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Gulfstream News & Notes

Mar 29, 2015

Gulfstream News & Notes


Everything ‘Coming Together at the Right Time’ for Materiality
Upstart Exits Florida Derby in ‘Fine’ Form
Ami’s Flatter’s Derby Future Undecided
Brooklyn (G2) Could Be Next for Commissioner 
Bocachica Getting Back on Horses Monday
DELRAY BEACH, FL – Besilu Stables Florida Derby (G1) champion Materiality exited his wining effort in good order, according to trainer Todd Pletcher.
The 3-year-old son of Afleet Alex remained at Gulfstream Park overnight following his 1 ½-length victory in Hallandale’s premier race and was set to return to Pletcher’s winter training base at Palm Beach Downs Sunday morning.
“He pulled up well and is just coming back from Gulfstream now,” Pletcher reported.
The second choice in the field of nine, Materiality hooked up with post-time favorite Upstart in the early going of the Florida Derby, and the $1 million event turned into a two-horse race as those two separated themselves from the other seven runners. In just his third career start, Materiality was able to pull away from the Holy Bull (G2) winner to earn his first graded stakes victory and remain undefeated. The colt, an April foal that has yet to reach his actual third birthday, received a 110 Beyer for the effort.
“It was a very determined effort,” Pletcher said. “He showed his tenacity. It was a long drive from a half-mile out over a very demanding surface and against a very good horse. I thought it was very impressive for him to be able to do that in his third start.”
In a stable full of Triple Crown contenders, including Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner Carpe Diem, Withers (G3) victor Far From Over, and Fountain of Youth (G2) champ Itsaknockout, Materiality wasn’t originally seen as a contender for the spring classic prep races, considering he did not make his career debut until Jan. 11. But the physically imposing colt earned himself a chance after he answered every demanding question that was asked of him, including seamlessly stretching out from 6 furlongs to 1 1/8 mile in his second start, the Islamorada overnight handicap at Gulfstream on March 6. In that race, he defeated stablemate Stanford by 5 ¾ lengths. Stanford would go on to finish second in the Louisiana Derby (G2).
“It’s pretty rare that you see a horse go from a 6-furlong maiden race to a 1 1/8-mile situation,” Pletcher said. “It’s not something that we’d planned on months ago. It just sort of gelled at the right time. Honestly, I wasn’t really expecting the Islamorada to even be an option. When it came out in the condition book and he breezed well, we decided to go ahead and try it. I was very concerned about the 1 1/8-mile distance. When he handled that so well, it changed everything, really. It basically put him in a position to come back in the Florida Derby, so it just sort of came together at the right time.”
Materiality’s Florida Derby triumph awarded him 100 points toward a berth in the Kentucky Derby. Pletcher said if all goes well, running on the first Saturday in May would be the next objective for the colt.
“I think he’s certainly earned his way [to the Kentucky Derby],” Pletcher said. “Five weeks should be beneficial since we ran back in 22 days [in the Florida Derby], but it’s also a long time, so hopefully he continues to do well.”
Itsaknockout, who finished fourth in the Florida Derby, was also reported to be doing fine, although a bit fatigued, following his run.
“He seemed a little tired afterwards,” Pletcher said. “Like I said, the track was very, very tiring and demanding. I don’t think he really relished it. He seemed to cool out fine, although he was a little tired, so we’ll just kind of regroup and see how he is over the next few days.”
Upstart Exits Florida Derby in ‘Fine’ Form
Ralph M. Evans’s Upstart, who finished second in Saturday’s $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, was reported to be ‘fine’ Sunday morning at Palm Meadows Training Center.
“He’s a little tired, but otherwise he’s OK,” trainer Rick Violette Jr. said.
Favored Upstart finished 1 ½ lengths behind victorious Materiality following a furious stretch duel in the 64th running of the Florida Derby.
“The horses ran lights out and the jockeys did their jobs,” Violette said. “They put on a terrific show.” 
The 3-year-old son of Flatter, who has been training at Gulfstream Park’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County during the winter, has more than enough qualifying points to be included in the 20-horse Kentucky Derby field on May 2.
“If all things stay well, we’ll stay here and train and head up to Kentucky on Derby week,” Violette said.
Ami’s Flatter’s Derby Future Undecided
Trainer Josie Carroll reported that Florida Derby third-place finisher Ami’s Flatter was doing well Sunday morning at Palm Meadows.
Ivan Dalos’ Ami’s Flatter sits 14th in the Kentucky Derby points standings.
“He’s going to ship to Toronto (Monday), and we’ll have three weeks to decide (about running in the Derby),” said Carroll, whose Ontario-bred son of Flatter is eligible for the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine on July 5.
Ami’s Flatter, who finished second in the Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 3 and second in the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) on March 7, closed from off the pace to finish 12 ½ lengths behind Upstart.
“I thought he ran a great race. The speed got away, and he just wasn’t able to make up enough ground,” Carroll said.
Brooklyn (G2) Could Be Next for Commissioner 
Trainer Todd Pletcher recorded a second graded stakes victory on the Florida Derby card when Commissioner, the runner-up in last year’s Belmont Stakes (G1), out-dueled Sr. Quisqueyano to win a thrilling edition of the 1 3/16-mile Skip Away Stakes (G3).
“That was a big effort from him and nice to see,” Pletcher said. “That was him doing what he does best, which is kind of getting into that cruising speed and just keep going and going. I think he has enough speed in those situations that he kind of can put himself into a good spot, and he’s able to continue doing that for a while, and I think that’s why he’s been successful at some of those longer distances.”
Another long-distance race, the 1 ½-mile Brooklyn Invitational (G2) at Belmont Park on June 6, could be the next target for the 4-year-old son of A.P. Indy.
“I don’t necessarily have a plan for his next start,” Pletcher said, “but considering how well he ran in the Belmont [Stakes], the Brooklyn would be a definite objective, but it’s possible we could run somewhere before that.”
Bocachica Getting Back on Horses Monday
Jockey Orlando Bocachica, who suffered a broken arm and broken jaw Jan. 14 when his mount ducked into the gap and unseated him, said Sunday he will begin galloped horses Monday morning at Gulfstream Park.
"I'm ready to come back," said Bocachica, who visited the Gulfstream jockey's room before races Sunday. "I'm going to gallop one tomorrow and work my way back. I'm hoping to ride by April 14." 
At the time of his injury, Bocachica was tied for ninth in wins at Gulfstream's Championship Meet. He finished the Gulfstream Park West meet third in wins and money won. 

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