Gulfstream Notes: Where's Sterling Set for Skip Away
By Jack Will
Where’s Sterling Set for Start in Skip Away
Frank Calabrese’s 5-year-old Where’s Sterling worked six furlongs from the gate in 1:14 3/5 Friday morning at Gulfstream Park and is on target to make his next start as one of the favorites in the $100,000 Skip Away Stakes (G3) going 1 3/16 miles on Florida Derby Day, Saturday March. 31.
“He’s ready to go,” said trainer Nick Canani. “We know he likes the Gulfstream track. He’s run two good races and had traffic trouble last out in the Donn Handicap (G1). He’s a big horse and he can’t just stop and start. The added distance also should help him.”
A son of Northern Afleet, Where’s Sterling got good last summer winning the Philip H. Iselin Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park in August and finishing second by a half-length in the Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap (G2) going 1 ¼ miles in Chicago on Oct. 8.
In two starts since then at Gulfstream he finished second by a length to Boys At Tosconova in a one-mile allowance race on Dec. 23 and a close-up fourth in the Donn Handicap on Feb. 11 at 1 1/8 miles when beaten 3 ½ lengths for it all by Hymn Book after running into traffic trouble in the stretch.
Aubby K Set for Season Debut in Sunday Allowance Feature
James Spence’s Kentucky homebred 3-year-old filly Aubby K made an auspicious career debut at Belmont Park in September by 15 ½ lengths as the favorite for trainer Ralph Nicks and came back with a good fourth-place behind On Fire Baby in the one-mile Pocahontas Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs on Oct. 30.
Aubby K resumes a promising career Sunday in an ‘a other than’ allowance test at Gulfstream Park with jockey Edgar Prado aboard for the first time in a field of 10 fillies and mares. The daughter of Street Sense is out of Spence’s graded stakes-winner Lilly Capote, whose victories included the Golden Rod Stakes (G3) at Churchill. Nicks has had a strong meet here with six wins and five seconds from just 21 starters.
“We gave her plenty of time to start back,” said Nicks Friday morning. “She was immature and going through some growing pains, but she’s doing good and ready to go. I don’t have anything specific planned at this point after this race, but she’s by Street Sense and we’ll probably stretch her out.”
Aubby K’s most dangerous rival may be Mrs. S.K. Johnston, Jr.’s 4-year-old filly You’re Kidding with Jose Lezcano aboard for trainer Christophe Clement. A $255,000 2-year-old purchase at the Timonium sales, the daughter of Lemon Drop Kid broke her maiden in her third start at Belmont Park in May and finished second in an overnight stakes there in mid-June. She finished third in an allowance here on Feb. 10 in her first start since July.
Castellano & Velazquez to Turfway Saturday for Spiral Mounts
Jockeys Javier Castellano and John Velazquez, one-two in the Gulfstream Park jockey standings with a little more than two weeks to go in the session, will be at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky. Saturday for mounts in the $500,000 Vinery Spiral Stakes (G3) as will Gulfstream-based jockeys Rajiv Maragh and Luis Contreras.
Castellano will have the mount on Starlight Racing’s Heavy Breathing for trainer Todd Pletcher, Velazquez rides Team Valor International’s Went the Day Well for trainer Graham Motion and Maragh will be aboard John Oxley’s Stealcase for trainer Mark Casse, all three colts winners at the Gulfstream meet.
Sunday, Velazquez and Contreras will then travel to New Mexico and be joined by Julien Leparoux for mounts in the $800,000 Sunland Derby (G3) at Sunland Park before returning for Florida Derby week at Gulfstream.
Velazquez rides Allo Racing’s Ender Knievel for Pletcher and Leparoux takes a return call on Mary and Robert Zollars’ El Camino Real Derby (G3) winner Daddy Nose Best for trainer Steve Asmussen.