Gulfstream News & Notes
McPeek Leaning Toward Holy Bull after Frac Daddy Work
Frac Daddy worked five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 at Gulfstream Park Monday morning in preparation for a likely start in Saturday’s $400,000 Holy Bull (G3).
“I’m leaning toward the Holy Bull,” trainer Ken McPeek said. “Nothing set in stone. I’ll wait until Wednesday and see how he’s eating and see how he’s doing. No pressure.”
The son of Scat Daddy, who was ridden by jockey David Cohen, worked in company with Twining Hearts, an unraced maiden who was clocked in 1:01.66 under Corey Lanerie.
“It was a nice solid breeze. We didn’t want to go too fast the first three-eighths. He finished up the last quarter and galloped out good. He went the last quarter in :24 3/5 and galloped out three-quarters in 1:14,” McPeek said. “He worked faster last week, but he worked too fast last week.”
Frac Daddy debuted at Belmont with a second-place finish in the mud on Oct. 4, before breaking his maiden by nearly 10 lengths at Churchill Downs a month later. Three weeks later, the gray colt led to deep stretch before being headed by multiple-stakes winner Uncaptured in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill.
“That race was an excellent race,” McPeek said. “He just got a smidgeon tired. It was only his third race. The other horse was going on six or seven.”
Should he pass on the Holy Bull, Frac Daddy could turn up in an entry-level allowance at Gulfstream on Saturday or the Sam Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 2. Undefeated Shanghai Bobby is scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut in the Holy Bull. How much will the presence of the 2012 juvenile champion have on his decision?
“Not much,” McPeek said. “I think we can run with him.”
Trainer Not Happy with Groupie Doll’s Training
Groupie Doll returned to the racetrack at Gulfstream last week, but her trainer isn’t happy with the manner in which the newly crowned Female Sprinter has been training.
“I’m not real happy with her right now. We just started back with her, but she’s just not comfortable on the track,” Bradley said Monday morning. “I haven’t told anyone about it yet, except the vet. He’s supposed to come later.”
After shipping to Gulfstream on Dec. 29, Groupie Doll missed several days of training on the racetrack due to unsatisfactory blood work. Bradley said the 5-year-old daughter of Bowman’s Band is happy and feeling fine.
“The blood’s good. That’s not the problem,” he said. “On the track, she just doesn’t seem the same. I don’t know what it is. We haven’t seen anything. It’ll take me a couple days to check her out and find out what’s going on with her.”
Groupie Doll, who captured the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint last time out, is scheduled to walk the next couple of days while Bradley and the vet try to figure out what’s ailing her.
“The smaller the problem, the harder it is to find,” Bradley said.
With Sugar On Top Looks Good in Return Victory
It has been a big weekend at Gulfstream Park for Dubai’s Maktoum family as Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum’s Darley Stud was voted Eclipse Award breeder for the 2012 season and Godolphin Racing’s outstanding filly Questing was named Eclipse Champion 3-year-old filly in ceremonies held Saturday evening at the track.
The maroon and white Darley colors were in the Gulfstream winner’s circle after the fourth race on Sunday after trainer Kiaran McLaughlin sent out the stable’s 3-year-old Kentucky homebred filly With Sugar On Top for a game neck victory over Team Valor International’s Three Hearts in the 1 1/8 miles turf allowance test.
With Sugar On Top is a daughter of Unbridled’s Song out of Fast Cookie, a winner of $557,000 including the 2003 Cotillion Stakes (G3) at Philadelphia Park. With Sugar On Top was making her first start since a four-length maiden victory on turf at Monmouth Park on Aug. 12 following a sixth-place debut there sprinting on dirt.
“Johnny (Velazquez) gave her a great ride,” McLaughlin. “There didn’t appear to be much speed and he let her sit right off the one-horse (Casual Elegance) in front and had enough left to hold off the closers. It was a big race off the layoff.
“We stopped on her after she broke her maiden with some minor issues, nothing serious. Then she got sick with some mucous and it took a little longer. She’s a 3-year-old so we probably will have to step her up to a stakes from here.” The next stakes for her division on the Gulfstream schedule is the $100,000 Herecomesthebride Stakes (G3) on Sat., Mar. 2.
McLaughlin had visited the winner’s circle Saturday afternoon as well with another promising Maktoum family horse in Shadwell Stable’s Kentucky homebred 3-year-old colt Elmutahid, who broke his maiden going 1 1/8 miles in the third race in his fifth career start. The son of Street Cry had made his previous four starts on turf, but took to the ‘sloppy’ main track Saturday leading wire-to-wire to score by 4 ¼ lengths under jockey Jose Lezcano for the 12-to-1 upset.
“We were not surprised but pleased with his switch to dirt,” said McLaughlin “He’s out of a good turf mare (Alwajeeha) and he (Elmutahid) had only run on turf. He’s always worked good on dirt so we decided to switch over. We’ll look at either an allowance in February or the Fountain of Youth (G2),” referring to the $400,000 test 1 1/16 miles on Sat., Feb. 23.
Mucho Macho Man Back to Training
Mucho Macho Man, who was eased across the finish line in the $400,000 Florida Sunshine Millions last Saturday, returned to a regular training schedule Monday morning at Gulfstream.
“He went out this morning,” reported trainer Kathy Ritvo. “He’s feeling great.”
After checking out Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s stable star following the surprising last-place finish as the favorite, Ritvo came to the conclusion that the sloppy track was the reason for Mucho Macho Man’s uncharacteristic performance.
In his only other start on a sloppy track, Mucho Macho Man finished a troubled seventh in the 2011 Belmont Stakes.
“I thought it was the bumping coming out of the gate, but I guess it might have been the track,” Ritvo said.
Between the two sloppy track disappointments, the son of Macho Uno ran in seven stakes on fast tracks, winning four, finishing second twice and third once.