Gulfstream News & Notes
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Trainer Pat Byrne confirmed that Almost Famous will make his next start in the $400,000 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park on February 22.
Owned by Charles and Maribeth Sandford, the son of Unbridled's Song finished a game fourth in his 2014 debut, the $400,000 Miller Lite Holy Bull Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream on January 25. Almost Famous had been out of action for nearly three months prior to the Holy Bull, and was forwardly placed throughout before tiring a bit late. He was beaten just over a length for second in the 8 1/2-furlong Holy Bull.
"He ran big in the Holy Bull," Byrne said. "We were really happy with his race because he showed a lot of guts. He ran hard down the backside, didn't catch a breather, and I didn't have him fully cranked for the race." Almost Famous, a $500,000 purchase as a 2-year-old in training, had a four-furlong breeze in 49 seconds at Palm Meadows last Saturday.
"It was a maintenance work, a nice half-mile, and I'm really happy with him," Byrne said. "We came out of the race in good shape, he looks strong and we're hoping to move forward."
Almost Famous has been a pace factor in each of his four starts to date, but Byrne believes his charge is amenable to different tactics.
"He doesn't have to be on the lead, he just found himself in that position (in the Holy Bull)," Byrne commented. "He's ready to go and we look forward to bringing him back and trying them again. Depending on the pace scenario, he can sit off of it."
Jockey Calvin Borel, who has ridden a trio of Kentucky Derby winners, will be back in the saddle next Saturday.
"Calvin is coming back to ride him in the Fountain of Youth," Byrne said. "He's a great rider and we're happy to have him back aboard."
The Fountain of Youth will offer Kentucky Derby qualifying points on a 50-20-10-5 basis. The mile-and-a-sixteenth event is expected to attract Conquest Titan, the runner-up in the Holy Bull; highly regarded allowance winners Commissioner and Top Billing; and Hutcheson Stakes (G3) hero Wildcat Red.
"It will be a plenty salty race," Byrne said.
Holy Bull Winner Cairo Prince to Work this Weekend
A dominant winner of the $400,000 Miller Lite Holy Bull (G2) on Jan. 25, Cairo Prince will have his first work back with a four-furlong breeze this weekend at the Palm Meadows Training Center.
“We plan on working Saturday morning after the break,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “Even though he’s working, we’re still pointing for the Florida Derby.”
Cairo Prince raced four times in 16 weeks with three wins, including the Nashua (G2) on Nov. 3 at Aqueduct. His lone defeat came by a nose to Honor Code in his subsequent start, the Remsen (G2).
Owned by Namcook Stables, Paul Braverman, Harvey Clarke and Craig Robertson, Cairo Prince made his 3-year-old debut in the Holy Bull, romping to a 5 ¾-length triumph in 1:42.16 for 1 1/16 miles.
McLaughlin did not nominate Cairo Prince to the $400,000 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (G2) on Feb. 22 and will train up to his next target, the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby (G1) on March 29.
“I’d like to see him go a half in :50-ish,” McLaughlin said. “We’re not looking for anything serious at all, just a maintenance work to get him back on the work tab. He’s doing great.”
Honor Code breezed Wednesday morning at Gulfstream Park, going four furlongs in 47.78 seconds and galloping out five-eighths in 1:01.49. It was the first work for the A.P. Indy colt since Jan. 19 at Payson Park.
The highly regarded 3-year-old missed some time with hind ankle bruising, causing him to miss making his seasonal debut in the Fountain of Youth and prompting Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey to bring the horse to Gulfstream.