Gulfstream Park News & Notes
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL- War Dancer will make a return to dirt for his next start in the $100,000 Skip Away (G3) at Gulfstream Park on March 29.
The 1 3/16-mile Skip Away is one of seven graded stakes on the undercard of the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby (G1), Gulfstream’s signature race.
Ken McPeek, who trains War Dancer for Magdalena Racing, was considering a turf race at the Keeneland spring meet which opens April 4 for the 4-year-old son of War Front.
“I was concerned that the spot at Keeneland wasn’t going to fill, and we’re also interested in trying him again on the dirt,” McPeek said. “And I think he’ll like the mile and three sixteenths.”
War Dancer has made eight of his 10 career starts on grass with three wins, including the 1 ¼-mile Virginia Derby (G2) at Colonial Downs last July. He made his seasonal debut in an 8 ½-furlong optional claiming allowance at Gulfsteam on March 1, finishing sixth of 11, beaten 3 ¾ lengths.
Jockey Joel Rosario, the fourth-leading rider at Gulfstream who was aboard for the last race, gets a return call in the Skip Away.
War Dancer is 0-for-2 on dirt, running fourth in a 1 1/6-mile maiden race at Gulfstream last February, and sixth behind Will Take Charge, 3-year-old champion male of 2013, in the 1 ¼-mile Travers (G1) at Saratoga. “He’s doing good. He had a bad trip in his last race, but he deserves another chance on dirt,” McPeek said. “He only got beat six lengths for the Travers, and I think this is a much easier spot than that.” Wildcat Lily Returns Saturday in Inside Information
Beaten less than a length combined in a pair of Grade 1 stakes last summer, Wildcat Lily makes her second start off a 4 ½-month layoff in Saturday’s $200,000 Inside Information (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
Trainer Manny Azpurua feels the 4-year-old D’wildcat filly is poised for a big effort after finishing third behind two-time champion Groupie Doll in the Hurricane Bertie (G3) at Gulfstream on Feb. 9. It was the first race for Wildcat Lily since fading to be sixth in the Musical Romance at Gulfstream on Sept. 21.
“She was about a month and a half out of training, and he had a little bit more than a month before she ran that race,” Azpurua said. “I was so pleased about it because she ran good and she came back in good shape. She’s doing everything right, and I expect a good race out of her.”
Owned by Ron Sanchez’s Rontos Racing Stable, Wildcat Lily drew post four in the seven-horse field and will be ridden by Jose Lezcano. She is co-fourth choice on the morning line at 6-1.
Wildcat Lily had four wins and four seconds in 14 starts last year, including a victory in the six-furlong Azalea (G3) at Calder on July 6. She followed up by running second in a pair of Grade 1 sprint stakes at Saratoga Race Course – the Prioress and Test – beaten a half-length and a head, respectively.
“She ran a beautiful race up north,” Azpurua said. “Then, she got sick. Anything can happen not only for the horses, but also for us. I was concerned because she had a long, long way to recuperate, but she’s doing well. She has come back and is doing right. I don’t have any problems with her.”
Wildcat Lily has had five strong breezes this month, including bullet moves on March 8 and her most recent work on Wednesday, going three furlongs in 35.xx seconds. Though winless at the Inside Information’s seven furlongs, she is 2-1-1 in nine tries at Gulfstream.
“She worked very good the other day,” Azpurua said. “She can run over any track. Horses have to be in top shape to run a good race. It’s the only way. If you ask me what she had I can’t tell you because even at the hospital, they couldn’t find what was really bothering her. They said it might have been some bacteria somewhere, but they don’t know where. Thank God she’s good now.”
Azpurua said unbeaten 3-year-old Social Inclusion, a Sanchez-owned Gulfstream allowance winner over Honor Code on March 12, continues to do well since his track record-setting performance.
“A lot of people are interested in buying the horse,” Azpurua said. “Tomorrow we may work him and after that we’ll decide what way we’re going to go. He’s doing super. He’s in top shape. He came back good out of the race and now he’s doing great.”
Commemorative Florida Derby Glass Giveaway Saturday
Gulfstream will provide guests purchasing a Handicapper program or Daily Racing Form a commemorative Besilu Stables Florida Derby glass Saturday afternoon.
The glasses will be given away in the Breezeway between noon and 3 p.m. while supplies last. The glass giveaway is one of several giveaways and events happening over the next eight days in conjunction with the 63rd running of the $1 million Florida Derby.
A charity golf tournament will be held Tuesday and a charity poker tournament Wednesday night to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. A cocktail party to be held Friday evening in the walking ring will benefit Thoroughbred aftercare. For more information go to gulfstreampark.com.