D’Angelo Hopes to Welcome Back FSS Runners to the Winner’s Circle
Bentornato, Welcome Back Share More than Undefeated Records
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Trainer Jose D’Angelo hopes to welcome back his two FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes runners to the Gulfstream Park winner’s circle once again Saturday.
Bentornato and Welcome Back are both undefeated and both won their races in the first leg of the Florida Sire Stakes series for 2-year-olds sired by accredited Florida stallions.
The two juveniles have even more in common
Bentornato, the morning line favorite for Saturday’s $200,000 Affirmed, and Welcome Back, who will seek a FSS repeat in the $200,000 Susan’s Girl, have the same name, sort of.
“I picked Bentornato out when he was a yearling at the OBS sale, and the owner decided to pinhook him. They sold the horse for $170,000, but they returned the horse because the horse didn’t pass the test,” D’Angelo said. “After that, they tried to buy the horse back for the same amount of money, but the owner said, “No, no, I’m going to run the horse.’ That’s why they named the horse Bentornato, which means ‘welcome back’ in Italian,” D’Angelo said.
Leon King Stable Corp.’s Bentornato and Soldi Stable Inc.’s Welcome Back do not share common ownership.
“The filly’s name is Welcome Back, so it’s similar. It’s similar – related, but not related,” D’Angelo said.
One thing is clear, Bentornato and Welcome Back are both precocious 2-year-olds that D’Angelo believes will improve with experience.
Bentornato, a son of Valiant Minister rallied from off the pace to win his five-furlong debut on a sloppy track July 1 before going on to win the six-furlong Proud Man in front-running fashion by 4 ¼ lengths and the FSS Dr. Fager by 7 ½ lengths after taking the lead in the backstretch.
“From the start, he showed ability,” D’Angelo said. “I think he’s a very talented horse.
Welcome Back, who closed from off the pace to beat winners in her debut in a five-furlong optional claiming allowance on Tapeta, overcame traffic to register a victory in the $100,000 FSS Desert Vixen at six furlongs.
“She’s a two-turn horse, 100 percent,” D’Angelo said. “When we go longer with her, she’s going to appreciate that. She’s perfect to go two turns. The longer we run her, she’s going to be better.”
Bentornato will put his undefeated record on the line while facing Mattingly, a highly regarded stakes winner on Tapeta who will be making his first start on dirt, as well as Hurricane Nelson, a Christophe Clement-trained New York invader who has finished second twice in maiden special weight races at Saratoga and Aqueduct.
Welcome Back will clash with undefeated R Harper Rose, a Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained daughter of Khozan who missed the Desert Vixen due to a fever.
“For sure you feel pressure every race. You want to win the race for both horses,” D’Angelo said. “Both horses are training really good.”