Gulfstream Park News & Notes
Itsmyluckyday Remains on Track for Florida Derby
Trilogy Stable and Laurie Plesa’s 3-year-old star Itsmyluckyday worked five furlongs in 1:01 Saturday morning at Calder with jockey Elvis Trujillo in the saddle for trainer Eddie Plesa, Jr. as he continues final preparations for his role as one of the favorites in the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, March 30.
“He worked perfect with Elvis,” said Plesa. “He galloped out three-quarters in 1:14. I couldn’t be more pleased with him. We’re coasting from here. He’ll just have an easy half-mile breeze next weekend and that’s it. It’s been a long wait, but I think we’ve done the right thing with him.”
Itsmyluckyday won the $100,000 Gulfstream Park Derby by 6 ¾ lengths going a mile on New Year’s Day and the $400,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3) at 1 1/16 miles by two lengths last out under Trujillo on Jan. 26 with previously undefeated Eclipse champion Shanghai Bobby second. Plesa decided to pass on another opportunity in the $400,000 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) on Feb. 23, opting to train him up to the Florida Derby.
The son of Lawyer Ron was a $110,000 OBS March 2-year-old sales purchase and won three of seven starts last year and finishing fourth in the $100,000 Dania Beach Stakes on turf here on Dec. 15 before going back to the main track for the Gulfstream Park Derby.
Frac Daddy Works for Likely Start in Florida Derby
After sending out Frac Daddy for a five-furlong breeze at Gulfstream Park Saturday morning, trainer Ken McPeek reported that the 3-year-old son of Scat Daddy would likely run next in the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby on March 30. He had originally planned to run Frac Daddy in the Spiral (G3) at Turfway Park next Saturday.
“I’m leaning towards not running him in the Spiral and probably running him in the Florida Derby. It gives him the extra week for the throat ulcer to heal. It looks good, but I think the extra week will help,” said McPeek, who detected a throat ulcer two weeks after Frac Daddy’s sixth-place finish in the $400,000 Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 26.
The gray colt grabbed a quarter in the Holy Bull.
“He grabbed the quarter in the Holy Bull really bad. I think that was probably more an issue than the throat. Then, again, maybe it was the throat,” McPeek said. “It’s been really a tough one to get together. We’ve had to wait a long time here. Another week won’t hurt him. I’m more inclined to keep him here, because of the extra week and we can school him a little more and he’s been training over this track.”
Frac Daddy worked in company with Pure Fun and was timed in 1:00 4/5, as was his stablemate, who won the Hollywood Starlet (G1) in her last start.
“We put her on the outside this week. We slowed them down. Last week they worked entirely too fast,” said McPeek, referring to a bullet breeze in :58 2/5 on March 8.
Corey Lanerie was aboard Frac Daddy for the work and is expected to be named to ride him in the Florida Derby.
Prior to the disappointing performance in the Holy Bull, Frac Daddy finished second in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), in which he was caught late by Uncaptured by a neck. Frac Daddy’s sire, Scat Daddy, captured the 2007 Florida Derby.
Pure Fun is expected to make her 2013 debut in the Bourbonette Oaks (G3) at Turfway on March 24.
McPeek said Taken By the Storm, who captured a mile turf allowance at Gulfstream Park on March 9, could take Frac Daddy’s place in the Spiral.
Zaikov Sparkles in Friday Debut
Zaikov ran to his pedigree in his debut at Gulfstream Park Friday, capturing a six-furlong maiden special weight event by 14 ¼ lengths without much urging from jockey John Velazquez.
The son of Distorted Humor and Eclipse champion Wait a While was clocked in 1:09.78 while “easily” winning the seventh race, as described by the Equibase chartcaller.
“We loved his mother. She was one of our all-time favorites. He’s trained really well on the dirt, and she was good on all surfaces,” said trainer Todd Pletcher, who trained Wait a While, the 2006 3-year-old filly champion who earned more than $2 million. “He acted like a really talented colt, and we’re glad to get him going.”
Zaikov prepped for his debut on March 10 while working at Palm Meadows Training Center in company with Shanghai Bobby, the 2012 juvenile champion who is pointing for the Besilu Farms Florida Derby.
“He had some typical baby stuff that delayed him coming in a little bit. But since he’s come to us, he’s been very straightforward and he’s trained really well,” Pletcher said.
Zaikov is likely to surface next in an allowance race, said Pletcher, on dirt.
“As long as he continues to run like that, he’s certainly not having any trouble with it,” said Pletcher, who saddled Wait a While for multiple victories in Grade 1 turf stakes, as well as a 14-length triumph in the 2006 Davona Dale on Gulfstream’s main track.
Twilight Eclipse Looking for ‘Firm’ Ground in Pan American
West Point Thoroughbreds’ 4-year-old gelding Twilight Eclipse finished an even fourth, 7 ½ lengths behind Amira’s Prince in the $150,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 16 going 11 furlongs in his first start since winning the 12-furlong W.L. McKnight Handicap (G2) at Calder on Nov. 24 for trainer Tom Albertrani.
A son of Purim, Twilight Eclipse is set to come back in the $150,000 Pan American Stakes (G2) next Saturday at 1 ½ miles, a race in which Amira’s Prince will likely be the favorite, the latter trained by Albertrani’s former mentor, Hall of Fame horseman Bill Mott.
“It wasn’t a bad race off the layoff,” said Albertrani of Twilight Eclipse. “He’s done well since then and I think will improve from that race. Also, I don’t think he liked the ground. They called it ‘good’ but I think it was softer than that.”
Twilight Ridge is lightly-raced with the Mac Diarmida only his seventh career start. He has three wins, including the W.L. McKnight in his first and only race thus far at 12 furlongs. West Point Thoroughbreds acquired Twilight Eclipse privately from previous connections after winning his first two starts on turf at Indiana Downs in June last year and sent him to Albertrani in New York.
On Sunday Albertrani will send out Darley’s 5-year-old Kentucky homebred mare Centring in a very tough 1 1/16 miles allowance race, the fourth on the card, after an even fourth-place effort going a mile on Feb. 10. That race was the daughter of A.P. Indy’s first since finishing fifth trying turf for the first time in the La Prevoyante Handicap (G3) at Calder on Nov. 30.
“She ran well in her last start to be fourth in the one-turn mile” said Albertrani. “She really wants more distance and would probably like a mile-and-an-eighth even better than the mile-and-a-sixteenth Sunday.” Joel Rosario will have the mount.
Centring’s rivals in the field of seven fillies and mares entered in Sunday’s race include Glencrest Farm’s 4-year-old Disposablepleasure with John Velazquez to ride for trainer Todd Pletcher.
A roan/gray daughter of Giacomo, Disposeablepleasure won the Demoiselle Stakes (G2) as a 2-year-old at Aqueduct in 2011 and finished second in the Black Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) at Pimlico and Mother Goose Stakes (G1) at Belmont without winning a race in seven starts last season.
Maker on 1,000 Career Victory Milestone Watch
Trainer Mike Maker is having a strong meet at Gulfstream Park with 26 victories to rank second in the standings going into the weekend behind only Todd Pletcher at 43 wins, the latter bidding for a remarkable 10th consecutive Gulfstream meet title. Bill Mott ranks third with 25 tallies.
Maker also is maintaining divisions of runners this winter at Fair Grounds and Turfway Park. Friday evening he won the fourth race at Fair Grounds with Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s 6-year-old Rule of Honor for his 999th career victory. Maker has three horses entered at Fair Grounds Saturday and the Ramseys’ 3-year-old Scandalo as the morning-line favorite in the 11th race nightcap at Gulfstream.