Gulfstream News & Notes
Bern Identity Set for Rematch with Shanghai Bobby in Holy Bull
Bern Identity, who will make his 3-year-old debut in Saturday’s $400,000 Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream Park, is generally regarded as the biggest danger to undefeated Shanghai Bobby, the 4-5 morning-line favorite.
The 3-year-old son of Bernstein, who is owned by Lori and George Hall, is a graded-stakes winner with purse earnings of $616,000 from six starts. Rated second in the morning line at 4-1, Bern Identity faced Shanghai Bobby once last year, finishing third in the Hopeful (G2) at Saratoga under jockey Ramon Dominguez, beaten 4 ½ lengths by the victorious Todd Pletcher-trained champion.
“It was the first time Ramon had ridden the horse, and he might not have been as familiar with him as much as we might have liked. Ramon came back and gave us some real input,” trainer Kelly Breen said. “The next time out, Ramon wasn’t able to ride us, but he gave us a couple of things we’ve learned about the horse. We took some of his constructive criticism and it’s helped us.”
Bern Identity, who had previously captured the Sanford (G2) at Saratoga, followed up his solid Hopeful performance with a sharp three-length victory under Paco Lopez in the $200,000 Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Downs six weeks later. The Kentucky-bred colt was favored to win the $1 million Delta Jackpot (G3) in November, only to encounter a tough trip around the six-furlong ‘bullring.’ Stopped and shuffled back to last, Bern Identity made an impressive six-wide move around the tight final turn and closed to finish second behind Goldencents.
“He got stopped a couple times and was probably last with three-sixteenths of a mile left and still finished second,” said Breen, who purchased Bern Identity for the Halls at the 2011 Keeneland September sale for $75,000. “He’s a hearty horse. When he got bumped around during some races, he’s always coming at the finish.”
Bern Identity received a favorable No. 4 post-position draw for the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull, which attracted a strong field of 10 3-year-olds.
“I was a little bit shocked that we got as many as we did. I thought it was going to have a field of seven or eight and I didn’t think (post position) was going to be that important,” Breen said. “We’re not necessarily a horse that needs to be on the lead. He has enough tactical speed to be wherever Paco wants him to be.”
Discreet Marq Gets Slight Turn Back for Sweetest Chant
Patricia Generazio’s 3-year-old New York homebred filly Discreet Marq ran a big race to finish third in the $75,000 Ginger Brew Stakes going 1 1/16 miles over the Gulfstream turf course on New Year’s Day after setting the pace past mid-stretch. She will drop back to a flat mile as one of the likely choices in Sunday’s $100,000 Sweetest Chant Stakes.
“I think it will help her quite a bit actually,” said trainer Jan Cibelli Friday morning. “I think Mystic Love is the horse to beat in there, but the shorter distance should help our filly. Looking ahead, we will have a lot of options for her as the season goes on as she is a New York-bred.”
A daughter of Discreet Cat, Discreet Marq has faced Mystic Love once before when they met in the 5 ½-furlong Selima Stakes over the Laurel Park course on Oct. 27. Discreet Marq was sent off the favorite and rallied to finish fourth behind Mystic Love, but beaten only two lengths for it all.
Csaba on Target for Donn Handicap
Bruce Hollander and Cary Shapoff’s 4-year-old Csaba, on a streak of four straight stakes victories including the $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday Stakes on Dec. 16 and $100,000 Hal’s Hope Stakes (G3) Jan. 13 at the Gulfstream Park meet, is on schedule to face his biggest challenge yet in the $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) going 1 1/8 miles on Saturday, Feb. 9.
“He came out of the Hal’s Hope in excellent condition and we’re looking forward to the Donn,” said trainer Phil Gleaves Friday morning. “He’ll have a breeze here (Calder) Monday morning and another next weekend sometime. He’s been on more or less a once-a-month schedule of races and shown no signs that he can’t handle it.
“At some point in the season he’ll get a break, but when and where we haven’t decided as yet. Right now we’re just concentrating on the Donn, which we know will be a tough race.” A son of Kitten’s Joy, Csaba has now won eight of 17 career starts, capturing the ‘off the turf’ Tropical Park Derby and Fred Hooper Handicap (G3) prior to the two Gulfstream stakes.
The Donn is expected to bring out a very strong field, including WinStar Farm and Maribeth and Chuck Sanford’s Take Charge Indy, Preston Farm’s Flat Out, Let’s Go Racing Stable’s El Padrino and the next three to finish behind Csaba in the Hal’s Hope, W.S. Farish, Jr.’s Pool Play, Lori and George Hall’s Pants On Fire and Harvey Clarke and partners’ Soldat.
Top Jockeys in for Day-Night Double-Header Saturday
Gulfstream Park leader board jockeys Javier Castellano, Luis Saez and Corey Lanerie along with visiting star Rosie Napravnik have a busy and exciting weekend planned. All four will be in action here with mounts in the $400,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3) as well as other races Saturday before they board a private charter flight at nearby Opa Locka Airport to Texas to ride in rich stakes races at Sam Houston Park that evening.
Castellano, Saez and Lanerie rank first, second and ninth in the Gulfstream standings, respectively, and all three are expected back at Gulfstream to ride on Sunday. Napravnik will be flying in from New Orleans to ride undefeated 2012 Eclipse champion 2-year-old Shanghai Bobby as the favorite in the Holy Bull Stakes before making the trip to Sam Houston and then returning to ride at Fair Grounds on Sunday.
South Florida-based horses in the Sam Houston stakes are Unlimited Equine LLC’s 5-year-old mare Brushed by a Star (Eddie Kenneally) and Gary Barber’s 4-year-old filly Sisterly Love (Mark Casse) in the $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic, and James Dolan and James Covello’s 5-year-old Swift Warrior (John Terranova), Stuart S. Janney III’s 5-year-old gelding Seal Cove (Shug McGaughey) and Scarlet Stable’s 4-year-old King David (Mike Maker) in the $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup (G3).