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Great Attack Likely Choice in Gulfstream Turf Sprint
By Jack Will
HALLANDALE BEACH,, FL - Houyhnhnm Stable’s Great Attack ran a big race to finish fourth Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G2). The 5-year-old will begin his 2012 campaign Sunday as the horse to beat in the $60,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint, a five-furlong test in which he finished second last year.
“He ran a good race (Breeders’ Cup) and I can’t give him an excuse,” said trainer Wesley Ward of the son of Greatness that was beaten only 2 ¾ lengths for it all by Regally Ready. Asked about the possibility that wet conditions could force Sunday’s race off turf, he said “we’re running.” Great Attack drilled a ‘bullet’ half-mile in 46 3/5 Thursday morning in preparation for his return.
Regular rider Jeffrey Sanchez will be back aboard Great Attack, who specialized in turf sprints most of last year, although three of his four victories from 13 career starts have come on the main track. In his last race on a main track, he posted a wire-to-wire score on a ‘sloppy’ track at Churchill Downs in late November of 2010 in a race forced off turf.
Great Attack faces six rivals including Charles Palombini’s 7-year-old gelding Little Nick with jockey Paco Lopez to ride for trainer Anthony Quartorolo. The son of Tiger Ridge is a half-brother to 5-year-old multiple stakes-winning turf star Little Mike. Little Nick was claimed by his current connections for $25,000 at Monmouth Park in August of 2010.
Little Nick has won four races with three seconds in 10 starts since the claim. He recently returned from seven-month layoff to win a turf allowance sprint at Tampa Bay Downs on Dec. 21, his first start since scoring in the Champali Stakes on Turf at Calder in mid-May. In a very good effort over the Gulfstream course last year he finished a game second to highly-regarded Bridgetown in a turf sprint allowance.
In addition to Great Attack, Ward will be represented by 4-year-old gelding Madman Diaries, a son of Bring the Heat he bred and co-owns with Robert Teel. Madman Diaries finished second by a length behind Little Nick in the Tampa Bay allowance on Dec. 21 in his first start since mid-April at Woodbine.
Madman Diaries won the Victoria Stakes at Woodbine and Sapling Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park as a 2-year-old in 2010 and finished fourth behind Pluck in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G2) at Churchill Downs that fall. However, he has made only three starts since then. Jockey Elvis Trujillo will have the mount.
Completing the field for Sunday’s race are Mary Jean Bonfili’s Wekiva Wacheee, Jesus Castanon; Mr. Amore Stable’s Marquet Cat, Jose Lezcano; Geoff Woodruff Racing’s Private Jet, John Velazquez; and McCarty Racing’s McCarty, Joe Rocco, Jr. Bluestone Thoroughbreds’ Black Diamond Cat was entered for ‘main track only’ by trainer Larry Bates.