Sing Praises Looking to Continue Florida Sire Stakes Success in 2015
Sr. Quisqueyano Back Home at Gulfstream
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Honors Stable’s Wildcat Red, winner of the 2014 Hutcheson (G3) and Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (G2), has resumed training after suffering a hind end injury in January, according to trainer Jose Garoffalo.
The 4-year-old son of D’wildcat has not run since finishing an uncharacteristic fifth in the Sunshine Millions Classic on Jan. 17, the first time the colt had ever finished worse than second in Hallandale. The consistent bay was forced to check sharply at the 3/8 pole in the race; he emerged from the effort with the injury and was immediately taken out of training.
“He’s back on the track,” Garoffalo said. “He started to jog [last week], and now he’s back on his regular schedule. He’s going to be jogging for a couple weeks, and then we’ll start training as usual.”
Wildcat Red had a memorable sophomore season at Gulfstream in 2014. In addition to his two graded stakes victories over the track, the Florida-bred also finished second in the Gulfstream Park Derby and the Besilu Stables Florida Derby (G1). After finishing a troubled 18th in the Kentucky Derby (G1), Wildcat Red returned home to South Florida to win Gulfstream’s Quality Road Stakes on June 28. Then the colt would then hit the road again, finishing third in the Haskell Invitational (G1), fifth in the King’s Bishop (G1), and third in the Oklahoma Derby (G3) before checking in second in the Millions Classic Preview Stakes at Gulfstream Park West on Nov. 11 to cap a 10-race sophomore campaign.
Garoffalo said the time off has served Wildcat Red well. The trainer, who is based at Gulfstream year-round, does not currently have a timeframe for when his stable’s star pupil will return to the races.
“I don’t have any plans for the moment,” he said. “I’m just getting him back in business and getting him fit. I’m getting him ready, and as soon as he’s ready, I’ll be watching the [condition] book. I will see what I’m going to go, but the most important thing is to have the horse in good shape and fit.”
“He’s a different horse now,” he added. “He gained a lot of weight, and he gained a lot of muscle. He needed a break. It was good for him. He’s going to be okay.”
Sing Praises Looks to Continue Florida Sire Stakes Success in 2015
Sing Praises, winner of two of the three legs of last year’s open division of the Florida Sire Stakes (FSS), is ready to make his sophomore debut, according to trainer Stanley Gold.
“He’s doing great,” Gold said. “I’m just waiting for a race. He’s training well.”
The 3-year-old son of Hear No Evil has not run since finishing third behind the highly regarded Mr. Jordan in the Juvenile Sprint Stakes last November at Gulfstream Park West. The colt had a stellar juvenile campaign in South Florida for Gold and owners/breeders Jacks or Better Farm, capturing three stakes: the Birdonthewire, the FSS Dr. Fager, and the FSS In Reality. He has yet to finish off the board in six career starts; his wins spanned distances from 5 ½ furlongs to 1 1/16 mile.
Gold is targeting a return to the Florida Sire Stakes series for Sing Praises, who most recently breezed 4 furlongs in 47.82 seconds on May 4, the second-best of 17 works that morning. This year, Gulfstream added a Sire Stakes for 3-year-olds, to be run on the same three dates as the juvenile races (Aug. 8, Sept. 5, and Oct. 3) with distances of 7 furlongs, a mile, and 1 1/16 mile, with each race worth $150,000.
“We gave everyone a break (after their 2-year-old seasons) and kept our eyes on the Florida Sire Stakes series, because we’ve got those races, and it should be pretty much the same company [from last year],” Gold said. “But I think we’re going to see even better horses this year in the Florida Sire Stakes. They’re going to be here. The purses are high.”
Gold won Gulfstream’s first 2-year-old race of the year Wednesday with Silent Prayer, Sing Praises’ half-sister. Knowing Sing Praises’ accomplishments, Gold is encouraged about Silent Prayer’s future, but he said Sing Praises still stands out because of the ease with which he’s done things.
“Sing Praises did everything really easy [as a 2-year-old],” Gold said. “He was doing everything on his own. You didn’t have to really have to ask him when he ran. Of course, in these [2-year-old maiden] races, you have to go, go, go, go, which [Silent Prayer] did, but Sing Praises looked like he did it with a lot of ease, and then he continued to do it with ease and still looks like that. But we’ll see where [Silent Prayer] goes.”
Sr. Quisqueyano Returns Home to Gulfstream
Sunshine Millions Classic winner Sr. Quisqueyano returned to Gulfstream Park Wednesday afternoon following a trip to Grand Prairie, TX to contest the Texas Mile (G3). He will target a summer campaign in South Florida, according to trainer Peter Walder.
The 5-year-old son of Exclusive Quality finished a disappointing sixth in the graded event as the heavy favorite for Walder, who claimed the horse last December for Loooch Racing Stables prior to his Sunshine Millions victory. The Texas Mile was run on May 1 after harsh weather conditions forced its cancellation the previous Friday.
“He vanned from Dallas to Keeneland, and flew from Keeneland to Ocala [Wednesday] morning,” Walder said. “[Then] he took a van here.”
Walder said the bay, who in his previous start finished a game neck behind Commissioner, the 2014 Belmont Stakes (G1) runner-up, in the Skip Away (G3) at Gulfstream on March 28, exited the Texas Mile in good order. He had no explanation for his trainee’s puzzling performance other than the fact that he wasn’t running at his home base.
“He really had no excuse,” Walder said. “He was really jacked up to run when they cancelled the race, and I thought the extra week would help him to recoup from the race against Commissioner. I thought the week would help him to bounce back, but he was just really jacked up to run when they cancelled the race. But honestly, I can’t make up any excuses. The jock rode him perfectly, and he was sitting perfect [in the race]. I mean, he ran second to the horse that was second in the Belmont Stakes here [at Gulfstream], and then he went out there and got beat by horses nowhere near that caliber. The only thing that I can take from it all is that, just like his trainer, he loves home. He’s a Miami boy, and here is where he’ll stay.”
Walder said he hopes to run Sr. Quisqueyano during the 2015-2016 Championship Meet in some of the same races he contested this past winter. In the interim, Walder doesn’t yet have any specific races in mind.
“The plan is to stay home and just keep him local,” Walder said. “Hopefully he can go in some of those overnight handicaps, and if not, something will go for him sooner or later. We’ll have a fresh horse for the Sunshine Millions and all the races that he ran in last year. The only horse that we’ll travel with is City of Weston.”
City of Weston, also owned by Loooch Racing, was claimed by Walder out of an optional claiming event on March 15. Similarly to Sr. Quisqueyano, the 5-year-old son of Holy Bull also won his first start off the claim in a stakes event, gritting out a neck victory over the multiple stakes winning Grande Shores in the Blue Heron Handicap on April 23. A Grade 3 winner in his own right, having captured the Gallant Bob (G3) at Parx in 2013, City of Weston’s long-term target is the $250,000 Smile Sprint (G2), part of Gulfstream’s Summit of Speed card on July 5.
“We’re pointing for the Smile, and I guess there’ll be an overnight handicap between now and then,” Walder said. “I know it’s an ambitious spot to look at, but the fact is, he is a Grade 3 winner. We get to just walk over rather than ship in the dead of the summer. Like I said with Sr. Quisqueyano, he’s not a claiming horse just because he ran for a claiming price. You don’t make $500,000 by accident. He’s a legitimate stakes horse, and he proved it by outdueling Grande Shores, who’s as tough as they come. He’s a really nice horse, and I’m very fortunate that my owner stepped up to the plate [to claim him] and put a couple nice horses in my barn.”