Horse For Course Mannington Ready For Gulfstream Sprint Championship

Horse For Course Mannington Ready For Gulfstream Sprint Championship

02/11/2011

By Brian Skirka

 In 2010, My Purple Haze Stables’ Mannington ran eight times.

In four races at Gulfstream Park, the Terri Pompay-trained Mannington won three times and finished second once.  In his four other races, the son of Delaware Township hit the board just once – losing by a combined 38 ¾ lengths.

Of Mannington’s eight career victories, five have come at Gulfstream Park.  More than half of his $355,000 in career earnings has been banked at the Hallandale track.

In Saturday’s $150,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship (G2), run at seven furlongs on the main track, Mannington will again look to make up for a sub-par summer campaign with a successful winter in Florida.

“He’s always had bad feet,” Pompay said.  “He’s worn glue-on shoes since he’s been a 2-year-old.  But for some reason or another he just loves this racetrack.”

Despite his affinity for the track – a 5-4-0 career record at Gulfstream Park from 11 starts – and the distance – a 3-1-1 record from six lifetime starts at seven furlongs – Mannington faces a tough challenge in the Sprint Championship.

The 6-year-old hasn’t raced since finishing last of five in an allowance event at Parx Racing on Sept. 12, and must contend will likely favorite Soaring Empire who captured the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope last out at Gulfstream.

Pompay has confidence, however, that one of those hurdles won’t be an issue.

“Soaring Empire is obviously going to be a tough horse to run against,” she said.  “But Mannington loves running off a layoff.  He’s been training great so that’s not really an issue.”

What has been an issue this winter for Pompay is finding a place for Mannington to run?

“We entered him in an open allowance race but that didn’t fill,” Pompay said.  “We brought him down here to run so we’re going to take our shot.”

Jockey Elvis Trujillo will be back aboard Mannington for Saturday’s Sprint Championship.  The two teamed up to win a pair of races last year at Gulfstream including the seven-furlong Sunshine State Stakes.