Gulfstream Park News & Notes
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Itsmyluckyday is scheduled to return to the work tab this weekend for the first time since making his comeback in the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) on March 8.
Trainer Eddie Plesa plans to breeze the 4-year-old Lawyer Ron colt on Saturday morning at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County.
“He came out of the race 110 percent,” Plesa said. “On a rating of one to 10, he’s doing a solid 10. I don’t really have anything in mind for him yet.”
Winner of the Gulfstream Park Derby and Holy Bull (G3) and runner-up to eventual Kentucky Derby winner Orb in the Besilu Stables Florida Derby (G1) at last year’s Champions meet, Itsmyluckyday was fourth in the Gulfstream 'Cap behind Palace Malice, beaten seven lengths.
It was the first start for Itsmyluckyday since suffering a pelvic fracture in the Pegasus (G3) at Monmouth Park in June, a month after he finished second to Oxbow in the Preakness (G1).
“There’s no question in my mind he got a lot out of that race,” Plesa said. “I didn’t have the option of picking a lot of different spots for him. He was ready to run and kicking down the barn. He was coming off a long layup where he was in the stall for four months. His conditioning went from 100 percent to zero, so I had to build him up from zero.”
Along with Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Palace Malice, the Gulfstream 'Cap also featured 2012 Travers (G1) co-winner Golden Ticket and Canadian classic winner Uncaptured, who ran second and third, respectively, as well as winner Falling Sky, a multiple graded stakes winner who captured the Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3) on Feb. 8.
“You look at that field, it was a star-studded field. He got tired like he should have, and he’ll be a lot better for it next time,” Plesa said. “You take horses that are running and you give them a couple months off at the barn and bring them back and their level is 65, 70, 75 percent depending on the individual, so you’re starting with some kind of basis. This one had none. In my mind, he ran a far better race than it would look to anybody else only because I’m with the horse every day.”
Plesa is considering several options for Itsmyluckyday, who he trains for Trilogy Stable and his wife, Laurie.
“I’m looking at some spots, but I don’t have anything picked out for sure yet,” he said. “I could take an easy route and wait until I get to Monmouth and run in a stakes race there. I could be more aggressive and run him seven-eighths of a mile the first part of April in New York, or I could go to Maryland on Preakness weekend and run in a stakes there. It’s going to be a long year, so I’m looking at the cautious thing.’
Pletcher, Castellano Ramsey Lead Standings
Trainer Todd Pletcher is on pace to win an unprecedented 11th training title at Gulfstream. Through Wednesday, March 19, Pletcher had won 61 races. His closest competitor was Mike Maker with 43. Eddie Plesa Jr. has won with 21 starters.
In the jockey's race, Javier Castellano appears to be safely on his way to his third consecutive title with 116 wins through Wednesday. Just last week Castellano broke his old record for wins with his 113th.
In the owner's race, Ken and Sarah Ramsey are on top with 36 victories. Their closest competitor is Frank Carl Calabrese with 15.
The Champions Meet will end for statistical purposes on April 27.
Florida Derby Golf, Poker Tournaments to benefit PDJF
A week of activities leading up to the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby March 29 will kick off with two events benefitting the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.
On Tuesday, March 25 the fourth annual Florida Derby Golf Tournament will be held at the Westin Diplomat Golf Resort. There will be tournament prizes, closest to the pin and longest drive awards as well a light lunch and beverages. Registration is 10:30 a.m. for a shotgun start at noon. Cost per golfer is $130. For more information contact Nancy LaSala at 650.595.7660.
The following evening, Wednesday, March 26 will be a charity poker tournament again benefitting the PDJF. The tournament starts at 6:30 p.m. with a buy-in of $150 and unlimited buy-ins during the first three rounds.
For additional information call 954.457.6336.
Activities on Florida Derby Day will include a free handicapping seminar at 11 a.m. with Steve Crist of the Daily Racing Form, hat contests for women beginning at age 2, a polo shirt giveaway with the purchase of a seat, and, of course, the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby.