Soldat Impressive In Palm Meadows Work
BOYNTON BEACH, FL – Fountain of Youth (G2) winner Soldat continued his preparation for the 137th Kentucky Derby (G1) Thursday morning when he worked five furlongs at Palm Meadows in :59.07.
“He went very well, looked great,” said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who watched the son of War Front gallop out six furlongs in 1:12.76. “He’s always worked well down here and that’s why we went back to the dirt (after finishing second Nov. 6 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf). He’s been working well since December and January.”
McLaughlin said Soldat, who finished fifth April 3 in the Florida Derby (G1), will likely work again next Friday before he ships to Churchill Downs for the Derby. “We will probably work him next week,” he said. “Originally, we were going to work him three times (leading up to the Kentucky Derby), but we realized, ‘How much do you have to do?’ He’s fit and he hasn’t missed a day of training since December.”
Asked if Thursday’s work bolstered his confidence in Soldat after his performance in the Florida Derby, McLaughlin said, “I still have confidence. He just had a tough trip (in the Florida Derby). I didn’t like his trip. It was unfortunate, but (Churchill) is a totally different track so it won’t happen again.”
Florida Derby winner and Kentucky Derby favorite Dialed In galloped over the track Thursday at Palm Meadows as well as Louisiana Derby (G2) winner Pants On Fire.
Nordic Truce Bids to Get Back on Track in Friday Feature
Ammerland Farm’s 4-year-old Kentucky homebred colt Nordic Truce appeared well on his way to become a division leader on turf last winter for trainer Christophe Clement after capturing his first three career starts, including the Dania Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park and the Transylvania Stakes (G3) over the Keeneland course in early April.
Nordic Truce has lost four starts since then, but bids to get back on his game in Friday’s $74,250 ‘three other than’ optional/allowance feature with Joe Bravo aboard going 7 ½ furlongs on turf. The son of Yes It’s True ran well to be second by a neck as the favorite when suffering his first defeat in the Hill Prince Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park in early June.
Nordic Truce ran well enough again when fourth in the Hall of Fame Stakes (G2) at Saratoga in mid-August, beaten only 1 ¾ lengths for it all, but was a disappointment finishing sixth over a ‘yielding’ course in the Fifth Marine overnight stakes at Belmont in September. He didn’t run again until a sixth-place effort over the Gulfstream course in an allowance race on Feb. 26, although beaten only 1 ½ lengths by the winner in a fair try.
Trainer Bill Mott sends out a solid contender in the field of seven drawn for Friday’s feature in Pam and Martin Wygod’s 5-year-old homebred Calimonco with Manoel Cruz getting the call. The regally-bred son of Storm Cat out of Sweet Life just missed by a neck in a similar allowance race over the course on Jan. 20 in his first start since Nov. 19 at Churchill Downs.
Completing the field are Live Oak Plantation’s Saint Dynaformer, Elvis Trujillo; Daniel Ljoka’s Awesome Son, Francisco Maysonett; Savoy Stable’s Forestry Type, Luis Saez; and Talons Racing’s uncoupled pair of Open Outcry, C.H. Marquez, Jr. and Tawaared, Orlando Bocachica.
This race goes as the fourth on Friday’s nine-race program and will be the first leg in the Rainbow Six with the Carryover standing at more than $1.3 million going into Thursday card. Post Time for the first race Friday is 3 p.m.
Lopez & Pletcher Set to Repeat as Gulfstream Meet Champions
With four programs to go before the close of the 2011 Gulfstream Park racing season on Sunday, jockey Paco Lopez and trainer Todd Pletcher appear set to collect leading honors for the session, Lopez for the second consecutive season and Pletcher his eighth straight title here.
Lopez leads the jockey standings with 75 victories, nine more than former Gulfstream champion John R. Velazquez second with 64 wins, although the latter moved on to Kentucky and New York after the Florida Derby (G1) on Sun., Apr. 3 except for one day. Javier Castellano ranks third with 59 tallies, Jose Lezcano fourth with 44 and Joe Bravo fifth at 43.
Pletcher holds a commanding lead on the trainers’ leader board with 48 victories, 20 more than closest rival Nick Canani second with 28 and three others tied for third with 18 apiece – Chad Brown, David Fawkes and Eddie Plesa, Jr.