Gulfstream Notes: Brilliant Speed Set for Appleton, Simmard for Pan American
Brilliant Speed to Make 2012 Debut in Appleton
Trainer Tom Albertrani will put Brilliant Speed back in action in the $100,000 Appleton (G3) at Gulfstream Park on March 31.
The 4-year-old son of Dynaformer, a Grade 1 winner who competed in two legs of the 2011 Triple Crown, hasn’t raced since finishing third in the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5.
“He’s been training very well,” Albertrani said. “If you remember him last year, he was always a little light framed. He’s matured and muscled up more as an older horse. He’s been training very forwardly.”
Brilliant Speed recorded two second-place stakes finishes on turf at Gulfstream last year before closing from last over Keeneland’s Polytrack surface to capture the Blue Grass (G1) by a nose.
Live Oak Plantation’s homebred finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby and third in the Belmont Stakes before being switched back to turf for the fall campaign that culminated with his solid show performance in the Turf.
Brilliant Speed has a very promising younger brother, but Souper Speedy won’t be following in his footsteps on this year’s Triple Crown trail. The 3-year-old son of Indian Charlie had a series of workouts at Palm Meadows in preparation for his return to action, but Albertrani decided to back off on his training recently.
“We just decided to slow things down. He just didn’t seem to settle in, so we decided to back off on him and give him some time,” Albertrani said. “There was nothing physically wrong with him. He just wasn’t himself.”
Souper Speedy captured his debut at Belmont Park last October before finishing a close second in the Remsen Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct in late November.
“We’ll be seeing him later in the year,” Albertrani said of the Live Oak Plantation homebred.
Stat’s Development is on the Fast Track
Stat made huge strides in his development while winning Saturday’s fourth race at Gulfstream Park by 6 ¼ lengths. The Todd Pletcher-trained colt had previously finished a troubled fourth over a sloppy track at Gulfstream on Feb. 9.
“It was a big improvement from last time. We were happy to catch a fast track. His last two races were on a sloppy track,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “We were happy to get him on a fast track and it looked like he ran much better.”
Stat stalked favored Scatter Joy, an impressive winner in his debut last time out, before taking the lead on the turn into the stretch and drawing away.
Pletcher said he had no immediate plans for the son of Unbridled’s Song, who captured his debut at Belmont Park over a fast track before finishing second behind Union Rags in the Saratoga Special on a sloppy track.
“We’ll see how he bounces out of this race and go from there,” Pletcher said. “I think he might (stretch out), he’s still learning and this was a big improvement for him.”
Simmard on Target for Pan American Saturday
Roger Attfield and William Werner’s 7-year-old Simmard, winner of the Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2) last out at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 26, breezed five furlongs on turf in 1:01 2/5 Friday morning at Payson Park for trainer Roger Attfield in preparation for a start in Saturday’s $150,000 Pan American Stakes (G2) at 1 ½ miles on turf.
“He’s really just come around to his best in the last year-and-a-half,” said Attfield. “Some horses just get better as they get older. He was knocking on the door (placing) in some of the big races and deserved to win a good one.
Musketier (10-year-old that finished third in the Mac Diarmida) will need a little more time and will probably run at Keenland next.”
Simmard is a chestnut horse by Dixieland Band and raced for breeder Haras Santa Maria de Araras through last winter when he won an allowance race over the Gulfstream course in late March, but was purchased privately by Attfield and partner during the Keeneland meet before returning to Canada.
Simmard finished fourth in the 12-furlong Elkhorn Stakes (G2) over a ‘yielding’ course at Keeneland in April, a race stablemate Musketier won. Simmard had two tough beats in big races after that, finishing second by a neck in the Northern Dancer Stakes (G1) at Woodbine on September and second by a half-length behind stablemate
Musketier in the 12-furlong W.L. McKnight Handicap (G2) at Calder in late November.
“Musketier (10-year-old that finished third in the Mac Diarmida) will need a little more time and will probably run at Keenland next,” Attfield added.
Attfield won the Pan American in 1985 with Selous Scout and in 1988 with Carotene. He had very good season in 2011 with his veteran team of long-distance turf stakes runners and topped off the year sending out Charles Fipke’s Perfect Shirl to post a 28-to-1 upset victory in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4.
A 5-year-old Kentucky homebred daughter of Perfect Soul, Perfect Shirl was set to board a flight Tuesday bound for Dubai and a start against male rivals in the $5 million Sheema Classic (G1) at Meydan on Sat., Mar. 31, but will not make the trip.
“She was scheduled to work yesterday (Friday) but strained an ankle and we had to cancel,” said Attfield, who is among the nominees this year for induction into the Saratoga Hall of Fame. “It isn’t serious, but she will need time. It’s been a disappointing winter for her after having to cancel the trip to Argentina in December (mechanical problems with plane). She’ll be back at some point as the seasons goes on.”