Ever So Lucky Expected to Make 2012 Debut in Hutcheson

Ever So Lucky Expected to Make 2012 Debut in Hutcheson

02/08/2012

By Ed Gray

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Despite a concern about Ever So Lucky’s final tune-up, trainer Jonathan Sheppard entered Augustin Stable’s 3-year-old colt in the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes on Saturday’s Donn Handicap (G1) program at Gulfstream Park.

“I expect we’ll end up running him,” Sheppard said after entering Ever So Lucky in the seven-furlong stakes Wednesday morning. “The horse is doing wonderfully.”

Sheppard’s confidence in Ever So Lucky’s preparedness for the Hutcheson was shaken slightly by a five-furlong workout in 1:01.75 over a sloppy track Monday morning.

“It was too slow. I think the horse needed one more good work,” he said. “I mean, it was better than nothing, but it didn’t prove much.”

Although dissatisfied with his colt’s final workout for his 2012 debut, Sheppard’s hardly disappointed with his lightly raced colt, who had been training in Camden, S.C. before shipping to Gulfstream in mid-January.

Ever So Lucky, a likely strong favorite in the Hutcheson, was timed in 59.20 seconds for five furlongs in his previous workout.

“The horse wasn’t even blowing after the work,” Sheppard said. “When he worked the previous time, he worked in company. Julien (Leparoux) had to ride him a little bit to catch up. The horse got something out of it, and I wanted something similar. This time for some reason I decided to work him alone.”

Ever So Lucky has run only twice, both a Churchill Downs, including a sensational 3 ¼ -length maiden romp at 6 ½ -furlongs on Nov. 11 and a runner-up finish behind undefeated Gemologist in the 1 1/16-mile Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) only two weeks later.

Sheppard raised the possibility that he could scratch Ever So Lucky from the Hutcheson. In the event that Ever So Lucky does not run, his 2012 debut could be delayed by a month.

“I might just wait for the Swale Stakes – same distance, same purse. Most of the other graded stakes are all too long. I don’t particularly want to bring him back at a longer distance,” Sheppard said. “But we’ll see.”