Gulfstream Notes: 12.23.11 - Zito, Borel and Indiano
By Ed Gray and Jack Will
Zito Pointing Casual Trick to Gulfstream Park Derby
Casual Trick, an impressive maiden winner at Churchill Downs in his second career start, is being pointed to the inaugural running of the $100,000 Gulfstream Park Derby on Jan. 1.
“I think I’m going to run him in the Gulfstream Derby,” trainer Nick Zito said. “He only broke his maiden in his last race, but I think it’s a good place to start.”
Casual Trick looked like a colt with a stakes future at Churchill on Nov. 18, when he pressed the early pace between horses before opening up in the stretch and going on to score by 2 ½ length at a mile.
The son of Bernardini had previously debuted with a fifth-place finish at Saratoga in what has become a key race won by run-away winner Fire On Ice.
Last season, Zito saddled Dialed In for a victory in the $400,000 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream off an impressive maiden victory at Churchill Downs. Dialed In went on to win the Florida Derby, giving his Hall of Fame trainer his third success Gulfstream’s premier race for 3-year-olds, joining Ice Box (2010) and High Fly (2005).
Casual Trick is also owned by Robert LaPenta, whose colors were carried to victory in the Florida Derby by Dialed In and Ice Box.
Borel Finds Gulfstream Winner’s Circle Right Out of Gate
Jockey Calvin Borel made his presence in the Gulfstream Park jockeys’ room felt immediately, scoring aboard one of two mounts Thursday on his first day of riding at the 2011-2012 meeting. The 45-year-old Kentucky-based journeyman, who traditionally has ridden at Oaklawn Park during the winter, will be riding full time at Gulfstream Park for the first time.
The St. Martin Parish, La. native found the winner’s circle with the William “Buff” Bradley-trained Groupie Doll in Thursday’s featured tenth race, a $64,000 optional claiming allowance for fillies and mares at one mile.
“I think I’m going to have a fun, nice and chilling-out meet. I’ve got a few 2-year-olds that I like with Ian Wilkes and Buff,” Borel said. “I have some different people to ride for, so we’re going to take a shot.”
Borel is obviously looking for a horse that can give him his fourth Kentucky Derby success. He has won the Run for the Roses with Street Sense (2007), Mine That Bird (2009) and Super Saver (2010), as well as guiding Rachel Alexandra to the 2009 Horse of the Year title.
Groupie Doll, the 6-5 favorite, bounded out to a clear early lead and was never threatened thereafter, prevailing by 2 ½ lengths.
“It feels good. I got to ride a couple and win this one. She’s a really nice filly. I want to thank Buff and his dad for giving me an opportunity to ride this filly,” Borel said. “I knew she could run, but I didn’t know how good she was. She’s a nice filly, incredible.”
Bred and owned by Bradley and his father, Fred, the 3-year-old daughter of Bowman’s Band has won four of eight starts, including a triumph in the Gardenia Stakes (G3) at Ellis Park in August.
“We just wanted to get her going over this track and she how she’d do. Calvin’s worked her several times before now and I’m just glad to him on her and get a race into her,” Bradley said. “We’ve been happy with her since we got here.”
Bradley had no immediate goals for Groupie Doll, who had finished seventh on the Churchill Downs turf in the Mrs. Revere (G2) in her most recent start.
“Now we can look to the rest of the winter with her. She can do anything. She’s run on anything. She just had a bad trip last time. I really think she can run on grass, but right now we’ll keep her on the dirt,” Bradley said. “She’s beaten some pretty nice 3-year-old fillies and I did win the Grade 3 Gardenia against older fillies with her. My father and I are happy. We bred her and raised her, so it’s a little more sentimental for us to have a horse like this. We’re excited.”
Indiano Set to Return in Mr. Prospector
Stud El Aguila’s 3-year-old Indiano will make his first start since finishing third in the $250,000 Gallant Bob Stakes at Parx on Sept. 2 in the $100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park on New Year’s Eve, Sat., Dec. 31. The Mr. Prospector is coming up very strong with rivals expected to include Capt. Candyman Can, Apriority and Nathan’s H Q.
“”He’s doing well. There just haven’t been any races I thought he fit since then,” said trainer Marty Wolfson Friday morning of Indiano, a Kentucky-bred son of the recently deceased stallion Indian Charlie. In the Gallant Bob, Royal Currier got loose on a clear lead and ran the six furlongs in 1:07 2/5 as he won by 3 ¾ lengths while Indiano was beaten a half-length for second.
Indiano came to Wolfson last winter after winning his first five career starts in Panama in 2010 and finished second in allowance races here in March and April won by Escort and Travelin Man, respectively; and then finished fifth in the Derby Trial (G3) at Churchill Downs in late April. Indiano won three straight over the summer at Calder, including the $200,000 Carry Back Stakes (G2) in July.
Wolfson has several other stakes runners getting ready for engagements here in the near future, including Michel Jean Zerolo’s 3-year-old filly Louvakhova and Good Friends Stable’s 4-year-old Golden Moka. Louvakhova is a Kentucky-bred daughter of Maria’s Mon, but made her first six starts in France with one win and five seconds before coming to Wolfson in late September.
“I thought she was a good filly from the time she came to the barn and wasn’t surprised when she won that first race so impressively,” said the trainer of Louvakhova’s 4 ¼ lengths victory in the $75,000 Frances A. Genter Stakes going a mile on turf at Calder on Oct. 15.
“It’s been a little frustrating not to have run her since then, but it’s just been one thing or another. I had her entered in a race in Kentucky (Wolfson had a small string in Kentucky in the fall) and she drew post 12 and I didn’t want to run her. Then she’s ended up on the also-eligible list twice here, but she’s ready and I hope to run her in the ($100,000) Marshua’s River (Stakes (G3) at 1 1/16 miles on turf on Jan. 7.”
Golden Moka was also entered in a race here recently but drew the one post and was scratched. He will be entered back soon and will be making his first start since March and first for Wolfson. The Canadian-bred son of Golden Missile is owned by a partnership that includes former jockey Rene Douglas and made headlines in the summer of 2010 when he won the $500,000 Princes of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie when trained by Brian Lynch.