Consistent Miss Margaret Ready for Honey Ryder
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – After earning his first stakes placing in the Cutler Bay Stakes on April 1, Honors Stable’s Black Martino will make his second straight stakes start in Saturday’s $75,000 English Channel Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on the turf at Gulfstream Park.
Trained by Jose Garoffalo, Black Martino began his career on dirt last June, but he has found where he belongs on the grass. A late developing son of Two Step Salsa, Black Martino finished a strong second in his turf debut as a 2-year-old at Gulfstream Park West, but he did not register his first victory until January of his 3-year-old season, when he captured a $50,000 maiden claiming turf event. He defeated a colt named Weekend Express in that race, who would go on to break his own maiden in a competitive maiden special weight on the Florida Derby undercard.
It would not be long before Black Martino won again. Two starts later, the Florida-bred won a starter allowance on the turf at Gulfstream by a decisive 1 ¼ length on March 18. After vying for the lead, he took command at the top of the stretch and drew away.
“They get a lot of self-confidence when you put them in the right spot, and they win,” Garoffalo said. “After he won, he was more confident, and mentally, the horse is more focused right now. I think he’s going to be a nice horse during the summer.”
After that victory, Garoffalo stepped Black Martino up to stakes competition in the Cutler Bay, and the colt didn’t disappoint. He jumped out to an early lead and stayed on to finish a respectable third behind the highly regarded winner Force the Pass and runner-up High Noon Rider, who would impressively win his next start in a Gulfstream allowance on April 19.
“After the last race he won, I realized that he likes to go on the lead,” Garoffalo said of Black Martino. “He likes to run freely. That’s what I tried to do in the [Cutler Bay]. We tried him on the lead or running close to the lead, and he did a great job, so I think that’s one of the keys to why the horse has been improving. It’s a different style of running. Now he’s a front-runner, and he loves that.”
Garoffalo said several factors in addition to an adapted running style have contributed to his trainee’s success in 2015, most notably time to develop and mature.
“The change to the turf was one of the reasons, but another reason for his improvement is the time,” he said. “I think he’s going to be developing his ability as he gets closer to being a 4-year-old or in the middle of his 3-year-old season. I think that the time is the key factor in his improvement.”
Garoffalo said he plans to study the field, but he is pretty certain his colt will again be forwardly placed in the English Channel.
“I have to look at the past performances, but if they let me go on the lead, I will let him go,” he said.
Black Martino will be ridden by Eddie Castro in the English Channel, the seventh race on a 10-race card Saturday at Gulfstream.
Trainer Chad Brown will send out the duo of Moon Over Cuzco and Ulysses in the English Channel, and both are coming off wins. Ulysses, a beautifully bred son of Street Cry (IRE), started his career unplaced on the dirt, but he broke his maiden by 2 ½ lengths in his turf debut at Gulfstream on April 11. Moon Over Cuzco, who also immediately visited the winner’s circle once making a surface switch to the grass, has won two in a row, most recently capturing a Gulfstream allowance on March 25. Each of the Malibu Moon gelding’s victories came at the 1 1/16-mile distance of the English Channel.
Vegso Racing Stable’s Rizwan has won three straight on the grass, with a runner-up finish on dirt sandwiched in between. Trained by Phil Gleaves, the chestnut son of Silver Tree most recently drew off to a 1 ½-length score in a starter allowance on April 9. The English Channel will be the colt’s stakes debut.
Call Me Crazy, who finished fourth but only beaten ¾-length in Gulfstream’s Palm Beach Stakes (G3) on March 7 before checking in fourth in the Cutler Bay, was also entered in the English Channel, as were recent maiden winners Comanche’s Storm and Persuasive. Grand Jr and Twotwentyfive A round out the field.
Consistent Miss Margaret Ready for Honey Ryder
Trainer Milton Wolfson has always had faith in his 3-year-old filly Miss Margaret, so much so that he ran her in a stakes race before she had even broken her maiden. He’ll renew that faith when he sends her to the post in Saturday’s $75,000 Honey Ryder Stakes at a mile on the turf Gulfstream Park.
When the daughter of Bwana Charlie finished second in that first stakes race, the $100,000 Juvenile Filly Turf Stakes at Gulfstream Park West last November, it justified Wolfson’s beliefs. It took the filly four more tries to break her maiden – doing it against winners Jan. 29 – she was placed first by disqualification in her next start before finishing third March 29 in the Sanibel Island behind Celestine and the Grade 2 stakes placed Isabella Sings.
“We were proud of her,” Wolfson said of the effort in the Sanibel Island. “She’s been very consistent. It took us a little while to figure out that she didn’t like to make the lead too early. She’d start waiting for horses. Once we figured that out, then she won two in a row. She’s a really nice filly – good disposition, fun to be around, and a very good-looking filly. I’m looking forward to another good race from her.”
Jockey Jose Caraballo will ride Miss Margaret for the first time in the Honey Ryder.
Lismore was also entered in the Honey Ryder. The George Weaver trainee has yet to finish out of the money in five careers starts. A daughter of Tiznow, she will be ridden by Eddie Castro.
The Chad Brown-trained Sivoliere (IRE) will make her 3-year-old debut in the Honey Ryder. It will be the daughter of Sea the Stars’ first start since finishing fifth behind stablemate Lady Eli in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). The filly made her previous five starts in Europe, including a third-place finish in the Group 3 Longines Prix du Calvados last August, for owner Martin S. Schwartz.
The stakes-placed Nicky’s Brown Miss and Save Rock and Roll are also among the Honey Ryder entrants. Afleet Mary, Gorgeous Dream, Red Sashay, Dogwood Trail (MTO), and Fond of Sarah (MTO) round out the field.