Musical Flair Returns in Needles Saturday
By Jack Will
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Kathleen Amaya and Raffaele Centofant’s Musical Flair, a 2 ¾ lengths winner in August of the five furlong Fasig-Tipton Turf Dash in his only start on grass, is set for his 2012 debut Saturday in a field of seven 3-year-olds going the same distance over the Gulfstream Park course in the $60,000 Needles Stakes.
Jockey J.M. Rios will be back aboard Musical Flair for trainer Sal Santoro in his first start since Oct. 8 when finishing l1th of 13 in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland. The Breeders’ Futurity was won by Dullahan going 1 1/16 miles after Musical Flair set the pace for three-quarters of a mile.
“(J. M.) Rios said he was going comfortably on the lead when he heard him make some sudden noises,” said Santoro Thursday morning. “We determined that he had an entrapped epiglottis and sent him straight to Ocala where he was operated on. We chose this spot to bring him back because he showed that he really liked grass in the Calder race. We do hope to try and stretch him out after this race.”
Musical Flair is a son of Songandaprayer purchased for $47,000 at the OBS March 2-year-old sales and made two starts at Calder before the Fasig-Tipton Turf Dash, finishing eighth of nine in his debut after a poor start in July and breaking his maiden by two lengths on Aug. 12 over a ‘sloppy’ track.
Another contender in the Needles that has won his only start on turf is Silverton Hill LLC’s Diez with jockey J.L. Castanon named to ride for trainer Darrin Miller. The son of Rock Hard Ten was a $150,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase and rallied from last of 12 to break his maiden over the Gulfstream course and Needles distance on Jan. 11 in his career debut.
Rey Wan Racing’s Hello Prince showed plenty of ability last year at Calder winning three of six starts for trainer Daniel Pita, including the Birdonthewire Stakes by six lengths last out on Oct. 1. A $14,000 OBS August yearling purchase, the son of Halo’s Image makes his turf debut with jockey Jose A. Garcia named to ride.
Also certain to attract support will be William Sorokolit’s Town Prize with Edgar Prado aboard for trainer Darwin Banach. The Kentucky homebred by Speightstown won two of three starts on Polytrack at Woodbine last year, finished third in the Colin Stakes in between, and ran a very good third in the six-furlong Spectacular Bid Stakes here on Dec. 3.
Completing the field for the Needles are Vicente Stella Stable’s Indirectly A.P., Joe Bravo; Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Silver Menace, Jose Ferrer; and Gilbert Campbell’s Martini Madness, Eduardo Nunez.