Gulfstream Alumni Win Big On Derby Day
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Animal Kingdom, Mucho Macho Man and Shackleford – the first, third and fourth place finishers in the Kentucky Derby (G1) – all spent their winter racing and training at Gulfstream Park and its state-of-the-art training facility Palm Meadows.
Animal Kingdom, owned by Team Valor International and trained by Graham Motion, trained over the winter at Palm Meadows before making his 3-year-old debut March 11 at Gulfstream with a second-place finish against allowance company.
Horses who have wintered at Palm Meadows have won the Kentucky Derby five of the last six years and six of the last nine years.
Animal Kingdom was ridden by jockey John Velazquez, a perennial leading rider at Gulfstream. It was Velazquez’s first Kentucky Derby victory.
Mucho Macho Man, trained by Kathy Ritvo, trained throughout the winter at Gulfstream. After starting his 3-year-old campaign with a fourth-place finish in the Holy Bull (G3) behind Florida Derby (G1) winner and Kentucky Derby favorite Dialed In, Mucho Macho Man won the Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds before finishing third in the Louisiana Derby (G2).
Like Mucho Macho Man, Shackleford spent the winter training at Gulfstream under the watchful eye of trainer Dale Romans. Shackleford made his 3-year-old debut winning against allowance company Feb. 5 before going on to finish second in the Florida Derby, beaten just a head.
Dialed In, who spent the winter at Palm Meadows and put in his final Derby workout there April 28, finished eighth. Brilliant Speed, second Jan. 16 in Gulfstream’s Dania Beach and third Feb. 6 in the Hallandale Beach, finished seventh. Fountain of Youth (G2) winner Soldat, who also wintered at Palm Meadows, was 11th.
In other races Saturday at Churchill Downs:
• Get Stormy, who spent the winter at Gulfstream for trainer Thomas Bush and finished third in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1), led gate-to-wire to upset 12 others in the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1). Get Stormy won by three-quarters of a length over Smart Bid, who finished second in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap. Doubles Partner, who began his 4-year-old season Feb. 2 with a second-place finish against allowance company at Gulfstream, was third.
• In the Humana Distaff (G1), the first three finishers all spent the winter at Gulfstream Park. Sassy Image, a 16-1 shot who spent the winter training and racing across Gulfstream Park, drove past Inside Information (G2) and Hurricane Bertie (G3) winner Hilda’s Passion to win the $300,000 Humana Distaff (G1) by three lengths. Amen Hallelujah, second in the Inside Information and Sabin (G3), finished third. Sassy Image won the 2010 Sweetest Chant across Gulfstream. The 4-year-old filly came into the Humana Distaff off a seventh-place finish Feb. 19 behind Awesome Maria in Gulfstream’s Sabin. Sassy Image covered the seven furlongs in 1:21.01.
• Juddmonte Farm’s Aviate, a third-place finisher March 5 in Gulfstream’s Honey Fox (G3), drove to the lead in mid-stretch to win the $200,000 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2) by 1 ½ lengths over Aruna. Trained by Bill Mott, Aviate covered the mile in 1:36.67.
• Dogwood Stable’s Aikenite, who wintered at Palm Meadows for trainer Todd Pletcher and started his 4-year-old season with a second-place finish against allowance company March 5 at Gulfstream, won the $300,000 Churchill Downs (G2) by a nose over Apriority, who won an allowance event March 5 at Gulfstream. Aikenite covered seven furlongs in 1:21.40.