Therapist Among Maker-Trained Trio in $200,000 Pan American (G2)
Richest Grass Stakes on Saturday’s 14-Race Florida Derby (G1) Program
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Newly acquired eight-time stakes winner Therapist and stablemates Wicked Fast and Bay Street Money give Mike Maker three chances to earn a second career win in the $200,000 Pan American presented by Rood & Riddle Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
The 62nd running of 1 ½-mile Pan American for 4-year-olds and up on the grass is one of 10 stakes, five graded, worth $2.35 million in purses on a spectacular 14-race program anchored by the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa for 3-year-olds.
Post time is 11:30 a.m. EST. The Pan American goes as Race 5 (1:26 p.m.) with the Florida Derby (6:40 p.m.) part of a national CNBC broadcast from 6 to 7 p.m.
Maker claimed Therapist for $50,000 on behalf of Michael Dubb following a third-place finish Jan. 20 on the Gulfstream turf. The 8-year-old gelding then came from off the pace to pull away by 4 ½ lengths in a 1 1/16-mile starter on the Tapeta Feb. 11 – the only time he has not raced on grass.
“He’s just an old, classy horse, real nice, does everything just the way you want him to do it,” Maker’s assistant trainer, Nolan Ramsey, said. “I think he’s earned a shot.”
By Freud, the New York-bred Therapist owns 11 wins and $850,195 in purse earnings from 38 career starts, his most recent stakes victory coming in the 2020 Artie Schiller on the Aqueduct turf for trainer Christophe Clement. He has been claimed three times since September, winning two of his last three races after going winless in 14 starts.
“He’s got the New York-bred working for him, which was the reason we went in for him,” Ramsey said. “We’ve run up against the horse I don’t know how many times, but we were tired of getting beat by him.”
Championship Meet-leading rider Irad Ortiz Jr. gets the call on Therapist from Post 5 in a field of eight.
“He’s doing well and in great form,” Ramsey said. “He ran a great race for us first time and we’ve had no complaints with him.”
Jordan Wycoff’s Wicked Fast will be making his fourth start of the winter at Gulfstream after running second in the two-mile H. Allen Jerkens Dec. 17, third in the 1 ½-mile W.L. McKnight (G3) Jan. 28 and fifth in the 1 3/8-mile Mac Diarmida (G2) March 4 – beaten 7 ¼ combined lengths.
“He ran great last time,” Ramsey said. “He’s a tough horse. It seems like every time he runs he has some sort of troubled trip and he still shows up. He’s not a very big horse. When you look at him he definitely doesn’t scream marathon turf horse, but he sure tries hard. I’d like to see him get a clean trip and punch his ticket.”
Edgard Zayas is named to ride from Post 1.
Sanford Goldfarb’s Bay Street Money will be making his second straight start against graded company after finishing fourth under jockey Tyler Gaffalione in the 1 1/8-mile Fair Grounds (G3) Feb. 18, his stakes debut. The 6-year-old Street Sense gelding has three wins and five seconds from 15 tries on the grass.
“He ran well at Fair Grounds. I don’t know how well he got hold of the turf over there,” Ramsey said. “They’ve had some issues with the turf this winter. Gaffalione told me he just wasn’t getting a hold of it. He’s a real nice horse. He’s run through his conditions for us at Keeneland and Churchill. He’s never really got an opportunity to go long, so I think he’ll like it. A mile and a half might be a touch too far. A mile and three-eighths might be a better distance but the way it falls, here we are.”
Luis Saez has the riding assignment from outermost Post 8.
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Alex Daigneault’s Abaan returns to Gulfstream looking to snap a six-race losing streak dating back to consecutive wins last winter in the Jerkens and McKnight. Second by two lengths to Gufo in last year’s Pan American, he exits a pair of off-the-board finishes during this year’s Championship Meet for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher, a three-time Pan Am winner.
Abaan was entered in the Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway Park March 25 but was scratched after drawing Post 11 of 14.
“He’s a bit tricky,” Pletcher said. “He’s a little tricky to ride. He likes to be loose on the lead, and those are difficult situations in three-turn races because if you commit then you’re stuck. I think we’ll let him run his race this time and see how it unfolds. He’s actually been behaving really well and hasn’t run as well. Maybe if he misbehaves and gets fired up he’ll run better.”
Joel Rosario rides from Post 7.
Michael and Jules Iavarone, Nicholas Zoumas, Vape-wh, Frank Argano and Ten Twenty Racing’s Master Piece will add blinkers after closing to be seventh, beaten three lengths, in the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) and third by a length and a half in the Mac Diarmida.
“He’s coming out of two good runs,” trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said. “He doesn’t break through a lot, but this time we’re going to put blinkers on him. He’s never had blinkers on. It’s kind of worth it just to give it a try. If he can just improve a tad, a length and a half or two, it would be huge.”
The Pegasus was the first race for Master Piece since being privately purchased following the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), where he ran eighth. The 7-year-old ridgling won the Eddie Read (G2) last summer and was second in back-to-back editions of the Del Mar Handicap (G2).
“He obviously came to us with a top resume and we’re just hoping to keep him running as good as he was running. We hope to break through in one of these races with him,” Joseph said. “I thought last time he had pretty good aim at the top of the lane to run them down. He just kind of hung a bit. Hopefully the blinkers can help him finish it off.”
Master Piece will carry topweight of 122 pounds including jockey Jose Ortiz from Post 3.
Stakes winner Ry’s the Guy, third in the 1 ½-mile Sycamore (G3) last fall at Keeneland; and California Frolic, runner-up in the 2022 Virginia Derby (G3) exiting an eighth in the March 4 Canadian Turf (G3) at Gulfstream, complete the field.