Gulfstream News & Notes - Feb. 20

Gulfstream News & Notes - Feb. 20


 Ritvo Considers Final Derby Prep for ‘Mucho’

Trainer Kathy Ritvo reported Sunday morning that Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Dream Team One Racing Stable’s Mucho Macho Man came out of his 1 ½-length victory Saturday in the $300,000 Risen Star (G2) in “excellent” condition and will ship back to Gulfstream Monday from the Fair Grounds.

“He came out great,” said Ritvo, who watched the colt kick off his 3-year-old campaign with a fourth-place finish Jan. 30 in the one mile Holy Bull (G3). “It was great to see him get back to two turns; he really needed that. I was really happy overall. (Jockey) Rajiv (Maragh) said he had a lot of horse left, too.”

Ritvo said Mucho Macho Man will return to his home base at Gulfstream sometime Monday morning. As for his next start, which could serve as his final prep for the May 7 Kentucky Derby (G1)? “We’re going to see how he comes back before we make plans,” Ritvo said. “I would love to stay home for the (April 3) Florida Derby (G1).”

South Florida Team Brings Home the Money from Fair Grounds

In addition to Mucho Macho Man, nine other runners based at South Florida tracks and training centers made the trip to New Orleans to run in stakes races Saturday with three Gulfstream Park-based jockeys going along for the ride. And they dominated, winning three of the biggest events while two others finished second by a head.

The South Florida contingent was led by five 3-year-olds in the $300,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2) and they finished one-two-three-fifth-sixth. Finishing behind Mucho Macho Man and Santiva (Eddie Kenneally) was Rogue Romance (Ken McPeek) in third, Decisive Moment (Juan Arias) fifth and Pants On Fire (Kelly Breen) sixth.

McPeek and jockey Julien Leparoux teamed up to win two stakes – Peter Callahan’s 4-year-old Beautician in the $60,000 Pan Zareta Stakes and Five D Thoroughbreds and Wind River Farm’s Kathmanblu in the $150,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G3).

Twin Creek Racing Stable’s 4-year-old Mission Impazible finished second by a head in the $125,000 Mineshaft Handicap (G3) with Maragh aboard for trainer Todd Pletcher and George and Lori Hall’s 5-year-old Sleepless Knight finished second by a head in the $125,000 Fair Grounds Handicap (G3) with Joe Bravo in the saddle for trainer Kelly Breen.

Possible Fields for Fountain of Youth Weekend Stakes

 For Saturday, February 26
• $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles – Live Oak Plantation’s To Honor and Serve, Robert LaPenta’s Dialed In, Our Sugar Bear Stable’s Gourmet Dinner, Harvey Clarke and partners’ Soldat, Magdalena Stable’s Casper’s Touch, Michael Lauffer and partners’ Shackleford and Donald Dizney’s Racing Aptitude.

• $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs – Centennial Farm’s Arch Traveler, Darley Stable’s Crossbow, Ron Marano’s Determinado, Leo Azpurua, Sr.’s Manciero, Zayat Stable’s Black N Beauty and Wesley Ward and partners’ Madman Diaries.

• $250,000 Davona Dale Stakes (G2) for 3-year-old fillies at one mile – John Oxley’s Dancinginherdreams, E. Paul Robsham Stable’s R Heat Lightning, Hardacre Farm’s Pomeroys Pistol and Jacks or Better Farm’s Evil Queen. 

Sunday, February 27

• $150,000 Canadian Turf Stakes (G3) for 4-year-olds and up at one mile on turf – Castleton Lyons’ Gio Ponti, WinStar Farm’s Doubles Partner, Priscilla Vaccarezza’s Little Mike, Lansdon Robbins III and partner’s National Kid, R.A. Hill Stable’s Rogue Victory and Peachtree Stable’s Twilight Meteor.


Lopez & Pletcher Continue Atop Gulfstream Standings

It is not clear as yet when leading Gulfstream Park jockey Paco Lopez will return to the saddle following his scary spill along with Eibar Coa in Friday’s sixth race, but Lopez holds a comfortable lead of 10 over his closest rival John R. Velazquez at 38-28 going into Sunday’s program.
Lopez and Velazquez are followed in the standings by Javier Castellano third with 25, Julien Leparoux and Jose Lezcano tied for fourth with 23 victories each and Rajiv Maragh and Alex Solis tied for sixth at 21 apiece. Lopez is the defending Gulfstream meet champion.
Trainer Todd Pletcher is bidding for a remarkable eighth consecutive Gulfstream title and leads by three over Nick Canani at 16-13 after sending out E. Paul Robsham Stable’s 4-year-old filly Awesome Maria to score in Saturday’s $100,000 Sabin Stakes (G3). Wesley Ward and David Fawkes are tied for third at 11 each.