Gulfstream News & Notes
BOYNTON BEACH, FL– Cairo Prince, the early favorite for the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby (G1) on March 29, breezed a half-mile in 48 3/5 seconds Saturday morning at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream Park’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County.
The 3-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile, who posted a dominating 5 ¾-length victory in the $400,000 Miller Lite Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream on Jan. 25, completed the workout under a tight hold by motionless exercise rider Rob Massey.
“It really went well; it went perfect. We were looking for :49 or :50 , and we got :48-and-3. He looked great doing it,” trainer McLaughlin said. “We’ll most likely work him every Saturday from now on, although we may take one Saturday off, because there are a lot of Saturdays between now and March 29.”
McLaughlin has opted to bypass next Saturday’s $400,000 Besilu Stable’s Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream in favor of waiting for the Florida Derby, a premier prep for the Kentucky Derby (G1) on May 3. In the direct aftermath of Cairo Prince’s sensational victory in the Holy Bull, McLaughlin said keeping his exciting prospect “happy and healthy” was is main objective. “The Holy Bull was quite an impressive race by all figures. These horses aren’t machines. You can’t run them every four weeks, even if you want to,” McLaughlin said. “We just thought we’d wait – the best chance to get ready for the Florida Derby is wait.” McLaughlin has enjoyed considerable stakes success with horses coming off long layoffs, most notably with Invasor, who clinched the 2006 Horse of the Year title with a Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) victory three months after winning the Whitney (G1).
“I think a lot of it depends on the horse. When we gave Invasor extra time, it was because he was a special horse. Well, this is a special horse, too,” McLaughlin said. “There are no secrets. It’s all about the horse.”
Cairo Prince has won three of four lifetime starts, launching his career with a maiden win at Belmont and a victory in the Nashua (G2) at Aqueduct before suffering his first career loss in the Remsen (G2), in which he lost by a nose to Honor Code. Jockey Luis Saez, whom McLaughlin said misjudged the slow pace in the Remsen, made amends with a perfect off-the-pace journey in the Holy Bull.
McLaughlin also sent recent allowance winner Penwith to the track at Palm Meadows Saturday for a half-mile work in :49 in preparation for a scheduled start in the next Saturday’s $200,000 Davona Dale. The 3-year-old daughter of Bernardini has won two of four starts and finished a close second in the Demoiselle (G2) at Aqueduct on Nov. 30.
“She ran very well that day. She came back and won on Jan. 2 and she’s been working well for the race, and we’re excited about it,” said McLaughlin, who is planning to enter Abtaal, who won an allowance race at Gulfstream in his U.S. debut on Jan. 25, in next Saturday’s $150,000 Canadian Turf (G3).
Pletcher Pointing Onlyforyou, Stopchargingmaria to Davona Dale
Trainer Todd Pletcher may enter as many as three horses for next Saturday’s $200,000 Davona Dale (G2) at Gulfstream, a 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
“Right now, I’m planning to enter Onlyforyou, Stopchargingmaria and Got Lucky is also under consideration for here and the Rachel Alexandra (Fair Grounds),” Pletcher said Saturday morning.
Onlyforyou is undefeated in three starts, including a 2 ¾-length victory in the seven-furlong Forward Gal (G2) at Gulfstream on Jan. 25. The 3-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon began her career with a pair of six-furlong scores – a debut victory at Aqueduct on Nov. 10 and an entry-level allowance win at Gulfstream by 3 ½ lengths on Dec. 15.
“It would be pretty hard to knock what she’s done so far,” Pletcher said. “We’ll see if she can handle the step-up in distance. Based on the way she’s training, we’re optimistic.”
Stopchargingmaria, who broke her maiden at Saratoga at first asking last July, is coming off a pair of victories at Aqueduct last fall in the 1 1/8-mile Demoiselle (G2) and the one-mile Tempted (G3).
“She’s very versatile. She finished up the year with a couple of nice performances and we’ve freshened her up a little bit with this race in mind,” Pletcher said. “She’s trained well and we’re looking forward to getting her started.”
Got Lucky, a recent maiden winner at Gulfstream, finished second, a neck behind Stopchargingmaria, in the Demoiselle.
Stopchargingmaria and Onlyforyou are scheduled to breeze at Palm Meadows Sunday morning, as is the Pletcher-trained Commissioner, who is expected to vie for favoritism in next Saturday’s Fountain of Youth.
Dutrow Targets Gotham for In Trouble
In Trouble, undefeated winner of the Futurity (G2) in his most recent start, will have one more work at Palm Meadows before making his 3-year-old debut.
Trainer Tony Dutrow schooled the bay Tiz Wonderful colt in the Gulfstream Park paddock during the first race on Friday.
“He hasn’t been in the paddock since late September at Belmont,” Dutrow said. “He’s nearly ready to run, and we’re trying to cover all our bases.”
Owned by Team D, In Trouble broke his maiden in his debut at Saratoga Race Course last August, then returned to score a 2 ¼-length victory in the six-furlong Futurity at Belmont Park. Finishing behind him that day were recently retired Grade 2 winner Corfu, Grade 2-placed Big Sugar Soda and Financial Mogul and Sound of Freedom.
In Trouble had surgery to remove a chip fracture from his left knee shortly after the Futurity, an injury Dutrow believe happened in the race. Based with Dutrow at Palm Meadows, he has breezed four times since mid-January, most recently going five furlongs in 59.30 seconds on Wednesday.
“He’s doing really good. One more workout, and he’s ready to run,” Dutrow said. “As of right now, I couldn’t be more happy with things.”
Dutrow is targeting the Gotham (G3) at Aqueduct to kick off In Trouble’s campaign. The 1 1/16-mile Gotham will be run on March 1.
“Both times he ran, he ran with good horses and he ran very fast,” Dutrow said. “He’s promising.”