Gulfstream Park News & Notes
Aubby K Steps Right into Inside Information
Trainer Ralph Nicks had James Spence’s Aubby K entered in an allowance race on Feb. 15, but he scratched the 4-year-old homebred filly, who will instead make her first start since August in Sunday’s $150,000 Inside Information Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park. Jockey Edgar Prado has the mount for the seven-furlong test.
“It rained and I didn’t want her to start back off the long layoff on a muddy track. Why risk it?” said Nicks. “She won her first start impressively (career debut) and won big here off the layoff last year. I think she can run her best race first time. We stopped on her after the Test last year to give her time to grow and develop.
“We might have rushed her a little bit to try and make a route horse out of her when we ran her in the Delaware Oaks (G2). She probably wants to be a sprinter.”
A daughter of 2007 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Street Sense, Aubby K made two starts as a 2-year-old in 2011, winning her debut by 15 ½ lengths at Belmont Park in September and finishing a good fourth to On Fire Baby in the one-mile Pocahontas Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs.
Aubby K made her third career start in an ‘a other than’ allowance here going 6 ½ furlongs on Mar. 25 and won off by 9 ¾ lengths with both the second and third-place finishers coming back to win their next starts.
Aubby K’s next start after Gulfstream was a third-place performance behind Contested in the Acorn Stakes (G1) at Belmont before the Delaware Oaks. In one more start she finished a non-threatening eighth behind Contested in the Test Stakes (G1) at Saratoga on Aug. 25.
Live Lively on Course for Gulfstream Park Oaks
All has gone well for Lee Lewis’ 3-year-old Kentucky-bred filly Live Lively since her wire-to-wire victory in the $250,000 Davona Dale Stakes (G2) on Feb. 23 as she continues preparation for her next start in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), according to trainer Mark Hennig.
“She’s doing fine and had one breeze since the race (half-mile in 50 seconds at Palm Meadows on Mar. 10),” said Hennig Thursday afternoon before saddling Lewis’ 3-year-old filly Casual Elegance to finish second in the first race. “She’ll have two more works before the race. She might be as good as any filly I’ve had.”
That would be saying a lot for Hennig, who has developed so many good fillies over the years, notably a series of major stakes-winners for the late Edward P. Evans, including Summer Colony, Gold Mover, Colonial Minstrel, Raging Fever. Lewis’ Mystic Lady also ranked among his best stakes fillies.
Lewis was “there from the beginning” after Hennig went on his own in 1992 after serving for five years as one of Wayne Lukas’ top assistant trainers. A daughter of Thunder Gulch, Mystic Lady won 10 of 27 career starts and nearly $1.2 million for Lewis and Hennig early in the last decade, including the Fantasy Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park.
"His (Lewis’) best colt was Personal Hope. He was a good horse,” said Hennig. The son of Storm Bird won the 1993 Santa Anita Derby (G1) before finishing fourth in both the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) that spring.
Live Lively, a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro who was purchased for $160,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sales, was making only her fourth career start in the Davona Dale. In two starts as a 2-year-old in New York she finished third in her debut at Belmont Park in late June and broke her maiden next out at Aqueduct on Nov. 23.
In her lone start this year before the Davona Dale, Live Lively romped home to win a seven-furlong allowance race here by more than 11 lengths on New Year’s Day. She held a safe margin of 1 ½ lengths over Todd Pletcher-trained favorite Dreaming of Julia at the finish of the 1 1/16 miles Davona Dale.
Better Lucky Pointing for Keeneland Stakes
Godolphin Racing LLC’s 4-year-old Kentucky homebred filly Better Lucky was nominated for Saturday’s $150,000 Honey Fox Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park and has posted a series of workouts at Palm Meadows for trainer Tom Albertrani, but her return to competition will have to wait until Keeneland.
“She’s doing very well, but we got a little behind bringing her back,” said Albertrani of the highly-accomplished daughter of Ghostzapper. “We’re pointing her for the Jenny Wiley,” said Albertrani of the $300,000 Jenny Wiley Stakes (G1) to be run on Blue Grass Stakes Day, Sat., April 13.
Better Lucky hit her best stride during the second half of last year when finishing second by a neck behind Centre Court in the Lake George Stakes (G2) at Saratoga, a good third in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland and a victory in the Matriarch Stakes (G1) over older fillies and mares at Hollywood Park last out on Nov. 25.