Stakes-Placed Captain D Looks to Serve Notice in Juvenile Turf
Nov 7, 2019
First of Four 2-Year-Old Stakes on Millions Preview Card Nov. 9
Stakes-Placed Filly Jean King in Juvenile Fillies Turf
MIAMI GARDENS, FL
– Don and Rebecca Ming’s homebred Captain D, placed in back-to-back stakes at Gulfstream Park, heads across town seeking his first career black-type victory in Saturday’s $75,000 Juvenile Turf.
The one-mile Juvenile Turf is the first of four stakes for 2-year-olds on an 11-race Sunshine Millions Preview program that offers nine stakes worth $675,000 in purses and serves as a prelude to Sunshine Millions Day, Jan. 18, during Gulfstream Park’s Championship Meet.
First race post time is noon.
From the barn of Saffie Joseph Jr., the Fall Turf Festival meet’s leading trainer who last weekend saddled Math Wizard to a fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita, Captain D drew outside Post 7 in the Juvenile Turf, his third straight try on the grass after breaking his maiden at first asking in the slop Aug. 4 at Gulfstream.
“The first time he ran, we just ran him to get a race into him, basically, but we had no expectations that he would win. It was a pleasant surprise that he won that. After that, it was hard to get a race and the next target was the grass and we just thought let’s try the grass and see, and he ran good so we stayed on the grass,” Joseph said. “The way he started out, he always moved like he would get over the grass efficiently.”
Captain D’s turf debut came in the 7 ½-furlong Proud Man Stakes Aug. 31, where he was second by three-quarters of a length. He came back and stretched out to a mile in the Armed Forces Sept. 28, running third after settling off the pace, beaten 2 ¼ lengths. The winner of both races, Graceful Kitten, would go on to run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) Nov. 1.
“He’s actually been a horse that’s surprised us because we never thought he’d be this good. He never really showed much in the morning until right before he was ready to run,” Joseph said. “Each time he’s run, he’s run a bang-up race. He’s coming into the race well. The horse that beat him twice ran in the Breeders’ Cup the other day, so he’s faced that caliber of horse. I think we’ll go there with a very good chance.”
Arindel homebred Genghis will be making his grass debut after winning one of six starts with three seconds on the dirt, including a distant seventh behind the Joseph-trained Chance It in the $400,000 Florida Sire Stakes In Reality Sept. 28. Most recently, the Brethren colt was bumped at the start and lost all chance in a 6 ½-furlong optional claimer Oct. 20 at Gulfstream West.
“We’re going to give him a try on the grass. He comes from a grass family so we want to try and see what happens and if he likes it,” trainer Juan Alvarado said. “He didn’t get a chance to run the last time. He got in a lot of trouble in that race. As soon as the gate opened he got in trouble everywhere. The race before, he wasn’t feeling well, but now he’s feeling good so we’ll give him a try and see if his luck changes and if he likes it.”
Arindel’s Plato, a maiden winner on dirt last out, Yes for Less, Mr. Who, Rebelde and Where Ya Goin Owen are also entered.
Arindel will have a strong contender in the $75,000 Juvenile Fillies Turf, also at one mile, in stakes-placed homebred Filly Jean King. She broke her maiden in the slop Aug. 4 going six furlongs, came back to be fourth to stablemate Onyx in the Sharp Susan Stakes in her only previous try on turf, then was second behind Two Sixty in the FSS My Dear Girl Sept. 28 on dirt. Two Sixty went on to run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) Nov. 1.
“She ran very good last time. The first time she ran on the turf, she ran very good. That day we had Onyx win but she was fourth and she was right there. She got a lot out of that race. The next race she went a longer distance and she’s training good. I like her a lot in that race,” Alvarado said. “She’s run good on the dirt, but I think she will like the grass, too.”
Heading into the race off victories are Kevin Dole’s Little Bit Good, who graduated Oct. 9 over the Gulfstream West course, and maiden special weight winners Extravagant Rosie and Our Little Jewel, the latter one of two horses from Maryland-based trainer Mike Trombetta, along with American Giant.
Pinnacle Racing Stable’s Lady Panda finished first by two lengths but was disqualified and placed second for interference in a 7 ½-furlong maiden special weight Oct. 14 at Gulfstream West. Song River, third in the five-furlong Hollywood Beach Stakes Sept. 28 at Gulfstream, completes the field.
Richard Dunn’s homebred Henry’s World, a dominant maiden winner last out for trainer Kathleen O’Connell, is among nine 2-year-olds entered in the $75,000 Juvenile Sprint, contested at 6 ½ furlongs. The speedy Soldat colt led all the way in a 5 ½-length triumph going five furlongs on the Gulfstream West grass Oct. 4.
“He’s really shown much more of a fondness for the turf, but I just haven’t been able to get a turf race to go and he’s worked very well on the Gulfstream West surface, so I just thought maybe we’ll take advantage of it,” O’Connell said.
Henry’s World’s first two starts came on the dirt at Gulfstream Park, finishing third behind Captain D Aug. 4 and Seeking the Truth Sept. 20, both as the favorite. Edgard Zayas climbs aboard for the first time from Post 7.
“The first race on the dirt he was mentally immature and he was in the slop, also, but he’s worked very well on the dirt here so we’ll give him another try,” O’Connell said.
Two other horses enter the race off wins – Arindel’s homebred Poe, whose two victories in five starts are tops in the field, and Ivette Perez Chambless’ Zero Spent, who rolled by 5 ¾ lengths Oct. 5 at Gulfstream West.
Rounding out the field are As Seen On Tv, runner up in the Sept. 21 Smoke Glacken at Monmouth Park; Smash Factor, a distant second in the FSS In Reality Sept. 28; Sun Squall, Gangly, Mo’s Had Enough and Kaufy Bean.
Trainer David Fawkes will send out the pair of Alex and JoAnn Lieblong-owned Ms Big Spring and Big Affair in the $75,000 Juvenile Fillies Sprint, also at 6 ½ furlongs, which attracted a field of nine.
Both fillies are by The Big Beast, a winner of four races and $676,300 in purse earnings from nine starts for the Lieblongs in 2014 and 2015. His biggest victory came in the 2014 King’s Bishop (G1) at Saratoga, returning there the next summer to run second in the A.G. Vanderbilt (G1) and Forego (G1).
Ms Big Spring will be making her fifth start, third straight in a stakes, and first since running fourth after setting the pace in the FSS Susan’s Girl Aug. 31 at Gulfstream Park. A 10 ½-length maiden special weight winner second time out June 30, she was fifth in the FSS Desert Vixen Aug. 3 after being fractious behind the gate.
The Juvenile Fillies Sprint marks the stakes debut for Big Affair, who cruised to a front-running six-length triumph Sept. 28 at Gulfstream after finishing second against fellow state-breds in her Aug. 23 debut.
“Both fillies are training super. I expect big efforts from both horses,” Fawkes said. “I expect [Ms Big Spring] to run really good. The other filly can run a bit, too. To me, it’s like splitting hairs.”
Itsenough, Delta Hutch, Go Gator Girl Go and Mochaccino, the latter trained by recent Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Todd Pletcher, all enter the race off maiden victories over the Gulfstream West surface, while Mandamus graduated in her most recent start Aug. 24 at Gulfstream. Ceci Valentina and Let’s Be Honest are also entered.