Gulfstream Today: 3.17.2013
Take Charge Indy Breezes for Likely Start in Skip Away
WinStar Farm and Chuck and Maribeth Sandford’s 4-year-old Take Charge Indy, winner of the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park last year for trainer Pat Byrne, breezed six furlongs in 1:14 Sunday morning at Palm Meadows in preparation for a likely start in the $100,000 Skip Away Stakes (G3) on Florida Derby Day Saturday, March 30.
“We’re leaning strongly toward the Skip Away,” said Byrne of the 1 3/16 miles test won last year by Fort Larned. “We’ve also nominated to the New Orleans Handicap (G2) that same day and Elliott (Walden, WinStar Farm President/CEO) wants to keep all of our options open for now. But it’s a long season and it would be a lot easier to ship 45 minutes to Gulfstream rather than go to New Orleans to run against Graydar and Bourbon Courage.
“Another reason we’re leaning to the Skip Away is that we can get Rosie (Napravnik) to ride him. We’ve already been told that Johnny (Velazquez) will be riding Cigar Street (owned by Jake Ballis and Rashard Lewis) in the Skip Away for Bill Mott,” said Byrne.
Napravnik, who leads all North American jockeys in wins through Saturday with 80, will be on hand from Fair Grounds that day to ride Starlight Racing, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s Shanghai Bobby in the Florida Derby for trainer Todd Pletcher.
A regally-bred son of A.P. Indy out of Grade 1 winner Take Charge Lady, Take Charge Indy finished third last out in the $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) here on Feb. 9 behind wire-to-wire winner Graydar and Bourbon Courage. The Donn marked Take Charge Indy’s first start since a top effort when second by a length behind Shackleford in the Clark Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 23.
After finishing 19th in last year's Kentucky Derby (G1), Take Charge Indy was found to have a bone chip in his left front ankle and underwent surgery to have it removed. Sidelined for nearly six months, he returned with a third-place effort in the Fayette Stakes (G2) at Keeneland in late October prior to the Clark.
Take Charge Indy’s 3-year-old half-brother Will Take Charge, by Unbridled’s Song, posted a 28-to-1 upset winning Saturday’s $600,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park for trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
Byrne had another potential stable star on the work tab Sunday morning at Palm Meadows with Chuck and Maribeth Sandford’s 3-year-old Positively, who worked a half mile in 48 4/5 as he continues preparing for his season debut and first start since finishing seventh in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 24. The son of Distorted Humor finished second to Uncaptured in the Iroquois Stakes (G3) at Churchill in his previous start.
“I think he is going to be a nice horse this year,” said Byrne. “He’s a half-brother to Malibu Moon (highly-successful sire of Florida Derby candidate Orb), “He can’t be ready for a race at Gulfstream. We hope to bring him back in either the Derby Trial (G3) at Churchill or the Illinois Derby (G3).” The $175,000 Derby Trial will be run on Saturday, April 27 while the $750,000 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne goes a week before on Saturday April 20.
Itsmyluckyday & Shanghai Bobby Lead Besilu Stables Florida Derby Nominations
Trilogy Stable and Laurie Plesa’s Itsmyluckyday and Starlight Stable, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s 2012 Eclipse champion 2-year-old Shanghai Bobby finished one-two in the $400,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 26, and are prominent on the roster of 111 3-year-old nominated for the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby (G1) to be run at 1 1/8 miles on Sat., Mar. 30.
Both colts are on target in their training for a rematch in the Florida Derby when they will be joined by Stuart Janney III’s Orb, who posted his third straight victory rallying to win the $400,000 Besli Stables Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) for trainer Shug McGaughey here on Feb. 23.
Trainers Eddie Plesa, Jr. and Todd Pletcher each passed on running Itsmyluckyday and Shanghai Bobby in the Fountain of Youth, respectively, and chose to train their colts up to the highly-anticipated rematch in the 62nd edition of Gullfstream’s historic Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown preview.
Another confirmed Florida Derby prospect with two weeks to go is Magic City Thoroughbred partners’ Frac Daddy, second by a neck in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs in late November for trainer Ken McPeek.
A son of Scat Daddy, Frac Daddy disappointed when sixth as a 5-to-1 chance behind Itsmyluckyday and Shanghai Bobby in the Holy Bull when he grabbed a quarter rather badly and was later found to have been suffering from a throat ulcer.
Rocco Makes Winning Day Trip to Oaklawn
Gulfstream Park-based jockey Joe Rocco, Jr., the regular rider of Cresran LLC’s 6-year-old mare Tiz Miz Sue for trainer Steve Hobby, made a profitable trip to Oaklawn Saturday when guiding the daughter of Tiznow to 1 ¼ lengths victory in the $175,000 Azeri Stakes (G3), a race they won last year. Don’t Tell Sophie finished second with heavy favorite My Miss Aurelia third.
Rocco currently ranks sixth in the Gulfstream standings with 48 winners and was due back to ride Sunday afternoon. Rocco will likely be booked for another trip to Oaklawn on Apr. 12 when Tiz Miz Sue is expected run back in the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1), a race they finished third in last year behind Plum Pretty.
Orb to Breeze for Florida Derby Monday
Stuart Janney III’s 3-year-old Kentucky homebred colt Orb will breeze Monday morning at Payson Park for trainer Shug McGaughey in his next-to-last scheduled workout ahead of the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park on Sat., Mar. 30.
“He’ll work Monday and then blowout a little bit the next Monday,” said McGaughey. A son of Malibu Moon, Orb ran into the Florida Derby picture and Kentucky Derby ‘Trail’ with three consecutive victories, the last two at Gulfstream while training all winter with McGaughey’s Payson Park-based division.
Orb broke his maiden going a mile at Aqueduct on Nov. 24 and then won a 1 1/8 miles allowance race over the Gulfstream track on Jan. 26. Turning back in distance a sixteenth of a mile for the $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) on Feb. 23, he rallied to score by a half-length over heavily-favored Violence.