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Gulfstream Park News & Notes
By By David Joseph For Gulfstreampark.com
Mucho Macho Man Works For Holy Bull
Rosario To Ride At Gulfstream In Old Hat
Standridge Mulls Options With Gourmet Dinner
Countdown To Opening Day
MUCHO MACHO MAN WORKS FOR HOLY BULL
Mucho Macho Man, second in the Remsen Stakes (G2) and Nashua Stakes (G2), took his first steps Friday toward the Jan. 30 $400,000 Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream with an easy half-mile work under jockey Eibar Coa in :50 2/5.
Owned by Dream Team One Racing and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, the tall, bay colt galloped out easily under Coa for trainer Kathy Ritvo.
“This was his first official breeze back today, going a half mile,” Ritvo said. “We just went easy with him and didn’t ask him for much. From here, the plan is to work next Saturday and he should have three more breezes before the Holy Bull. We just hope to keep him mature and improving.”
Also working Friday morning at Gulfstream was Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) runner-up Boys At Tosconova. The Richard Dutrow-trained colt worked five furlongs Friday morning 1:00 in company.
ROSARIO SET TO RIDE AT GULFSTREAM OPENING DAY
Jockey Joel Rosario, the leading rider in California, will be in attendance opening day at Gulfstream Park when he makes the cross-country trip to ride Wesley Ward’s stakes-winning filly Final Mesa in the $100,000 Old Hat Stakes.
A bay filly by Sky Mesa, Final Mesa broke her maiden April 16 at Keeneland before winning the May 15 Polly Drummond Stakes at Delaware Park and the June 26 My Dear Stakes at Woodbine. The filly hasn’t raced since finishing sixth Aug. 6 under Rosario in the Sorrento Stakes (G3) at Del Mar.
“She’s been doing well,” said Ward, owner and trainer of the New York-bred filly. “She just had some problems (in the Sorrento). I gave her a little time off and now she’s ready to go.”
Others expected in the Jan. 5 opener include Sabine Stable’s Because I Like It and the undefeated Roxy Gap.
STANDRIDGE MULLS OPTIONS FOR GOURMET DINNER
After an eventful trip to Hollywood Park for the Dec. 18 CashCall Futurity (G1), William Terrill’s Gourmet Dinner is back in South Florida, where trainer Steve Standridge is contemplating the colt’s next start.
After earning $600,000 with a victory Nov. 20 in the Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes (G3), the Calder-based Gourmet Dinner finished fourth in the CashCall despite a long delay in the paddock prior to the race and a tough trip. The good news is Standridge reports the son of Trippi has returned from his excursion in excellent condition.
“He’s doing really well,” Standridge said. “In reality, he doesn’t act like a horse that traveled cross-country. A lot of things went wrong out there, including getting pinched back at the start. But he’s acting great.
“We thought we’d back off him a little bit when we came back from the west coast, but he doesn’t seem to want that. We’re still looking at what to do next. Right now we’re thinking about the Jan. 30 Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream or the Feb. 12 Sam Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs.”
COUNTING DOWN TO OPENING DAY
With the first race of Gulfstream’s 2011 season set for Wednesday at 12:55 p.m., Tim Ritvo, VP of Racing, MI Developments Inc., said he was looking forward to the best winter season of racing in South Florida.
“The backstretch at Gulfstream and our Palm Meadows training facility are overflowing with champion horses and Triple Crown contenders,” Ritvo said. “The horsemen are excited about the meet and our patrons are excited about our new wagers.”
When Gulfstream opens Wednesday, the track will offer a 50 cent Pick-5 with a 15 percent takeout, an early and late Pick-4, and a 10 cent Pick-6 dubbed ‘Rainbow-6.’
Meanwhile, seven Breeders’ Cup champions will be stabled at Gulfstream or its satellite training facility at Palm Meadows. Some of the top Kentucky Derby contenders in South Florida include undefeated Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Uncle Mo, Boys At Tosconova, To Honor and Serve and Mucho Macho Man.
Gulfstream has 33 graded stakes and has increased overnight purses approximately 15 percent. Six of its 3-year-old races will also be part of the Preakness 5.5 and Black-Eyed Susan 2.2 bonus program.
“We’re ready to go,” Ritvo said. “The racing surfaces are in great shape. We got a little unlucky with the recent frost – the grass lost a little color – but the structure of the course is excellent and has never been better.”