Boisterous & Get Stormy Clash in Gulfstream Turf
By Jack Will
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Phipps Family Stable’s 5-year-old Boisterous ended his 2011 campaign with a pair of graded stakes victories on turf in New York and Sullimar Stable’s 6-year-old Get Stormy won a pair of Grade 1 turf stakes in Kentucky in the spring. The two high-class grass course runners meet as the likely favorites in a field of 11 drawn for the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) Saturday.
The Gulfstream Turf at 1 1/8 miles leads three graded stakes to be run earlier on Donn Handicap Day. The other races include the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs and the $150,000 Suwannee River Stakes (G3) for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Jockey John Velazquez rides Boisterous for trainer Shug McGaughey as the Kentucky homebred son of Distorted Humor makes his first start since a two-length score in the 11-furlong Red Smith Handicap (G2) over the Aqueduct course on Nov. 5. Boisterous won the Knickerbocker Handicap (G3) going 1 1/8 miles at Belmont Park in his previous start in mid-October. The Knickerbocker was Boisterous’ first start since a somewhat disappointing fifth-place try in the Sword Dancer Invitational (G1) at Saratoga in mid-August.
“He’s always been a good horse, but we kind of got off track with him in the Sword Dancer,” said McGaughey. “He came back strong in the fall and then got a little break at a farm in Ocala before bringing him down here.”
Jockey Ramon Dominguez rides Get Stormy in his first start since a disappointing 12th place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5, a race he had disappointed his connections the year before at Churchill. Get Stormy ran well in each of six starts before the Breeders’ Cup, highlighted by victories in the Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) at Keeneland and Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill in the spring.
“Although the course at Churchill is different in the spring than the fall, I can’t really give him an excuse for those (Breeders’ Cup) performances,” said trainer Tom Bush recently. “They remain a mystery to me. We’ll just have to put that behind us and look ahead to this season.”
The Kentucky homebred by Stormy Atlantic finished third in the Gulfstream Turf last year, beaten one length for it all in a good try.
Trainer Todd Pletcher sent out Starlight Stable’s Take the Points to finish first by 1 ½ lengths in the 2010 edition of the Gulfstream Turf, but had to watch from the winner’s circle as his number was taken down by the stewards and placed fourth for interference in the stretch in a controversial decision.
The Gulfstream Turf is one of only a few major stakes on the Gulfstream calendar that Pletcher never has won officially while leading the standings here for the last eight years. He could get that taken care of Saturday when he sends out Black Rock Stable’s 4-year-old Silver Medallion with jockey Javier Castellano aboard.
A son of Badge of Silver, Silver Medallion found a home on turf late last year after a brief run on the Triple Crown trail in the spring when he finished fourth in the Santa Anita Derby (G1). In his last three starts on grass, Silver Medallion has finished third in the Commonwealth Turf (G3) at Churchill Downs in November and won the Tropical Turf Handicap (G1) at Calder and Fort Lauderdale Stakes (G3) over the Gulfstream course last out on Jan. 14.
Completing the field for the Gulfstream Turf are Robert Harvey’s Hollinger, Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Big Blue Kitten, Bruno Shickedanz’ Yummy With Butter, Harvey Clarke and Andrew Albstein’s Yankee Fortune, Lael Stable’s Kindergarden Kid, Augustin Stable’s Smart Bid, Brous Stable and Wachtel Stable’s Al Khali and Godolphin Racing’s Sangaree entered for ‘main track only’ while also entered in the Donn Handicap.
Ever So Lucky & Thunder Mocassin Clash in Hutcheson
Augustin Stable’s Ever So Lucky built a following quickly when he won his career debut by 3 ¼ lengths going 6 ½ furlongs at Churchill Downs as the 4-to-5 favorite on Nov. 11, and came back with a good effort finishing second in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) going 1 1/16 miles there on Nov. 26, favored at 8-to-5.
A son of Indian Charlie, Ever So Lucky comes back for his third career start for Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard in the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (G2) with regular rider Julien Leparoux back in the saddle facing five rivals led by Starlight Stable’s Thunder Mocassin, trained by Todd Pletcher.
“He got down here (from Camden, S.C.) and had a good work a few days later (59 1/5 on Jan. 39),” said Sheppard last weekend. “Julien (Leparoux) has experience with this colt and will know where to place him, depending on the way the race comes up.
“He’s already had a race at a mile-and-a-sixteenth so we know he handles the distance. We thought coming off the layoff the seven-eighths race would be the right distance. He’s adaptable to be placed wherever he’s comfortable.”
Jockey John Velazquez was aboard Thunder Moccasin for his winning career debut here going 6 ½ furlongs on Dec. 24 and will be in the saddle Saturday. The Kentucky-bred son of A.P. Warrior was $95,000 Fasig-Tipton July yearling purchase and went wire-to-wire in his first start to score by 2 ½ lengths over Ender Knieval, who came back to win very impressively last weekend.
Completing the field for the Hutcheson are Mike Tarp’s Tarpy’s Goal, Javier Castellano; BNB Racing and Rick Shanley’s Wildcat Creek, Angel Serpa; Michael Bruder’s Quick Wit, Ramon Dominguez; and Chuck Russo’s Il Villano, Elvis Trujillo.
Heavenly Landing and Denomination in Suwannee River
Summerplace Farm’s 5-year-old mare Heavenly Landing is hitting her best stride after winning allowance races at Keeneland and Churchill Downs in the fall and posting a 19-to-1 upset with a nose victory last out in the Marshua’s River Stakes (G3) over the Gulfstream Park turf course on Jan. 7.
Trained by Eddie Kenneally, Heavenly Landing will be a lot shorter price when she comes back in the $150,000 Suwannee River Stakes (G3) going 1 1/8 miles on turf Saturday in a field of 12 fillies and mares with regular jockey Corey Lanerie flying in from New Orleans for the mount.
A daughter of Pulpit, Heavenly Landing is now perfect in three starts on grass after showing some promise earlier in her career on the main track.
“She’s doing really well.” Kenneally said. “Her last race was her best. She’s an improving filly and three-for-three on the grass.”
Heavenly Landing faces several highly-accomplished turf stakes veterans in the race including Ghislaine Head’s 6-year-old Denomination with Joe Bravo in the saddle for trainer Christophe Clement and Barbara Hunter’s 5-year-old Snow Top Mountain for trainer Tom Proctor and jockey Jose Lezcano.
Denomination will be a formidable contender on her best form, although she was somewhat of a disappointment last out finishing a close-up fourth as the odds-n favorite in the My Charmer Handicap (G3) at Calder on Nov. 24, although beaten less than a length for it all. The daughter of Smart Strike won the Violet Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park and Athenia Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park in her two previous starts.
Snow Top Mountain ran a big race to finish third in the My Charmer ahead of Denomination and came back to lose a neck decision as the favorite in an allowance race at Tampa Downs on Jan. 9. The roan/gray homebred by Najran is very consistent with a 19-5-7-2 record, including a victory in the Kentucky Cup Ladies Turf at Kentucky Downs in September.
Completing the field for the Suwannee River are Two Bucks to Show LLC’s Cumulonimble, Tenreri Farms’ Thundering Emilia, Donald Adam’s Gold d’Oro, Stuart Janney III’s Hit It Rich, Trick or Treat International’s Here to Win, Farnsworth Stable’s Speak Easy Gal and James Lauffer and Poplar Hill Equine’s Persuading.
Farnsworth Stable’s Dash Dot Dash and Peter Fuller’s Trip for A.J. are entered to run ‘main track only’ in the Suwannee River.