Gulfstream Park celebrates the New Year with a trio of stakes for freshly-minted three-year-olds on Sunday – the $150,000 Mucho Macho Man S. over a mile, the companion $100,000 Cash Run S. for fillies, and the $100,000 Limehouse S. at six furlongs.
Mucho Macho Man S. – Race 9 (4:10 p.m. ET)
Although not itself a scoring opportunity on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, the Mucho Macho Man yields contenders for Gulfstream’s upcoming points races, commencing with the Feb. 4 Holy Bull (G3). A dozen sophomores will test their aptitude for the Derby trail on Sunday.
General Jim is intriguing on the switch back to dirt for Shug McGaughey, a 22% trainer in the turf-to-dirt category. Third in his unveiling in a Saratoga dirt sprint behind Bourbon Bash, General Jim has subsequently competed in turf routes. The Into Mischief colt promptly broke his maiden on the stretch-out at the Spa and made it two straight with a sharp Keeneland allowance tally. But last out, he was overturned as the 1.45-1 favorite in the Nov. 26 Central Park S. at Aqueduct, where he ground his way into third. General Jim should handle dirt, if he can adjust to the one-turn mile scenario. Luis Saez, aboard for his first three starts, regains the mount.
Saffie Joseph sends out Lord Miles, a good-looking debut winner here Nov. 19. That was a six-furlong sprint, portending well for the Curlin colt as he steps up in trip.
Il Miracolo flopped in his stakes debut in the Dec. 3 Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct, where he had early trouble and never factored in a remote sixth. Yet the Antonio Sano pupil is eligible to rebound back home, especially considering his 5 1/2-length maiden win at this course and distance. The well-bred son of Gun Runner also picks up Jose Ortiz.
Unbeaten Legacy Isle, who dominated Il Miracolo here in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden Sept. 24, came back to take a one-mile allowance from off the pace. Drawn on the rail with regular rider Emisael Jaramillo, the Rohan Crichton trainee will likely show the speed evinced on debut. Eyes on the King captured a Nov. 13 allowance on the Gulfstream Tapeta for Mark Casse, defeating the consistent Live Is Life.
Mr Bob, runner-up to Powerful in the Nov. 26 Ed Brown S., is one of a trio last seen at Churchill Downs, along with the Rusty Arnold duo of Fliparino and Laver. Deep-closing Fliparino, who pulled a 15-1 upset on debut, was most recently third after a stumbling start in the Street Sense (G3). Laver took four tries to score, but blinkers did the trick, perhaps significantly around a one-turn mile.
Thrice-raced maiden Baby Billy lures Joel Rosario, Presque Isle debut winner Dreaming of Kona exits a third in the Inaugural S. at Tampa Bay Downs, and Wine Empire rounds out the field.
Cash Run S. – Race 7 (3:09 p.m. ET)
Pure Pauline, fourth to the exciting Hoosier Philly in the Nov. 26 Golden Rod (G2), hopes to become the next alumna of that race to win a stakes after Golden Rod third Pretty Mischievous came back to roll in Monday’s Untapable S. at Fair Grounds. Trained by Todd Pletcher for Stonestreet Stables, Pure Pauline is a blueblood daughter of Curlin and Grade 2 vixen Keen Pauline.
Alma Rosa takes an even bigger class drop off a ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). Successful in the White Clay Creek S. two back at Delaware Park, the Sharp Azteca filly makes her first start for Jorge Delgado. Patrick Biancone’s Infinite Diamond, a 14-length maiden romper at this track and trip, likewise lowers her sights after being eased in the Alcibiades (G1).
The one with the best form over the track, however, is Lynx. The Arindel homebred won her first three starts, notably the Desert Vixen and Susan’s Girl divisions of the Florida Sire S. Having lost her perfect record when second in the My Dear Girl division over 1 1/16 miles, Lynx could appreciate cutting back in distance, albeit versus open company.
Godolphin’s Padma, a beautifully-bred daughter of Tapit, exits a convincing maiden win at Aqueduct for Bill Mott. Looking for Hope was an impressive first-out winner here, but the Joseph trainee then disappointed in a Keeneland allowance.
Atthecrossroads has won two straight, a 17-length maiden rout followed by a state-bred allowance, and Arella Star just rebounded in a local allowance in her first start since trailing in the Del Mar Debutante (G1). Miss Ucrania steps up from a course-and-distance maiden romp.
Limehouse S. – Race 6 (2:39 p.m. ET)
Super Chow ranks as the one to beat, riding a three-race winning streak including the Oct. 29 Bowman Mill S. at Keeneland and the Dec. 3 Inaugural at Tampa. His lone loss was a third in the Saratoga Special (G2) over the summer, and the speedster signaled that he’s retaining his form with a pair of bullet moves at Gulfstream for Delgado.
Turbo, who placed in two Florida Sire Series stakes, romped in the Oct. 29 Juvenile Sprint over Dangerous Ride. The Brian Lynch-trained Two of a Kind is 2-for-2, but unraced since the June 9 Tremont S. Joseph’s X Y Point aired in his premiere here before regressing to a distant third in a Churchill Downs allowance. Cajun Dream just scored in his track-and-trip debut versus Florida-breds.