Gulfstream Park News & Notes: 1.7.12
By Jack Will
Hansen Works Five Furlongs
Kendall Hansen and Sky Chai Racing’s undefeated 3-year-old Hansen was timed Saturday morning working five furlongs in 1:00 2/5 for trainer Mike Maker in his third recorded workout since arriving for the season.
A roan/gray colt by Tapit, Hansen won a hard-fought head victory over favorite Union Rags last out in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with Creative Cause third and Dullahan fourth. In his only two previous starts on Polytrack at Turfway Park he broke his maiden by 12 ¼ lengths on Sept. 9 and romped home a 13 ¼ lengths winner of the Kentucky Cup Juvenile on Sept. 24.
Teaks North ‘Very Possible’ for Fort Lauderdale Saturday
Resolute Group Stables’ 5-year-old gelding Teaks North first established his credentials on the national stage posting a 25-to-1 upset victory over Smart Bid and Get Stormy in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) in early February last year for trainer Justin Sallusto, and could get another campaign underway in Saturday’s $100,000 Fort Lauderdale Stakes (G3) at 1 1/16 miles on turf.
“It’s very possible we’ll run Saturday, but we will discuss it again before making a final decision,” said Sallusto Saturday morning after Teaks North worked a half-mile in :48 at Palm Meadows. “The target is the ($300,000) Sunshine Millions Turf (Jan. 28). The question will be whether to run in the Fort Lauderdale and then the Sunshine Millions, or go right into the Sunshine Millions. We plan to follow a similar progression of races as we did last year.”
A son of Northern Afleet, Teaks North went on to post victories in the Monmouth Stakes (G3) and United Nations Invitational (G1) at Monmouth Park in June and July, and finished fourth in the Sword Dancer Invitational (G1) at Saratoga before tailing off with a disappointing ninth-place run in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) last out at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5.
Soaring Empire Drills ‘Bullet’ Half-Mile for Hal’s Hope
Ol Memorial Stable’s 5-year-old Soaring Empire appears ready to bid for a repeat victory in the $100,000 Hal’s Hope Handicap (G3) at Gulfstream Park on Sat., Jan. 14 after working a sharp half-mile in 47 flat Friday morning at Gulfstream for trainer Cam Gambolati, fastest of 40 horse timed at the distance.
“He looked really good doing it. Julien (Leparoux) was very pleased with him,” said Gambolati later in the morning. He’s coming into this race after a longer layoff than last year, but I had to give him a break when I did. He’s won before coming back after a lengthy layoff.” Leparoux will be aboard for the race.
“No matter what, this is going to be a tough field. I’m looking for a positive race whether he wins or not. I just want to see him finish, and if he does that, we’ll probably go on to the ($500,000) Donn (Handicap (G1) with him (1 1/8 miles on Feb. 11).”
A Kentucky-bred by Empire Maker, Soaring Empire won the one-mile Hal’s Hope last January over a strong field as Rule finished second and Morning Line finished third. He will be making his first start since winning the Majestic Light Stakes going 1 1/16 miles at Monmouth Park on July 31 and may have best when second with a troubled trip behind Kensei in the Salvatore Mile Handicap (G3) earlier that month.
Soaring Empire’s rivals in the Hal’s Hope are expected to include Robert LaPenta and Jacks or Better Farm’s 5-year-old Jackson Bend, third as the favorite last out in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) behind Amazombie at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5, Pattons Creek Farm’s Will’s Wildcat, Jack Bakke and Gerry Isbister’s Cool Blue Red Hot, Four Roses Thoroughbreds’ Anak Nakal, Leo Azpurua Sr.’s Manicero and Just for Fun Stable’s Decisive Moment.
Also notable on the Friday morning work tab at Gulfstream were a pair of stakes stars trained by Rick Dutrow, both with a win over the track at the meet. IEAH Stables and Pegasus Holding Group Stables’ 5-year-old Trickmeister was timed five furlongs in 1:01 as he is kept on edge for his next start expected to come in the Donn Handicap on Feb. 11.
A son of Proud Citizen, Trickmeister remained unbeaten in five career starts winning the $60,000 Harlan’s Holiday Stakes wire-to-wire by 5 ¼ lengths going 1 1/16 miles on Dec. 17 in his first start in nearly 16 months when he romped home an 11 ¼ lengths winner of the Pleasant Colony overnight stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 27, 2010.
Jay Em Ess Stable and partners’ 4-year-old Boy at Tosconova went an easy half-mile in 50 1/5 with no immediate plans for his next start. The son of Officer is best-known for finishing second to Uncle Mo in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Churchill Downs. He won a one-mile allowance here on Dec. 23 by a length.