Little Daddy Tries To Stay Unbeaten Against Social Inclusion
East Hall Meets Another Tough Field
Gulfstream's Derby Party Has Giveaways, Merchandise, Hat Contest and More
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Trainer Carlo Vaccarezza thinks big, and he has reason to when it comes to Little Daddy.
Unbeaten in his only two starts, Little Daddy, a New York-bred son of Scat Daddy, will face his toughest challenge Saturday when he meets Social Inclusion and six others in the $75,000 Sir Bear at Gulfstream Park. But if Little Daddy runs well in the mile event, Vaccarezza is thinking of bigger things for the 3-year-old colt.
"If he performs like we think he will I'd like the race to be a prep for the Belmont Stakes (G1)," Vaccarezza said. "The bottom of this horse has (1999 Belmont Stakes winner) has Lemon Drop Kid and (2007 Florida Derby winner) Scat Daddy liked to go long. Our goal has always been to go two turns with him. When you see his pedigree he's bred to go long on the grass, but he's doing so well on the dirt I don't want to make any changes."
Little Daddy broke his maiden easily at first asking March 15 by 3 1/4 lengths at six furlongs before coming back March 30 in an entry-level allowance and winning impressively once again at 6 1/2 furlongs. Little Daddy's competition will be much tougher Saturday with favored Social Inclusion, third in the Wood Memorial (G1), Hutcheson (G3) runner-up C. Zee, Brothersofthetime, who finished third in the Swale (G2), and the stakes-placed East Hall.
"This is a big step up," Vaccarezza said. "The race drew Social Inclusion, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and his connections. But we have a horse with a future that's wide open. He's one of the nicest New York-breds in the country, too. We'll just see what happens Saturday and how he comes out of the race."
No Relief for East Hall
East Hall's winter has been spent knocking heads with the likes of top 3-year-olds like Constitution, Wildcat Red, General a Rod, Ring Weekend and Vinceremos. While the Champions Meet has ended at Gulfstream, East Hall will get no relief Saturday in the Sir Bear.
"He's coming into the race great, but we drew another tough field with Social Inclusion," said trainer Bill Kaplan.
East Hall's past performances include a third-place finish in the Gulfstream Park Derby, a fourth-place finish in the Fountain of Youth (G2), an eighth-place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and a fifth-place finish in the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby (G1).
"He's such a solid horse," Kaplan said. "He ran against all the top horses, and his only bad race, the one in Tampa, was due to a cut he sustained on his ankle. I thought this race would come up a little easier but you have another graded horse in there with Social Inclusion, and he looks like the real deal. But my horse is doing well and I'm happy with the way he's trained."
GULFSTREAM HOSTS FLORIDA'S BIGGEST DERBY PARTY
Along with Saturday's 10-race program highlighted by the Sir Bear and an optional allowance claimer on the turf featuring graded-stakes winners Philly Ace and Hey Leroy, Gulfstream will play host to a huge Kentucky Derby party with drink specials in official souvenir glasses, official merchandise, giveaways, a hat contest, and a chance to win five betting vouchers on the Derby for as much as $600.
Gulfstream will also offer advance wagering Friday on all of Saturday's races at Churchill Downs.
Silks will open at 9:30 a.m. Saturday with a first race post at Churchill Downs of 10:30 a.m. Gulfstream's first race will go off at 1:25 p.m. Gulfstream's 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover for Friday will be $5.7 million.