Gulfstream Park News & Notes: 12.15.11
Fawkes Stable Stakes Runners Ready for Winter Campaigns
Trainer David Fawkes appears set for a strong meet this winter at Gulfstream Park beginning this weekend as he sends out Alex and JoAnn Lieblong and partners’ 5-year-old Duke of Mischief in the $60,000 Harlan’s Holiday Stakes on Saturday and Harold Queen’s 2-year-old Burning Time in the $100,000 Dania Beach Stakes on Sunday. .
A chestnut son of Graeme Hall, Duke of Mischief has posted earnings of nearly $1.6 million with a 23-7-4-0 record, but makes his first start since a disappointing 10th-place finish behind Tizway in the Whitney Invitational Handicap (G1) at Saratoga on Aug. 6.
“He pulled a muscle in his back in the race,” said Fawkes Thursday morning from his Calder headquarters. “It was nothing serious and the timing was right for him to have a break. We were never planning on going to the Breeders’ Cup with him. He spent some time on Mr. Queen’s farm. This race will set him up to try the Sunshine Millions (Classic) again.”
Duke of Mischief finished second behind Tackleberry in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Classic here early this year on Jan. 29 and went on to finish a close-up fourth behind Tackleberry again in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) on Mar. 12, although beaten only three-quarters of a length for it all in a good effort.
Duke of Mischief went on to post the richest victory of his career in the $1 million Charles Town Classic (G1) at Mountaineer Park on Apr. 16 with Game On Dude second and Tizway third. He ran well to finish fourth in the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs on June 18 in one more start before the Whitney.
Burning Time is a Florida homebred by Burning Roma and finished a game second last out in the $100,000 Arthur Appleton Juvenile Turf on Florida Million Day, Nov. 12, at Calder in his grass course debut, beaten only three-quarters of a length, after winning two of five starts on the main track there, including the $100,000 Foolish Pleasure Stakes
“He should have won that race,” said Fawkes of the Arthur Appleton. “He had a terrible trip.” The Equibase comment was ‘bumped start, fanned wide.’ “It looks like the sire, Burning Roma, his offspring like the turf, and it’s great to have the option. We could go back to the dirt with him at some point.”
In addition to Duke of Mischief and Burning Time, Fawkes has tentative plans to run three other stable stars in the near future – Donald Dizney’s 4-year-old colt Apriority, Harold Queen’s 3-year-old filly Hot Summer and Alex and JoAnn Lieblong’s 7-year-old veteran Telling, a new addition to the stable after considerable success while based with the owner’s mid-west trainer Steve Hobby.
Apriority, who set a track record for 6 ½ furlongs here early this year, is on target to run in the $100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes (G3) on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, a race Fawkes won early this year with Queen’s 2010 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) hero and Eclipse champion sprinter Big Drama, now retired.
Hot Summer is a daughter of Malibu Moon and won the $150,000 Comely Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct in April and the $100,000 Victory Ride Stakes (G3) at Saratoga in August. “She’s doing excellent and is ready,” said Fawkes.
Telling is a son of A.P. Indy with earnings of $847,000 before coming to Fawkes in the fall. He posted the biggest victory of his career in the 2010 Sword Dancer Invitational (G1) at Saratoga. He hasn’t started since finishing ninth in the Elkhorn Stakes (G2) at Keeneland in late April.
“There is a one mile turf allowance coming up that he is eligible for,” said the trainer. “That’s not his distance. His game is going longer, but it would be a place to get hi8m started back. He’s ready to run.”
Canadian Jockey Champion Wilson Back on Excaper Sunday
Jockey Emma Jayne Wilson has ridden 2-year-old Excaper in all four of his career starts for trainer Ian Black and will be in the saddle as the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) runner-up goes to the post among the choices in Sunday’s $60,000 Dania Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Wilson arrived from her native Ontario, Canada last weekend and rode a pick-up mount for Canadian trainer Nick Gonzalez on Sunday, but the real reason for the trip was to breeze Excaper at Payson Park Monday morning in preparation for the Dania Beach.
“I’m going home for the holidays, but I’ll be back to ride more regularly after the first of the year,” said the 30-year-old, who was North America’s Eclipse champion apprentice in 2005 and finished a strong third in the standings at Woodbine this year behind Luis Contreras while winning 135 races with purse earnings of more than $7 million.
Wilson and Black teamed up to win the $150,000 Pan American Stakes (G3) in late March here early this year with Elle Boje Farm’s 7-year-old veteran turf stakes star Rahy’s Attorney.