Gulfstream Park News & Notes

Gulfstream Park News & Notes

08/14/2014

Tackleberry Ready to Make Long-Awaited Return in Friday’s Third Race
Multiple Graded-Stakes Winner to Come Back From Two-Year Layoff
Michael Petro Set to Saddle First Starter for Owner Frank Calabrese
 
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – When trainer Luis Olivares entered Tackleberry to run on Friday’s program at Gulfstream Park, it marked the impending homecoming of one of South Florida’s most popular and beloved horses in recent years.
 
If absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder, the 7-year-old gelding will reach his height of popularity when he makes his first start in more than two years in the third race, a very contentious optional claiming allowance. Anticipating the fans’ response to Tackleberry’s long-awaited return to action, the Gulfstream linemaker has installed the son of Montbrook as the 2-1 morning-line favorite in a field of seven. 
 
Unraced since finishing fourth in the Charles Town Classic (G2) on April 14, 2012, Tackleberry was on the shelf with a pulled muscle and a subsequent tendon issue.
 
“He’s doing real good. He’s happy. He’s enjoying what he’s doing,” said Olivares, whose multiple-graded stakes winner has had a strong string of breezes at Gulfstream.
 
Owned by Marissa Olivares, Tackleberry became a force during the 2011 Gulfstream meet, following up a triumph in the Fred Hooper (G3) at Calder in his 2010 finale with three straight victories in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions, Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship (G2) and the Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2). After sustaining an injury in the Met Mile (G1), Tackleberry was sidelined for nine months before firing fresh with a second-place finish behind multiple Grade1-stakes winner Mucho Macho Man in the 2012 Sunshine Millions. He raced once more in the Charles Town Classic before being sent to the sidelines.
 
Olivares expressed complete satisfaction with Tackleberry’s physical condition and preparation for his return to action Friday.
 
“I want him to show what kind of horse he is. You know, it’s like when your kid goes back to school. You want him to do good,” Olivares said. “I think he’ll do his job. Whatever he does, as long as he comes back good, is OK with me. If he gets beat, he gets beat. It’ll be the first time he’s run in two years. Sometimes they need a race, but with him, he might be ready to go.”
 
Carlos Olivero has been named to ride Tackleberry, who should get a strong challenge from City of Weston, County Gun, Dreaming of Neno, Pachanga Party, Defense Article and Argentine Tango.
 
Michael Petro Set to Saddle First Starter for Owner Frank Calabrese
 
One of Tackleberry’s most dangerous foes in Friday’s third race figures to be Dreaming of Neno, who will be saddled for the first time by Michael Petro, who recently took the training of the 40-horse stable of prominent owner Frank Calabrese at Gulfstream.
 
“It’s exciting. Mr. Calabrese has a lot of nice horses,” said the 49-year-old trainer, who has saddled nearly 1500 winners during his career.
 
Petro, who is no stranger to South Florida racing, has been based year-round in the Mid-Atlantic region in recent years.
 
“I used to stable down here in the winter and I stayed a few summers, but when they got the slots up there (Parx), I moved up there,” Petro said.
 
Born into a racing family, the Braintree, Mass. native began his career in New England in 1983. His sister, Kathy (Ritvo) has been training in South Florida for many years and reached the pinnacle of Thoroughbred racing when she saddled Mucho Macho Man for a victory in last year’s $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. His brothers Nick and (the late) Lou turned to riding. Nick, who has ridden more than 1800 winners, is still active in the saddle and helps out with Michael’s Mid-Atlantic string.
 
“I’m really looking forward to the challenge here,” Petro said. “Mr. Calabrese likes to win, and we’re going to do our best to win races for him.”
 
Dreaming of Neno, rated second at 3-1 in the morning line for Friday’s third race, most recently finished third, beaten by a neck, at Gulfstream after winning his two previous starts.