Gulfstream Park News & Notes
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL- Wildcat Red will have a new rider when he makes his next start in the $400,000 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 22.
Trainer Jose Garoffalo has lined up Luis Saez to ride Wildcat Red, an impressive 4 ¾-length winner of the $200,000 Hutcheson (G3) on Feb. 1 under Javier Castellano. The 2013 Eclipse Award winner and two-time defending meet champion, Castellano is committed to ride Gulfstream Park Derby winner General a Rod in the Fountain of Youth.
“I think Luis Saez is the right guy to put on,” Garoffalo said. “We get along very well and he’s won a lot of races for me, here and at Calder, so let’s do it. Let’s run.”
Saez, 21, is second in the current meet standings with 48 wins, one ahead of Paco Lopez and 27 behind Castellano. Among his wins are Cairo Prince in the Miller Lite Holy Bull (G2) on Jan. 25, Falling Sky in the Gulfstream Park Sprint (G2) on Feb. 8, and Lea in the Hal’s Hope (G3) on Jan. 11.
“He can compete with all the big guys,” Garoffalo said. “He’s been there before. I have a lot of confidence in him. He’s young, but he’s tough. He knows what to do.”
Owned by Honors Stable Corp., Wildcat Red put in his final tuneup for the Fountain of Youth with a half-mile breeze Friday morning over Gulfstream’s main track under regular exercise rider Paco Mendoza.
“He went four furlongs in :49 and change (:49.02) very easily and handled the workout very good, so we’re ready for the race. I’m very happy with him,” Garoffalo said. “Actually, I would say he was better than before the Hutcheson. He has improved a lot since the last race. Everything looks like he’s going to be ready for the Fountain of Youth.”
From here, Garoffalo said he will give Wildcat Red, a son of Grade 1-winning sprinter D’wildcat, routine gallops leading up to the race.
“He’s in good shape. He doesn’t need to do too much,” he said. “He’s very athletic. I try not to stress him too much because he doesn’t need much. With this workout, he’ll be ready.” Juddmonte's Preferential Kicks off Campaign in Saturday's The Very One
Juddmonte Farms' Preferential will kick off her 2014 campaign in the $100,000 The Very One Stakes (G3) on Saturday afternoon at Gulfstream Park.
Bred in Great Britain, the daughter of Dansili was a stakes winner at three in France for trainer Criquette Head-Maarek before joining the Bill Mott string in the U.S. last year. She made steady progress over the course of 2013 and defeated Left a Message in what would be her seasonal finale, the Dowager Stakes over 12 furlongs at Keeneland on October 20. Now stabled at Gulfstream, Preferential will face off with Left a Message once more over 11 panels in the The Very One.
"She didn't really start to come around until later in the year," Mott said. "She won over a similar distance last fall at Keeneland, so I think she'll like it. She's doing great."
The four-month hiatus was not part of Mott's original plan for Preferential, who had been slated to contest the La Prevoyante (G3) at Calder in late December. That 1 1/2-mile event was canceled at the last minute.
"We had to bypass the race at Calder when Churchill Downs decided they didn't want to run the race, so it's been a long wait," Mott explained.
Preferential, the 5-2 favorite on the morning line, will have the services of jockey Julien Leparoux when she breaks from post five in the The Very One.
Our Caravan to Return in Fountain of Youth
Lightly raced Our Caravan is scheduled to make his third career start in the $400,000 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (G2) on Feb. 22 at Gulfstream Park.
Trained by Michael Dilger for owner Anstu Stable, Our Caravan broke his maiden at Gulfstream on Dec. 14 before finishing eighth of 11 in the $400,000 Miller Lite Holy Bull (G2) on Jan. 25. Both races, like the Fountain of Youth, were run at 1 1/16 miles.
“Our Caravan is on track for the Fountain of Youth,” Dilger said. “He came out of the last race fantastic. He lacked game-day experience going into it, and he definitely got it that day.”
Corey Lanerie has been aboard Our Caravan for both his starts. In the Holy Bull, they broke from post five and never reached contention, beaten 13 lengths by Cairo Prince.
“It didn’t go exactly according to plan in his last race, but we knew we had an inexperienced horse going into it and it showed,” Dilger said. “He’s trained very well since the Holy Bull, and we’re just going to give it another try.”
Our Caravan has breezed twice since the Holy Bull, each time in company with fellow Anstu Stable 3-year-old Big Guy Ian. Most recently, they were timed in 1:00.05 for five furlongs at Palm Meadows on Monday.
Big Guy Ian was fifth behind Grade 3-placed C Zee in his Dec. 13 debut at Gulfstream, returning to break his maiden by 1 ¼ lengths on the Holy Bull undercard.
“They’re the two most talented horses I have at the moment that are the fittest and can work together like that. It just makes sense,” Dilger said. “It just happens that both their races were on the same day last time, and potentially on the same day next time as well. We’re not 100 percent sure what we’re going to do with Big Guy Ian just yet.”