HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Their elders had their chances to shine at Gulfstream Park Saturday in five stakes worth $75,000 each. Next Saturday, the 2-year-olds will have their day.
Exciting prospects Dekabrist and Naval Command are slated to lead their respective divisions in the $75,000 Birdonthewire and $75,000 Cassidy Stakes.
Dekabrist was spectacular in his debut on May 11, setting a track record for 4 1/2 furlongs with a clocking of 51.31 clocking. Ridden by Edgard Zayas, the son of Street Boss drew off to win by 15 ¼ lengths. The Kentucky-bred colt had to work a little harder in his second and most recent start in an overnight stakes on June 14. I’m Venezuelan, an impressive debut winner on May 4, set a strong pace into deep stretch before Dekabrist found his best stride and pulled away to a 1 ½-length victory.
“He’s been training great. He’s going right now like a monster,” trainer Gennadi Dorochenko said. “This horse is absolutely amazing. In my lifetime, I haven’t seen many horses at 4 ½ furlongs win by 16 lengths and break a track record.”
Dekabrist is one of four horses nominated by Dorochenko to the Birdonthewire, joined by Kulak, Bagration and Kutuzov. Kulak, who also won at first asking on May 18, finished an even third behind Dekabrist and I’m Venezuelan on June 14.
“Everybody will run,” Dorochenko said.
The Birdonthewire, slated for 5 ½ furlongs, attracted a total of 20 nominations, including Daniel Pita-trained Carlito’s Dream, a 13-length debut winner; trainer Kathleen O’Connell’s impressive debut winners Wayne’s Way and Wicked Rascal; as well as Bruno Tessore-trained I’m Venezuelan.
Dorochenko expects to run “three or four” of his six nominees for the Cassidy for fillies.
A lot of attention will be focused on Naval Command, who overcame a sluggish start in her debut to prevail at first asking for trainer Bill Kaplan on June 21. The daughter of Midshipman made an inside run to reach contention, split horses in the stretch and pulled out a length-victory over a sloppy track.
“She had shown us so much speed, we expected her to be on the lead that day. That was impressive,” Kaplan said. “She’s been training great since that race.”
The Cassidy attracted 27 nominations, including several other impressive debut winners, including Dogwood Trail, who captured her debut by nearly six lengths for Jack or Better Farm and trainer Stanley Gold on May 31; and the O’Connell-trained trio of Coco’s Wildcat, a three-length winner on May 25, Herecomesmisskitty, a 2 ¾-length winner on June 14, and I’m a Good Looker, a nine-length winner on May 30.
Curlin’s Princess, who made amends for a troubled second-place finish in her debut with a sharp maiden victory on June 7 for trainer Marty Wolfson and owner/breeder Happy Alter, is also among the more prominent nominees.
The Birdonthewire and the Cassidy will be used as preps by those nominees who are eligible for the Florida Sire Stakes, which gets under way on Aug. 9 at Gulfstream with the running of the $100,000 Dr. Fager and $100,000 Desert Vizen.