Lothenbach Stable’s 2-year-old Bambazonki would have been among the
favorites in Saturday’s $100,000 Dania Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park
after winning his only two starts on turf at Arlington Park and
Keeneland, but his connections will pass on Saturday’s race to resume
his career in the $100,000 Kitten’s Joy Stakes on Jan. 20.
“We’ll wait for the Kitten’s Joy,” said trainer Chris Block from
Chicago Wednesday morning. “We’re looking forward to having a nice
3-year-old on turf and looking forward to that race, but with that said,
we won’t rule out the idea of trying him on dirt at some point. He’ll
run in the Kitten’s Joy and we’ll evaluate where we go from there.”
A $100,000 Keeneland September yearling sales purchase by Hard Spun,
Bambazonki finished second in his career debut on Polytack at Arlington
in late August, broke his maiden on turf next out there on Sept. 23 by
two lengths and won a hard-fought neck decision last out over the
Keeneland course on Oct. 19.
Bambazonki is among six runners Block has stabled at Gulfstream this
winter, most stakes-quality runners as has been the pattern for the
Chicago-based horseman the last few years as he has enjoyed considerable
success here with such stars as 2011 Donn Handicap (G1) winner Giant
Oak and Graded stakes-winning turf stakes mares Never Retreat and Askbut
All three of those stars have been retired, but Block and his
family’s Team Block Stable have a potential emerging star filly here
that could help fill the void in 3-year-old Leading Astray, second last
out in the Mrs. Revere Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs in mid-November.
An Illinois homebred daughter of Belong to Me, Leading Astray has won
five of eight starts with two seconds and a third, scoring her biggest
victory in the Pucker Up Stakes (G3) at Arlington in mid-September and
finishing third in the Valley View Stakes (G3) at Keeneland in October
before the Mrs. Revere.
Block reports that Team Block’s 5-year-old long-distance turf star Ioya
Bigtime is getting a brief break on a farm in Ocala, but will return to
his select spring at Gulfstream after Christmas. The son of Dynaformer
won the Stars and Stripes Stakes (G3) at Arlington in July and the
Kentucky Cup Turf (G3) at Kentucky Downs in September.
In two starts since, Ioya Bigtime finished second by a neck in the
Sycamore Stakes (G3) at Keeneland and a close-up fourth last out as the
favorite in the W.L. McKnight Handicap (G2) at Calder on Nov. 24, all of
the above run at 1 ½ miles on turf.