Gulfstream News & Notes
Elmutahid Pointed to Besilu Fountain of Youth
Fresh off a dominating maiden victory at Gulfstream, Elmutahid is likely to return in the $400,000 Besilu Fountain of Youth (G2) on Feb. 23.
“We’re going to work him one more time and make the decision, but right now we’re planning on it,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said.
The Shadwell homebred had run his first four career races on turf before McLaughlin entered him in a 1 1/8-mile maiden special weight event on Gulfstream’s main track on Jan. 19. The son of Street Cry assumed the lead right from the start to set an uncontested pace before scoring by 4 ¾ lengths over a sloppy track.
“It was a surprise how he did it and how much he liked the dirt. He’s out of a Grade 1 mare on the turf and he’s by Street Cry,” McLaughlin said. “We just did it because he trained well on the dirt. It was a surprise in the fashion that he won.”
Elmutahid’s triumph was somewhat reminiscent of the McLaughlin-trained Soldat’s allowance victory over a sloppy Gulfstream track in 2011 prior to winning the Fountain of Youth. But McLaughlin wasn’t taking a shot in the dark with Soldat, who was a graded-stakes turf horse when he was switched to dirt.
“Soldat had run his first two starts on the dirt. We knew he liked it OK,” McLaughlin said. “We just totally guessed (with Elmutahid) and it worked out.”
Lucky Chappy Set for Mac Diarmida
Lucky Chappy will seek his first U.S. victory in Saturday’s $150,000 Mac Diarmida (G2) at Gulfstream Park. The 1 3/8-mile turf stakes will be his 10th start since being imported from Italy, where he won twice from three starts.
The 4-year-old son of High Chaparral has been stakes placed in six of those starts for trainer Graham Motion, who saddled him for second-place finishes the El Camino Real Derby (G3) and the Virginia Derby (G2) last year.
“I don’t know that I can say he’s been unlucky. He’s just a hard-knocking horse who’s always right there,” Motion said. “He just hasn’t been lucky enough to win one.”
In his most recent start, Lucky Chappy closed from 13th to finish third in the Hollywood Derby (G1), 1 ½ lengths behind victorious Unbridled Command, who came back to finish third in last Saturday’s Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1).
“I thought he ran really well. The winner came back to finish third to Animal Kingdom and Point of Entry,” Motion said. “This horse needs distance, like the mile-and-a-quarter of the Hollywood Derby. The mile-and-three-eighths distance of this race I think is really going to help him.”
Motion entered Game Fair and Angegreen for Saturday’s $100,000 The Very One, confident that the 1 3/8 miles of the turf stakes for fillies and mares will suit them well.
“Both of these fillies are in there because they’re craving the distance,” Motion said.
Game Fair will seek her third straight victory, coming off a Gulfstream allowance victory at 1 7/16 miles on Dec. 26 and a Kentucky Downs allowance triumph at 1 5/16 miles.
“Game Fair has finally come to herself. I always thought she was a good filly, and she’s finally come to herself when I’ve gotten the chance to run her further,” Motion said. “And I hope that’s the key with Angegreen.”
Angegreen, who was winless in three starts last year after winning three of five starts in Italy, will make her 4-year-old debut in the The Very One.
“My thought is that she is just desperate to run further. For a 3-year-old, it’s very hard to find races going long,” said Motion, noting that French jockey Antoine Hamelin will ride the daughter of Ekraar Saturday.
Motion and Team Valor International nominated Cerro for the Fountain of Youth. The Irish-bred colt won a 1 1/8-mile allowance at Gulfstream by 2 ½ lengths on Jan. 26, after which Motion had indicated that the $150,000 Palm Beach (G3) over the Gulfstream turf course on March 3 would be targeted for his next race.
“We’ll be weighing our options. Most likely we’ll be going to the Palm Beach, but we’ll take a look at the Fountain of Youth as well.” Motion said.
Meanwhile, Animal Kingdom has pleased his trainer with how he came out of the Kitten's Joy Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap and is on course for a start in the $10 million Dubai World Cup (March 30), in which he will run on a synthetic surface. Animal Kingdom prepped for his 2011 Kentucky Derby victory on synthetic tracks at Turfway, where he won the Spiral Stakes (G3), and Keeneland, where he worked.
“He certainly seemed to handle it really well at Turfway when he won on it,” Motion said. “He worked unbelievable on it at Keeneland when he worked on synthetic for the Derby. He had one of the fastest works I’ve ever had.
Swale May be Next for Gombey Dancer
Gombey Dancer, an impressive three-length maiden winner at Gulfstream on Feb. 3, may make the jump to graded-stakes company in the $150,000 Swale (G3) on March 2.
“He’s a possibility for the Swale, stretching out to seven (furlongs),” trainer Eddie Kenneally said. “He won pretty impressively going six furlongs, so we’ll try him at the longer distance and gradually stretch him out.”
Gombey Dancer, a son of Dixie Union, ran six furlongs in 1:10.15 to break his maiden in his second start.
Kenneally, who expects to stretch out allowance winner Majestic Hussar in the Fountain of Youth, also plans to stretch out Honorable Dillon for his next start. Honorable Dillon won the seven-furlong Hutcheson (G2) on Feb. 2.
“There are a lot of options for him. He’s a horse that’s going to stretch out, most likely in his next start. We’re looking at the Gotham as one possibility or possibly the Tampa Bay Derby,” Kenneally said. “We won’t make a decision quite yet.”