The reported cancellation of the Hutcheson (G3) due to a lack of interest leaves just four stakes scheduled for Gulfstream Park on Saturday, but also robs the Miami-area track of one of its oldest fixtures this year.
Dating to 1954 and once the traditional lead-in to the Fountain of Youth (G2) and Florida Derby (G1), the seven-furlong Hutcheson’s honor roll includes champions Decathlon, Shecky Greene, Spectacular Bid, Plugged Nickle, Lord Avie, Swale, Housebuster, Fly So Free, and Holy Bull.
Dirt-based three-year-olds will instead congregate exclusively in the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man over a one-turn mile on Saturday, and a pair of Godolphin homebreds, Cavil and Hemsworth, figure to attract significant play.
Up the track in his debut on turf, Cavil rebounded emphatically when taking an off-the-turf maiden at Aqueduct by 5 1/2 lengths around a one-turn mile on December 2. Cavil is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, while Tom Albertrani trains Hemsworth, who also improved with the addition of Lasix to break his maiden by more than nine lengths in the Nashua (G2) in early November.
Adding speed to the proceedings are Skyler’s Scramjet, a debut winner at the Big A November 19, while Sonic Mule, Talk Logistics, and Recruiting Ready step up after running 1-2-3 in the $75,000 Buffalo Man over six sloppy furlongs last month.
Also in the mix are multiple stakes winner Even Thunder and Sweetontheladies, who overcame a slow start and still won the $100,000 Juvenile Sprint at Gulfstream Park West by three lengths last out.
The Mucho Macho Man offers no Kentucky Derby (G1) eligibility points, but could produce starters for next month’s Holy Bull (G2) and/or Swale (G2).
The $100,000 Dania Beach (G3), for three-year-olds at 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf, includes With Anticipation (G2) winner Made You Look, sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) last time. He faces stakes winners Kitten’s Cat and Squadron, as well as the Mark Casse-trained allowance scorer Minister’s Strike.
Casse also has the promising Summer Luck entered in the $100,000 Old Hat (G3), a six-furlong dash for three-year-old fillies. Second by a neck in her Keeneland debut, she rebounded to win over a mile at Churchill Downs as an odds-on choice November 11.
The one to catch is the Todd Pletcher-trained Bode’s Dream, who is perfect from three starts, including stakes scores in the $197,000 Astoria at Belmont and the $75,000 House Party at Gulfstream.
Casse also has a top contender in the $100,000 Ginger Brew, the filly counterpart to the Dania Beach, in Juenesse Doree, who ended the Keeneland fall meet on a high note by breaking her maiden by 4 3/4 lengths in her second start.
Party Boat, who won twice on turf before taking an off-the-turf edition of the $100,000 Wait a While last month, figures on paper. The Chad Brown-trained Lady Alexandra has finished first and sixth in two appearances rained off the grass, while European shippers Fields of Song and Somebody to Love may threaten in their U.S. debuts.