Gulfstream Today 2.3.2013
Lead: It was quite a weekend for leading Gulfstream Park jockey Javier Castellano as he made a day trip Saturday to ride WinStar Farm’s highly-regarded 3-year-old Revolutionary to a neck victory in the $200,000 Withers Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct for leading Gulfstream trainer Todd Pletcher after a troubled trip that put the colt on the Kentucky Derby (G1) trail with plenty of new experience.
Castellano was back at Gulfstream early Sunday morning for a workout aboard Bourbon Lane Stable and Wayne Lynn’s 4-year-old Bourbon Courage for trainer Kellyn Gorder in preparation for next Saturday’s $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1). The son of Lion Heart was timed in 48 1/5.
“It was the first time I’d ever been on him,” said Castellano between races Sunday of Bourbon Courage. “He’s very classy. They weren’t looking for any ‘bullet’ works or anything. He went in 48 so easy and galloped out strong. He was very straightforward and mature the whole time. I’m really looking forward to the Donn. I liked what I saw on paper (past performances) and I like him even more now.”
Bourbon Courage has made only eight career starts with three wins and two seconds and will be making his first start since finishing third in the Clark Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 23 when beaten a length for it all by Shackleford and a head for second by Take Charge Indy, who also makes his first start since the Clark in the Donn.
Castellano’s good day at Aqueduct Saturday began before the Withers as he rode King of Prussia Stable’s 3-year-old filly Princess of Sylmar to a seven-length victory in the $100,000 Busher Stakes earlier on the card. Also trained by Todd Pletcher, the daughter of Majestic Warrior is now considered a Kentucky Oaks (G1) prospect.
However, there was a price to miss a day at Gulfstream and that was the door was open for some of his top five rivals in the Gulfstream title chase at the halfway mark of the season that runs through Apr. 5. Jockey Luis Saez took the opportunity to ride four winners and draw to within two of the lead at 49-47 and John Velazquez posted a triple to move into fourth with 36.
Jockey Joel Rosario, third in the Gulfstream standings with 41 wins, also was out of town Saturday afternoon for a profitable afternoon as he rode Besilu Stable’s 3-year-old filly Tapicat to victory in the $150,000 Florida Oaks (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs for trainer Bill Mott and TNT Stud’s 5-year-old Brazilian-bred mare Old Tune to score in the $150,000 Endeavour Stakes (G3) there two races later for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Hamelin Makes U.S. Debut: Antoine Hamelin, a 21-year-old jockey from France, made his U.S. debut Sunday at Gulfstream when he rode the Graham Motion-trained Gush to a seventh-place finish in a maiden event over 1 1/16 mile turf course
Hamelin has been working on the backstretch and galloping horses for Motion the past two weeks at Palm Meadows. Through an interpreter, Hamelin said he came to the U.S. to learn the different methods of training and to learn to speak English. He will leave Florida and return Feb. 18 to France.
Hamelin was part of a Cinderella story last year in Europe when he rode Saonois to victory in the French Derby for owner Pascal Treyve, a baker with a stable of two horses. Saonois later finished 15th in the Arc de Triomphe.
vTrainer Marty Wolfson sent out two winners, the second ridden by jockey Luis Saez to leave him just one behind Javier Castellano in the standings. Jockeys Edgar Prado and Jose Lezcano rode two winners each.