Gulfstream Park News & Notes
BOYNTON BEACH, FL– Commissioner, who ran his win streak to two races with an impressive allowance victory at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 3, put in his final breeze for the $400,000 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (G2) on Sunday morning.
With Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez aboard, the 3-year-old A.P. Indy colt was clocked in 49.10 seconds for four furlongs on the main track at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County.
It was the fourth work for Commissioner since his last race, including a pair of five-furlong breezes in 1:00.60 on Feb. 2 and 1:00.90 on Feb. 16. He is trained by Todd Pletcher for owner WinStar Farm.
“He went well,” said Pletcher, Gulfstream’s 10-time defending meet training champion who won his record sixth Eclipse Award last month. “We had a couple of good five-eighths in him prior to this, so we were just looking for a maintenance half. He seemed to be moving well, and everything is on target for the Fountain of Youth.”
A major prep for Gulfstream’s signature race, the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby on March 29, as well as a the May 3 Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs, the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth will be run for the 71st time on Feb. 22.
Commissioner ran twice at 2, finishing second in his debut at Monmouth Park last August before breaking his maiden in a professional effort at Saratoga Race Course 17 days later.
He was given time off after that race by design before rejoining Pletcher’s string in South Florida, returning to the races with a neck victory over another major Fountain of Youth contender in Top Billing at Gulfstream on Jan. 3 – his second straight win at nine furlongs.
“It’s kind of rare that you have one that’s already won twice at a mile and an eighth this time of year,” Pletcher said. “I think he’s gotten a little more handy as time has gone on. He’s going to be able to position himself in a race where it won’t be too big of a disadvantage backing up to a mile and a sixteenth. In his case, we’d actually prefer that the Fountain of Youth was a mile and an eighth like it was for a little while there. Physically, he’s doing well. He looks great.”
Among the many Pletcher-trained stars on Sunday’s work tab was Princess of Sylmar, the Eclipse Award finalist for top 3-year-old filly of 2013 off her six stakes wins, four of them in Grade 1 races.
Under exercise rider Isabelle Bourez, the Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Majestic Warrior was clocked in 38.25 seconds for three furlongs, her first recorded work since joining Pletcher’s South Florida string last month.
“She just went nice and easy,” Pletcher said. “It was her first little work back, and we’re just getting her back into a routine. Everything has gone according to plan. As you would expect, everything’s come pretty easily to her. She’s pretty push-button.”
Pletcher said he will keep Princess of Sylmar in a regular rhythm of breezes leading up to her still-to-be-determined 2014 debut.
“We’ll just go on a weekly work schedule from here,” he said. “We don’t have a specific race picked out for her yet. We’ll just kind of let it fall into place.”
Romans Thinking of Entering Medal Count in Fountain of Youth
Trainer Dale Romans is leaning towards running Medal Count in the $400,000 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park on February 22. Owned by Spendthrift Farm, the son of Dynaformer rebounded from an unplaced effort in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) on November 2 to share win honors in an allowance on the Gulfstream grass on January 12.
Medal Count has breezed four times since that effort, most recently covering five furlongs in 1:01.02 yesterday morning at Gulfstream.
"I think we're going to run," Romans said. "He worked great going five-eighths. He's a good horse and does everything right."
A $360,000 yearling purchase, Medal Count aired by 6 1/4 lengths in his off-the-turf debut at Ellis Park on September 1. He followed that with a close fifth in the Bourbon Stakes (G3) that was washed onto the Keeneland Polytrack a month later, and faded to finish 11th in the Breeders' Cup after racing too close to a fast pace.
A large field is expected for the Fountain of Youth, which will offer Kentucky Derby qualifying points of 50-20-10-5.