Gulfstream News & Notes: 2.18.12
By Jack Will
Csaba to Get Big Test in Fountain of Youth
Bruce Hollander and Cary Shapoff’s 3-year-old Csaba (pronounced SHABA) is by turf champion Kitten’s Joy, a proven sire of top turf runners, and expectations by his connections last year at Calder Race Course were that his future would most likely be in grass races.
However, circumstances caused Csaba to make his first three starts on the main track at Calder last year. He’s now set for the biggest challenge of his young career when he goes to the post for next Sunday’s $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) going 1 1/16 miles at Gulfstream Park.
“He is by Kitten’s Joy and we tried to go right to turf for his first start,” said trainer Phil Gleaves Saturday morning. “That race was forced off turf as were the next two that he won impressively. He ran well enough back on the turf in the Dania Beach (fifth), but we’ve decided his wins on the main track were good enough to give him a chance in the Fountain of Youth, fully recognizing what a tough spot it is.
“He breezed a half-mile here (Calder) in 50 4/5 this morning. He’s ready to go. We still haven’t decided on a rider just year.” Csaba will be a longshot in a field expected to be led by Chadds Ford Stable’s Union Rags, Starlight Stable’s Algorithms and E. Paul Robsham Stable’s Discreet Dancer.
Gleaves has been best known in recent years for the accomplishments of Quantum Racing Team #1’s 7-year-old gelding Mambo Meister, a multiple graded stakes-winner on turf and dirt with earnings of more than $700,000, and he is nominated for the $150,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2) to be run at 1 3/8 miles on turf on Fountain of Youth Day.
“We’ve talked about trying him in a longer race for some time and this may be the time,” said Gleaves of the versatile Kentucky-bred chestnut by King Cugat, who finished 10th last out here on Jan. 14 in the Fort Lauderdale Stakes (G3) behind Silver Medallion, although beaten only 3 ¾ lengths for it all. “We haven’t made a final decision, but we’re seriously thinking about it.”
Groupie Doll Drills for Sabin Next Saturday
Fred and William ‘Buff’ Bradley’s 4-year-old Kentucky homebred filly Groupie Doll worked five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 Saturday morning at Gulfstream Park in preparation for a start next Saturday in the $100,000 Sabin Stakes (G3) at 1 1/16 miles in which she is expected to face 2011 Eclipse champion 3-year-old filly Royal Delta and Grade 1 winner Awesome Maria.
“Her work this morning was as good as any she’s had,” said trainer Buff Bradley later in the morning. “Obviously, this will be a tough spot, but this is the race we’ve been pointing for all along and we’re looking forward to it. Calvin (Borel) will fly in to ride her.”
A daughter of Bowmans Band, Groupie Doll was a good filly last year winning the Gardenia Stakes (G3) at Ellis Park and finishing second in photo-finishes in the $400,000 Charles Town Oaks and Raven Run Stakes (G2) at Keeneland. In two starts at this meet, she was very impressive winning a one-mile allowance on Dec. 22 and finishing second going a mile behind highly-regarded colt Boys At Tosconova on Jan. 27 when a race for fillies and mares wasn’t available.