Gulfstream News & Notes March 4
Emerging star Apriority returns to Gulfstream Park Saturday in a 6-1/2-furlong allowance race, carded as the eighth race. The 4-year-old son of Grand Slam was a fast-closing second in the $200,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint at Santa Anita on Jan. 29, falling short of victory by just a head.
“He ran huge. They got away from him a little bit the first part of it; he just couldn’t make up the ground in time,” trainer David Fawkes said. “We gave him a little bit of a break and didn’t run him back to quick. He’s doing good.”
Apriority earned a trip to Southern California with a sharp allowance victory at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 6.
Apriority will break from the rail post position in Saturday’s nine-horse field, which includes Godolphin Racing’s Tahitian Warrior.
Fawkes said the allowance race would be used as a prep for either the Carter Handicap (G1) at Aqueduct on April 9 or the Count Fleet (G3) at Oaklawn Park on April 14.
Velazquez Ties Sidelined Lopez for Lead in Gulfstream Standings
Jockey John R. Velazquez rode 6-year-old gelding Royal Majesty to victory in the second race Thursday at Gulfstream Park to move into a tie for the lead in the standings with injured jockey Paco Lopez at 38 victories apiece with Javier Castellano just two behind the two leaders in third with 36 wins.
Lopez went down in a spill here after the sixth race on Fri., Feb. 18 in which jockey Eibar Coa was more seriously injured. Lopez suffered an injury to an elbow and is recuperating. Lopez is hoping to return within the next 10 days.
Lopez is the defending Gulfstream meet titlist while Velazquez was the champion for the 2004 and 2006 seasons.
While the competition among jockeys continues to be a day-to-day race, trainer Todd Pletcher appears well on his way to an unprecedented ninth consecutive Gulfstream meet championship with 24 wins, 10 more than closest rival Nick Canani second with 14. Wesley Ward ranks third with 12 tallies and David Fawkes and Giuseppe Iadisernia are tied for fourth at 11 apiece.
Two Gulfstream jockeys will be out of town for Saturday’s card to ride 3-year-olds in stakes races. Victor Lebron, who posted his milestone 1,000th victory at Gulfstream on Wednesday, travels to Turfway Park Saturday for the mount on Scarlet Stable’s R Fast Cal for trainer Mike Maker. Lebron has ranked among the leading riders at Turfway Park the last couple of seasons.
Jockey Joe Bravo travels to New York for the mount on Lori and George Hall’s Nacho Saint in the $250,000 Gotham Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct for trainer Kelly Breen, who has his main division stabled at Palm Meadows this winter, but also a small string at Belmont Park, including Nacho Saint.
Another South Florida connection in the Gotham field is Sherry Parboo’s Starship Caesar, a son of Repent that trainer Bisnath Parboo claimed for $25,000 at Calder Race Course on Jan. 3 when breaking his maiden in his second start and came back to win a one-mile starter/allowance at Gulfstream on Feb. 4.
Rose Catherine Set for Season Debut in Gulfstream Ladies Turf Sprint
Paul Pompa, Jr.’s 4-year-old filly Rose Catherine found her niche last year as a turf sprint specialist, winnings three consecutive stakes at Monmouth Park, Saratoga and Philadelphia Park, and ran well to be beaten only 4 ¼ lengths for it all in the $1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G2) at Churchill Downs last out on Nov. 6 for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Rose Catherine is entered to launch another campaign Sunday at Gulfstream Park as one of the choices in a full field of 14 fillies and mares drawn for the $60,000 Gulfstream Park Ladies Turf Sprint at five furlongs with jockey Javier Castellano named to ride.
Rose Catherine is a daughter of Eclipse champion sprinter Speightstown purchased for $410,000 at the Saratoga yearling sales and broke her maiden as a 2-year-old on turf in October of 2009 at Belmont Park in her third start. She went on to finish a game second by a half-length behind Tapitsfly in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita that fall.
Pletcher has another contender in the field with Lets Go Stable’s 4-year-old filly Midst with jockey John. R. Velazquez named to ride as she makes her turf course debut. The daughter of Closing Argument won the My Dear Stakes on Polytrack at Woodbine as a 2-year-old for trainer Mark Casse and an allowance race on Polytrack at Keeneland last April in his first start for Pletcher.
Midst made only one more start last season, finishing fourth in the Just Smashing at Monmouth Park on the main track on May 31 after setting the pace to the upper stretch.
Trainer Christophe Clement sends out an intriguing prospect in Waratah Thoroughbreds’ 5-year-old Argentine-bred mare Stormy Publisher with jockey Alan Garcia aboard. The daughter of Bernstein won four of 10 starts with three seconds in Argentina.
Stormy Publisher was sent to Clement in New York some time last summer and won the Glowing Honor Stakes on turf at Belmont Park in early October in her North American debut. In one start since, she won the Minaret Stakes on the main track at Tampa Bay Downs on Jan. 1.