Gulfstream News & Notes: Feb. 21
By Jack Will
Manicero Probable For Start in Hutcheson
Leo Azpurua, Sr.’s 3-year-old Manicero, a winner of four consecutive starts, appears likely to try and run his streak to five this weekend in Saturday’s $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (G2) going seven furlongs at Gulfstream Park.
“We’re very seriously considering the Hutcheson,” said Azpurua Jr. “We do plan on stretching him out later on, but for now we think it’s best to keep him sprinting. He worked very well (Saturday at Calder) and Luis Saez will ride him if we go.”
Manicero is a son of freshman sire Mass Media and was purchased privately by the trainer’s father as a 2-year-old after raising him on his farm in Ocala for the breeder. Manicero finished third in his career debut at Calder on Oct. 2 and has been perfect since, breaking his maiden in October by 7 ¾ lengths and romping home an 8 ¼ lengths winner of the $125,000 Jack Price Juvenile in November.
In two starts since then at Tampa Bay Downs, Manicero won the $75,000 Inaugural Stakes on Dec. 26 and the $75,000 Pasco Stakes last out going seven furlongs on Jan. 15. “He dropped his rider before the start in his first race and then lost his focus the rest of the way,” said the trainer of the colt’s debut third-place finish before being disqualified to fourth.
Other probable/possible starters for the Hutcheson to hit the work tabs Saturday morning were Darley Stable’s Crossbow, a half-mile in 48 3/5 at Palm Meadows for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin; Zayat Stable’s Black N Beauty, five-eighths in 1:00 1/5 at Gulfstream for trainer Dale Romans; and Wesley Ward and Robert Teel’s Madman Diaries.
Blue Angel Set for American Debut in Wednesday Allowance Feature
George Bolton’s 4-year-old Irish-bred filly Blue Angel showed considerable promise finishing a close-up fourth in a Group 3 stakes at Goodwood as a 2-year-old in England and placing in ‘Listed’ stakes at Doncaster and Ascot last year for trainer Richard Hannon, and is entered to make her North American debut in Wednesday’s ‘a other than’ allowance feature.
Jockey Joe Bravo is named to ride Blue Angel in the one-mile turf test for trainer Christophe Clement, who has a long record of success with European filly and mare imports over the last 15 years. A daughter of Oratorio, Blue Angel was beaten only a neck for it all in the Prestige Stakes (G) at Goodwood in 2009 and finished a respectable sixth next out in the Fillies Mile (G1) at Ascot, beaten only 4 ½ lengths by the winner.
Blue Angel faces 11 rival fillies and mares in Wednesday’s wide-open feature with Juddmonte Farm’s 4-year-old homebred Cosset among those that will attract solid support with Kent Desormeax named to ride for trainer Bill Mott. The daughter of Mizzen Mast finished a close-up third in a similar race over the course here last out on Jan. 27 in her sixth career start with her record including a maiden victory and three seconds.
Trainer Shug McGaughey sends out a solid contender in William S. Farish and Mrs. Wallace Gilroy’s 4-year-old homebred Storm Showers, a regally-bred daughter of Storm Cat out of Weekend Surprise and makes her first start since an even fourth-place effort in an ‘a other than’ at Saratoga on Aug. 20 after breaking her maiden at Belmont Park in her second outing.
Completing the field are McConnell Racing Stable’s Classical Fashion, Alma and Roy Lomas’ Kelly’s Pic, PRO Thoroughbred Enterprises’ Lady Jadana, Melvin Isenstein’s Ba Ba’s Bunch, Dennis Federico’s Miner’s Tune, Thoroughbred Futures’ Golden Galleon, Farnsworth Stable’s Suroof, Augustin Stable’s Oh So Nice and Smarch Racing’s Dad’s Crazy.
Data Link Bids for Third Straight Win in Thursday Allowance
Stuart S. Janney III’s 3-year-old Kentucky homebred colt Data Link broke his maiden on turf at Aqueduct in late November and won an ‘a other than’ allowance over the Gulfstream Park course on Jan. 23 in his 2011 debut, and may be the favorite to make it three in a row in Thursday’s ‘two other than’ allowance feature.
Jockey Alex Solis was aboard Data Link for both victories and retains the mount for trainer Shug McGaughey in the field of eight 3-year-olds that includes one ‘main track only’ entrant. A son of War Front, Data Link finished evenly in a pair of main track sprints at Saratoga before finishing fourth in his first try on grass before the two victories.
Trainer Christophe Clement sends out an intriguing prospect in Thursday’s race with Silverton Hill LLC’s English-bred Longhunter making his American debut after four starts in Ireland last year. The son of Halling won a ‘Listed’ stakes at The Curragh in September after two unsuccessful attempts in Group 2 events.
Trying turf for the first time in the race will be Rapputi Stable’s Ribo Bobo, a stakes-winner and Graded stakes-placed on the main track for trainer Manny Azpurua. Apprentice jockey J.L. Alvarez is named to ride the Florida homebred after he finished seventh behind Brethren last out in the Sam Davis Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 12.
Ribo Bobo is a son of Louis Quatorze and won the Foolish Pleasure Stakes in late September at Calder in his first start around two turns and came back with a good effort when second in the one-mile, one-turn Iroquois Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs in late October, beaten two lengths by Astrology.
Completing the field for Thursday’s feature are Florence Patitucci’s Star Zapper, Rajiv Maragh; Law Legacy Stable’s Uncle Otto, Joe Bravo; Charles Marquis and John Behrendt’s One Cool Dude, John. R. Velazquez; Centaur Farm’s Megalith, Javier Castellano; and Bobby Flay’s Sensational Slam is the ‘main track only’ entrant for trainer Todd Pletcher with John Velazquez named to ride.
Sensational Slam is a Canadian-bred chestnut colt by Grand Slam purchased for $240,000 at the OBS March 2-year-old sales and won the $150,000 Clarendon Stakes and $150,000 Vandal Stakes in his first two career starts on Polytrack at Woodbine in July, both restricted to Canadian-breds, before a dull try when ninth of 10 on turf last out in the With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga on Sept. 3.