Eskendereya entered in Gulfstream allowanceZayat Stables' ESKENDEREYA (Giant's Causeway), who scored by 7 1/4 lengths in the off-the-turf Pilgrim S. in his only start on dirt, will return to the traditional surface in Thursday's 8TH race at Gulfstream Park. Contested over a one-turn mile, the entry-level allowance has lured an overflow field of 15 three-year-olds.
Eskendereya made his career debut on turf at Saratoga, rallying from off the pace to finish second. The Todd Pletcher trainee was then pitched directly into stakes company in the Pilgrim, and was allowed to take his chance when the race was transferred to Belmont's main track. Eskendereya relished the surface switch to win in a romp. That effort earned him a crack at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) on Santa Anita's Pro-Ride, but the chestnut was never in contention and wound up ninth.
Subsequently shipped to Pletcher's winter quarters at Palm Meadows, Eskendereya has been training steadily on the dirt in advance of his sophomore debut. The well-bred colt, a half-brother to English Group 1 victor Balmont (Stravinsky) from the family of 1974 Kentucky Derby (G1) hero Cannonade (Bold Bidder), will break from post 6 with new rider John Velazquez.
THANK U PHILIPPE (Proud Accolade) has finished second to two of last season's most impressive juveniles. Runner-up to Calder star Jackson Bend (Hear No Evil) in the In Reality division of the Florida Stallion S., the Marty Wolfson pupil was a distant second to Buddy's Saint (Saint Liam) in the Nashua S. (G2) last out. Julien Leparoux picks up the mount on Thank U Philippe. Also exiting the Nashua is fifth-place finisher QUICK RIDE (Afleet Alex) from the Nick Zito barn.
OUR REPENT (Repent) comes off a second-place finish in a Calder allowance to subsequent Tropical Park Derby (G3) hero Fly by Phil (Act of Duty), while recent maiden winners BANK THE EIGHT (Distorted Humor), LAUNCH N RELAUNCH (Harlan's Holiday), REMAND (Successful Appeal) and PLEASANT PRINCE (Indy King) could all attract some support.
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