Great Attack Solid Choice in Gulfstream Turf Sprint
Houyhnhnm Stable’s 6-year-old Great Attack is the most accomplished of six older horses entered in Saturday’s $75,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint, and will be the horse to beat after a sharp 1 ¾ lengths victory in the $75,000 Turf Dash at Tampa Bay Downs on Jan. 5.
Jockey Angel Serpa rides Great Attack for trainer Wesley Ward in Saturday’s five-furlong test. The son of Greatness was making his first start in the Tampa Bay race since a very respectable fifth-place finish behind Mizdirection in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita on Nov. 3, beaten only three lengths for it all after rallying from 13th of 14 in the 6 ½-furlong test down the famous hillside course.
The Breeders’ Cup was Great Attack’s first start since capturing the $125,000 Churchill Downs Turf Sprint (G3) on May 5 with an 11th to first rally. He was favored in Gulfstream Turf last year and finished second by a length. It was his first start since a fourth-place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs in the fall of 2011.
While Great Attack will likely be racing from off the pace, Mr. and Mrs. Bertram Firestone’s 6-year-old gelding Varsity may bid to go wire-to-wire under jockey Joe Bravo as they did in a tough allowance field over the course and distance on Dec. 13. Trained by Christophe Clement, Varsity is a Kentucky homebred by Indian Charlie and had two wins and a second over the Gulfstream course in 2011.
The intriguing prospect in the field is Stud Sampalo LLC’s 5-year-old Brazilian-bred Berlino Di Tiger with Paco Lopez to ride for trainer Eduardo Caramori in his U.S. debut after winning seven of nine starts with two thirds in Brazil. The son of Tiger Heart won his last four starts, most recently on May 19.
“He came to the U.S. in October and was sent to Lambholm Farm in Ocala,” said Caramori. “Then he came to me at Palm Meadows late last year and he’s looking good and training good.” Berlino Di Tiger worked a ‘bullet’ half-mile at Palm Meadows in 47 1/5 last Friday.
“There are two questions we have going into this race. The first is will he be up to the competition, although he was a champion in Brazil. The second is that all of his races there were over a straight course. He trained around turns, but this will be the first time he raced around a turn.”
Another interesting contender that is hard to gauge is John Menary's 6-year-old gelding Something Extra for trainer Gail Cox and jockey John Velazquez. Also a son of Indian Charlie, Something Extra makes his first start since a third-place effort in the Kennedy Road Stakes (G3) on Nov. 25 at Woodbine run over the Polytrack surface.
He shows a 4-1-2-1 record on turf.
Completing the field for the Gulfstream Turf Sprint are Sherry Parbhoo’s Off the Jak, J. L. Alvarez; and Jason DeCosta’s Silver Cloud, Fernando De La Cruz.