orchid, will be available in a souvenir glass for $12. The Divas and Dudes Hat Contest, sponsored by Maker’s Mark, will take place in the walking ring after the call to post for the eighth race. The Ketel One Make Your Mule Station will be located in front of the winner’s circle featuring three flavors of Ketel One.

Havana Club Room will have specials at Corona Beach the entire day along with a live DJ, cigar rollers and Cuban and Latin food specials.

For dining reservations at Ten Palms call 954.457.6201. For more information go to GulfstreamPark.com.

Monday, March 26: Fasig-Tipton Breeze Show, 10 a.m.

Wednesday, March 28: $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby Draw, 11:30 a.m. Frankey’s Sports Bar

Wednesday, March 28: Fasig-Tipton Selected 2-Year-Old’s in Training Sale, 3 p.m. Walking Ring

Friday, March 30: Cocktails and Horse Tales, 6-8 p.m. Walking Ring

Saturday, March 31: Florida Derby Day. Gates open at 8 a.m.

Sunday, April 1: Easter Brunch, Ten Palms 12-5 p.m.

$4,462,794 Rainbow Six Carryover for Thursday in Miami

And Who’s Hot at Gulfstream Park

Press Release

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot for Thursday’s program at Gulfstream Park grew to $4,462,794 when the popular multi-race wager went unsolved Sunday for the 41st consecutive racing day.

A total of $729,696 was wagered into the Rainbow 6 Sunday, adding to a carryover of $4,287,715 from Saturday’s program. Multiple tickets with all six winners each returned $358.76.

Pegasus statue at Gulfstream ParkThe Rainbow 6 was last hit Jan. 28, when the mandatory payout of a North American record $19.779 million pool produced multiple winning tickets worth $15,566.

The carryover jackpot is only paid out when there is a single unique ticket sold with all six winners. On days when there is no unique ticket, 70 percent of that day’s pool goes back to those bettors holding tickets with the most winners, while 30 percent is carried over to the jackpot pool.

A mandatory Rainbow 6 jackpot carryover payout is scheduled for Florida Derby Day March 31, when there will also be a $750,000 pool guarantee for the Late Pick 4 and a $500,000 pool guarantee for the Late Pick 5.

 

Saez Hot at Gulfstream Park

Leading jockey Luis Saez rode three winners Sunday, giving him 125 victories for the Championship Meet. The defending titlist scored aboard Little Irishdancer ($3.60) in Race 1, Althera ($6) in Race 8 and Perfume Lady ($4.80) in Race 9 to put him seven wins behind Javier Castellano’s 2013-2014 Championship Meet Record of 132 with four programs remaining.

Irad Ortiz Jr. enjoyed his fifth straight multi-win day Sunday, winning aboard Living Valentina ($9) in Race 3, Just Talkin ($3) in Race 10 and Auldwood Lake ($6.20) in the 12th.