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Art G Is Back Takes on Elders in Saturday’s 100K Benny The Bull

Aug 22, 2019
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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Monarch Stable’s Art G Is Back is a throwback to an era when horses were always ready and willing to run, no matter the distance, surface or company. On turf, on dirt, in mud, around one turn or around two turns, the 3-year-old son of Exchange Rate always gives his best.

“He’s dead honest,” trainer Ron Spatz said. “He’s got one bad race in his form when he was parked way on the outside going two turns, got a bad trip and didn’t fire. Aside from that, all his races are good, even in defeat in a graded turf race [fourth in the Palm Beach (G3)] he wasn’t beat that far. He’s always there at the finish.”

Art G Is Back’s grit will be sternly tested Saturday when he is scheduled to take on a tough older group of stakes campaigners in the $100,000 Benny The Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

“I’d prefer to keep him with 3-year-olds right now than have to run him against older horses. I know it’s starting to get into that time when it will be 3-and-up, but I’d like to stay with 3-year-olds. But the opportunity wasn’t there,” Spatz said. “I do like him better on dirt, but this is a salty race.”

In his most recent start, Art G Is Back shook off considerable bumping at the start to defeat older optional claiming allowance rivals at one mile on the main track by 13 ¾ lengths.

Victor Lebron is scheduled to ride Art G Is Back for the first time in the seven-furlong stakes for Florida-bred 3-year-olds and up.

David Melin, Leon Ellman and Laurie Plesa’s Mr. Jordan brings the heftiest career bankroll into the Benny The Bull, having amassed earnings in excess of $850,000. The popular gray 7-year-old gelding, who counts a victory in the 2015 Pegasus (G3) at Monmouth among his seven stakes successes, is winless in five starts since winning the Sunshine Millions Classic Preview at Gulfstream Park West for a third straight year last November. The Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained gelding, however, is coming off a sharp second-place finish in the Big Red at Gulfstream Park last time out.

Flying Pheasant Farm LLC’s Ice Tea enters the Benny The Bull off three straight optional claiming allowance victories since coming off a 16-month layoff. The 5-year-old gelded son of Adios Charlie won 2 ½ lengths at 1 1/16-miles at Laurel May 31 before winning back-to-back at Gulfstream, scoring by five lengths at seven furlongs and 7 ½ lengths at a one-turn mile.  The Mary Eppler-trained gelding, who has registered three straight 90-plus Beyer Speed Figures, will be ridden by Jairo Rendon for the first time Saturday.

Imaginary Stables and Glenn K. Ellis’s Royal Squeeze, who finished fourth in the Smile Sprint (G3) on the June 30 Summit of Speed card and defeated Mr. Jordan in the Big Drama Stakes in May; and Mar Racing Stables Inc.’s Hi Riverside, who defeated Mr. Jordan in the Big Red Stakes; are among the most prominent older competitors in a well-stocked field of 12.

Like Art G Is Back, Tropic Lightning Racing LLC’s Take Command, a four-length winner over 3-year-olds in the Carry Back Stakes on the Summit of Speed card, will face older rivals Saturday.

The Benny Bull will anchor a 12-race program at Gulfstream, where the Silks will open at 10 a.m. to accommodate the early 11:35 a.m. post time for Saratoga’s Travers Stakes Day program.

Fountain of Youth (G2) winner Code of Honor and Holy Bull (G2) runner-up Everfast are entered in the $1.25 million Travers Stakes (G1).  Undefeated Shancealot, who debuted at Gulfstream in February, will seek his fourth straight victory and second graded-stakes victory in a row in the $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens (G1) for 3-year-old sprinters. Promises Fulfilled, the 2018 Fountain of Youth winners, will seek his second straight graded-stakes victory in the $600,000 Forego (G1).

Travers merchandise and betting vouchers will be given away as part of a Spin and Win promotion in Silks.

A special buffet will be offered in Ten Palms for $49.99-plus tax.

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