Gulfstream News & Notes
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL- Multiple stakes winner Five Star Momma, runner-up to two-time Eclipse Award champion Groupie Doll in her most recent start, is being pointed to the $200,000 Inside Information (G2) at Gulfstream Park on March 22.
The seven-furlong Inside Information for older female sprinters would be the second straight graded stakes start for Five Star Momma, a 5-year-old daughter of multiple graded-stakes winning sprinter Five Star Day. Five Star Momma breezed a half-mile over Gulfstream’s main track in 46.80 seconds on Wednesday morning, the fastest of 14 horses, for trainer Jena Antonucci. It was her second work since finishing second to Groupie Doll in the $150,000 Hurricane Bertie (G3) on Feb. 9.
“We’re super pleased with where she is in the big picture,” Antonucci said. “She did her work today very workmanlike, very professional, very much within herself. We have the Inside Information on our radar screen. We’ll see how she comes out of this work and make sure she maintains her form with how she’s been and make a decision as we get a little bit closer.”
On March 3, Five Star Momma went five furlongs in 59.90 seconds at Gulfstream, the fastest of six horses.
“My style, I don’t typically breeze a ton but with some of these races being a little more spread out, we’ve had to just keep her on top of her game,” Antonucci said. “She’s so professional and she knows her job, so we’re just trying to stay out of her way a little bit.”
In the 6 ½-furlong Hurricane Bertie, Five Star Momma pressed a demanding pace of 22.27 and 45.16 seconds and stayed on after being passed by Groupie Doll to finish a decisive second, three lengths ahead of Wildcat Lily in third.
“Groupie Doll is special. We don’t see a lot of those horses come along in our industry, so we talked about even having the opportunity to run against her was great,” Antonucci said. “Five Star Momma showed us a new dynamic that we hadn’t really been able to appreciate before, her rating and going. We were very pleased to see her pull away from the field and keep running through the wire well.”
Owned by Summerwind Farm and Half Hollow Stable, Five Star Momma won three straight races last fall including the Chip Stakes at Aqueduct and Lady in Waiting Stakes at Penn National before finishing second in the Willa On the Move Stakes at Laurel Park on Dec. 28.
Five Star Momma’s only previous try at seven furlongs also came at Gulfstream, where she was fourth by 2 ¼ lengths as the favorite in an optional claiming allowance for previous trainer John Terranova. She has run on dirt, turf and Polytrack in 18 lifetime starts, with five wins.
“We’d been watching the races before the Hurricane Bertie and her last several starts when she reeled off her wins and she started finishing differently than we had seen before,” Antonucci said. “In the Laurel race she had come back on to that filly that had just beat her, and she had just been coming different down the stretch. We started to think about seven furlongs with how she’s been finishing her races. We’re very proud of her.”
Bravo Returns from Saudi Arabia
The resumption of live racing to Gulfstream Park on Wednesday also marked the return to South Florida of jockey Joe Bravo, four days after making his debut at King Abdul Aziz Racecourse in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Bravo, 42, finished fifth aboard 3-year-old Dynever filly Maroweh in the Group 1 King Abdul Aziz Cup, where another Gulfstream-based rider, Alan Garcia, was 11th on Awjab.
Earlier on the card, Bravo won the 1,400-meter Prince A Allah Bin Saud Bin A Allah Prize on Aezah, a 6-year-old daughter of Dynever who is a half-sister to multiple Grade 1 winner Bellamy Road.
“The first one they call a warm-up race, and she won very impressively,” Bravo said. “The horse in the big race got beat about two lengths. She had some excuses, but I hope I left a good enough impression to be invited back. It was a great experience.”
Currently sixth at the Champions meet with $1,245,801 in purse earnings and 12thwith 20 wins from 208 mounts, Bravo rode at Gulfstream on March 6 before leaving on an 8:40 flight that evening from Miami. The 7,500-mile trip took about 19 hours, landing at 10:40 p.m. on March 9 in Saudi Arabia, seven hours ahead of the Eastern time zone.
After riding Saturday’s card, Bravo left on a 6 p.m. (EST) flight that went through London and landed back in Miami at 3:30 Sunday afternoon.
“It was a pretty interesting go around the world,” Bravo said. “I’ve been to Dubai three times and you think, ‘OK, it’s the Middle East. It’s pretty much the same,’ but it’s two different worlds. It was the first time I was ever there, and they love the racing; they really do. It was really fun. They have a great facility, and it was an all-around positive experience going there and checking everything out.”
The opportunity to ride in Saudi Arabia came from trainer Nicholas Bachalard and exercise rider Jorge Duarte, who both work for King Abdullah Al Saud. Bachalard formerly was an assistant to trainer Christophe Clement, while Bravo rode with Duarte in South Florida. Duarte won several stakes in Florida, including the 1992 Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream aboard Preferences.
“They told me about it maybe 10 days before I left,” Bravo said. “For a last-minute thing, it was a really great experience. They have some nice horses, they really do.”
Florida Derby Golf, Poker Tournaments to benefit PDJF
A week of activities leading up to the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby March 29 will kick off with two events benefitting the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.
On Tuesday, March 25 the fourth annual Florida Derby Golf Tournament will be held at the Westin Diplomat Golf Resort. There will be tournament prizes, closest to the pin and longest drive awards as well a light lunch and beverages. Registration is 10:30 a.m. for a shotgun start at noon. Cost per golfer is $130. For more information contact Nancy LaSala at 650.595.7660.
The following evening, Wednesday, March 26 will be a charity poker tournament again benefitting the PDJF. The tournament starts at 6:30 p.m. with a buy-in of $150 and unlimited buy-ins during the first three rounds. For additional information call 954.457.6336.