Champion Work All Week Preps for Smile with Bullet Breeze in Kentucky
Rengifo Lives His Dream With First Ride
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Trainer Jose Garoffalo said Sunday morning that Honors Stable Corp.’s Wildcat Red will be reunited with reigning two-time Eclipse Award champion Javier Castellano in Saturday’s $250,000 Smile Sprint at Gulfstream Park.
“I’m going to go with Castellano,” Garoffalo said. “We’re happy to have him ride our horse.”
Castellano, the reigning three-time Championship Meet titlist, has ridden Wildcat Red once, guiding the Florida-bred colt to a 4 ¾-length romp in the seven-furlong Hutcheson (G3) at Gulfstream in 2014.
Wildcat Red was confirmed for the six-furlong Smile Sunday morning following a ‘bullet’ five-furlong breeze at Gulfstream Park.
“He went great,” said Garoffalo, whose colt captured the Fountain of Youth (G2) and finished a close-up second in the Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream last year. “He loves this track.”
The 4-year-old son of D’wildcat, who hasn’t raced since finishing off the board in the Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream on Jan. 17, was timed in 1:00.31, the fastest clocking of 12 recorded at the five-furlong distance.
“Mentally, he’s more focused. Physically, he’s a lot stronger and is more muscled,” Garoffalo said. “He’s doing everything easier like he did before. He’s ready to get back.”
In addition to Castellano, Victor Espinoza is slated to ride on the $1.175 million Summit of Speed program, highlighted by the Smile and $250,000 Princess Rooney (G2), both Breeders’ Cup Win & You’re In events.
Espinoza, who rode American Pharoah for a 2015 Triple Crown sweep, is slated to ride City of Weston in the Smile Sprint among other mounts after signing autographs prior to Saturday’s program, which also includes the $150,000 Azalea (G3) and $150,000 Carry Back (G3) and five other stakes.
Work All Week Preps for Smile with ‘Bullet’ Breeze
Champion Work All Week prepared for a scheduled start in the Smile Sprint while breezing a half-mile in 46.20 seconds Sunday morning at Churchill Downs. The Midwest Thoroughbreds’ homebred gelding turned in the fastest of 53 workouts at the distance.
The 6-year-old son of City Zip capped his 2014 Eclipse Award-winning season with a half-length victory in the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita on Nov. l.
The Roger Brueggemann-trained gelding finished a troubled second in the 2015 debut in the Aristides (G3) at Churchill Downs on May 30. The Chris Hartman-trained Alsvid is also scheduled to ship from Kentucky for the Smile and a chance to clinch a berth in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Rengifo Lives His Dream With First Ride
Keiber Rengifo, who left Venezuela for Ocala two years ago with $250 in his pocket and a dream of making a better life for his family, took a giant step in realizing his dream of becoming a jockey Saturday when he rode his first race Gulfstream Park.
Even though Rengifo came in seventh in Saturday’s second race, the 22-year-old, who was accompanied to the track by his wife, daughter and parents, was happy that he took the first step in realizing his dream.
“I was very happy and grateful to have this opportunity, and I am so happy [trainer Juan Rodriguez] gave me a chance to race,” Rengifo said. “I decided to do this for my family that I love so much and I thank God for the opportunity. I couldn’t be more thankful. It’s magnificent for my dad, mom, my wife and daughter [to be here], especially with the situation that is happening in Venezuela."
Rengifo, from Caracas, Venezuela, has always had a passion for racing but never was involved in any horse racing activities until an uncle introduced him to racing. Rengifo took a big gamble and chose to leave his family in Venezuela to work with his uncle on a farm in Ocala.
Rengifo learned the business from the ground up, mucking stalls and grooming horses before galloping horses at the sales for the past year. Rengifo, who galloped horses for Rodriguez for a week before his first mount, hopes to continue riding during the summer.