Dak Attack proved one of the more promising juveniles in the country last summer, but like several of his peers he missed the championship-deciding races in the fall. The Dale Romans-trained son of Ghostzapper returns from a layoff dating to August 20 in Saturday’s $100,000 Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream Park.
The one-turn mile of the Mucho Macho Man should suit Dak Attack, whose 1 1/4-length debut win at Churchill Downs was flattered by runner-up Sporting Chance’s subsequent victory in the Hopeful (G1). Dak Attack made it two-for-two in the $75,000 Ellis Park Juvenile, winning by four lengths going seven furlongs, but was laid off afterwards due to minor infirmities.
“He had a little shin issue,” Romans said. “We had to back off with him, but he’s back at the top of his game now.
“It’s a good start back for him. He hasn’t gone farther than seven furlongs yet, so it’s a good race to get him started.”
Mask, by Tapit and out of a stakes-winning half-sister to Grade 1 winner Bullsbay, won at first asking by three lengths over next-out graduate Navistar at Belmont Park on October 20. The Chad Brown trainee stretches out from 6 1/2 furlongs for his second start.
Todd Pletcher has entered Bal Harbour, winner of the $82,000 Sapling and $75,000 Smooth Air, the latter by a neck over Whereshetoldmetogo, and Coltandmississippi, who was unplaced in both of those stakes but captured his previous two starts around one turn.
Antonio Sano is also represented by two, including the undefeated Santiamen, who beat allowance foes going six furlongs on December 21.
“In his last race he threw a shoe,” Sano said. “He’s been training very good and I think the distance is going to be good for my horse.”
Gulfstream also hosts two other three-year-old stakes on Saturday: the $100,000 Kitten’s Joy at about 7 1/2 furlongs and the $100,000 Ginger Brew for fillies at seven furlongs, both on the turf.
Flameaway, who captured the off-the-turf Bourbon (G3) at Keeneland before fading to eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), faces Speed Franco, last-out winner of the $75,000 Pulpit, recent maiden winners Fast Boat and Power of Attorney, and the turf debuting Mojovation.
Leading contenders in the Ginger Brew include Closer Still, Thewayiam, Malibu Saint, Andina Del Sur, and Golden Orb.