Wilkes Fine With Gulfstream 'Cap Weights, Golden Mystery Back with Wolfson, Pletcher Stars on Work Tab

Wilkes Fine With Gulfstream 'Cap Weights, Golden Mystery Back with Wolfson, Pletcher Stars on Work Tab

03/03/2013

Wilkes Fine with Gulfstream Park Handicap Weights

Having saddled Fort Larned for an extraordinary triumph in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita last November, Ian Wilkes was certainly prepared for the inevitability that his stable star would be asked to give weight to his rivals in Saturday’s $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2).

The 5-year-old son of E Dubai has been assigned to carry high weight of 124 pounds in the mile handicap, between six and 11 pounds more than the horses that have been confirmed to be pointing to the one-turn race.

“It’s fine,” said Wilkes Sunday morning. “I have no complaints.”

Fort Larned, who broke his maiden at Gulfstream Park in a one-turn mile race in 2011, registered his first graded-stakes victory in the Skip Away (G3) last year at the Hallandale Beach track. He also captured the Whitney (G1) at Saratoga, as well as the Cornhusker (G3) at Prairie Meadows in 2012.

Fort Larned is scheduled to breeze five-furlongs on Monday for his final serious prep for the Gulfstream Park Handicap, in which he is slated to carry six pounds more than Fort Loudon, the winner of the Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship (G3) on Feb. 9.

“He’s a big, strong horse,” Wilkes said. “So I’m fine with it.”

Golden MysteryGolden Mystery Back in Wolfson Barn

Trainer Marty Wolfson sent out Farnsworth Stables LLC’s 7-year-old mare Golden Mystery to win the $150,000 Hurricane Bertie Stakes (G3) by 3 ½ lengths going 6 ½ furlongs last out at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 10 and late the next afternoon the daughter of Awesome Again was sold at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Winter Mixed sale for $625,000 to Regis Farms.

Wolfson had expressed his hope that the new owners would send Golden Mystery back to his barn at Calder to continue her racing career while in such top form. He got his wish when she was returned a few days later, hitting the work tab Sunday morning with a half-mile in 49 4/5.

“She got back a few days after the sales,” said Wolfson. “She only missed training for about five days which is how much time I gave her after the Sunshine Millions before the Hurricane Bertie. She’ll run in the Inside Information and the new owners have talked about the Humana Distaff at Churchill, although nothing beyond that. Both of those races are at seven-eighths, which she loves.”

The $150,000 Inside Information Stakes (G2) will be run here on Sunday March 17 and the $300,000 Humana Distaff (G1) at Churchill Downs to be run on Kentucky Derby Day May 4, both at seven furlongs, also the distance of the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.

Meanwhile, Wolfson is set to send out Silverton Hill LLC’s Swagger Jack in next Saturday’s $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) going one mile. The 5-year-old son of Smart Strike just missed last out when second by a half-length behind Fort Loudon in the $150,000 Gulfstream Sprint Championship (G2) going seven furlongs on Feb. 9 after two allowance victories going one mile over the track.

Wolfson said before the Sprint Championship that he thought Swagger Jack would prefer a mile to seven furlongs. Swagger Jack will get his final tune-up for Saturday’s race with a Monday morning breeze at Calder.

Discreet Dancer & Shanghai Bobby Breeze for Pletcher

Trainer Todd Pletcher had a very busy Sunday morning at Palm Meadows with more than a dozen stakes runners from his powerful stable hitting the work tab for upcoming stakes engagements, including E. Paul Robsham Stable’s 4-year-old Discreet Dancer in preparation for Saturday’s $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2).

A Florida homebred by Discreet Cat, Discreet Dancer has made all four of his career starts at Gulfstream with three victories and a third. He won his debut in early December of 2011 and won by 9 ¾ lengths in track record time for 5 ½ furlongs, followed by a 5 ½ lengths allowance score in early January last year and the third-place finish attempting two turns behind Union Rags in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2).

Discreet Dancer went to the sidelines and didn’t run again until Feb. 6 when he won a hard-fought neck victory in a six-furlong allowance race. He has been the odds-on favorite in all four of his races, including the Fountain of Youth. He was timed a half-mile in 48 3/5 Sunday morning.

Starlight Racing, Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s Shanghai Bobby led a list of high-profile 3-year-olds from the Pletcher arsenal, going five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 while being kept on edge for his next start in the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) on Saturday, March 30.

A son of Harlan’s Holiday, Shanghai Bobby was the undefeated Eclipse champion 2-year-old of 2012 following his victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita on Nov. 3. He suffered his first defeat finishing second in the $400,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3) on Jan. 26 to Trilogy Stables and Laurie Plesa’s Itsmyluckyday, who is also training up to the Florida Derby.

Another Pletcher stable star on the Sunday morning work tab was Twin Creek Racing Stables LLC’s 4-year-old Graydar, wire-to-wire winner of the $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) last out on Feb. 9 by five lengths over Bourbon Courage with 2012 Florida Derby hero Take Charge Indy third.

A roan/gray son of Unbridled’s Song, Graydar was timed in 48 4/5 as he tuned up for his next start, possibly in the $400,000 New Orleans Handicap (G2) on Saturday, March 30 at Fair Grounds.

Graydar was making only the fourth start of his career in the Donn, three of them at Gulfstream. He won his debut here on April 8 last year by 8 ½ lengths, finished third in a Belmont Park allowance in mid-September and won an allowance here on December 6 by 4 ¼ lengths before the Donn.