Gulfstream News & Notes: 12.26.11

Gulfstream News & Notes: 12.26.11


By Jack Will & Brian Skirka

Sacristy Hoping To Start New Year Right in Old Hat

Peachtree Stable’s Sacristy will celebrate the New Year and her third birthday in Saturday’s $100,000 Old Hat (G3).
Trainer Wayne Catalano hopes he can celebrate the festivities in the winner’s circle with his daughter of Pulpit.
“She really moved up on the main track last out,” Catalano said, referring to Sacristy’s 6 ¾-length maiden win in her most recent start at Churchill Downs.  “She ran well in her first two starts on the synthetics but just ran into two very nice horses.”
In her career debut at Arlington, Sacristy was sent off the even-money favorite, but checked in second, beaten nine lengths by Bet to Win.  That fellow daughter of Pulpit stepped up to win a non-winners-of-two allowance race at Keeneland in her next start at odds of 1-5.
In career start number two, Sacristy finish second, again beaten nine lengths, behind Applauding who recently wired a first-level allowance field at the Fair Grounds as the 1-10 favorite.
“She’s always trained very well,” Catalano said.  “That’s why she was so heavily bet in her first start.  But she’s never trained as well as she has since we got her down here.”
Following what Catalano hopes will be a successful start in the Old Hat, Sacristy may have some longer races in her future.
“I don’t think she’s just a sprinter,” Catalano said.  “She certainly has the pedigree to go longer.”
Sacristy’s sire Pulpit won the 1997 Fountain of Youth (G2) and Bluegrass (G2).  Her dam, Christies Treasure, won at distances up to 1 1/8 miles on turf during her career.

Hansen & Soldat Post First Winter Breezes on Christmas Eve Morning

Christmas Eve morning Saturday was very busy for horsemen and clockers at racetracks and training centers throughout South Florida with most of the tracks closed on Sunday morning, and high-profile names on the work tabs included Hansen, Mucho Macho Man and Presious Passion at Gulfstream Park and Soldat, Awesome Feather, It’s Tricky and Pants on Fire at Palm Meadows.
Kendall Hansen and Sky Chai Racing’s undefeated 2-year-old Hansen went an easy half-mile in 53 flat for trainer Mike Maker in his first recorded workout since his thrilling wire-to-wire head victory over favorite Union Rags in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5.
A flashy roan/gray Kentucky homebred by Tapit, Hansen won his only two previous starts at Turfway Park by double-digit margins and his connections and racing fans await the results of Eclipse Award balloting as the vote is expected to be close between him and Union Rags.
Harvey Clarke and partners’ 3-year-old Soldat was a big name early this year at Gulfstream Park when  he won an allowance race by 10 ¾ lengths and the $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) by two lengths for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
However, the son of War Front went on to finish a disappointing fifth as the favorite behind Dialed In in the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) and 11th of 19 in the Kentucky Derby (G1) in his last appearance under colors. Soldat breezed three furlongs in 36 flat Saturday morning in his first workout since the Derby.

  Grande Shores Resumes Promising Career Thursday

Jacks or Better Farm’s homebred 3-year-old colt Grande Shores was in the same crop as their star filly Awesome Feather when she finished a game second to Gourmet Dinner in the Dr. Fager Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes at Calder in August of 2010 while still a maiden.
As Awesome Feather went on to complete an undefeated Eclipse Award season -  winning the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Churchill Downs - Grande Shores ran only one more time after the Dr. Fager, breaking his maiden by 6 ¾ lengths on Dec. 27 before being sent to the sidelines.
A half-brother to Jacks or Betters’ 2009 2-year-old star Jackson Bend, Grande Shores returns to competition almost exactly a year later on Thursday at Gulfstream Park in an ‘a other than’ allowance test at 6 ½ furlongs. Jockey Luis Saez is named to ride in a field of eight 3-year-olds and up.
“He got very sick with a viral infection after he broke his maiden,” said trainer Stanley Gold Monday morning. “He lost a lot of weight and we sent him to the farm. He’s come back and trained great. I’ve done all I want to with him in the morning. Now it’s time see where he is in the heat of a race. He could be a little rusty.” 
A son of Black Mambo, Grande Shores ran six times as a 2-year-old finishing second four times and losing his jockey in the Frank Gomez Memorial in July won by Little Drama two races before the Dr. Fager.
Leading trainer Todd Pletcher has been red-hot in the first month of the Gulfstream season and has a pair of 3-year-old contenders that could end up the one-two choices Thursday in James Scatourchio’s Ice Cream Man with John Velazquez aboard and leading rider Javier Castellano named on E. Paul Robsham Stable’s Simba’s Story.
A $150,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase by Elusive Quality, Ice Cream Man won his only career start over the Gulfstream track on Apr. 3 over as the 19-to-10 start with Velazquez in the saddle.
Simba’s Story is a Kentucky homebred and is also by top sire Elusive Quality and has run well in all five of his career starts, most recently finishing fourth in a Belmont Park allowance on Apr. 30 when beaten only three-quarters of a length for it all by Redeemed. Simba’s Story showed a win, two seconds and a third in as many starts before that last winter at Aqueduct.
Completing the field for Thursday’s feature are Nicholas Becce’s Zuber, Juan Leyva; For Petes Sake Stable’s Trouble in Dodge, Joe Bravo; Wind River Stable’s Depeche Cat, Manoel Cruz; Patricia Generazio’s Raging Six, Elvis Trujillo; and Paul Saylor’s Old Guys Rule, Julien Leparoux.

Awesome Belle Possible for Old Hat or Sweetest Chant

Jacks or Better Farm’s 2-year-old homebred filly Awesome Belle had a wide trip when finishing 12th behind My Miss Aurelia in the $2 million Breeders’ Juvenile Fillies (G1) last out at Churchill Downs.
Awesome Belle and 2-year-old colt stablemate Fort Loudon, seventh behind Hansen in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) on Nov. 5, each spent the next three weeks on Jacks or Better owner Fred Brei’s farm before returning to Gold’s barn at Calder.
“She (Awesome Belle) worked a bullet five-eighths last week (1:01 2/5 on Dec. 20) and she’s ready to run,” said Gold Monday morning. “She’s nominated for the ($100,000) Old Hat (G3), but I haven’t decided to go in there or wait and run her longer on grass in the ($100,000) Sweetest Chant (Jan. 22). I’ve got a few days to decide, but she’s doing great.”
Like Awesome Feather, Awesome Belle is a homebred daughter of Awesome of Course and earned a chance in the Breeders’ Cup after winning the My Dear Girl Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes at Calder on Oct. 15 by 7 ½ lengths.