Gulfstream News & Notes
Merit Man to Take Next Step in Hutcheson
Bruce Chandler, Robert McKee and James Glavin’s 3-year-old Merit Man is a nose short of a perfect record after four career starts for trainer Bob Hess, Jr. and is on track to move on to a new level when he starts next in the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park going seven furlongs next Saturday (Feb. 2).
“I was very happy with his race in the Spectacular Bid. He was hooked on the lead and was very game to go on from there,” said Hess Friday morning. “I think he will have to improve from there to the competition he will likely face in the Hutcheson. I’m not really worried about the seven furlongs. I think anything up to a one-turn mile is well within his range.”
A Florida-bred by With Distinction, Merit Man was a $75,000 OBS April 2-year-old sales purchase and made his first three starts in California. He won his debut at Del Mar in early September, won the Tim Conway Stakes at Santa Anita in early October and lost a tough nose decision as the 1-to-2 favorite in the $500,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint there on Nov. 2.
In the six-furlong Spectacular Bid, Merit Man was in a duel for the lead from the start through fractions of 22 and 44 1/5 and held off a late bid by longshot City of Weston in the deep stretch to score by three-quarters of a length in 1:11 1/5.
Singanothersong to Tackle Hutcheson Saturday
Herman Van Den Broeck’s 3-year-old Kentucky homebred Singanothersong was a sharp allowance winner going six furlongs at Gulfstream Park last out on Jan. 4 and takes a big step up to run a furlong farther in the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (G2) at seven furlongs next Saturday.
“I think he’ll be fine at seven-eighths,” said trainer Ron Pellegrini. “He’s run his race every time. The only time he wasn’t one-two-three in his career was in the mile race (Seacliff Stakes) at Calder last year (Aug. 25) when he came out of the race with a bad lung infection. In his next start he only got beat a nose by the horse that won the Seacliff and he’s (Sr. Quisqueyano) running in the Holy Bull today.
“He (Singanothersong) ran well to be second going a mile on turf after he kind of blew the first turn and ran green (Nov. 21). We more or less found out what he can and can’t do last year and he’s run two good races here. I think he’s improving and deserves a chance in this race.”
A roan/gray son of Songandaprayer, Singanothersong shows an 8-2-3-2 record and has run well in two starts at the meet, both races against horses he may face in the Hutcheson, including Honorable Dillon. The latter was the favorite when they met last out in Jan. 4 allowance race. Singanothersong set the pace in the race and appeared to have plenty left to hold Honorable Dillon safe by three-quarters of a length.
Kenneally Expects Honorable Dillon to Improve in Hutcheson
Trainer Eddie Kenneally has a pair of promising 3-year-olds nominated for the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (G2) next Saturday at Gulfstream Park with Joseph Bucci’s Honorable Dillon and Joseph Witek’s Majestic Hussar.
“I’m planning on Honorable Dillon,” said Kenneally Saturday morning from Palm Meadows. “I think he needed his first race and will move forward from it. That’s about the way it worked for him at Saratoga last year. He finished third in his first start and then improved to win his second start impressively.”
A roan/gray colt by Tapit, Honorable Dillon was a $100,000 Fasig-Tipton February 2-year-old sales purchase and finished third in his debut at Saratoga on July 28 and came back to score by 1 ¾ lengths on Aug. 25. Kenneally indicated that Majestic Hussar was being pointed for the $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at 1 1/16 miles on Sat., Feb. 23.
Kenneally was in for a long day Saturday as he will be bound for Sam Houston Park in Texas after the Gulfstream races along with several jockeys on a private charter flight out of nearby Opa Locka Airport. Kenneally sends out Unlimited Equine LLC’s 5-year-old mare Brushed by a Star as one of the favorites in the inaugural edition of the $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic to be ridden by Corey Lanerie.
A daughter of Eddington, Brushed by a Star makes her first start since finishing second in the Falls City Handicap (G2) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 22 in her first start for Kenneally.
Also shipping in for the Houston Ladies Classic from Palm Meadows is Gary Barber’s 5-year-old filly Sisterly Love in her first start for trainer Mark Casse after she was purchased privately from breeder Kinsman Stud. The daughter of Bellamy Road won all three of her career starts for Kinsman and trainer Bill White, winning two one-mile allowance races at Gulfstream following a winning debut at Calder in late October.