Fawkes Trainee Heads Field of 12 in One of Five $75,000 Sprint Stakes on Card
C. Zee Ready for Rematch With Bolita Boyz in Cherokee Run for 3-Year-Olds
Madame Giry to Take on the Boys in Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – After establishing himself as a top-class sprinter last year when he captured the Smile Sprint Handicap (G2) and finished second in Saratoga’s Vanderbilt Handicap (G1), Bahamian Squall, unfortunately, didn’t have much of a chance to show his talents in the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita (G1) on Nov.2.
Crowded at the start and forced to race extremely wide around the final turn, the son of Gone West had to settle for sixth place.
“It was a bad trip, but I don’t know how much he liked California. When he got out there, I don’t think he was doing as could as he could have been doing,” trainer David Fawkes recalled. “You’ve got to take you’re A-Game, and I don’t think we took our A-Game. He ran a huge race, all things considered, but I don’t think he was himself.”
That he was beaten by just 2 ¾ lengths by the world’s best sprinters when he wasn’t himself and had to endure a terrible trip is a testament to Bahamian Squall’s class.
Fawkes expects Donald Dizney’s home-bred 5-year-old to have his A-Game in the Housebuster Stakes, one of five $75,000 sprint stakes slated for Saturday’s program at Gulfstream Park.
“He’s come back stronger, better, this trip back than I’ve ever seen him. So I’m really expecting a lot from him,” said Fawkes, whose trainee is scheduled to clash with 11 rivals in the 6 ½-furlong Housebuster.
Bahamian Squall hasn’t raced since finishing third in the Sunshine State at Gulfstream on Dec. 8 due to a chronic issue with a foot abscess.
“It was one of those that migrated around the foot and he just wouldn’t get well. We decided to give him a break,” said Fawkes, who named Ramsey Zimmerman to ride Bahamian Squall. “He really does well off a break.”
A half-brother to Apriority, a Grade 1 stakes-placed horse who captured the 2011 Mr. Prospector at Gulfstream, Bahamian Squall has earned more than $500,000 while finishing first or second in nine of 16 starts. In his return in the Housebuster, he’ll be meeting some challengers with sharp recent form, including Mr. Baker, Grande Shores and Dad’z Laugh.
Mr. Baker comes into the Housebuster on a three-race winning streak for trainer Kirk Ziadie, who claimed the 5-year-old son of Imperialism for Acclaimed Racing Stable for $16,000 on Feb. 23. In his most recent start, the Ponche Stakes at Calder, Mr. Baker posted a 2 ½-length victory over Dad’z Laugh, who had previously won the Big Drama Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Two starts back, Mr. Baker prevailed narrowly over Grande Shores in a seven-furlong starter allowance at Gulfstream.
Edgard Zayas, who has been the regular rider of Grande Shores, honored a commitment to ride Mr. Baker, forcing trainer Stanley Gold to reluctantly find another rider for the Jacks or Better Farm’s home-bred son of Black Mambo, who has proven to be a difficult horse to ride. Abdiel Jaen was named to ride Grande Shores when entries were taken Monday.
“He’s got a mind of his own. Sometimes they want to do what they want to do. There are things that he favors and there are things that he doesn’t favor,” Gold said. “You’ve got to have confidence in him to know what he’s going to do when you ask him. The more a rider gets familiar with the horse, the more comfortable you are putting him on the horse, because they know what they’re on.”
Although he may be a difficult horse to ride, Grande Shores has been a model of consistency during his career and comes into the Housebuster with a pair of victories and two second-place finishes in his last four starts.
The Housebuster attracted a strong contingent of hard-knocking stakes veterans, including Action Andy, a multiple-stakes winner who won an allowance during the Champions Meet; Black Diamond Cat, who won the Housebuster at last year’s inaugural summer meeting; and Close It Out, who finished second behind Black Diamond Cat in the 2013 Housebuster.
One of the more intriguing entrants is Heart Stealer, the 4-year-old graded-stakes winning filly who is also cross-entered in the $75,000 Paseana for fillies and mares.
“I just have to look at how the race shapes up, look at the post positions, etc,” said trainer Marty Wolfson, who entered four fillies in the Paseana.
Heart Stealer captured the $200,000 Inside Information (G2) against fillies and mares at Gulfstream on March 22.
Also entered in the Housebuster: Narvaez, City of Weston, Trinni Heart and Houston Bull.
C. Zee Takes on Bolita Boyz in Cherokee Run Stakes for 3-Year-Olds
Jacks or Better Farm’s C. Zee, who captured the one-mile Sir Bear Stakes at Gulfstream Park two starts back, is set to return to the Hallandale Beach track Saturday for the 6 ½-furlong $75,000 Cherokee Run Stakes. The Stanley Gold-trained colt will seek to turn the tables on Bolita Boyz, who defeated him last time out in the six-furlong Unbridled Stakes at Calder.
“He’s a really nice colt. He’s doing really well, but I think he’s better going long,” said trainer Stanley Gold. “But he is coming into this race well.”
C. Zee broke his maiden going away at six furlongs in December, before finishing second in the six-furlong Spectacular Bid Stakes and second behind Wildcat Red in the seven-furlong Hutcheson. He suffered his only off-the-board finish in a 10th-place finish in the Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (G2) in his first start around two turns.
“I know he didn’t run well in the Fountain of Youth going long, but it was his first time around two turns and he ran against the best 3-year-olds,” said Gold, whose trainee will be ridden by Abdiel Jaen. “I really think he wants to run two turns.”
Bolita Boyz, who got the jump on C Zee to capture the Unbridled last time out, also finished second behind Wildcat Red. However, the Bill White-trained colt was impeded by Wildcat Red and was awarded the victory in the Juvenile Sprint by disqualification at Gulfstream Park Nov. 3.
Edgard Zayas is named to ride Bolita Boyz.
Little Daddy, who finished second in the 1 1/16-mile English Channel on turf on June 14, is scheduled to return to the main track and cut back in distance for the Cherokee Run.
“I think he’s going to bounce back big time. I think he’s doing really well. He’s bred to go long on the turf, but there’s nothing wrong with going 6 ½ on the dirt. It’s a nice little step-stone for him, and I think it’ll be good,” said Carlo Vaccarezza, whose trainee launched his career with a pair of sprint victories on dirt. The son of Scat Daddy finished third behind C. Zee in the Sir Bear.
Rasta Rant, who finished second behind Bolita Boyz in the Unbridled, is scheduled to make his Gulfstream debut for owner/trainer Rohan Crichton in the Cherokee Run.
Also entered for the 11-horse Cherokee Run: Piloting, Casiguapo, General Sham’mah, Three Quarter Roy, Red Pom Pom, Victory Nor Defeat and Take Time to Pray.
Madame Giry to Take on the Boys in Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint
Multiple-stakes winner Madame Giry was entered to run against the boys in Saturday’s $75,000 Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint. The Cam Gambolati-trained 5-year-old mare is seeking her first victory of the year but brings an abundance of back class into the five-furlong turf dash.
Having earned nearly $450,000 in purses, the daughter of Castledale won back-to-back stakes last season, the Smart N Fancy at Saratoga and the Jameela at Laurel. In her most recent start, she broke 14th in the six-furlong The Very One at Pimlico, only to be beaten by just two lengths in an unlucky seventh-place finish.
Cajun Breeze, who returned to turf to record his first success over the inner course last time out at Gulfstream, and Starship Wildcat, who captured a second-level allowance last time out, loom as major factors in the Umphrey.
Determinato, a veteran turf campaigner trained by Bill White, finished third in the Gulfstream Turf Sprint on Feb. 1 but is still looking for his first 2014 win.
Moonwalker, Full Moon’s Back, Do the Roar, Texas Rustler, Uno Caliente, Padilla, Jo Jo’s Comet and Take Time to Pray (main track only) were also entered.