Harry Hernandez Finding Immediate Success at Gulfstream
Sheer Drama Set Up Well for Summer Campaign
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Gulfstream will play host to a Preakness Stakes Viewing Party on Saturday, May 16 in honor of the 140th running of the middle jewel of the Triple Crown.
Attendees at Gulfstream will be able to experience live racing while also having the ability to watch and wager on the Preakness (G1), in which Kentucky Derby victor American Pharoah will look to move one step closer to becoming the first Triple Crown winner in more than 35 years. Advance wagering on the Preakness will be available beginning at 11:00 a.m. on Friday.
Ten Palms, Gulfstream’s second-floor dining destination, will offer a special Preakness buffet from noon until 4:00 p.m. Saturday for $59.00. Traditional Black Eyed Susan drinks, served in collectible glasses, will also be available throughout the track for $5.
The Fountain Club, located adjacent to the walking ring, will also be open; it will serve items from its regular a la carte menu. The purchase of a meal at the Fountain Club will include an official Preakness hat.
Hats will also be given away free with the purchase of a seat in the grandstand or in Gulfstream’s simulcast room, Silks. They will be available beginning at 11:30 a.m. Saturday in Silks.
Gulfstream Park Advantage members will have the opportunity to win a bet on the Preakness. Ten winners will be drawn about an hour before the Preakness, and those individuals will spin a wheel to determine the amount of the bet (amounts range from $10 to $200 WPS). One entry can be earned per day on Friday and Saturday, while additional entries can be won on Friday, Black Eyed Susan day at Pimlico, by wagering on Gulfstream Park’s live racing.
Silks will open for simulcasting at 9:30 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday. Live racing at Gulfstream will also have adjusted post times. First post on Friday will be 1:05 p.m., while Saturday’s first race has been scheduled for 12:20 p.m.
Harry Hernandez Finding Early Success at Gulfstream
Apprentice Harry Hernandez has had little trouble settling in at Gulfstream Park. The 18-year-old began riding in Hallandale in April and has already has ridden nine winners from 35 starters at Gulfstream.
A Puerto Rican native who graduated from the acclaimed jockey school Escuela Vocacional Hipica last December, Hernandez boasts an impressive 26 percent win clip and is riding his mounts to in-the-money finishes in more than half of his starts. With those numbers to back him up, Hernandez aspires to achieve lofty goals this year.
“My goal is to win an Eclipse Award,” he said. “I mean, at least participate in the Eclipse Awards and [be a finalist]. I want to be someone in the future and be a really good jockey.”
Hernandez began his United States riding career in the northeast at tracks such as Penn National and Laurel, riding his first American race on Jan. 1, before migrating south this spring.
“I was doing well at Laurel, but I met agent [Frank Sanabria], and he told me to come down here, so I said, ‘Let’s try it,’” Hernandez said.
Hernandez notably posted a riding double at Gulfstream Friday, and in doing so he captured his 40th win, causing him to shed two pounds off his seven-pound weight advantage to become a “five-pound bug.” Hernandez will ride with that handicap until he becomes a full-fledged journeyman next January.
Hernandez won an additional three races Saturday, when he piloted Elusive Harmony ($1.30) and Tea’s Two Step ($4.80) to nearly identical two-length scores in the second and fourth races, respectively, before capping the day with a victory aboard Lavandero ($9.40) in the 10th and final race on the card. The apprentice plans to continue riding at Gulfstream and is happy to be in a warm-weather climate that is similar to his home country.
“I really like it here,” Hernandez said. “I like the hot [weather]. I’m from Puerto Rico, so I like the heat. I thank God that everything’s going well. I want to stay here. I like it here.”
Sheer Drama Set Up Well for Summer Campaign
Royal Delta (G2) winner Sheer Drama returned home to trainer David Fawkes’ barn at Gulfstream Park following a game second-place finish in the La Troienne (G1) in Louisville and is doing well, according to her trainer.
“She came out of her race really, really good,” Fawkes said. “She ran a really great race. I was thrilled with how she ran. Naturally, I was disappointed that we didn’t win, but I’m thrilled with how she ran.”
The daughter of Burning Roma was beaten less than a length by the 6-year-old Molly Morgan in the Kentucky Oaks undercard event. The Dale Romans trainee avenged a loss to Sheer Drama after finishing third in the Royal Delta at Gulfstream on March 21, a race that also produced an additional next-out graded stakes winner in House Rules, who captured the Top Flight (G3) on the New York circuit after checking in second at Gulfstream.
“It became a key race,” Fawkes said. “The winner [of the La Troienne] finished behind us [in the Royal Delta], and another horse that came out of there – Jimmy Jerkens’ filly – won a graded stake next out, too.”
Sheer Drama will continue to train at Gulfstream as Fawkes formulates a plan for her next start.
“There are some spots that we’re looking at, but nothing definite yet,” he said.
Gulfstream Park was well represented on the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks undercards, as five graded stakes that weekend were won by horses that had made their previous start at Gulfstream.
In addition to Molly Morgan, Competitive Edge, who captured the Tamarac Stakes in Hallandale on March 27, was a dominant winner of the Pat Day Mile (G3); Divisidero, who began his career at Gulfstream with a maiden special weight victory before finishing third in the Palm Beach (G3) on March 7, rallied to win the American Turf (G2); Tepin captured the Distaff Turf Mile (G2) after winning a Gulfstream allowance on March 21; and Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) runner-up Private Zone prevailed in the Churchill Downs (G2).