Gulfstream Park News & Notes
Csaba on Target for Hal’s Hope
Bruce Hollander and Cary Shapoff’s 4-year-old Csaba turned in a career-best performance winning the $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday Stakes by 3 ¾ lengths at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 16, Plans call for him to start next in the $100,000 Hal’s Hope Stakes (G3) on Sunday, Jan. 13, according to trainer Phil Gleaves.
The son of Kitten’s Joy defeated a solid field in the Harlan’s Holiday with Delegation second and Cash Rules third going 1 1/16 miles around two turns and will turn back in distance to one mile around one turn for the Hal’s Hope.
“I like the turn back. Woody (Stephens) made a habit of doing that over the years,” referring to Gleaves’ Hall of Fame mentor for whom he was a top assistant until going out on his own in the mid-80s.
“If all goes well in the Hal’s Hope, the Donn Handicap would be next on the radar.” Gleaves purchased Csaba privately for Hollander and Shapoff as an un-raced 2-year-old in “April or May” of 2011.
Csaba has won his last three starts by wide margins, capturing the ‘off the turf’ Tropical Park Derby by 14 lengths at Calder on Oct. 13 and the Fred Hooper Handicap (G3) by 7 ¼ lengths there on Nov. 24 prior to the Harlan’s Holiday. His career record stands at 12-5-1-2 for earnings of $312,000, including a couple of dull tries on turf.
Before the Harlan’s Holiday Gleaves said that “with his pedigree, I’d have bet that he would be a turf horse, but the next time he’ll see grass will be when he’s turned out in a paddock.” Csaba ran three times on turf with an even third in the Palm Beach Stakes (G3) here in March being his best finish.
Gleaves does has a proven turf stakes performer currently on the comeback trail in 4-year-old gelding Miami Cat. A chestnut by Powerful Goer owned by Hollander, Shapoff and Gleaves, Miami Cat breezed an easy three furlongs in 37 1/5 on New Year’s Eve at Calder, his first recorded workout since a disappointing ninth-place finish in the Kent Stakes (G3) at Delaware Park.
“He needed some time off,” said Gleaves. “He came out of the Kent a little sore and just needed a good break. I would expect he will be ready return in mid- to late February.” Prior to the Kent, Miami Cat won a hard-fought neck decision in the Equalize Stakes on turf at Saratoga on Sept. 22 with entry-mate Csaba ninth, the last time the latter tried turf.
Chokurei Gets More Real Estate in Marshua’s River
Isabel Peter Hoblyn’s 5-year-old Irish-bred mare Chokurei rallied from 12th of 13 after a half-mile to finish second by a neck behind favorite Romacaca in the $100,000 South Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park last out on Dec. 9.
Chokurei will get another chance to score her first victory in North America in Saturday’s $100,000 Marshua’s River Stakes (G3). “We’ll be hoping there is a good pace up front,” said trainer Mark Frostad. “She’ll have the additional distance and hopefully less traffic.”
The South Beach went with a field of 13 at 7 ½ furlongs on turf while the Marshua’s River will be contested at 1 1/16 miles and a field of 10.
Chokurei won four of eight starts in England as a 3-year-old in 2011. “She was sent over to run for better purses. She doesn’t have any (allowance) conditions, so if she didn’t turn out to be a stakes filly then she would probably have had to run in claiming races. Fortunately, it looks like she is going to be a stakes filly, and winning or placing in a Graded stakes would add to her value.”
A daughter of Bertolini, Chokurei ran three times at Woodbine last year before the South Beach.
She made her North American debut finishing a close-up sixth (beaten three lengths) in the Belle Mahone Stakes on Polytrack in August, finished second on turf in the Avowal Stakes in late September, and then checked in third, beaten a half-length for it all in the ‘of the turf’ River Memories Stakes in late October.
Fan Favorite Tackleberry Resumes Training
Owner-trainer Luis Olivares reports that his popular 6-year-old gelding Tackleberry has begun training on the farm in Ocala and will be shipped to him at Calder next week to continue preparation for a 2013 campaign expected to commence at Gulfstream Park.
“He doesn’t take long to get ready, so I would think he’ll be ready to run here later in the meet,” said Olivares, who sent out Rosa Stephany Taveras’ 3-year-old Sr. Quisqueyano to finish second in Tuesday’s $100,000 Gulfstream Park Derby.
A Florida-bred by Montbrook, Tackleberry built up a strong fan following when posting three straight stakes victories at Gulfstream early in 2011, beginning with the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Classic before scores in the Gulfstream Sprint Championship (G2) and Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2).
Tackleberry ran only twice in 2012, beginning with a game runner-up effort behind Mucho Macho Man in the Gulfstream Park Handicap in March with Jackson Bend third and a fourth-place try last out as the favorite in the $1 million Charles Town Classic (G2) in West Virginia on Apr.14.
Tackleberry will return to the races with a career record of 16-8-3-0 for earnings of $914,600.