HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Trainer Kelly Breen indicated early in the week that Lori and George Hall’s 2011 Louisiana Derby (G2) hero Pants On Fire was more than ready for his first start since late July, and the 4-year-old colt confirmed that assessment conclusively Saturday at Gulfstream Park as he drew clear in the stretch for a 4 ½ lengths victory in a one-mile allowance race.
The $67,100 allowance race got a lot of attention since it was drawn on Wednesday and also marked the return of Robert LaPenta’s 4-year-old Dialed In, winner of last year’s Florida Derby (G1). The colt ran well enough to finish fourth after a mild rally from last early in the race under jockey Javier Castellano.
Jockey Paco Lopez had Pants On Fire stalking in third down the backstretch behind a moderate pace of 47 3/5 for a half-mile and he cruised to the lead nearing the stretch in his first start since finishing fifth in the Haskell Invitational (G1) at Monmouth Park on July 31. The son of Jump Start finished ninth in the Kentucky Derby (G1) in May as Dialed In checked in eighth behind victorious Animal Kingdom.
Winning trainer Kelly Breen said of Pants On Fire: “I thought it was very good. I’m in New York for the Gotham (My Adonis). I watched it on television and it looked awesome. I thought he was about as ready as I could get him. I thought he was training so well I didn’t think he’d need a race. It’s always pleasant when they run like you think they should.”
Trainer Nick Zito said of Dialed In’s performance: “Javier (Castellano) just said he was a little too rank. They went so slow. That’s the closest he’s been in a long while (to early lead). He likes to come from way out of it and kick in, but they were going so slow; they went in 24 (first quarter). You could see him holding him. He came up short. It looks like he came back all right.”
Pants On Fire paid $7.80 for $2 to win and was timed the mile in 1:35:94 over the ‘fast’ track. Stronach Stable’s 5-year-old Hunters Bay ran well to be second, 2 ½ lengths ahead of Team Valor International and Gary Barber’s 4-year-old Meistersinger in third and Dialed In a head behind him in fourth.
Heavy Breathing Impressive in Allowance Victory
Starlight Racing and trainer Todd Pletcher took a big hit last week when undefeated Holy Bull Stakes (G3) winner Algorithims was forced off the Kentucky Derby (G1) trail with a fractured splint bone, but the owner-trainer team may have another potential Derby prospect after Heavy Breathing posted an impressive allowance victory Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
Leading Gulfstream jockey Javier Castellano had Heavy Breathing stalking in second place around the first turn and into the backstretch of the $60,000 ‘a other than’ allowance test at 1 1/8 miles before taking command in the upper stretch and drawing clear to score by 4 ¼ lengths as the 9-to-10 favorite over Dogwood Stable’s second choice Big Screen in the field of six 3-year-olds.
Heavy Breathing is a chestnut colt by Giant’s Causeway purchased for $150,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sales and had won his only previous start by 7 ¾ lengths under Castellano here on Feb. 8 in a 7 ½ furlongs ‘off the turf’ maiden special weight test. Heavy Breathing paid $3.80 for $2 to win and was timed in 1:51:53 over the ‘fast’ track.
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