Photo: Eclipse Spotswire
Trainer Patrick Byrne will be looking to ring in 2014 with Almost
Famous in the $100,000 Gulfstream Park Derby in the one-mile New Year’s
Day feature. Owned by Chuck and Maribeth Sandford, the son of
Unbridled’s Song stamped himself as a colt with a future in winning two
of his three starts this fall, including a six-length success under
optional-claiming conditions at Churchill Downs on November 9.The dark
bay colt was entered in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) under the
Twin Spires three weeks later, but was an 11th-hour scratch out of that
event with a bruised hind hoof.
Almost Famous, a $500,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton sale last
March, got back on the work tab with a four-furlong breeze in :48 2/5
seconds at Palm Meadows on December 18.
“He put in a nice work,” Byrne said. “I lost a couple of days with
him when I had to scratch out of the Jockey Club in Kentucky, but he’s
back and his foot is good.
“The Gulfstream Park Derby is a good spot for him,” Byrne added. “It
wasn’t originally in my plans, but he’s acting like he wants to run and
he’s doing well.”
Byrne, who became a household name in the late nineties with
Breeders’ Cup winners Awesome Again, Countess Diana and Favorite Trick,
won the 2012 Florida Derby (G1) for the Sandfords with Take Charge Indy.
That $1-million event could be on the radar for Almost Famous as
“We’ll take it one race at a time, but obviously the Florida Derby
would be a nice target, and we’ll go from there,” Byrne remarked.
“Gulfstream is always a tough meeting.”
Casse Planning Ahead for Trio of Juveniles
Trainer Mark Casse issued an upbeat bulletin about a trio of juvenile
colts in his Palm Meadows barn. Two of them, Coastline and Awesome Sky,
are owned by John Oxley, while Conquest Titan carries the colors of
Ernie Semersky and Dory Newell’s Conquest Stable. Both Coastline and
Conquest Titan under consideration for the $400,000 Holy Bull Stakes
(G3) on January 25, while Awesome Sky will be looking for a softer
A troubled fifth as the favorite in his second start in a Churchill
Downs maiden on November 7, the gray colt rallied to finish third in the
Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at the Louisville oval on November