Gulfstream News & Notes: 1.12.12
Walsh Opts to Run Santiva in Fort Lauderdale
Santiva, who returned from a six-month layoff recently with a sharp second-place finish on turf, had been nominated for both the $100,000 Hal’s Hope (G3) on the main track and the $100,000 Fort Lauderdale (G3) on turf, both scheduled for Saturday Gulfstream Park.
Trainer Brendan Walsh, though, opted to keep the 4-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway on turf for at least one more start, having determined that the 1 1/16 miles of the Fort Lauderdale suits him better than the one-turn mile distance of the Hal’s Hope.
“We’re going to go to the Fort Lauderdale, mostly because we want to keep him around two turns,” Walsh said. “I don’t think the one-turn mile would suit him, but we haven’t thrown him off the dirt, by no means. He’s probably got a lot of potential to improve. He’s still lightly raced.”
Santiva, who had previously raced on grass once before stepping onto the 2011 Triple Crown trail, made his return to action and turf at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 17. He raced wide throughout the mile allowance after breaking from the far-outside post position, gaining the lead in mid-stretch before succumbing by a neck to even-money favorite Unbridled Ocean.
The long-range goal for Santiva is either the $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) or the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1), both scheduled for Feb. 11.
“He ran very well the first time on grass. We’ll give him another go on the grass and then hopefully after that we’ll run him in the Donn or the Gulfstream Park Turf,” Walsh said. “We were delighted with him the last time. He’s going to improve a lot off his first run, I think. He was coming off a six-month layoff. I think he’s going to improve a lot.”
After finishing second in a maiden race at Saratoga in August 2010, Santiva finished second in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland and broke his maiden in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs to complete his 2-year-old season. He finished second behind Mucho Macho Man in the Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds in his 3-year-old debut before finishing off the board in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Belmont Stakes (G1).
Prior to his recent Gulfstream Park start, Walsh took over Santiva’s training from Eddie Kenneally, for whom he had worked several years as an assistant.
“You’d like to think Santiva would be a Donn horse or the other race on turf. Two runs on the turf would be a good preparation for the Donn, as well as the (Gulfstream Park) Turf,” Walsh said.
Companion Turf Tests Highlight Jan.21-22 Weekend
Renewals of the $100,000 Kitten’s Joy Stakes on Sat., Jan. 21 for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on turf and $100,000 Sweetest Chant Stakes on Sun., Jan. 22 for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on turf will highlight the weekend programs at Gulfstream Park, both races likely to draw full fields.
Trainer Graham Motion appears to hold a strong hand for the Kitten’s Joy with four nominees, including Team Valor International’s Howe Great, a Kentucky homebred by Hat Trick with a win over the course for the same connections as 2011 Kentucky Derby (G1) hero Animal Kingdom. Howe Great finished second and broke his maiden in two starts sprinting on dirt at Parx before a turf allowance victory here on Dec. 15.
Team Valor and Motion also have Irish-bred Lucky Chappy nominated with strong credentials. The son of High Chaparral began his career in Italy last spring with a second and two wins before coming to Motion this summer. He obviously took to American racing as he finished third in the Bourbon Stakes (G3) at Keeneland in October and fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) on Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs.
The Kitten’s Joy is named for Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s 2004 Eclipse champion turf horse that won the Palm Beach Stakes (G3) over the Gulfstream course early that year and has four colts among those nominated for the race, including the Ramseys’ Kentucky homebred chestnut Coalport.
Trained by Wayne Catalano, Coalport finished a game second in the Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland ahead of Lucky Chappy in his second start after a winning debut on grass at Arlington Park. However, he had a rough trip in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, finishing 11th. Coalport came back to finish a close-up fourth in the Dania Beach Stakes here on Dec. 18, beaten less than two lengths in the one-mile turf test.
The Ramseys also have a daughter of Kitten’s Joy nominated for the Sweetest Chant with Sisterhood, trained by Wesley Ward. The chestnut homebred won the La Senorita Stakes on turf at Retama Park in Texas in mid-October after fourth and fifth-place tries at Belmont Park and Saratoga. Sisterhood came back to finish eighth in the Ginger Brew Stakes over the Gulfstream course on Dec. 24.
The winner of the Ginger Brew and nominated for the Sweetest Chant is Stride Rite Racing Stable’s Frolic’s Revenge, a homebred daughter of Vindication out of Graded stakes winner Stormy Frolic. Trained by Milt Wolfson, Frolic’s Revenge was making her turf debut in the Ginger Brew after a very wide trip when ninth behind My Miss Aurelia in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Churchill on Nov. 4.