Gulfstream gears up for stakes-packed weekend
Gulfstream Park has a jam-packed weekend scheduled as it plays host to the $400,000 Holy Bull
S. (G3), the first major
prep on the road to the Triple Crown, and the $200,000 Forward Gal S. (G2) for
fillies on Sunday. Prior to that, though, Florida- and California-breds will get
their chance to shine in the ninth edition of the $1.8 million Sunshine Millions
set for Saturday.
|First Dude is still seeking his first stakes win
(Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos)
Donald Dizney's homebred colt FIRST DUDE (Stephen Got Even) became a
familiar name on the national scene last season when placing in the Preakness S. (G1), Belmont
S. (G1) and other major three-year-old events. Now the four-year-old
gets his 2011 campaign going as one of the choices in Saturday's $500,000
Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream.
The 1 1/8-mile test is the richest of the three Sunshine Millions races to be
run at Gulfstream while three others races in the Florida-bred vs.
California-bred series will go that afternoon at Santa Anita. The other
Gulfstream races will be the $300,000
Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf at 1
1/8 miles and the $200,000
Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint at six
First Dude drew post 1 in a field of 10 with jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard for
trainer Dale Romans. Florida-breds are assured of a sweep in the Classic as there
are no California-breds entered. First Dude will be making his first start since
finishing eighth in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs on November 6
behind Blame and Horse of the Year Zenyatta.
The bay colt put together a productive, but frustrating, season
for his connections as he placed in five straight Grade 1 stakes, including the
Haskell Invitational (G1) at Monmouth Park and Travers (G1) at Saratoga
following the Triple Crown events. He also lost a neck decision when second in
the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G2) at Philadelphia Park in September prior
to the Breeders' Cup.
First Dude faces a number of highly-accomplished rivals in the Classic, led
by Oaklawn H. (G2) hero DUKE OF MISCHIEF (Graeme Hall),
DRY MARTINI (Slew Gin Fizz) and BIRDRUN (Birdstone).
Duke of Mischief has won two of three starts over the Gulfstream track for
trainer David Fawkes, including a victory in the off-the-turf Ft. Lauderdale
S. (G3) early last year. The five-year-old scored his
biggest career victory in the Oaklawn 'Cap in early April and went on to capture the Philip H. Iselin H. (G3) at Monmouth
Park in August. He'll have Eibar Coa aboard in the Classic.
Dry Martini is the veteran in the field, and the eight-year-old gelding will bid for a 10th victory in 36 career starts.
Currently sporting earnings of more than $1.3 million, the dark bay will be
making his first start since a close-up third in the Mad Hatter overnight stakes at Aqueduct on November 20. Trained by
Barclay Tagg, Dry Martini scored his biggest career victory in the 2009 Suburban
H. (G2) at Belmont Park. Javier Castellano was aboard when Dry Martini ran
second in last year's Donn H. (G1) and takes back the mount for this one.
Birdrun came to hand late last season for trainer Bill Mott, winning a three-other-than allowance at Belmont in September and taking his game to another
level with a 4 1/2-length victory in the November 13 Carl Rose Classic at Calder
last out. The five-year-old ran twice over the Gulfstream track
last year, finishing second and winning an allowance, both races going a mile.
Rajiv Maragh, in the saddle for the Carl G. Rose, will try to make it two stakes
wins in a row.
|Askbut I Won'ttell is seeking a hat trick of stakes in the
Filly & Mare Turf
(Jim Lisa Photos)
ASKBUT I WON'TTELL (Horse Chestnut [SAf]) completed her 2010
season with victories in the Cardinal H. (G3) at Churchill Downs in
November and My Charmer H. (G3) at Calder in early December after arriving
in South Florida for the winter season. That form will likely send her out
as the favorite in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf.
Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan gets the return call on Askbut I Won'ttell for trainer
Chris Block in the full field of 14 with one on the also-eligible list. The
five-year-old mare was a regular traveler throughout the Midwest last
season, winning an allowance at Fair Grounds early in her campaign and a stakes at Arlington Park in mid-May.
She also finished a game second in the Belle Mahone S. at
Woodbine in August.
DYNASLEW (Dyanformer), who won the Ballston Spa H. (G2) and Beaugay
S. (G3) last season, will make her first start since a modest sixth in
the First Lady S. (G1) in October. The Live Oak homebred ran strongly in
two other major stakes in 2010, finishing second in the All Along S.
(G3) and a neck fourth in the Diana S. (G1) behind multiple Grade 1
winner Proviso (GB).
Two others in the field likely to attract solid support are WILD MIA (Wildcat
Heir), with Jose Lezcano aboard for trainer Tom Proctor, and
SPEAK EASY GAL (West Acre), on whom trainer Marty Wolfson will give jockey
Julien Leparoux a leg up. Wild Mia closed out 2010 with a runner-up effort in
the Mrs. Revere S. (G2) at Churchill Downs and was just 2 1/4 lengths behind in
sixth in the Marshua's River S. (G3) last out in her four-year-old bow. Speak
Easy Gal racked up four straight wins over Gulfstream's turf during the early
part of last season, including the Orchid S. (G3)
Wolfson also sends out stakes-placed OMEGA CAT (Omega Code) in the race.
AMEN HALLELUJAH (Montbrook) and JESSICA IS BACK (Put It Back) each won major
graded events last year
and look like the class of the 11-distaffer field drawn for the Filly & Mare Sprint.
|Amen Hallelujah is returning
from a near eight-month layoff in the Filly & Mare Sprint
Leparoux rides Amen Hallelujah for trainer Rick Dutrow as she
makes her first start since losing a narrow half-length decision when second to
Champagne d'Oro (Medaglia d'Oro) in the Acorn S. (G1) at Belmont Park on June 5. The
dark bay miss began the 2010 season winning the Santa Ynez S. (G2) at Santa
Anita in January before heading to the Atlantic Coast to add Gulfstream's Davona Dale S. (G2)
to her resume by 6 1/4
lengths in late February. Prior to her Acorn second, Amen Hallelujah was sixth
in the Kentucky Oaks (G1).
Jessica is Back scored the most important victory of her career when
Princess Rooney H. (G1) in July at Calder before a third-place effort in
the Ballerina S. (G1) at Saratoga in late August. The Wolfson trainee had a very rough trip finishing ninth in the
Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) at Churchill on November 5 in her last
start of the 2010.
The seven-year-old mare was consigned to the Fasig-Tipton November sale two nights
later and, although she did not meet her reserve in the ring, was sold privately
to Carolyn Vogel for $475,000. She was sent back to Wolfson at Calder to prepare
for a start or two before being bred in the spring, but needs to improve on
her recent seventh-place effort in the January 15 Sugar Swirl S. (G3). Jockey
Alex Solis has the call.
Those attending the races at Gulfstream on Saturday will receive a Sunshine Millions
cap when purchasing any seat in the Silks Simulcast room or second-floor outdoor
grandstand. Fans will also have a chance that day to win DVD and posters of the
Disney movie "Secretariat." Otto Thorwarth,
who played jockey Ron Turcotte in the movie, and Kate Chenery Tweedy, author of
"Secretariat's Meadow," will be on hand to greet race goers and promote the
The first 100 fans to pay for breakfast at Breakfast at Gulfstream will
receive a free Secretariat movie poster. Breakfast at Gulfstream runs every
Saturday from 7-10 a.m. (ET).
Post time for the first race at Gulfstream is 12:55 p.m.
Send this article to a friend