Pletcher Holds Strong Hand in Two Thursday Allowance Features
By Jack Will
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Thursday’s 10-race program at Gulfstream Park offers a pair of 6 ½-furlong allowance features, one for 3-year-olds and one for older horses, and leading trainer Todd Pletcher appears have the favorites in both races with E. Paul Robsham Stable’s 4-year-old Travelin Man in the third and Bortolazzo Stable’s 3-year-old Stat in the eighth.
Jockey John Velazquez, who will ride both horses, teamed up with Travelin Man for all six of his career starts, beginning with three over the Gulfstream track early last year. The Kentucky homebred by Trippi won his debut, finished second in the Hutcheson Stakes (G2) to Flashpoint and then won the Swale Stakes (G2) on Florida Derby Day, Apr. 3
Travelin Man’s fortunes went downhill after the Swale as he finished sixth as the favorite in the Derby Trial (G3) at Churchill Downs in late April, fourth in the Woody Stephens Stakes (G2) on Belmont Day in June and last of seven in his last start in the Amsterdam Stakes (G2) at Saratoga on Aug. 1.
Travelin Man’s six rivals are led by Our Sugar Bear Stable’s 4-year-old Gourmet Dinner who was on the Kentucky Derby trail early last year when finishing third here in the Holy Bull Stakes (G3) behind Dialed In and second to Soldat in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) when trained by Steve Standridge.
Also a son of Trippi, Gourmet Dinner is entered to make his first start since the Fountain of Youth with jockey Sebastian Madrid named to ride for trainer Bruce Brown. Gourmet Dinner was developed at Calder where he raced through the Florida Stallion Stakes series and completed his juvenile season winning the Delta Jackpot (G3) at Delta Downs and finishing fourth in the CashCall Futurity (G1) at Hollywood Park.
Completing the field for this race are Rapputi Stable’s Ribo Bobo, Kramer Stables and William Rosenfels’ Thank U Philippe, Stride Rite Racing Stable’s Peace at Dawn, Arlenes Sun Star Stable’s True Heaven and Good Friends Stable’s Golden Moka.
In the eighth race, Stat is set to make his first start since finishing second as the favorite in the Saratoga Special (G2) on Aug. 15 behind emerging star Union Rags. A $400,000 Keeneland April 2-year-old sales purchase by Unbridled’s Song, Stat won his only previous start by two lengths making his debut at Belmont Park on July 9.
Stat will likely be a strong favorite against seven rivals with Joseph Sutton’s Maan getting support with jockey Julien Leparoux aboard for trainer Eddie Kenneally, A $200,000 Fasig-Tipton February 2-year-old purchase by Malibu Moon, Maan won his only start at Churchill Downs on July 3 as the 3-to-2 favorite by 1 ½ lengths under Leparoux.
Completing this field are Blazing Meadows Farm’s Blings Express, Korina Stable’s Seven Kind, Saffie Joseph’s Isutalkintome, Destiny Oaks’ Prayer Meeting, Nick of Time Stable’s Dangerous Trick and Brenda Tabraue’s Angelofdistinction.